Can Frame, the Baylys, Kloosterman, Wilson, and Rabbi Bret Really Object to This?

David VanDrunen (whose Dutch heritage should count for more than it does among the nattering nabobs of neo-Calvinist negativism) recently conducted an interview with the folks at Credo Magazine. Two of his answers are particularly useful for explaining 2k (thanks to the Outhouse).

The first:

I like to describe the two kingdoms doctrine briefly as the conviction that God through his Son rules the whole world, but rules it in two distinct ways. As creator and sustainer, God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world. As redeemer, God also rules an eschatological kingdom that is already manifest in the life and ministry of the church, and he rules this kingdom through saving grace as he calls a special people to himself through the proclamation of the Scriptures. As Christians, we participate in both kingdoms but should not confuse the purposes of one with those of the other. As a Reformed theologian devoted to a rich covenant theology, I think it helpful to see these two kingdoms in the light of the biblical covenants. In the covenant with Noah after the flood, God promised to preserve the natural order and human society (not to redeem them!), and this included all human beings and all living creatures. But God also established special, redemptive covenant relationships with Abraham, with Israel through Moses, and now with the church under the new covenant. We Christians participate in both the Noahic and new covenants (remember that the covenant with Noah was put in place for as long as the earth endures), and through them in this twofold rule of God—or, God’s two kingdoms.

The “transformationist” approach to Christ and culture is embraced by so many people and used in so many different ways that I often wonder how useful a category it is. If by “transformation” we simply mean that we, as Christians, should strive for excellence in all areas of life and try to make a healthy impact on our workplace, neighborhood, etc., I am a transformationist. But what people often mean by “transformationist” is that the structures and institutions of human society are being redeemed here and now, that is, that we should work to transform them according to the pattern of the redemptive kingdom of Christ. I believe the two kingdoms doctrine offers an approach that is clearly different from this. Following the two kingdoms doctrine, a Christian politician, for example, would reject working for the redemption of the state (whatever that means) but recognize that God preserves the state for good purposes and strive to help the state operate the best it can for those temporary and provisional purposes.

The second:

I don’t think the church has any different responsibilities in an election year from what it has at any other time. The church should proclaim the whole counsel of God in Scripture (which includes, of course, teaching about the state, the value of human life, marriage, treatment of the poor, etc.). But Scripture does not set forth a political policy agenda or embrace a particular political party, and so the church ought to be silent here where it has no authorization from Christ to speak. When it comes to supporting a particular party, or candidate, or platform, or strategy—individual believers have the liberty to utilize the wisdom God gives them to make decisions they believe will be of most good to society at large. Politics constantly demands compromise, choosing between the lesser of evils, and refusing to let the better be the enemy of the good. Christians will make different judgments about these things, and the church shouldn’t try to step in and bind believers’ consciences on matters of prudence. It might be helpful to think of it this way: during times when Christians are bombarded with political advertisements, slogans, and billboards, how refreshing it should be, on the Lord’s Day, to step out of that obsession with politics and gather with God’s redeemed people to celebrate their heavenly citizenship and their bond in Christ that transcends all national, ethnic, and political divisions.

Since recent kvetching about 2k included the charge that the outlook has little substance and is hard to define, VanDrunen’s brief and clear responses should put to rest that particular complaint (especially for those too lazy to read the books that keep piling up on the 2k shelf). These remarks should also end criticisms of 2k since I can’t imagine how anyone could object to them. Actually, I can imagine that some will object but have a hard time thinking that the objections will be anything but perverse.

132 thoughts on “Can Frame, the Baylys, Kloosterman, Wilson, and Rabbi Bret Really Object to This?

  1. Thank you for posting this. I found it very helpful.

    I graduated WSCA before 2K really became a prominent issue (2001), so I am trying to catch up on it (while navigating through all of the criticism & caricatures).

    Curious to see if any 2K critics read this post & respond to it.

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  2. Jared, I don’t know what you mean. It seems to me that everyone is asking questions of 2kers and that the answers keep coming. But the people asking the questions are never satisfied.

    So what questions are still pressing?

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  3. Jared, since you’re bringing up an old exchange in a context where 2kers have been the ones having to answer questions, why don’t you tell me which questions Dennison answered.

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  4. Yep, I stand by that comment but also don’t consider one comment here in violation of what I said there.

    As far as the 2k issue, I know how these things go and was only concerned to point out that I think we all know that the above article on 2K doesn’t settle the matter or criticisms. It can’t be that hard to imagine how one would answer after the extensive exchange on culture was pointed out. It’s not my purpose to rehash Dennison, but those who listen to him will find it obvious.

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  5. Jared,

    I am not sure what the beef is here. DVD was pretty clear and succinct in his description of 2k here. It’s not as if there isn’t volumes of pages in print, and online discussions clearly outlining the major tenets of 2k theology. The lack of clarity is surely not attributable to a lack of definitions, it seems to be more sourced in an unwillingness to be satisfied with the good faith attempts by 2kers to clarify their views.

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  6. By the way, I agree with you here, Dr. Hart and, in my humble opinion, DVD’s arguments are pretty much airtight. Objectors need to give serious consideration to his articles “Bearing Sword in the State, Turning Cheek in the Church: A Reformed Two-Kingdoms Interpretation of Matthew 5:38–42” (Themelios 34.3 [2009]: 322-334) and the more recent “Israel’s Recapitulation of Adam’s Probation under the Law of Moses” (Westminster Theological Journal 73.2 [Fall 2011]: 303-324), in addition to his books, obviously his Living in God’s Two Kingdoms being the most pertinent to this discussion. The latter article from the Fall ’11 WTJ was especially important in advancing the discussion as DVD did a fantastic job of responding to some of the dissenters.

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  7. To add to the above comments, one could press Dennison on the same account, you know, the endless implications of his views depending on the scenario being evaluated. To Dennison’s credit, he was clear, those of us who listened to the exchange are grateful even where we disagree, because there is no doubt to where he stands. Are you somehow confused as to what 2kers affirm as the central tenets of our theology? If so, why pray tell?

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  8. Lane, speaking of the Themelios piece, one of the more interesting applications was in the very end concerning state action against the church. While he clearly recognizes the apostolic example to appeal to civil government “to abide by its own laws,” the accent seems placed upon the fact that “[T]he apostles…never retaliated when government officials treated them unjustly and never pursued legal action against those who persecuted them.” This brought to mind an example Stellman offers in his “Dual Citizens” when making the general point that voluntarily relinquishing rights (instead of clamoring for them) is in better service of boastworthy suffering for citizens of the New Covenant:

    Here is a trickier example: if your legal right to practice your faith is in danger of being compromised, what should you do? If you Google the phrase “law firms protecting Christians’ rights,” you’ll get myriad matches, and there’s no rule that prohibits you from taking to court anyone who infringes your right to pray or read Scripture wherever you want (within reason, of course). There is something inconsistent, however, about Christians fighting for their faith by means of the sword of the U.S. justice system. Would it not be far more Christ-like to patiently endure when we are wronged, as the writer to the Hebrews makes clear?

    “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (10:32-35).

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/publications/34-3/bearing-sword-in-the-state-turning-cheek-in-the-church

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  9. Jared, like Jed said, I understand that Dennison disagrees with 2k. But you haven’t explained why you agree with Dennison. Maybe you graduated from Covenant?

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  10. Whether I agree with 2k or not is immaterial to my comment here. I find the tone of this post demeaning to brothers in the Lord, and would expect more from a fellow elder in the OPC. “nattering nabobs”? “kvetching? “lazy”? “perverse”? Please, brother, I beseech you, show some restraint.

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  11. Mr. Hart,
    I actually am at Covenant and have found your writings to be very helpful in sorting through things here. I rely heavily on WSC and consider Horton, Scott Clark and yourself to be primary sources in laying foundations for my theology. I also recommend your Recovering Mother Kirk to every student who will hear me. I think it’s great and am sad to see it out of print. That being said, your sarcasm is bit much and I don’t understand why you employ such methods in seeking to advance the kingdom of our Lord. I realize that it must be frustrating to be misunderstood and to have to repeat the same things over and over again. But why such a spirit? Eph.4:1-3
    Your younger brother in Christ

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  12. DGH;

    I sent you an email discussing some 2k and Law-Gospel topics –– I used the necessary CAPS you mentioned. I also mentioned the NRO freelance article. Take your time reading and responding because I know you’re busy. Have a blessed week.

    -djbeilstein

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  13. Henk and svrgn, thanks for your input. Believe it or not, I do try to show restraint, especially compared to the disparagement that regularly descends on 2k views. Think about how you might respond if you were called antinomian, not Reformed, a Communist, and a sissy. Kvetching, lazy, and perverse seem tame by comparison.

    Also, I do see something different about a blog compared to other forms of communication. This may be of help.

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  14. The video clearly says “some,” not all. However, I’m not here to defend anarchism. It’s off-topic. I would only point out that there are different kinds of anarchists, some of which neither you nor the video takes into account. My overriding point in all this, if I have not made it obvious, is to show a glaring fallacy in your argument.

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  15. Darryl,

    I suggest that DVD’s conviction that God through his Son rules the whole world in two distinct ways is as poisonous as the transformationist approach. Secularism is not neutral — it is a product, a false religion, of this fallen world. In the guise that secularism is the product of common grace, the fallen world has accepted the reduction of God to an area called “Sacred” (“spiritual,” “supernatural”) — as opposed to the world as “profane.” It has accepted the all-embracing secularism which attempts to steal the creation away from God.

    It is as wrong to think that we can “participate” in this false kingdom as it is to think that we can “transform” it. Christ died to the world and the world to Christ. Why should we participate in or attempt to transform a dead thing?

    Christ also rose from the dead and lives. His life is not simply “manifest in the life and ministry of the church” as DVD mysteriously and uncomprehendingly wants you to think. His life is life now and eternally as head, in heaven, and body in the church. And when He returns, His head and body will be joined in eternal glory to God.

    A biblical appreciation of reality is refreshing, not only on the Lord’s Day, but every day that we must endure, as the psalmists repeatedly remind us, while the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain.

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  16. Adam,

    This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

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  17. Also, I do see something different about a blog compared to other forms of communication. This may be of help.

    Still, would it be OK if I stick with a cigar rather than a cigarette?

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  18. Don, you may not like broccoli, but that doesn’t make it poisonous. Just because you don’t agree with DVD, doesn’t mean that he’s wrong.

    As I just wrote about the early church to Truthdivides, you need to show where 2kers like DVD are doing anything different from Christ and the apostles who were not in the business of telling Christians not to participate in a culture where idols abounded. Paul even told Christians they were free to eat meat offered to idols. Your position seems like a direct contradiction of Paul. You seem to be saying that to eat the meat is to participate in the idolatry, or that to participate in a secular society is to deny Christ. Since Paul told Christians to submit to an emperor who claimed to be God, I’m not sure where you get support for your position other than not liking broccoli.

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  19. Darryl,

    Its not that I don’t like DVD. DVD is wrong. We are not citizens of two kingdoms, and I am not telling Christians not to participate in a culture where idols abound. Culture is a gift of God, and we are to participate in it as citizens of His Kingdom, the Church, not as citizens of a secular kingdom that does not honor God or give Him thanks. This is what Paul was telling the Corinthians when he said that you may eat whatever is sold in the meat market for “the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.”….But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the same reason, i.e., that “the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.”

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  20. Don, are you saying that secular society is a false kingdom? Are you saying that secular society is just as false as an emperor who accepted worship as a divine figure?

    Or are you saying that secular society is part of Christ’s kingdom?

    I am really trying to figure out your point. But again, you don’t seem to acknowledge the teaching of Paul who told Christians to submit to an emperor opposed to Christ and his people.

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  21. I read the blog post that you referred to in your response to me, but I think it misses the point. I was not commenting on how well thought out your blog post was, and whether the arguments were well polished. I was commenting on the lack of charity shown to brothers in the Lord who happen to hold opinions that differ in some respects from yours.

    I fully understand that showing restraint can be a challenge at times. Others can be tactless in their comments, to be sure. But how is that an apologetic for your comments? Our Saviour instructed us to turn the other cheek, not let him have it with both barrels.

    There is clearly a lot of heat in the 2k discussion. Some of it is likely warranted, but much of it is certainly just a lot of hot air that serves to create more and more distance between brothers and sisters in Christ. It is my prayer that all sides of this debate will actually listen to each other. So much of what appears in the blogosphere (and other media) on this topic misrepresents the other positions. If we all humbly submitted ourselves to the (hopefully) loving critique and evaluation of others, this discussion might actually get somewhere.

    This comment has gone on long enough! Maybe I need to start my own blog!🙂

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  22. That logo makes me sad that there’s been no competition against Madden for years. My wife and I still play NFL2k5 on occasion, epistemologically self-consciously or otherwise.

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  23. Darryl,

    If by “secular society” you mean what we do when we are not practicing “religion”, then yes we are still citizens and part of Christ’s kingdom. Our submission to an emperor opposed to Christ and his people does not make us citizens of another kingdom.

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  24. Don, I am still not sure what you’re saying. I am not asking about us but about society. Is secular society a “false” kingdom? Should Christians reject secular society? Or is secular society part of the kingdom of Christ?

    Either way, why do you reject a dual citizenship? How is it not the case that I am a member of the kingdom of Christ and a citizen of the United States?

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  25. Darryl,

    The definition of “secular” from dictionary.com is

    of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.

    Here is what Paul says about worldly things:

    1 Corinthians 7:31
    those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

    In the context of the dictionary.com definition of secular and the apostle Paul’s inspired words, secular society is a vapor. This is why the Preacher says Vanity of vanities, says vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them.

    Scripture rejects dual Citizenship. The fact that you are a citizen, small “c” of the United States, does not compete with the fact that you are a Citizen, large “C” of heaven. And this is the problem with DVD’s false theology which wants to equate small “c” with large “C”.

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  26. Don, now I am very confused since you have made comments before about the new creation extending to all things. That meant that previously you argued for redeeming or transforming culture. Now you say it’s a vapor and vanity. So once again you sound closer to Billy Sunday than Leslie Newbiggin.

    I’m not trying to be difficult (you know me), just trying to understand.

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  27. Don, what I’m trying to see is how you think DVD wants to equate the two kinds of citizenship. What he says is: “I like to describe the two kingdoms doctrine briefly as the conviction that God through his Son rules the whole world, but rules it in two distinct ways. As creator and sustainer, God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world. As redeemer, God also rules an eschatological kingdom that is already manifest in the life and ministry of the church, and he rules this kingdom through saving grace as he calls a special people to himself through the proclamation of the Scriptures. As Christians, we participate in both kingdoms but should not confuse the purposes of one with those of the other.”

    It seems to me that if there are two kingdoms ruled by the same Lord but in two different ways (i.e. law and gospel) then it follows that the kind of citizenship we live in each kingdom is also different, not equated. In fact, he makes that plain in the last sentence. How are you getting that “…the problem with DVD’s false theology [is that he] wants to equate small ‘c’ with large ‘C’”?

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  28. Don,

    I’m not sure how helpful it is to associate a definition of secular from dictionary.com with Pauline usages. Which isn’t to say that dictionary.com isn’t wholly unhelpful: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anachronism

    Anyway. I’d suggest you take a look at DVD’s “A Biblical Case for Natural Law” – it’s a quick, simple read that would mitigate against some of the arguments you are reading into DVD’s 2k approach.

    With respect to your claim that dual citizenship is contrary to scripture, I’d remind you that DVD constructs his arguments within the context of covenant theology, which is to say that DVD would say that we are citizens of two kingdoms inasmuch as we (believers) are beneficiaries of two covenants: the Noahic and the New. The Noahic covenant further establishes the common kingdom which isn’t referred to as such because it is neutral, but because it is for all people and lacks the blessing of redemptive grace (unlike the covenant of grace which is particular and redemptive; see pg. 29 of the aforementioned book).

    So. Are you willing to grant that we are under two covenants like Abraham (Peter’s model 2ker)? Or does scripture reject that as well?

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  29. Forgive my abundant use of negatives in my attempt at a joke. Try: “Though dictionary.com isn’t wholly unhelpful…”

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  30. Darryl.

    I do know you, and I think you are trying to take me for a ride; but I’ll go along with you for the fun of it.

    You have mixed several terms together, shaken them up, and hope that nobody will notice. Let me sort them out for you, so you won’t be so confused. The terms are “new creation”, “culture”, and “secular society.”

    In light of scripture, those terms have very different meanings. New creation – we are a new creation in Christ. Culture – we are to sing to Him a new song. Secular society- unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

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  31. Don, I’m feeling a little dizzy from the ride your answers provide, but please explain your previous assertions that culture will be renewed because of the work of redemption and now your apparent relegation of culture to vanishing vapor. I may not be the only one confused.

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  32. DJG,

    You may want to check with Darryl on your understanding of covenantal theology. I know he would not want to disagree with the Westmiinster divines (except for Ch 23 of the WCF) on the Noahic covenant being in the covenant of grace. Does DVD really believe that the Noahic covenant is not part of the covenant of grace? Wow, he’s even further off than I thought.

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  33. Don, you do know, right, that the Confession doesn’t mention Noah and does not include God’s promise to Noah as part of the Covenant of Grace?

    You may want to be cautious with those “wows”.

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  34. Darryl,

    I never relegated culture to vanishing vapor. Remember that I said culture is a gift of God. Secular society is a vapor because it is a house that is not built on the Lord.

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  35. Darryl,

    You are not serious, are you? Are you sayiing that the covenant of grace did not begin after the covenant of works, or is the Noahic covenant outside of both of them?

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  36. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ and his elect according to WLC 31… which is slightly different in scope from the Noahic covenant:

    Genesis 9: 8-10 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.

    Maybe I’m reading this wrong… I’ll check with our host.

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  37. Zrim,

    You sound like a dispensationalist now – a covenant of works under which the Jews are saved, and a covenant of grace under which everyone else is saved.

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  38. And just a point of clarification regarding covenant theology and the flood narrative: The covenant of Gen. 9 is distinct from the covenant of Gen. 6:18 (which was a covenant of particular redemption and thus an administration of the Covenant of Grace). Again, the scope of the oath is an important consideration. The two covenants that help inform a 2k approach are the Covenant of Grace and the common grace covenant of Genesis 9, along with their constituent members, means, and ends.

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  39. Don, huh? Are you responding to my question a few up about how you get an equation of citizenship kinds from DVD’s statement about differences in citizenship, or are you confusing me with someone else who is making statements about covenants, etc.?

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  40. Zrim,

    You said the kingdom of God is being ruled in two different ways, law and gospel. When I go to the WCF, the only “two different ways” I see mentioned is the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.The only people I know that believe that are dispensationalists who say that the Jews are saved by the law and everyone else by the gospel.

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  41. Don, I didn’t say the kingdom of God is being ruled in two different ways. I was repeating DVD who says God rules the whole world but rules it in two distinct ways, that there are two kingdoms ruled by the same Lord but in two different ways (i.e. law and gospel). The kingdom of God is ruled only one way, by gospel.

    But, again, if the point is that there are two different kinds of kingdoms then it seems to follow that there are two different kinds of citizenship. So how are you getting that “…the problem with DVD’s false theology [is that he] wants to equate small ‘c’ with large ‘C’”? The point isn’t equation but distinction.

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  42. Zrim,

    First you agree with DVD who says the kingdom of God is ruled in two ways, then you say it is ruled only one way. Which one is it?

    I suggest you leave DVD’s theology in the Outhouse where Darryl found it. It really stinks.

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  43. Don, you’re interchanging “the kingdom of God” with “the whole world.” But go back to the first quote and read the words again: “God through his Son rules the whole world, but rules it in two distinct ways.” The church is the kingdom of God and it is ruled by Christ through gospel. Everything else is the kingdom of man and it is ruled by Christ through law.

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  44. Ok guys. Now I’m really confused. I know you are all good Sunday School Confessionalists, so where in the Confession does it say that the covenant of grace is still administered under the law? Or, again I ask, are you a dispensationalist that believes that the Jews are saved under the law. Or, again I ask, is there some mysterious covenant that WCF does not talk about that covers the Noahic covenant and this “everything else that Zrim is talking about?

    Seems to me that the only unanswered questions are waiting for you to answer.

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  45. Don, you’re truly losing me on the covenants point leading to latent Dispensationalism (though it’s not at all unusual for neo-Calvinist leaning critics of 2k to impugn the D-word). But if it’s confessional statements you want to back up the point that God rules the whole world (sheesh, is that really so bizarre?), try Belgic 12 and 13:

    We believe that the Father created heaven and earth and all other creatures from nothing, when it seemed good to him, by his Word– that is to say, by his Son. He has given all creatures their being, form, and appearance, and their various functions for serving their Creator. Even now he also sustains and governs them all, according to his eternal providence, and by his infinite power, that they may serve man, in order that man may serve God…We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.

    How does one imagine that this providential rule of all the world is structured by anything except law? That’s how hairs on heads fall, by the law of gravity which is authored and maintained by God. And if that’s true for hairs on heads then it’s also true for heads of states and everything in between. How is this in any way controversial?

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  46. Zrim,

    The stock 2k answer to questions that demonstrate the absurdity of 2k thinking seems to be “you are losing me” or “I’m confused.”

    Ok, I’ll talk like a 2ker. I’m still confused.

    Are you saying that God’s providential rule over His world is the same as “the time of the law.” Please think this through for yourself, and don’t simply cut and paste another confessional doctrine.

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  47. Don, while you’re asking questions, maybe you could work in a few answers. Do you really think the Confession of Faith talks about the Noahic Covenant? And do you think secular society should be redeemed or is it a vapor that vanishes like fog? My confusion awaits an answer.

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  48. Don, you asked for confessional reference to back up a point about God governing the world by law. I gave it. You hit the buzzer and add insult to injury by suggesting an inability to think. I’m feeling double damned. But to answer what looks like an honest question: I’m saying that the nature of God’s providential rule over his world has never changed.

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  49. Don,

    I’m gonna go out on this same 2k limb and say that God’s providential rule over the world was the same in the “time of the law” (I hope i’m understanding what you mean by that), as it is now.

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  50. Sean,

    Either you are an honest 2ker, or perhaps trying to figure out whether the pail can really hold water.

    Of course, you are right – God’s providential rule over the world was the same then as it is now, So when Zrim talks about two kingdoms ruled by the same Lord but in two different ways (i.e. law and gospel), he is mixing different concepts, because I think perhaps he is not really understanding what’s going on. Your answer, which I trust is the same as Zrim’s, means that what Zrim is really saying is that two kingdoms are ruled by the same Lord but in two different ways (i.e. providence and gospel).

    So, then my next question, obviously, is: does that mean that those who are ruled by the gospel are not ruled by providence, which by the way (I hope Zrim would admit) includes natural law?

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  51. Darryl,

    You know the answers. After all, you have a PHD from Harvard and I only have an MBA from Boston University. Plus, I have never been published by the great publishing houses like you have.

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  52. Don,

    I’m lost. I’m trying to track with you, but I can’t figure if we have a language barrier or a concept confusion or both. Let me ask you a question; Do you exist? Do you live, breath, eat, work, sleep, consume, purchase or otherwise occupy space and time in the here and now? I can’t figure out if you’re a separatist or a conqueror in your conceptions, because you already said you’re not a transformer. So, how do you live exactly?

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  53. …does that mean that those who are ruled by the gospel are not ruled by providence, which by the way (I hope Zrim would admit) includes natural law?

    Don, all who are ruled by gospel are also ruled by law (believers), but not all who are ruled by law are also ruled by gospel (unbelievers). Hence the reason we speak of a dual citizenship for believers. So when as a believer I trespass law, my sheriff applies law and doles out physical punishment, but my pastor applies gospel and doles out spiritual forgiveness. Unbelievers only get the sheriff.

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  54. Sean,

    I am a member of Wallace Presbyterian Church in America, located near Washington DC and I work as an IT Supervisor for the Environmental Protection Agency in downtown DC. I am married to Karen Myers Frank, the lovely sister of Ken Myers, of Mars Hill Audio fame. I have three boys, 2 of whom are undergraduate students at Virginia Tech and one a senior in HS.

    I’m sorry, but I am rather resistant to labels. That is not because I don’t want to be labeled, but there are just too many great thinkers, both believers and non-believers, to contend with. I will tell you that I have studied most of the important reformed thinkers, but as we all know, Christianity did not begin with the Reformation.

    Books that I have read recently, and would highly commend to your reading are Peter Leithart’s “Against Christianity” and Alexander Schmemann’s “For the Life of the World.”

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  55. Don,

    I wasn’t looking for your bio, and I wasn’t questioning your bona fides. I really was trying to understand how you were looking at it. I thought that might help to give some perspective on how to answer you.

    A number of people have given you a response from a couple of different angles and none of it seems to meet with your satisfaction, so I was just trying to understand how you viewed living in the here and now and how that dovetailed into your religious life.

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  56. Zrim,

    But if we are all ruled by law, as you say, why do I need two citizenships? Why can’t I be just a citizen of heaven who loves the law because he knows it leads to Christ who built the house. Is Augustine wrong in his thinking that those who are citizens of the City of God are not citizens of the city of man?

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  57. Well, Sean, you got my bio. The problem is not that I am not satisfied with the responses but that the responses are not satisfying. They all lead to inconsistencies with both the Confessions, and more importantly, Scripture.

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  58. Don,

    Let’s start here; At what point does 2k or maybe even DVD’s 2k depart or contradict the confession. I’m in the PCA as well, and I’m holding to 2k so I need to know where it goes wrong if it does.

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  59. I’m hesitant to get back into this discussion but…

    “They all lead to inconsistencies with both the Confessions, and more importantly, Scripture.”

    Don, where are these inconsistencies? Have you responded to any of the covenantal issues beyond your reading Noah into the confessional documents (for no particular reason that I can discern)?

    Also, no 2ker that I know would equate Augustine’s 2 cities with the 2 Kingdoms so the comparison proves nil.

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  60. Sean,

    The confession defines two covenantal categories into which all the covenants (e.g., Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Christ) that God made with man; the covenant of works (C of W) and the covenant of grace (C of G). DVD wants to put believers in “both the Noahic and new covenants.” Since the confession only defines two categories of covenants, Noahic must be in the C of W, or the C of G. It cannot be in both since they are mutually exclusive by their confessional definitions. If the Noahic covenant is in the C of W, then believers are in both a covenant of works and a covenant of grace, which makes no sense at all. If the Noahic covenant is in the covenant of grace, then we are not in two different covenants, but one (the C of G), which removes DVD’s basis for two kingdoms.

    This is only the beginning of the problems that the 2k myth must deal with, but that would take many more pages to describe. I have not read Frame’s book, but I suspect he has exposed the myth which is why Darryl is so relentless in trying to undermine his credibility.

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  61. Don,

    Your covenant theology is too narrow. The covenant that God makes with Noah after the flood is that of common grace. This covenant was originally instituted with Cain and finds its formalization with with Noah, as God covenants with man “until the earth remains.” As believers, we live both in the redemptive kingdom (C of G) and we also live in the realm of common grace. This was no different from Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs. For a guy that seems to want to go back to Scripture for everything—which you should—it seems strange to me that you are wanting to toss out 2k on the basis of the WCF (which would be difficult to do). Offer some scriptures, Don.

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  62. Don, why so belligerent? You haven’t been around Old Life in a while. The absence has not done you good, it seems.

    Believe it or not, you haven’t really answered the question. You have touted Newbiggin on redemptive renewal of all things, and now all things sound like they are mere vanities. My doctorate, which is not from Harvard, has nothing to do with this. I doubt even your brother-in-law could make sense of your ying and yang.

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  63. Don,

    I don’t have the confession handy, where does the confession detail out the nature and administration of the Noahic cov?

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  64. Adam,

    Ok, then it is part of the covenant of grace. It makes no difference whether the grace is common or particular – it is still grace. Why do I need two citzenships??????????????????????????

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  65. Ditto to much of what Adam said (and I appreciate the Cain reference – WSC guy?)

    Additionally, it seems plausible that the divines didn’t categorize the Gen. 9 covenant (though, again, the Gen. 6 covenant does fit within the CofG). This covenant formulation then isn’t inconsistent with the confessions, but supplementary. Surely there is room for developing theology beyond the confessions – particularly when the development is one on which the scriptures speak and the confessions do not.

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  66. Don,

    You can’t equate common grace with the covenant of grace. One is temporal (Grace as in God not wiping out the world but sustaining it for the benefit of the Elect) and the other is redemptive.

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  67. Ok, Darryl, sorry, I meant JHU. I haven’t had time to check in until recently, and I guess DVD just gets my hackles up. I’ll try to calm down — but my question also goes unanswered.

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  68. Don,

    It’s not that your questions go unanswered; this thread is littered with answers. The problem is that you don’t allow yourself the ability to try and understand the answers.

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  69. Don, I don’t know why we have to have dual citizenship and can’t just be singular citizens of heaven. I didn’t write the rules. Augustine’s 2k was a precursor to Calvin’s 2k; as DVD points out in NL2K, “Calvin’s doctrine of the two kingdoms was not Augustine’s doctrine of the two cities.” That isn’t to say that Augustine was wrong but that his fundamental antithesis was further developed by Calvin and Luther to make more room for the common sphere within which the citizens of light and citizens of darkness may co-exist in the present age.

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  70. Don, hello. I’ve asked you whether secular society is in need of redemption a la Newbiggin or if its a mist that evaporates a la fundamentalism. You think I am playing games. I’m not. I am wondering how you put the two convictions together. It’s a good question that deserves at least an “I don’t know.”

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  71. Darryl,

    I seriously thought I answered your question clearly, and in the context of Scripture much earlier on. So, let me repeat what I said with clarifying remarks.

    First, we must start with a common understanding of the term “secular”. I used the dictionary.com definition of “secular” as “of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests” (if you disagree with this definition, please tell me yours).

    Here is what Paul says about worldly things:

    1 Corinthians 7:31
    those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (I know you want to replace “world” with creation, but I think Scripture is clear that it is the form of this world, i.e., constructed by man, apart from God, that is passing.)

    Scripture also says

    Ps 127:1
    Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

    So, In the context of the definition of secular and the Scriptures, secular society is a vain thing which is passing away.

    I do not hear Newbiggin, or my brother-in-law saying that secular society is in need of redemption, but rather that we glory in the cross of Christ, like Paul says in Gal 6:14, by Whom the world is crucified — so why would we want to redeem secular society?

    Instead, we are new creations with our life in Christ, and the Church, not secular society, is the house that the Lord is building. As new creations, we continue, in common with all men, to operate under natural law, but we also operate according to divine law (actually both are divine, but this is the classical distinction). The fact that we operate under natural law, does not make us a citizen of some other kingdom. We are heavenly citizens whether we operate under natural or divine law.

    The Noahic covenant is not a different category of covenant just because it applies to all men. It, like all covenants exhaustively addressed by the confessions as C of W or C of G, was promulgated because the distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant

    So, I have logically stepped through the position which I maintain is both Scripturally and confessionally defensible. My question remains — why on earth do we need to have capital “C” dual citizenship????????????????????????????/

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  72. Sean,

    See my answer to Darryl. Chapter 7 of the WCF deals with God’s covenant with man. Unless there is some new R2K way of thinking about covenants as defined there, the Noahic covenant must be understood in those terms. If there is a new way, I would wait until the WCF is revised.

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  73. Adam,

    I would beg to differ. As I explained to Darryl, from what I have read of DVD, I disagree with him for confessional and scriptural reasons.

    Last night, a young friend of mine who studied under DVD spoke very highly of him. I have never met DVD but my friend tells me he is very gracious. Perhaps you or I should take this up with him directly. I may certainly be missing something in his thinking, but for the life of me, I do not see why we need dual citizenship.

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  74. Don,

    Thanks for the response. I’ve studied Chapter 7 in the past, and I don’t remember any reference to the noahic cov in the proofs. I know there has been discussion about the nature of the noahic being redemptive or not. It’s a difficult covenant to put in the redemptive category unless we want to start arguing for the ‘redemption’ of creatures not made in the image of God. Certainly there’s a real sense in which all the administrations since the fall are under the umbrella of the COG but maybe it will help you to view it as a non-redemptive covenant upon which God insures that redemptive history has a world to play out in.

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  75. Don,

    It’s not a matter of needing to be dual citizens but that we are dual citizens. We as Christians are both citizens of the age to come and also live side-by-side with our secular neighbors in this present age. The anabaptists want to ignore the present age and all that goes with it, so they toss it out. Transformationalists like to collapse the two and so they try and build this present age into the age to come. 2K explains why we shouldn’t do either of those things. The common kingdom is bestial (to use Kline’s terminology) but it is still legitimate. As strangers and aliens in between the two advents of Christ, we live as citizens of this world and also as citizens of heaven. 2K is not saying that Christians should conform to the world because they are citizens of it, as if we can live like we don’t belong to the redemptive kingdom. Christians are still to be Christians in the common kingdom. 2K is saying, however, that as Christians we do live in this world and are to participate in the common kingdom while we lay hold of our citizenship in heaven, the citizenship that defines who we are. Until we become full residents of heaven at the consummation, we live as dual citizens in this world.

    I’m curious, have you read any of DVD books in their entirety? Or Stellman’s “Dual Citizens”?

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  76. Adam,

    No, have not read DVD or Stellman in their entirety. Have read Clark and Horton in their entirety and enough of DVD that I know where he is coming from. I will most likely go a little deeper, but the path they seem to be paving is frightening to me.

    Believe me, Adam, I am not an anabaptist, transformationalist, or fundamentalist. There is another way to live in this world without claiming to be a citizen, capital “C”, which I likewise would strongly encourage you to consider as it appears you are starting out on your theological journey (I don’t mean to sound patronizing).

    For another way of looking at this, take a look at Alexander Schmemann, “For the Life of the World” and read it with a reformational mind frame. Maybe we can talk again.

    Regards, Don

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  77. Don,

    It seems like the word “Citizen” is what is tripping you out. Whatever Paul means in passages like Romans 13.1-7, it is clear that he is at least telling the saints that they are under subjection to the ruling authorities in this world. Whether you want to call this citizenship or not, that’s up to you, but the principle still remains. If Christians just live here but have no allegiance to the state, then it would be absurd for Paul to prescribe subjection to earthly authorities. It might be helpful to those on this blog that you are discussing with if you explain your interpretation of passages like Romans 13 and offer insight into how it disagrees with 2K.

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  78. Adam,

    I’m going to be lazy and just quote two passages from Augustine’s City of God as my understanding:

    Thus the things necessary for this mortal life are used by both kinds of men and families alike, but each has its own peculiar and widely different aim in using them. The earthly city, which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace, and the end it proposes, in the well-ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men’s wills to attain the things which are helpful to this life. The heavenly city, or rather the part of it which sojourns on earth and lives by faith, makes use of this peace only because it must, until this mortal condition which necessitates it shall pass away. Consequently, so long as it lives like a captive and a stranger in the earthly city, though it has already received the promise of redemption, and the gift of the Spirit as the earnest of it, it makes no scruple to obey the laws of the earthly city, whereby the things necessary for the maintenance of this mortal life are administered; and thus, as this life is common to both cities, so there is a harmony between them in regard to what belongs to it.

    Augustine, Saint; Schaff, Philip; Dods, Marcus (2008-02-13). The City of God, complete in one file (Samizdat Edition with Active Tables of Contents), improved 4/2/2011 (Kindle Locations 18500-18507). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.

    This heavenly city, then, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations, and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages, not scrupling about diversities in 413 the manners, laws, and institutions whereby earthly peace is secured and maintained, but recognizing that, however various these are, they all tend to one and the same end of earthly peace. It therefore is so far from rescinding and abolishing these diversities, that it even preserves and adopts them, so long only as no hindrance to the worship of the one supreme and true God is thus introduced. Even the heavenly city, therefore, while in its state of pilgrimage, avails itself of the peace of earth, and, so far as it can without injuring faith and godliness, desires and maintains a common agreement among men regarding the acquisition of the necessaries of life, and makes this earthly peace bear upon the peace of heaven; for this alone can be truly called and esteemed the peace of the reasonable creatures, consisting as it does in the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God and of one another in God. When we shall have reached that peace, this mortal life shall give place to one that is eternal, and our body shall be no more this animal body which by its corruption weighs down the soul, but a spiritual body feeling no want, and in all its members subjected to the will. In its pilgrim state the heavenly city possesses this peace by faith; and by this faith it lives righteously when it refers to the attainment of that peace every good action towards God and man; for the life of the city is a social life.

    Augustine, Saint; Schaff, Philip; Dods, Marcus (2008-02-13). The City of God, complete in one file (Samizdat Edition with Active Tables of Contents), improved 4/2/2011 (Kindle Locations 18517-18528). B&R Samizdat Express. Kindle Edition.

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  79. Don,

    Thanks for the quote. I haven’t read much Augustine yet, but I have COG on the bookshelf.

    But seriously, whack down 2K with scripture (1 Corinthians 7.31 does not negate the position of 2K), not with WCF (although I don’t think the WCF disagrees with 2K. If it did, the Covenant of Grace would not be the place) and some quotes from Augustine.

    You haven’t proven to have the higher ground on this topic, and I think it would be good for you to at least read DVD and try and understand him on his terms.

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  80. Don, as long as we’re being lazy and letting others say it all:

    Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

    And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

    They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

    To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

    Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

    From A Letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

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  81. Don, well, you may want to redeem society because you believe Christ is Lord of all things and that the gospel has public consequences as Ken argues in the preface to his new book. Either way, we have a church, a people who confess Christ and are governed by spiritual rulers, and we have the rest of humanity who live under the rule of “secular” rulers (your definition of secular does not carry the meaning of a period or era, as in “of this age”). So if Christians are not citizens of the church and the society where they have their homes, then either Christians are in their own territory, like the Amish (sort of), or they are citizens of two societies. If two societies, and if you want Christ’s lordship reflected in “all things,” then you try to establish that Lordship somehow.

    Am I missing an option?

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  82. Darryl,

    I lean more towards Schmemann, who I believe captures the warp and woof of Scripture in a far more satisfying way. I think it is safer for the church to do so as well.

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  83. Don, thanks for the clarification. I’m not sure that Reformed Protestants need to look to an Eastern Orthodox theologian to capture the meaning of Scripture. That’s not to say that Schememann is not worth reading. But I’m not sure how Presbyterians would follow him.

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  84. Darryl,

    Maybe its time to move beyond the Reformation. Things have changed, you know. As to the PCA, I’m not an elder in the PCA, so I’m not gonna sweat it.

    As to DVD, I was a bit harsh and wanted it to be known it was not personally directed at DVD – just his theology. Yeah, I’ll take a closer look at dual (I cringe to even use the word) citizenship.

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  85. Rzim, and anyone else who may be listening,

    I am happy to see that you also rely on the writing of our early church fathers to formulate your thinking as the church has always done throughout the centuries. I must admit that reading Augustine’s “City of God” was challenging, but tremendously helpful in shaping my thinking along Scriptural lines rather than the zeitgeist of today’s secular culture.

    Having said that, it appears that you, or perhaps someone who provided you with that quote from Augustine, seem to think that Augustine’s thought differs from the thoughts expressed in the passages I quoted. I’d like to examine the quote you lifted in some detail to show you why I think he is totally consistent with the thought clearly expressed in my quoted passages. Please let me know where you might disagree.

    Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

    In this paragraph, it seems clear that Augustine is simply saying that we, as Christians, are not to be driven by a desire to exhibit external differences from those in our culture who surround us, like the Amish and other religious sects do.

    And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

    In this paragraph, Augustine now begins to explain how we live outwardly in this common world just as non-heavenly citizens of this world in that we vote, we go to school, we maintain our yards, we go to work, we marry and have children, etc.. But yet, there is something that stands out among us as extraordinary such that it seems as though we are just “passing through” and that we are driven internally to live differently – as aliens. In the next 3 paragraphs, Augustine analyzes the key differences between citizens who are first and foremost citizens of heaven, and those who are only citizens of this world, i.e., non-heavenly citizens.

    They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

    To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

    Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

    It seems crystal clear to me that Augustine is not saying, like DVD, that GOD HAS DIFFERENT PURPOSES for this temporal world from the eschatological kingdom, and that we can therefore live as dual citizens, i.e., as though we pursue the same ends in the temporal world as non-heavenly citizens do. If that were the case, why on earth would we be “persecuted,” “not understood,” “put to death.”

    A thousand times, NO. If we as heavenly citizens do not recognize the desire of this temporal world’s citizens to eliminate God from our daily lives, our culture will most assuredly be turned over to a false religion, just as it has already been in Europe. Rather, Augustine is saying that WE as heavenly citizens are to HAVE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE for living than the non-heavenly citizens of this world. Christ our King, who is risen from the dead, makes that purpose exceedingly clear in His first sermon ever, to those who will listen.

    13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    Matt 5:13-16 (ASV)

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  86. Don, don’t you think it would be good for you to read DVD before objecting to him so much? Also, is not the state of marriage and non-marriage different? Are you ever going to acknowledge that the new creation may actually be different from this world order? It sure seems to me with procreation removed from the human project, the new world order is going to have a different purpose.

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  87. Don,

    Whoever you are arguing against with the Augustine quotes, I don’t think it’s 2K as espoused by DVD. Again, I don’t think you have allowed yourself to actually understand DVD on his own terms. For instance, you say, “rather, Augustine is saying that WE as heavenly citizens are to HAVE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE for living than the non-heavenly citizens of this world. Christ our King, who is risen from the dead, makes that purpose exceedingly clear in His first sermon ever, to those who will listen.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think DVD or other 2Kers would disagree with you on this. The lives of saints in this world are to be shaped by their heavenly citizenship. They aren’t to be of this world but are simply called to live side by side in this world with non-believers. They live with a different purpose than non-heavenly citizens. There is not debate there at all.

    I also don’t think you can explain the following quote away while ignoring Augustine’s use of the word “citizenship” on the behalf of the believers that are passing through this world: “And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.”
    So, where’s the disagreement?

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  88. Don, the quote I provided isn’t Augustine. It is from chapter 5 of what is commonly referred to as “A Letter to Diognetus,” or even more specifically “The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus.” It dates to the late 2nd century. Van Drunen enlists it in NL2K to make the case for two kingdom theology and dual citizenship. That confusion aside, though, your concern seems to be that the notion of dual citizenship erodes the antithesis. But I don’t see how that really happens. What see dual citizenship doing is making sense out the actual lives we lead six days out of seven. It’s actually that seventh day, with its peculiar activites, that highlights the antithesis.

    But you also express great concern for the religious state of culture. This seems odd to me coming from someone so strident in wanting to put so much emphasis on our otherworldly citizenship. But 2k is also about emphasizing our eternal citizenship but also without worrying overly about how irreligious the land of our pilgrimage is. It worries more about the kingdom of God in the earth becoming secularized or compromised. And one way that happens is to try and create antithesis in our six days instead of letting the seventh day do all the heavy lifting it was designed to do. Have you ever heard of working smarter instead of harder?

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  89. “If we as heavenly citizens do not recognize the desire of this temporal world’s citizens to eliminate God from our daily lives, our culture will most assuredly be turned over to a false religion, just as it has already been in Europe”

    I’m curious as to what you mean by this quote, because it seems like you are saying it is the job of the saints (heavenly citizens) to keep culture (America?) from false religion. Is this why it is dangerous for the saints to live as dual citizens? Doesn’t the common culture naturally subscribe to false religion (ie Cain, Lamech, Pharaoh) on its own?

    The saints aren’t transforming culture or keeping it from going down the toilet; God, through common grace, is upholding the world in his providence until the full number of the saints have been saved. For now, the saints know that common culture will persecute them and seek to take for themselves the name of the Lord. Life as a dual citizen, suffering in the tension of the already and not yet, isn’t easy, but isn’t that the gist of the Sermon on the Mount?

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  90. Don,

    You really should read DVD, in his ‘Living in Two Kingdoms’ he distinguishes between a subjective ambition of living unto the glory of God, which the redeemed pursue as their ambition. While in the objective, the actual execution of, or simply participation of a human endeavor, we seek the same performance/efficiency(my words not his) as the unregenerate. (i.e. in plumbing, their is no objective economical difference between two equally skilled plumbers fitting a 1/4 threaded pipe to a 1/4 fitting). The expectation of the work and legal compulsion(conscience)-honest work at a fair price is the EXACT same for both the regenerate and unregenerate. The christian ‘difference’ is a subjective one of self-consciously, though not perfectly, doing so unto the glory of God. Though even the unregenerate can and does, unwittingly or even in pursuit of self-worship, execute the same task to the same level of proficiency and gives glory to God in the objective(the act of plumbing well) even while he hates God. This distinction between the objective and subjective, if you’d give it a hearing, would go a long way to resolving the tension for you.

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  91. All,

    I have said I will read DVD, but, in the meantime, I will continue to call your attention to my concern with what I know of his theology already, in light of what I regard as a much higher and more Scriptural view of creation than Darryl’s simple conclusion based on non-marriage in heaven. I say simple, because Scripture is clear that marriage is a shadow of true marriage between Christ and the Church, just as this present creation is a shadow of the fulfillment of new creation.

    My concern with the direction that Adam and Zrim want to take is that I am convinced that most Christians, especially those who are not as “spiritually” aware as you are, will, as they “live side by side in this world with non-believers” be quite easily persuaded by the Babylonian religion (i.e., all religions are of equal value) of secular culture, because, as Augustine points out, we occupy “animal bodies which by its corruption weighs down the soul.” (If you have not read James Smith’s “Desiring the Kingdom” on this topic, I commend it to you.) The point he makes is that we are more persuaded by liturgies, not necessarily linked to religion, which shape our identity. Living side by side with non-believers (except purely on external-citizen matters) cannot help but to shape the identities of believers and non-believers alike if the Church is not seen as the ultimate way of life, intellectually as well as in daily liturgy (not simply Sunday).

    This is the reason I say it is entirely false to say along with DVD that God rules in two distinct ways. He rules in one way, through the Church, and that is why He says that He hates the form of this world with its Babylonian religion. Unless you believe this, I do not see how you can be faithful to Christ’s command to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THAT I COMMANDED you.

    I hear what you are saying, Sean, but, as I say above, you are under-estimating the power of our culture to influence believers in a subjective way. We are not primarily moved by intellectual arguments, as Smith points out, but by the liturgical habits we exercise day to day.

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  92. Don, so you fear the effects of 2k on believers, that they’ll go soft on the world’s religions. But what of your going soft on the Reformation? Have you considered how the theological distinctions that were important to the Reformers are of less import to you with your expansive view of one-kingdom?

    Also, if you are right that the Great Commission implies one kingdom (which I don’t think you are), then why do Paul and Peter tell Christians to submit to pagan rulers whom God has ordained? I really would be curious how you harmonize Romans 13 and 1 Pet. 3 with your view of one world government.

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  93. Don, I understand your concerns, but I have to tell you that I also find them disturbingly medieval and fundamentalist. I don’t use the f-word as a scare tactic, but I really don’t see how your view doesn’t end up helping to create and sustain the Christian ghetto. And I don’t see how you make one whit of sense out the actual lives we all live. Unless you’re in a monastery yourself, my bet is that you do indeed live side by side with unbelievers. You owe that to the Protestant Reformation you seem to want to get over. But maybe that’s why you want to circumvent it—you’re more inclined to a medieval theology, piety and practice where the church is all.

    But to the extent that it is Protestant all the way down, 2k actually believes that this is God’s world, even as the church is the only way out of it. It really believes that creation is very good and that Jesus is Lord over every square inch of it and its inhabitants, which is why there is no reason to fear either one. All through your comments I detect a steady undercurrent of fear of what God has ordained. Interestingly, you suggest that a world-affirming piety is fine for those of us who are “spiritually aware,” but for those who are not-so-spiritual it is a formula for impiety. But Protestantism does not make a distinction between spiritual elites and the second class (more of your medieval slip is showing). It only makes a distinction between the spiritually dead and the spiritually alive. And it demands that the spiritually alive mature in the knowledge of Christ, part of which means not to call anything unclean God has called clean. And so this is the great irony I see between paleo-Calvinist 2kers and their neo-Calvinist detractors: the former actually speak and live as if God is sovereign over every square inch, the latter, for all their pious “all of life” chatter, speak and behave as if he really isn’t.

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  94. You guys are seriously mis-hearing me, and I don’t think it is because of how or what I’m saying, but the way you are hearing it. I think that this same tendency to mis-hear what I am convinced is fully consistent with Scripture, is the reason why you all seem to think that a 2k approach is necessary to begin with.

    I have not gone soft on the Reformation, and I do not want to go back to the one world government of the evil Roman church. What I said to you earlier is that it is time to move beyond the Reformation, not forgetting what the Reformation heroes of the faith have done by the grace of God, but recognizing that the problem that the Reformers faced is far and away different than the problem we face today — in a world where Islam is fast becoming the majority religion followed only by the weak-kneed church of the west which is gladly accommodating the secular religion that believes that death can be defeated by more and better medicine, psychiatry, education, and the godless optimism of a human race unified under democracy.

    And I am not advocating pietistic living as Zrim is accusing me of. Again, you are not hearing me with a Scriptural mind set when I say that Christianity is not a religion but a way of life. I am not talking about living a moralistic life – I’m talking about living the spirit-filled life that all of Scripture and all the faithful Church fathers exhort us to live.

    What I have been advocating is just the opposite of what 2k says. God has not prescribed 2 ways or kinds of rule under which we are to live our lives every day. He has prescribed one way only, and that way begins every Sunday as the Church, ascending into heaven, puts aside all earthly cares. The very life of the Church is a proclamation of the Lord’s death, and confession of His resurrection. Faith itself is the acceptance not of various doctrines, however true, but of Christ Himself as the Life and the Light of life. The starting point of Christian faith is not belief, but love.

    The purpose and rule of the Church is to reorient us, body and soul, to this truth, so that we live, body and soul all week long as those who have died and been reborn; not to provide a respite from the secular world so we can simply keep going until we get to some other-worldly dimension of existence; not to get spiritual help in living this life more piously.

    When we enter “secular” life on Monday, we don’t do so under the false notion that God “rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world.” THERE IS NO LIFE LEFT IN THIS WORLD BUT CHRIST WHO IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. In this world, suffering and disease are indeed “normal,” but their very “normalcy” is abnormal. They reveal the ultimate defeat of man, which medicine, democracy, education, etc., no matter how wonderful, can ultimately overcome.

    Because we have the death and life of Christ in us, we enter the “secular” world by faith working in love (Gal 5:6), crucified to the world yet alive in Christ. Thus, our purpose is not to “preserve the ongoing life of this world” as DVD would have you believe, but to preserve the love of God in this dead world as Scripture would have us believe. This is what makes us extraordinary, as Zrim’s quote says, and helps us be the best plumber, nurse, doctor, etc. that we can be.

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  95. Don, if we don’t rejoin our neighbors every Monday-Saturday with the understanding that “God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world,” then with what understanding do we do so? Your answer is by faith working in love, crucified to the world yet alive in Christ. Sorry, but while it sounds pious, I’m just not really sure what that really means.

    It sounds to me like you have an allergy against any suggestion of believers simply participating and preserving the common life to which all people are called. And from my experience, those who speak the way you do, namely with a visceral rejection of the sort of doctrines of creation and preservation such as DVD puts forth, tend virtually always to have notions of redeeming creation. Instead of having modest notions of preservation and participation they have earnest aspirations of redeeming and transforming. Maybe that’s what you mean by characterizing our secular lives as “by faith working in love, crucified to the world yet alive in Christ.”

    I remain puzzled as to how you could get from the “A Letter to Diognetus” any idea that Christianity is a way to become excellent plumbers and artisans. Its point is about a people having dual citizenship, being at once residents and aliens—the straddling of this age and the age to come is what is extraordinary. But you do tip your hand when you proclaim that Christianity isn’t a religion but a way of life. While a way of life is certainly resident within it, it is assuredly mistaken to characterize it as a way of life. This is the way the Kantians, liberals, and evangelicals might distill Christianity, but it isn’t how Protestants do. Christianity is about reconciling God to sinners.

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  96. I don’t know, Zrim, faith working through love seemed to work pretty well for Paul as an understanding for joining his neighbors in the tent making business. It may sound pious, but it is what we are commanded to do. It also seems to be the way Christ decided how to divide the sheep from the goats.

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  97. Don, heavens to Murgatroyd. When Paul spoke of faith working through love in Galatians it was in the context of justification, as in our relationship to God. It had nothing to do with common vocation. Why do I get the feeling you think “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” means we can make better mousetraps?

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  98. Zrim,

    You are hearing what you want to hear again. You want to hear me say that so you can discard me into one of your labeled trash pots. I never said Christians make better mouse traps. Some might, some might not, but it has nothing to do with whether they are Christians or not. What counts, according to Paul, is that they do it out of love for their neighbor whose food is being consumed by rodents who are yet “subjected to futility” (Rom 8:20) and not yet “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:21) .

    From all that I have read and witnessed of 2k thinking and behavior, I become more and more convinced that it is a sub-Christian approach to deal with the world on the world’s terms and “live.” The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, commands us to deal with the world on Christ the Lord’s terms and die, that we may live with Him, right now and eternally.

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  99. Don, please read the Bible and not your own reading of Schmemann into the Bible. Just this morning in one of my pious moments (rare though they may be), I was reading Paul on the resurrection and the differences between natural and spiritual bodies, the former being buried, the latter rising from the grave.

    The difference between this world and the next is not simply indicated by the Bible’s teaching on marriage. It is all over Paul’s teaching, which took seriously the difference that the resurrection makes. BTW, we’re not there yet. Which means we need to live with 2 kingdoms.

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  100. Don, the point isn’t to dismiss you into a labeled trash pot. It’s to make sense out of what you’re trying to say. It sounds like you want a theory to make sense out of the common lives we lead. But when you’re given one from the likes of DVD that corresponds to law you are repulsed and instead reach for a theory that corresponds to gospel. So where you are repulsed I am confused, because when I make mousetraps it has more to do with catching mice than being a fisher of men.

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  101. Darryl,

    You’ve missed your target again. Please don’t tell me that you read the Bible from a pure Darryl Hart and the Holy Spirit alone perspective. I did not know you were charismatic🙂

    You know, as well as I do, that what I have been saying has been taking on an ecumenical, sola scriptura momentum that the hard core confessionalists want to ignore by sticking their heads into a by-gone Reforamtional era hole in the ground.

    But since you mention Schmemann, I think this quote from him responds nicely to your discontinuity-way of thinking:

    And it is only when the Church in the Eucharist leaves this world and ascends to Christ’s table at His Kingdom that she truly sees and proclaims heaven and earth to be full of His glory and God as having “filled all things with Himself.” Yet, once more this “discontinuity,” this vision of all things as new, is possible only because at first there is continuity and not negation, because the Holy Spirit makes “all things new” and not “new things.” It is because all Christian worship is always remembrance of Christ “in the flesh,” that it can also be remembrance, i.e., expectation and anticipation, of His Kingdom. It is only because the Chursh’s leitourgia is always cosmic, i.e., assumes into Christ all creation, and is always historical, i.e., assumes into Christ all time, that it can therefore also be eschatological, i.e., make us true participants of the Kingdom to come.

    Such then is the idea of man’s relation to the world implied in the very notion of worship. Worship is by definition and act a reality with cosmic, historical, and eschatological dimensions, the expression thus not merely of “piety,” but of an all-embracing “world view.” And those few who have taken upon themselves the pain of studying worship in general, and Christian worship in particular, would certainly agree that on the levels of history and phenomenology at least, this notion of worship is objectively verifiable. Therefore, if today what people call worship are activities, projects, and undertakings having in reality nothing to do with this notion of worship, the responsibility for this lies with the deep semantic confusion typical of our confused time.

    I don’t expect you to appreciate this quote Darryl, but I’m hoping some of your more attuned readers might.

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  102. Assuming the higher ground in a conversation doesn’t automatically place one there, Don. Read the primary sources and get a better understanding of what you’re arguing against.

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  103. Got it, Don. I go to Paul on the resurrection, you go to Schmemann on worship. No offense to Schmemann, but I think even he’d agree we have to go with Paul.

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  104. Here is something to object to:

    “But Scripture does not set forth a political policy agenda or embrace a particular political party, and so the church ought to be silent here where it has no authorization from Christ to speak.”

    Thus, if one political party endorses the murder of Jews as its political policy agenda, the Church ought to be silent? Or, for a more current example, if one political party endorses sodomy, the Church, despite Romans 1, has no authorization from Christ to speak?

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  105. “In the covenant with Noah after the flood, God promised to preserve the natural order and human society (not to redeem them!), and this included all human beings and all living creatures.”

    It puzzles me that Van Drunen would rely on the Noachic covenant. Recall its most memorable feature:

    Gn 9: 1, 3-4: ” And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”

    and the reaffirmation of this in the New Testament:

    Ac 15:19-20: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.”

    Does R2K therefore say that Christians should not advocate in the public sphere for laws regarding abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. but should strenuously pursue bans on blood sausage?

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  106. Eric – if one political party endorses sodomy, the Church, despite Romans 1, has no authorization from Christ to speak?

    Erik – In a two party system. what if the other major party also endorses things that are offensive to Christians?

    Eric – Does R2K therefore say that Christians should not advocate in the public sphere for laws regarding abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. but should strenuously pursue bans on blood sausage?

    Erik – In the Acts passage who does “them” refer to?

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  107. Eric, Christians may, churches are another matter:

    WCF 31.5: “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

    This is where TVD and other political Protestants charge cowardice, etc.

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