Long Before David Barton, We Had American Presbyterians (to conflate the kingdoms)

From J. C. D. Clark, The Language of Liberty 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World (1994)

Once the Revolution had been firmly identified as the first crusade of the American civil religion, it became necessary to canonise the zealots who had brought it about. The Founding Fathers, where possible, were turned form political opportunists, propagandists or self-seekers of tepid or heterodox religious belief into the Luthers and Calvins, the Melanchthons and Zwinglis of the Novus ordo seclorum. With some exceptions, like the now-notorious Tom Paine, each became the subject of a secular epiphany. Especially was this true of the unlikely figure of George Washington, a stolid man of limited imagination and still more limited religious faith, but now repeatedly hailed (without irony) as the Moses or the Joshua of a redeemed people. On his election to the Presidency in 1789, the Presbyterian General Assembly presented him with a congratulatory address, professing to draw particular comfort from Washington’s personal piety:

Public virtue is the most certain means of public felicity, and religion is the surest basis of virtue. We therefore esteem it a peculiar happiness to behold in our chief Magistrate, a steady, uniform, avowed friend of the christian religion, who has commended his administration in rational and exalted sentiments of Piety, and who in his private conduct adorns the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ, and on the most public and solumn occasions devoutly acknowledges the government of divine Providence.

Washington’s reply was all they could expect. He championed religious toleration, acknowledged their prayers, and coupled an ecumenical Deity with a lively regard for the value of religion as a social cement:

While I reiterate the possession of my dependence upon Heaven as the source of all public and private blessings; I will observe that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry and oeconomy seems in the ordinary course of human affairs are particularly necessary for advancing and confirming the happiness of our country.

By the first centennial, the image of the Revolution as a holy war had expanded within the folk memories of the American sects to the point where the division and ambiguities within those denominations were forgotten. Presbyterians pictured the war as a Presbyterian crusade which sanctified martial heroism, turned the heterodox rhetoric of the Founding Fathers into the idiom of revivalist preaching, traced in the ‘apparent chaos’ of armed rebellions ‘the will of God. . . working toward order and organisation in a constitution depicted in terms reminiscent of the millennium. (389-90)

Peter Lillback got it honestly.

Clark goes on to observe an irony that continues to afflict “conservative” Protestants who do not oppose civil religion as they should, nor are as wary of the broad churchism that almost always traffics with baptisms of civil authority:

. . . this homogenisation of the position of colonial denominations acted to secularise the historical interpretation of the Revolution and to drain the role of the sects of its immense signficance: if most men, regardless of denomination, eventually seemed to have endorsed the Revolution, then the Revolution’s values and causes must by definition have been irrelevant to religious differences.

In other words, confusing the kingdoms brings into the kingdom (the earthly city sacralized) people who are not kingdom people while it empties the church (the foretaste of the heavenly city) of those attributes that make the church unique (and that divide the churches into different communions). It is, in the words of Vernon Dozier, a “big bowl of wrong.”

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121 thoughts on “Long Before David Barton, We Had American Presbyterians (to conflate the kingdoms)

  1. wjw,

    Maybe that was the topic of Lillback’s address when he served as a key speaker at a Vision Forum event a few years ago.

    Like

  2. Every word of this is right, but also wrong. I scarcely know where to start.

    And I don’t mean you, Darryl, as much as the very interesting JCD Clark, whom I have just run across in another secular-left scholarly academic [but I repeat myself] forum, of course as someone who is too unsecular, and therefore unreliable.

    Heh. To business:

    By the first centennial, the image of the Revolution as a holy war had expanded within the folk memories of the American sects to the point where the division and ambiguities within those denominations were forgotten. Presbyterians pictured the war as a Presbyterian crusade which sanctified martial heroism

    But that wasn’t revisionism. It was the truth. Mark David Hall has written of the Calvinist dimension, John Fea is now working on a book, and my own studies led me to the same conclusion. In fact, my studies of natural rights/political rights led me to the American Revolution, which I found incomprehensible without understanding Calvinism, or Reformed resistance theory, as my new pal EC prefers.

    And so I was obliged to learn of Beza, Peter Martyr [Vermigli], the Vindiciae contra tyrannos, John Ponet*, John Knox, and the theological dry run for the American Revolution itself, the “Puritan Revolution,” which led to Oliver Cromwell, which led finally to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when everybody finally mellowed out.

    I digress, but not really–here I am, hanging out with you Calvinists**. America was founded as a Protestant nation far more than a “Christian” one, and far more Calvin’s than Luther’s. [Far more Aquinas’s than Luther’s as well, but that’s another story…]

    http://www.davekopel.com/religion/calvinism.htm

    _______
    *John Ponet [Ponyet, d. 1556] work contained “all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke”—John Adams

    **Although not Calvinists entirely happy with their own history

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  3. TVD,

    Do you really think your average run-of-the-mill unemployed colonial who needed a paycheck read that bibliography before they started shooting? Is it just possible they wanted to eat and the army had corn and pork bellies?

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  4. Oh, you’re one of those, eh, WJW?

    “To see the men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie upon, without shoes…without a house or hut to cover them until those could be built, and submitting without a murmur, is a proof of patience and obedience which, in my opinion, can scarcely be paralleled.”

    George Washington at Valley Forge, April 21, 1778

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  5. Tom,

    In fact, my studies of natural rights/political rights led me to the American Revolution, which I found incomprehensible without understanding Calvinism, or Reformed resistance theory

    Certainly this was the case, but, I think you are also leaving out something very important – Reformed Resistance Theory (RRT) was taken up by many natural rights defenders because of it practical usefulness, and for its philosophical defensibility, because RRT is imbedded in a larger context of Natural Law, and Natural Theology that was utilized later by both those within the Reformed faith and those outside it. However, most by the time surrounding and subsequent to the American Revolution had dispensed with the broader Reformed orthodoxy that had nurtured RRT. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t a sizable contingent of Reformed who fought in or supported the Revolution, motivated consciously by RRT thinking, but they did not constitute a majority amongst Revolutionaries.

    Without understanding that the age of Reformed Orthodoxy had faded a century before – leaving indelible marks on the society that followed to be sure – I think that canonizing the Revolution as a quintessentially Reformed Christian enterprise is inevitable. As much as RRT was vital to the Revolution, so were the ambitions and political jockeying of men who saw a better opportunity for themselves in an independent America. And then there was always the Indian problem, and the slave one, that proved that the notions of natural rights were only so useful…

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  6. I think we have to ask the question, if the Revolution was primarily a religious event, why were the Revolutionary leaders (Founding Fathers) such a heterodox group when it comes to religion? Why was John Witherspoon the only clergyman to sign the Declaration?

    And then there’s the question of whether of not the Revolution was even justified in light of Romans 13.

    And why so little recognition of Christ in the Constitution?

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  7. TVD,

    Just a question. We have ideas, and then we have people, and then we have all kinds of reasons people have ideas, and all kinds of reasons ideas influence people. We also have material needs. Most folks both historically and today don’t have the leisure to navel gaze about the various and sundry Platonic brain belches that “motivate” them. As you know old GW fretted a great deal that his soldiers were going to up and go home if he could not feed and clothe them. Some did.

    No doubt there was Protestant style to the American founding, and no doubt ideas like “covenant” and “providence” have a long echo. That echo, however, has many interpreters including some who see the Purtians not as proto-Patriots, but as proto-Jacobins and even proto-Marxists. Heck even a once communist sociologist like Robert Bellah got excited about civil religion.

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  8. Eric,

    “. . .if the Revolution was primarily a religious event, why were the Revolutionary leaders (Founding Fathers) such a heterodox group when it comes to religion? ”

    Because you don’t need religious orthodoxy to found a nation. You need Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Machiavelli, Locke, Addison and Steele, Montesquieu, and 1688. Shake well, pour liberally. Orthodoxy asks different questions and provides different answers. Machen and his version of Presbyterianism got this. Lillback and his ilk don’t.

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  9. TVD, you’re missing the point. Presbyterian theology should never have countenanced the revolution as divine or sacred — whatever resistance theory might suggest. Also, you should look at Quentin Skinner on modern political thought. Calvinists didn’t own resistance theory. And it secularized over time. This is evidence of Christianizing patriotism, always a bad think unless you live in OT Israel.

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  10. ‘You need Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, Machiavelli, Locke, Addison and Steele, Montesquieu, and 1688.

    Don’t forget Livy and Plutarch. Cincinnatus provided a key role model for George Washington, and Neil Armstrong for our day and age.

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  11. As a non-American I find zero holiness in the American Revolution or form of government. The rest of the world rolls on the floor laughing at the very thought of it.

    The English Civil War would have provided a good role model and teaching guide on a Revolution.

    It is to the high credit of the Founding Fathers that it didn’t turn into a terror of a bloodbath as their contemporaries allowed in France.

    And the US form of government has been the best that the world has seen, especially with the power it wields, and hopefully continues till He returns.

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  12. It’s important to remember that George Washington was rich. Perhaps this means he qualified as a “lesser magistrate”. At the very least, we know that George did not have “a third-world mentality”. George W wasn’t simply wanting to destroy the good capitalist thing King George had going

    Of course the rich should pay less taxes, and also run things, because they have more at stake, not only their prosperity but ours also! And with some exceptions, people are rich because they are good

    comrade Trueman: What is it that D’Souza offers that is so distinctive? Could it be his commitment
    to Republican economic and social policies? Is that the essence of the really important world view at the King’s College, compared to which disagreements over the Pope and justification are mere sideshows? If so, we can see this appointment as a certain strand of evangelicalism definitively coming clean. It is not the theological issues listed above that are considered critical; it is rather the political and social vision of thinkers such as Marvin Olasky. Thus the skewed priorities of `the Christian worldview.’

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2010/08/one-thing-needful.php

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  13. Kent – It is to the high credit of the Founding Fathers that it didn’t turn into a terror of a bloodbath as their contemporaries allowed in France.

    It’s because the American experiment is primarily about making a buck, not ideology. Being dogmatic about religious orthodoxy (as opposed to allowing freedom of religion) gets in the way of commerce.

    Floyd Gondoli is the epitome of an American capitalist. Jack Horner is the epitome of a traditionalist standing in his way. This is R-Rated, so watch at your own discretion:

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  14. DGH: TVD, you’re missing the point. Presbyterian theology should never have countenanced the revolution as divine or sacred — whatever resistance theory might suggest.

    Of course I get the point, Darryl. I’m directly challenging the prevailing 2K myth that tries to delegitimize the American Revolution–it’s built on a faulty understanding of history, if not of John Calvin himself!

    The colonists–via their duly constituted magistrates, the Continental Congress–solved the theological problem easily–they rejected the authority of Parliament*. Then all they had to do was secede from the King–or rather claim he had “abdicated,” just as Britain itself claimed Charles II “abdicated” in 1688 [replacing him with William and Mary].

    From the Declaration [which Franklin noted was merely a recapitulation of facts already on the ground]:

    * “Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.”

    ** “He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.”

    [BF mine.]

    My blogbrother Mark at my home blog picks up the story:

    Eventually the solution was independence, but that solution was a long-time coming to most of the Founders. Even Washington said that he didn’t support independence until he read Common Sense. John Adams, John Dickinson, James Wilson, even Benjamin Franklin were all hesitant to argue for a breach with England until it was clear that a negotiated settlement was impossible and the King withdrew his protection from the colonies. While the act of declaring independence was easy, it is very clear that Congress took such a step only after their attempts (Olive Branch Petition, etc.) had failed to get the King to reassert his protection over the colonies.

    TVD: They respected their sacred obligation to the Crown, which had granted each colony its charter before the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9 brought about the supremacy of Parliament.

    But the colonies never signed up to be governed by Parliament–Plymouth Rock of the 1620s was a charter from the Crown, the 1770s brought rule by a parliament, why the taxation without representation was such an effective argument.

    “We hold our lands in America by virtue of charters from British monarchs, and are under no obligations to the Lords or Commons for them. Our title is similar, and equal, to that by which they possess their lands; and the king is the legal fountain of both. This is one grand source of our obligation to allegiance.”

    —Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

    And there you have it. By warring on the colonies , “removing them from his protection,” King George abdicated his legitimate rule over the colonists. Would John Calvin himself have declared their arguments and actions illegitimate? It’s far from certain. Those who say yes have only the leg of conjecture to stand on, and may be more Calvinistic than Calvin himself!

    _____

    Erik Charter asks: “And why so little recognition of Christ in the Constitution?”

    Because religion was left to the states! Contrary to our modern understanding of the First Amendment and “establishment” of religion, Massachusetts kept Congregationalism as its officially established church until 1833. [And would have kept it longer if the unitarians hadn’t taken over the churches.]

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  15. TVD, if the founders solved that problem so easily, why did they shut the door on another form of resistance – South Carolina in 1861? Maybe it’s not so easy but easier to pick and choose our rebellions. How dare they use Reformed theology to justify their arbitrariness.

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  16. D.G. – Staying with England would cost the moneyed classes in the colonies. Allowing the South to secede would cost the moneyed classes in the U.S. Mystery solved.

    Fort Sumpter was owned by the Feds, not by the Confederate States of America. You don’t take the Feds’ stuff and get away with it.

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  17. Tom – Because religion was left to the states! Contrary to our modern understanding of the First Amendment and “establishment” of religion, Massachusetts kept Congregationalism as its officially established church until 1833. [And would have kept it longer if the unitarians hadn’t taken over the churches.]

    How does this prevent explicit mention of Christ or the Christian religion? Are you suggesting the Founders thought it was o.k. to be an atheist, a pagan, a muslim, a Buddhist, or a hindu?

    If you do you are departing from what David Barton, Darrell Todd Maurina, and most of your Christian America allies believe.

    Look at the preamble to the 20th century Irish Constitution.

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  18. I used to make the Christian America arguments because I thought I had to to avoid giving “the liberals” a victory. I was always uncomfortable doing it, because I felt like the evidence was mixed. Once I embraced 2K I realized I didn’t have to keep making these shaky arguments anymore. Now I can just look at the evidence, pro and con, in a dispassionate, reasonable way.

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  19. TVD, if the founders solved that problem so easily, why did they shut the door on another form of resistance – South Carolina in 1861? Maybe it’s not so easy but easier to pick and choose our rebellions. How dare they use Reformed theology to justify their arbitrariness.

    Darryl, before we go to 1861, are stipulating the rest of this per the actual Founding

    https://oldlife.org/2013/05/long-before-david-barton-we-had-american-presbyterians-to-conflate-the-kingdoms/comment-page-1/#comment-83227

    because I’m a bit tired of Romans 13 being used to delegitimize the American Revolution. I’d hoped that y’d agree that setting the historical record straight shows that the contemporary Romans 13 objection is a political one, not a theological one. One can disagree that the conditions for the “interposition of magistrates” per Calvin had been met, but that’s merely political opinion. The theology itself is not at issue here.

    http://www.davekopel.com/religion/calvinism.htm

    In Calvin’s view, which was based on Romans 13, the governmental duties of “inferior magistrates” (government officials, such as mayor or governors, in an intermediate level between the king and the people) required them to protect the people against oppression from above. Calvinism readily adopted the Lutheran theory of resistance by such magistrates.

    In a commentary on the Book of Daniel, Calvin observed that contemporary monarchs pretend to reign “by the grace of God,” but the pretense was “a mere cheat” so that they could “reign without control.” He believed that “Earthly princes depose themselves while they rise up against God,” so “it behooves us to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    The “Institutes of the Christian Religion” was Calvin’s masterpiece. It was first published in 1536, and revised editions appeared until 1560. In this work, he argued that legitimate governments ruled with the consent of the governed and in covenant with God and the people. Therefore a soldier’s service on behalf of a just government “doth not offend God in going to the wars, but is a holy vocation, which cannot be reproved without blaspheming of God.”

    When ordinary citizens are confronted with tyranny, he wrote, ordinary citizens have to suffer it. But magistrates have the duty to “curb the tyranny of kings,” as had the Tribunes in ancient Rome, the Ephori in Sparta, and the Demarchs in ancient Athens.

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  20. BTW, A fine discussion on this topic is ongoing at my home blog, which i’ve been culling from.

    We do original research into the source documents there, not just aiming Scholar A at Historian B and playing the duelling “argument from authority” game.

    Bill Fortenberry adds founder James Wilson [signer of the Declaration, framer of the Constitution, supreme Court justice] 1775 at the issue, adding an extra wrinkle to the argument:

    That this supreme power is, by the constitution of Great Britain, vested in the king, lords, and commons: “That, therefore, the acts of the king, lords, and commons, or, in other words, acts of parliament, have, by the British constitution, a binding force on the American colonies, they composing a part of the British empire.”

    Since the king’s rule in a constitutional monarchy requires the assent of Parliament, and the UK Parliament is not a duly constituted magistrate* in the American colonies–and the king doesn’t receive or even seek the assent of America’s duly constituted magistrates—the King’s edicts can have no legitimacy either!
    _____

    “Magistrate” is a key term in Calvin’s theology of course, and once you’re alerted to it, it’s interesting how often it recurs in the Founding-era literature–for instance, In “Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Parliament”, Wilson cites Montesquieu:

    To give to any thing that passes in parliament the force of a law, the consent of the king, of the lords, and of the commonsh is absolutely necessary.i If, then, the inhabitants of Great Britain possess a sufficient restraint upon any of these branches of the legislature, their liberty is secure, provided they be not wanting to themselves. Let us take a view of the restraints, which they have upon the house of commons.

    They elect the members of that house. “Magistrates,” says Montesquieu, “are properly theirs, who have the nomination of them.” The members of the house of commons, therefore, elected by the people, are the magistrates of the people; and are bound by the ties of gratitude for the honour and confidence conferred upon them, to consult the interest of their constituents.

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  21. What makes us think we can trust what politicians said and wrote to justify themselves 200 or 300 years ago any more than today? I could read what politician X deposits at his favorite academic library when he retires or I can look at what he did in the rough and tumble of campaigns and day-to-day life as a legislator. This is the problem with the David Barton approach. Politicians “say” (and write) things but they also “do” things. Which is more reliable in determining their beliefs and motivations? Which is a more reliable picture of our own lives?

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  22. Surely Jesus could have found reasons to find Caesar’s rule to be illegitimate if he had wanted to. Caesar had authority over Israel due to military conquest. Talk about “consent of the governed” being lacking.

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  23. Erik, unfortunately, responding to you often helps bury my own argument[s] under a mound of negating nonsense. Let it breathe, brother. I also have a further comprehensive comment waiting for moderator {DGH] approval, held up by the anti-spam automation, because it has several links.

    So please, man, I spent hours on this stuff. To reply “Your post sounds like Richard trying to choose his own Caesar” won’t do, even in a barroom.

    My argument is that both the English revolutions and the American one were quite mindful of Romans 13. You may disagree that the facts on the ground didn’t meet the threshold, but you cannot argue definitively that John Calvin [Beza, etc.] would have agreed with you.

    And that’s my point–not that you or Darryl or anyone who might argue Romans 13 against the American revolution is wrong, only that the American colonists’ arguments were not theologically invalid. They were completely valid, and fully mindful of their obligation to righteousness under both scripture and reason per natural law.

    I look forward to DGH freeing the aforementioned pending comment from technological limbo, where I further make this case–the interposition of magistrates and the nature of sovereignty–Kopel citing Calvin.

    —-
    We are brothers, EC. Just got meself banned by our brothers the Baylys. They pulled some fast ones with the technology, played dumb, I exposed their machinations. If they ever rise above nuisance level in the grand scheme of things, I suppose I’ll let ’em have it. but with a few hundreds in their churches and a few thousands perhaps within their sphere of influence, it’s sufficient just to let ’em know that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    But let’s chat this out later and elsewhere. At the moment I have a very key argument on the table re American history and Romans 13, the result of years of study with Darryl Hart and 2K on my shoulder the entire time–I’d like to see if and how it plays out.

    There’s plenty of time and space to waste elsewhen on the Baylys. ;-P

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  24. Tom,

    You deserve your say and I look forward to reading your other post.

    The Baylys. Anyone reasonable who challenges them will be banned sooner or later.

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  25. ET: Tom, Your post sounds like Richard trying to choose his own Caesar. Not coincidentally, Casear ends up being Richard.

    RS: Some remedial reading and comprehension skills are suggested if you really believe what you wrote. If you don’t really believe what you just wrote, then perhaps some remdial study in the WLC on the 9th Commandment would do.

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  26. TVD,
    Have you read Kidd’s “God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution”? I have it on my to read pile, but I haven’t had a chance to do more than read the dust jacket.

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  27. Richard,

    Since you submit to no man, church, or confession theologically, are you really willing to submit to anyone politically? Richard seems to be Richard’s only authority after reading your posts for a year. It’s pretty much just you and your Bible, isn’t it?

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  28. Tom,

    I know you have been asking about Barmen quite a bit here as well, I have been taking some time to craft a response but it might take a while, my wife is due to deliver on Tuesday, if not sooner and my time is severely limited getting everything ready for baby. Hard as it is to believe, life exists outside the blogosphere.

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  29. Erik Charter: Richard, Since you submit to no man, church, or confession theologically, are you really willing to submit to anyone politically? Richard seems to be Richard’s only authority after reading your posts for a year. It’s pretty much just you and your Bible, isn’t it?

    RS: Like I said, perhaps some remedial help with reading and understanding would be of help. Here, let me give you a quote from an long dead (in the body) man who was not Edwards. Reflect deeply on it as it will assist you in reading and in theology and politics. “Mankind are perpetually at variance, by being all of one sect, viz. selfists.”

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  30. If it’s OK with Darryl and everybody, my promised [threatened!] megapost just got approved by management [Darryl], but way upthread, so it might easily get lost. I thus bump it downward–minus the links that got it held in the moderation queue int the first place! [The John Calvin part of course being the most important for the Old Life blog]:
    ______

    DGH: TVD, if the founders solved that problem so easily, why did they shut the door on another form of resistance – South Carolina in 1861? Maybe it’s not so easy but easier to pick and choose our rebellions. How dare they use Reformed theology to justify their arbitrariness.

    Darryl, before we go to 1861, are stipulating the rest of this per the actual Founding

    [link to my previous comment]

    because I’m a bit tired of Romans 13 being used to delegitimize the American Revolution. I’d hoped that y’d agree that setting the historical record straight shows that the contemporary Romans 13 objection is a political one, not a theological one. One can disagree that the conditions for the “interposition of magistrates” per Calvin had been met, but that’s merely political opinion. The theology itself is not at issue here.

    [Link to Dave Kopel, see above]

    In Calvin’s view, which was based on Romans 13, the governmental duties of “inferior magistrates” (government officials, such as mayor or governors, in an intermediate level between the king and the people) required them to protect the people against oppression from above. Calvinism readily adopted the Lutheran theory of resistance by such magistrates.

    In a commentary on the Book of Daniel, Calvin observed that contemporary monarchs pretend to reign “by the grace of God,” but the pretense was “a mere cheat” so that they could “reign without control.” He believed that “Earthly princes depose themselves while they rise up against God,” so “it behooves us to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    The “Institutes of the Christian Religion” was Calvin’s masterpiece. It was first published in 1536, and revised editions appeared until 1560. In this work, he argued that legitimate governments ruled with the consent of the governed and in covenant with God and the people. Therefore a soldier’s service on behalf of a just government “doth not offend God in going to the wars, but is a holy vocation, which cannot be reproved without blaspheming of God.”

    When ordinary citizens are confronted with tyranny, he wrote, ordinary citizens have to suffer it. But magistrates have the duty to “curb the tyranny of kings,” as had the Tribunes in ancient Rome, the Ephori in Sparta, and the Demarchs in ancient Athens.

    Like

  31. Tom,

    I know you have been asking about Barmen quite a bit here as well, I have been taking some time to craft a response but it might take a while, my wife is due to deliver on Tuesday, if not sooner and my time is severely limited getting everything ready for baby. Hard as it is to believe, life exists outside the blogosphere.

    Jed, I’m so moved you checked in at this time, that you should think of our discussion. I attended a funeral today. The rabbi said that the parting wish is that the next time we see each other, it will be a happy occasion, a marriage, a graduation—the birth of a child.

    You just made me cry, you bastard, and I never play the obligatory sentimentality card. I’m quite the humbug, but cannot hold back my tears of joy at this moment. Thank you. The end of a full and therefore perfect day.

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  32. Tom,

    Jed, I’m so moved you checked in at this time, that you should think of our discussion. I attended a funeral today. The rabbi said that the parting wish is that the next time we see each other, it will be a happy occasion, a marriage, a graduation—the birth of a child.

    Thanks for your kind words amigo. I have often wondered how it is God would bless me with such a wonderful wife, and two wonderful boys, and now a a daughter (in the coming days), given my wild and indiscreet past, but given his great love and kind Providence to his children, I am more inclined to enjoy the mysteries of his grace without asking too many questions. I am left thankful for his abundant blessings, knowing that life could’ve been much harder without the gift of a family. God willing all will go well, and my wife and I will welcome a little girl into our covenant household.

    Here’s some photos my sister-in-law took of the Paschall tribe recently for some maternity pics before baby comes: Orange Wednesday 4/10/13. You will notice right away that my wife must have stooped quite some distance to take on a (balding, tubby) ruffian like me.

    I am not sure why, but the Jews have always held a soft spot in my heart, maybe because of God’s own faithfulness to secure for himself a remnant among them. Maybe because my own fore-bearers were “converted” (likely via the sword) in Normandy (ca. AD 8-900), before they became part of William’s conquering force in Brittan (particularly Wales) after Hastings. Maybe because of my first love in theology is the OT and the Hebrew language… not 2k by a long shot… At any rate, let your Rabbi friend know that God still blesses his people, yet the sweetest blessings have come from Messiah. So maybe when you share a glass of Manischewitz with the Rabbi, toast L’Chaim to my daughter (we’re naming her Zoey).

    That said, I still think you don’t have us 2kers pegged quite right, but I am really glad to see you hashing it out amongst this band of misfits, who knows maybe we can come to an amicable agreemet. As for Barmen, as a teaser, I am not inclined to be too terribly judgmental toward men who were seeking to be faithful to Christ, the Church, and their consciences in a time as perplexingly difficult as Nazi Germany – they were simply doing the best they could in the midst of a horrific situation, and only the comfort of historical distance allows me to critique their confessional convictions. However, obviously I do not share their dialectical/Barthian commitments theologically. Additionally, I think that the core of their concerns would have been better served given a few key factors – a) a more Orthodox Reformed reading of Scripture; b) a firmer grasp of Natural Theology and Natural Law – heck if Brunner had bested Barth over the question of natural theology I think they could’ve mounted more cogent arguments (especially in defending Jews as possessing the imago Dei); and c) the willingness to utilize the work of older Reformed Resistance theorists such as Beza, Vermigli, and Knox. All this to say, I think that there are solid Reformed 2k arguments to be made in light of the atrocities of Nazi Germany (not that everyone here would agree with me). Moreover, given our 2k proclivity to NL argumentation, I personally think that this involves delving into some of the more complex ethical implications of NL2K theory.

    Anyhow, cheers my friend and thanks again for the thoughtful comment.

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  33. Wonderful pics, Jed. Stooped is putting mildly (insert emoticon). Prayers for you and yours, in the coming hours and days. Peace.

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  34. TVD, the literature on Calvin and resistance is vast. But I heard Nick Wolterstorff deny the eternal decree publicly because he read Calvin as a fatalist. Not a lot of room for rebellion there.

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  35. Richard – “Reflect deeply on it as it will assist you in reading and in theology and politics. ‘Mankind are perpetually at variance, by being all of one sect, viz. selfists.'”

    Erik –

    Unity in the Body of Christ

    4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Me busting out a Bible passage on Richard? Talk about role reversal…

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  36. Darryl,

    The little boys are adorable (not in a Sandusky way).

    Thanks for both the compliment and the clarification. I never thought of you rolling around Philly in a panel van rocking a fu-manchu.

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  37. Erik,

    Tears? Family pictures? D.G. – what the heck are you letting happen here?

    Don’t we often compare OL to a tavern conversation? I am beginning to question your barfly credentials here broseph. After the third round, and a belly full of sliders, wings, and nachos, family pictures get pulled from wallets, conversations get personal, and there are even a few “I love you man”(s) exchanged.

    As for the youtube video, the real question is which character represents Nate and I best – kind of hard since we both have a little bit of Clark in us, and a little bit of Eddie.

    “Yep, he’s got a little of the Mississippi Leg Hound in him, once he gets started it’s best to just let him finish” … If only we all could attain to such probing insights.

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  38. EC quoting Richard – “Reflect deeply on it as it will assist you in reading and in theology and politics. ‘Mankind are perpetually at variance, by being all of one sect, viz. selfists.’”

    Erik – Unity in the Body of Christ

    4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Me busting out a Bible passage on Richard? Talk about role reversal…

    RS: Two things. 1. Evidently you did not meditate very deeply on the quote. 2. Due to your vast inexperience in quoting the Bible you took it way of context from the quote.

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  39. Richard – . 2. Due to your vast inexperience in quoting the Bible you took it way of context from the quote.

    Erik – Pot, meet kettle.

    And with that, I adjourn for the Lord’s Day.

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  40. “family pictures get pulled from wallets, conversations get personal, and there are even a few “I love you man”(s) exchanged.”

    Pictures in wallets? Maybe in George Costanza’s wallet, but otherwise it’s phone & computer pics. Then, really? A few drinks bring out family pictures with the guys? I get them strictly to show to women in the office and at church because they ask and then act like I’m subhuman when I don’t have them.

    Anyway, let’s keep this teary-eyed bonding down to a minimum.

    Gettiing more general, personal pictures have lost almost all meaning. There are too many of them. Too many events staged to produce pictures. Too much photoshop. Maybe each picture is like a snowflake in being unique but I don’t see anyone looking into their snow shovel scoops with a magnifying glass. BTW, we had snow in central Iowa on Friday.

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  41. MM,

    I get it man, you are the angry guy at the tavern sitting alone at your own table drinking cheap tequila. But, as other posts have indicated (when wounded Mikel was posting), there’s no way we’d understand.

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  42. Erik, don’t you mean tu quoque. Wait, is it ad hominem? No, maybe it’s strawman. That can’t be right. Must be handwaving.

    Ah, shoot. Go to Jason and the Callers glossary to find the correct mantra.

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  43. Jed, or maybe m&m is the Dos Equis guy, with two babes beside him, always thirsty (still hasn’t found what he’s looking for – that should endear Stellman).

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  44. Exactly…SOME. Once in a while is great. Plus, I think it started because Jed was bringing up that he might be a little indisposed in the coming days. I think it was newcomer (at least as far as I can see) that was the first to get mushy. Glad we’re attracting the sensitive types. Olts appears to be developing…

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  45. And reading some of TVD’s comments (I know, I I usually commit to reading short comments and those with YouTube links (anyone know where to find the OLTS twitter feed???)) suggests he wants some of us reading his blog. I’ll go check them out, and I might try to find some golfers…

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  46. Zrim,

    I feel you, M&M. Some of this should be taken outside to Facebook.

    I think you need to get in touch with your emotions man. What can I say, I am a sensitive man of the 90’s – but, I drew the line at watching Friends. I just feel, I mean really feel man, that all this snark is simply indicative of deeply wounded souls. Maybe you just need to let it out so you don’t squirm over the slightest show of sentiment. I am thinking about putting together an OLTS drum circle (after yoga with MM of course), and I think it’ll do some wonders. I really do. You bring the djemba, I’ll bring the bongos and some Kleenex.

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  47. AB, not to take anything away from young goodman Van Dyke, but you should be finding plenty of golfers here. After all, the game was invented in the land of Presbyterians. Walking is the sport of all pilgrims, and a good walk ruined seems like a fitting description of OLTS.

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  48. Jed, you learned about my regrets over my honeymoon on Facebook. Alls I’m saying is there a place for everything and everything in its place. Plus, I’m just hassling you.

    ps good on ya for drawing the line at Friends. That show was so gay (sorry, JJS).

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  49. I couldn’t find his supposed good discussion. Oh yes, the greens here are very well manicured. In fact, I haven’t found a reason yet to move from here to anywhere else. That is, of course, until I have to use the latrine. I still keep and eye on the outhouse. The blogosphere is great, you gotta admit.I get to pretend to be good at golf, along with all the rest of us who project on to the world that which we wish we were. But if I have a goal, it’s to get Stellman, Cross, me, and Hart on to the golf course for a foursome. I think you guys here call it a bus tour, like what role Erik, you, M&M, Jed, etc play, and who drives the bus. So golf is my way of trying to keep it real, showing how I enjoy the sportsmanlikeness of blogs , and trying to imagine these internet characters meeting in real life. It’s also called immanetizing the eschaton. Thanks for addressing me and validating my existence. Emoticon. I tend to write a lot when that happens. Call me old bob..

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  50. Also goes to show how my actions continue to only be self serving (you put it nicely like that, once,ina com box), and the YouTube of bob newhart, well, I had to show my wife it was so funny (when you were interacting with Doug). Telling you I didn’t know who he was reveals my age and having been born in a barn. Sigh,

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  51. Point is, this stuff keeps me coming back. OK, there’s my swing off the tee. I might have sliced a little, so if what I write here at olts appears incoherent, it’s OK. Now it’s your turn, whoever posts the next comment. Back to my cave, AB

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  52. DGH:TVD, the literature on Calvin and resistance is vast. But I heard Nick Wolterstorff deny the eternal decree publicly because he read Calvin as a fatalist. Not a lot of room for rebellion there.

    Well, Darryl, I think the original argument has held, that it’s by no means definite that John Calvin himself would have opposed the American Revolution. Now, it’s a valid conjecture that Calvin was a fatalist*, but that’s still just a guess.

    Yes, there is an unmistakable theological validity to some dimensions of Two Kingdoms theology, but we also have Calvin in the Institutes that a man under a just government

    “doth not offend God in going to the wars, but is a holy vocation, which cannot be reproved without blaspheming of God.”

    If the Continental Congress was a just and duly constituted government [and it was well-argued that it, not Parliament, was the duly constituted government of the colonies], then the American revolution is not merely theologically valid, it could indeed be a sacred cause!

    Not an argument I was ever prepared to advance before this discussion, mind you–I was prepared to settle for a draw, that it didn’t contravene Romans 13–but Kopel’s cites of Calvin appear to open even that as valid argument, and how religious freedom mutated into political liberty, indeed the nexus of the theological problem in this matter. But my own argument has been rather modest, that condemning the American revolution as a broach of Romans 13 is more a matter of political opinion than authoritative theological fact.
    _______________
    *When the Turks were at the Gates of Vienna, Luther mused that their victory would be a divine judgment of Christendom for its sins. Certainly not unlike the Babylonian Captivity or Judea under the Caesars. But in those cases, the interposition of lesser magistrates responsive to the people was nigh impossible, so the equivalency of conditions does not obtain. Luther did not “fatalistically” recommend that they not fight back against the Turkish horde.

    ________

    My thx to everyone for letting this discussion have a little room to breathe. We look forward to some very happy news from Jed, and all agree that Mrs. Paschall married beneath herself.

    Further, it’s far from certain that political passiveness/inertness, pacifism, “fatalism” if you will, is correct theology. That’s far more congenial to the history of the Anabaptists than the children of Geneva.

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  53. PS To say nothing of the fact that I got to play in a march madness bracket with the guy who co-authored the book we studied in Sunday School last year (fighting the good fight) and now in a fantasy baseball league with the guy who I always think is trying to sell me geico insurance with his YouTube links (turns out that caveman looking Erik fellow is actually from some show in the70’s I think). Yes, I keep coming back. I found a home, and good thing I dig 2k, by and large. Later.

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  54. Hey TVD,

    I was a history major for a year in college, before switching (constant C’s will make one consider one’s life direction), so keep it up here at OLTS, and I’all look into your blog more. You are probably right about the children of Geneva, but what do I know about history. If Calvin got some things wrong, keep pointing out where you think they don’t jive. There’s a good book that mentions how the good guys love to be corrected. Adios.

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  55. Erik Charter: Richard – . 2. Due to your vast inexperience in quoting the Bible you took it way of context from the quote.

    Erik – Pot, meet kettle.

    And with that, I adjourn for the Lord’s Day.

    RS: Not only do I not drink, I don’t do pot either. But your quote of Scripture had nothing to do with my quote.

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  56. RS,

    Not only do I not drink, I don’t do pot either.

    WHAT?!?!!! Next thing you are going to tell me is you avoid hallucinogens during your quiet times too? No peyote? Sheesh, live a little man.

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  57. Matthew 24: 15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place , 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

    mark: Disciples of Machiavelli call it “realism” to fight evil with evil, even pre-emptively. But the true realism is do nothing when and where there is nothing to be done which will not result in even worse consequences. But of course Jeremiah was denounced as a coward and a traitor, because who can accept the idea of exile, even here now in “our” own place where we are in a sectarian minority?

    So substitute the word “covenant” for the word ‘elect”. Say “us” when you mean “people who are hearing me talk and who therefore must agree with what I think”. If need be, find a way to agree with the majority, even if you have to change your mind to do it (and leave Jesus out of it).

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  58. Jeremiah 27
    In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 2 Thus the Lord said to me: “Make yourself straps and yoke-bars, and put them on your neck. 3 Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant…

    8 “‘“But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. 9 So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10 For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the Lord.”’”

    16 Then I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Do not listen to the words of your prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, ‘Behold, the vessels of the Lord’s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. 17 Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live….

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  59. Jed, as long as you don’t chase the dragon (see, Richard, old lifers have limits on substance use).

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  60. Oh,and Zrim, you ‘nailed it. ‘ A good walk ruined. I’d fancy you a good golfer, if you ever try it. You could almost explode that thought out, not just to apply to OLTS, but instead, for the inter-webs, period.

    I mean it, thanks for the words directed my way. And thanks to Mr. Erik for the fantasy league. Its given me a hang out on the inter-web.

    Now, I do need to head to that cave, old-lifers. My latest floruish should serve to show rather well why I go away, take up, and read. But the beer here is cold. Keep the good stuff flowing, amigos. Stay thirsty indeed:-)

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  61. AB, yeah I did nail it. That should be the new OLTS tagline, a good walk ruined. And I can carry a tune on the links. The summer before college living in a caddy shack and working the grounds of a Scottish style links under an anal Methodist groundkeeper probably helped.

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  62. “I am thinking about putting together an OLTS drum circle (after yoga with MM of course), and I think it’ll do some wonders. I really do. You bring the djemba, I’ll bring the bongos and some Kleenex.”

    If OSHA inspectors monitor workplaces I think Richard needs to monitor the emotions of your event. Anyway, emotions are why we have blues and whiskey.

    I’m the joke-guy during yoga classes. But I get away with it because 1) people laugh, 2) my yoga practice isn’t too shabby, and 3) I tell the instructor what she is supposed to do next when she forgets. But one time a guy shushed me because I was talking while his silly bell was still chiming. That’s too serious for me – time to move on to another instructor.

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  63. Erik Charter: Richard, I doubt even medicinal marijuana will cure what ails you, but it might be worth a try.

    RS: It would cure what ails me, but only if you took enough.

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  64. Tom, I’m still not sure you’re up to speed on 2k. The issue with the American Revolution has little to do with just wars or whether Christians may fight. It has to do with Presbyterian ministers (like Witherspoon) completely botching the Word of God to justify their rebellion.

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  65. As I’m familiar with the argument, no one knows for certain what Calvin would have thought of the American Revolution because he didn’t witness it; but based on his teachings in Institutes, it’s pretty clear he would have been against it.

    However, the subsequent Calvinists like Rutherford further expanded on Calvin’s idea of “interposition” to bring us something closer to what America’s Founders did. Call it “living Calvinism.” Calvin frozen in time = against the revolution. Tweaked a bit by Rutherford et al. = compatible with the revolution.

    Anyway here’s Gregg Frazer’s piece extensively quoting Calvin and addressing the interposition argument on why Calvin was, in no uncertain terms, anti-revolutionary. Calvin said such things as “we must honour [even] the worst tyrant in the office in which the Lord has seen fit to set him” and “if you go on to infer that only just governments are to be repaid by obedience, your reasoning is stupid.”

    http://www.wnd.com/2008/08/71614/

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  66. Tom, I’m still not sure you’re up to speed on 2k. The issue with the American Revolution has little to do with just wars or whether Christians may fight. It has to do with Presbyterian ministers (like Witherspoon) completely botching the Word of God to justify their rebellion.

    Darryl, I think I’ve presented more evidence that the American revolution met John Calvin’s theological bar in both the king’s/parliament’s lack of legitimacy and the mechanism for revolution, the “interposition of magistrates,” the duly constituted Continental Congress.

    I was hoping that if you were going to demur, that Calvin via “2K” would disagree, that you would offer concrete arguments to the contrary. If I’m not “up to speed” on 2K as you argue it, it’s not for lack of trying, or of listening.

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  67. Jon, Gregg Frazer, in the piece you cite, elides the “magistrates” question, conflating them with princes. His argument is not coherent, especially by the time he gets to “There is a school of theology which teaches that Nero was the Antichrist!”

    ¿Huh?

    Further, the preachers Mayhew and West, who later were revealed to be unitarians, although influential at the time, are straw men here.

    [Although Mayhew had a valid–albeit sophistic–argument, that honoring Charles I was an imposition of Anglicanism similar to the imposition of the Book of Common Prayer, which triggered the original Puritan Revolution 130 years before.]

    As for John Witherspoon, Darryl, he’s not really part of the pro-revolution argument re Calvin either: he simply didn’t make those arguments. I can see we’re all over the map here–our discussion here is just as much about the English civil war[s] of the 1600s as the American revolution itself. The theological arguments were precisely the same. Pace Gregg Frazer, it’s by no means a case closed that Calvin opposed all power jockeying at all times. He completely ignores Dave Kopel’s argument

    In a commentary on the Book of Daniel, Calvin observed that contemporary monarchs pretend to reign “by the grace of God,” but the pretense was “a mere cheat” so that they could “reign without control.” He believed that “Earthly princes depose themselves while they rise up against God,” so “it behooves us to spit upon their heads than to obey them.”

    The “Institutes of the Christian Religion” was Calvin’s masterpiece. It was first published in 1536, and revised editions appeared until 1560. In this work, he argued that legitimate governments ruled with the consent of the governed and in covenant with God and the people. Therefore a soldier’s service on behalf of a just government “doth not offend God in going to the wars, but is a holy vocation, which cannot be reproved without blaspheming of God.”

    When ordinary citizens are confronted with tyranny, he wrote, ordinary citizens have to suffer it. But magistrates have the duty to “curb the tyranny of kings,” as had the Tribunes in ancient Rome, the Ephori in Sparta, and the Demarchs in ancient Athens.

    I’m not insisting Darryl’s wrong here, but I’ve done a lot of reading on this, and there’s new scholarship every day on the Calvinist/Reformed dimension of the Founding. Keep in mind, the secular academy has been painting it as the product of the Enlightenment for the past century, as though John Locke dropped to earth one day and the Declaration came out the month after.

    This needs a fresh look–if 2K has the history wrong [and I think it might], then its theological claims need another look too. Calvinism was never a defender of the Divine Right of Kings, and an inspection of Romans 13 reveals that it’s speaking to individuals [“Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers”] not the Continental Congress as duly constituted magistrates. Magistrates are empowered by God too.

    http://www.reformed-theology.org/html/issue07/8.htm

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  68. Perhaps Frazer “elided” the magistrate issue in that piece for purposes of length; but elsewhere he answered the magistrate objection. He said Calvin’s examples make clear that the magistrates operate pursuant to an extant set of positive laws like Congress impeaching a President. If there is no legally recognized mechanism for removing the tyrannical King, then tough luck. Not rebellion or revolution.

    In America in 1776, British Law was the recognized, existing law. And Blackstone — the recognized expert on British law — was clear that the King and Parliament (the particular way in which THEY split power) were the final EARTHLY arbiters of British law and rule.

    Again, if one wants to argue, contra Blackstone, that America (the Continental Congress) was justified, as lower intermediate magistrates, in resisting the British on British legal grounds, fine. But America said it did more.

    America said it revolted.

    Likewise with Witherspoon, he cited Locke for the proposition of rebellion, not Rutherford. And there is no evidence that connects Locke to Rutherford.

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  69. BTW: We dealt with this at length in the main post and comments here:

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-calvin-taught-rebellion-to-tyrants.html

    I’m not sure what to make of the Calvin’s commentary on the book of Daniel; but in Institutes he makes it certain that rebellion or revolution against the worst of tyrants is not permitted. Whatever the magistrates are doing — it has to be something legal, not revolting against tyrants.

    I don’t know as much about the Calvinist resisters (Rutherford, et al.) than the patriotic preachers (most of whom were unitarians); but the patriotic preachers argued such things as tyrants are not “rulers” in the Romans 13 sense of the term. Calvin believed no such thing. He held that tyrants maintained their Romans 13 authority and may well have been put into power by God to punish the subjects for their sins. And those tyrants are “to be held in the same honour and reverence as the best of kings.” (See longer quotation below for context.)

    Here’s a little taste of Calvin in Institutes. For more, check out the link to American Creation above:

    “For while in this unworthy conduct, and among atrocities so alien, not only from the duty of the magistrate, but also of the man, they behold no appearance of the image of God, which ought to be conspicuous in the magistrate, while they see not a vestige of that minister of God, who was appointed to be a praise to the good and a terror to the bad, they cannot recognise the ruler whose dignity and authority Scripture recommends to us. And, undoubtedly, the natural feeling of the human mind has always been not less to assail tyrants with hatred and execration, than to look up to just kings with love and veneration.

    25. “But if we have respect to the word of God, it will lead us farther, and make us subject not only to the authority of those princes who honestly and faithfully perform their duty toward us, but all princes, by whatever means they have so become, although there is nothing they less perform than the duty of princes. For though the Lord declares that a ruler to maintain our safety is the highest gift of his beneficence, and prescribes to rulers themselves their proper sphere, he at the same time declares, that of whatever description they may be, they derive their power from none but him. Those, indeed, who rule for the public good, are true examples and specimens of his beneficence, while those who domineer unjustly and tyrannically are raised up by him to punish the people for their iniquity. Still all alike possess that sacred majesty with which he has invested lawful power. I will not proceed further without subjoining some distinct passages to this effect. 657 We need not labour to prove that an impious king is a mark of the Lord’s anger, since I presume no one will deny it, and that this is not less true of a king than of a robber who plunders your goods, an adulterer who defiles your bed, and an assassin who aims at your life, since all such calamities are classed by Scripture among the curses of God. But let us insist at greater length in proving what does not so easily fall in with the views of men, that even an individual of the worst character, one most unworthy of all honour, if invested with public authority, receives that illustrious divine power which the Lord has by his word devolved on the ministers of his justice and judgment, and that, accordingly, in so far as public obedience is concerned, he is to be held in the same honour and reverence as the best of kings.”

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  70. “This needs a fresh look–if 2K has the history wrong”

    Tom, it seems you are not grasping what 2K is. 2K cannot get the history wrong because 2K does not take one position on history. The objection we would have concerns the preachers who from the pulpit were pushing the war effort. Whether to support the revolution or not was a matter of conscience, not a matter of “thus sayeth the Lord.” No one here is suggesting it was sinful for Christians to support the Revolution, nor would it have been sinful to reject it. It was a matter of conscience.

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  71. The objection we would have concerns the preachers who from the pulpit were pushing the war effort.

    I don’t know who “we” is yet, Todd. That’s part of this, perhaps primary. Looking for clarity first. You? Darryl G. Hart? John Calvin? Calvinism [Beza, Vermigli, the successors]?

    “We” always gives me the willies. Even Roman Catholics don’t use “we” all that much. You could look it up.

    http://www.firstthings.com/

    When you or Erik Charter et al., say “we,” here at DGH’s blog, I don’t know what that means. Calvinism? Machenism? Hartism?

    I’m really not being obtuse–I’m getting that you want to farm out all the things the Bible is silent about to this gray area where God has no opinion. I get it, I get it. But God does have an opinion. I acknowledge that taking about slavery is Godwin’s Law as much as invoking Hitler and the Holocaust. But if not here, where? [Jed has promised something on the Barmen Declaration. He hears this.]

    Surely you–“we”–cannot argue indifference on God’s part—or Our Savior’s–on slavery. Surely ‘we” agree it’s essentially an obscenity [even though it’s better than killing a captured enemy]. [Mebbe.]

    What should be argued from the pulpit? Nothing?

    2K gotta come to terms with this. At what point does the pulpit argue against slavery, murder? Infanticide?

    Your call. I’m not feeling it yet.

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  72. I’m not sure what to make of the Calvin’s commentary on the book of Daniel

    Then be sure!

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  73. Tom: I don’t know who “we” is yet, Todd. That’s part of this, perhaps primary. Looking for clarity first. You? Darryl G. Hart? John Calvin? Calvinism [Beza, Vermigli, the successors]?
    When you or Erik Charter et al., say “we,” here at DGH’s blog, I don’t know what that means. Calvinism? Machenism? Hartism?

    Todd: You came to this blog to see if the Bayly criticisms against 2k are true. We are the ones being criticized, many of us who frequent this blog. You came here knowing this, so what more do you want? I could begin with, “many 2kers” but “we” is just a time saver.

    Tom: “I’m really not being obtuse–I’m getting that you want to farm out all the things the Bible is silent about to this gray area where God has no opinion. I get it, I get it. ”

    Tom: If you think this way I don’t think you do get it. God having an opinion, though I do not think that it is proper to speak that way of God, does not mean his “opinion” is revealed clearly in the Bible. Last time I checked Jesus had much to say against those who added man’s laws and opinions to God’s Word, and they were not good things. God knows the best way to cure cancer, but that doesn’t mean it is revealed to us.

    Tom: Surely you–”we”–cannot argue indifference on God’s part—or Our Savior’s–on slavery.

    Todd: Slavery is in the Bible, by reference and good and necessary consequence of doing unto others… yes, we can say it is sinful. What the Bible does not reveal, of the four or five political options to end slavery argued back in the day, which one “in God’s opinion,” was the proper political option. Surely you can see the difference. Is it really that difficult?

    Tom: What should be argued from the pulpit? Nothing?

    Todd: Sola Scriptura – what the Bible says. That’s why we are Protestants. The Pope has an opinion on everything if that’s what you are looking for.

    Tom: At what point does the pulpit argue against slavery, murder? Infanticide?

    Todd: Whenever the text preaches against slavery, murder, infanticide, or when it is a proper application of a text.

    Tom: Your call. I’m not feeling it yet.

    Todd: At least you are trying.

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  74. Todd: You came to this blog to see if the Bayly criticisms against 2k are true. We are the ones being criticized, many of us who frequent this blog. You came here knowing this, so what more do you want? I could begin with, “many 2kers” but “we” is just a time saver.

    Todd, I didn’t come to this blog about anything about the Baylys. I went to Bayly’s blog to see if YOUR criticisms were true.

    They banned me. Heh heh.

    So let’s drop this “you don’t get it stuff” and just explain yourselves. I’ve been studying the Founding and Calvinism for years, with DG Hart in mind, and not the Baylys, who I never heard of except for this blog and doubt I ever will again outside it.

    I get the “every man a minister” but “every man a pope” is starting to throw me. Everybody seems to have an opinion about why the next fellow is running afoul of scripture or Calvin or whatever.

    Just state your case already.

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  75. Tom, theologically the American Revolution was not the Exodus. I am fairly convinced Calvin would not have made that identification. That is the issue. Is the U.S. the New Israel? Presbyterians, whatever Calvin thought about resistance, should have known that Israel is over.

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  76. Tom, for Reformed Protestants, the argument, “surely, God must care” fails to persuade. We are sola Scriptura Christians. And if you’ve read Calvin there’s a good reason for that. Our minds are factories of idols. So your pious wishes — like mine — are tinged with depravity. So we rely on the Word when we talk about what God requires.

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  77. We’re also Creator-creature Christians, as in Belgic 13:

    “We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits.”

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  78. “They banned me. Heh heh.”

    Congratulations. Perhaps I will likewise be honored some day. But it’s like being banned from having gastro-intestinal pain, isn’t it?

    “So let’s drop this “you don’t get it stuff” and just explain yourselves. I’ve been studying the Founding and Calvinism for years,”

    You don’t get it. And because you have been studying from a non-2K perspective it may take a while. You may get a quick peak through the mist that quickly gets enshrouded once again, then get out only half of “ah hah!” for a while.But just as Paul re-interpreted what he knew about the law and the prophets, you may likewise reinterpret the founding and Calvinism.

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  79. Tom: So let’s drop this “you don’t get it stuff” and just explain yourselves.

    Todd: I’m sorry, when I don’t recognize my views in anything you write, I don’t think you get 2K yet, no need to feel insulted.

    Tom: I get the “every man a minister” but “every man a pope” is starting to throw me. Everybody seems to have an opinion about why the next fellow is running afoul of scripture or Calvin or whatever.

    Todd: I’m not following your point here

    Tom: Just state your case already.

    Todd: I did previously. The Bible states clearly what is sin, not whether a Christian should support the American Revolution, the Iraq War, or medical marijuana propositions. What else do you want?

    I may not respond for a time, I usually read blogs Saturdays and Mondays.

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  80. dgh: the American Revolution was not the Exodus.

    mark: But 2k is not quite desperate enough to identify our location as exile. That would mean we should not vote as private persons. It would also mean that such voting (or not voting) cannot end the diaspora.

    John Howard Yoder, “Exodus and Exile”, Cross Currents 23:3, 1974, p306—“The Joseph/Daniel/Mordecai model is more often the fitting contribution to the pagan community than any theocratic takeover. The complement to the Exodus of the counter-community is a not a
    revolution by the righteous oppressed, but rather the message of the resident minority.”

    Yoder, For the Nations, p69—“Jesus further validated the already expressed Jewish reasons, for the already existing ethos of not being in charge and not considering any local state structure to be the
    motive for the movement of history.”

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  81. Think of life as a college class. You get the syllabus and it tells you what you need to read and tells you there will be two tests and a term paper. A 2K thinker will take note of that, do the reading, show up for the tests, write the paper, and then go off and do whatever he does with the rest of his time — maybe go to on-campus movies, hang out at the snack bar, or get basketball season tickets.

    Those who oppose 2K – the pietist, the neocalvinist, the revivalist — looks at the syllabus and says that surely doing the required reading, taking two tests, and writing a term paper is not enough. They feel compelled to read two extra books, take three tests, write two term papers, and choreograph an interpretive dance on the course — and then they take us to task for not doing the same!

    This is the battle we fight here, within American Christianity, and maybe even in our own churches.

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  82. McMark, I don’t follow. I am in exile (spiritually). I am a citizen (temporally). I vote.

    Paul was in exile and he went to the Roman Courts because he was a citizen.

    I don’t trust Anabaptists who teach for Roman Catholics.

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  83. Here’s a good example of 2K thinking on a topic (From NTJ 4.2):

    More Women, Fewer Chaplains

    As this issue of the NTJ goes to press (sounds like a real magazine), special committees of ministers from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America are
    debating what to do about women in the military. This issue surfaced several years ago when Presbyterian chaplains, who objected to the Clinton administration’s policies (not to mention politics), asked their respective communions for advice. Should they go along with men and women serving along side each other, or could they object to the military’s procedures on the grounds that the churches holding their credentials had ruled that the Bible forbade women from serving in the military? Talk about eisegesis. Some presbyters in both denominations objected to the way the issue had come before the church. The church declares the whole counsel of God and has already done so. If to this point she has not spoken on women in the military, then it’s a little late in the game to make the Bible condemn what Bill Clinton has wrought. But thanks to the Republican sentiments running strong in both denominations, each church will weigh the merits of reports that, if the chaplains get their way, will force the military to accommodate their objections.

    THESE DEVELOPMENTS HAVE caused us to wonder whether the real problem is not women but chaplains in the military. What, for instance, does a Lutheran pilot do when an Orthodox Presbyterian minister is administering the Lord’s Supper? For that matter, what’s the Hindu Sargent supposed to do Sunday morning at 11 o’clock? If units of the military were broken down according to churches or religions, then it might be possible to have a PCA minister serving in a PCA unit. But
    such segregation runs the risk of typecasting believers. Jews, for example, might be counted on to be really good grenade throwers as long as they had slings, and Calvinists could hone their skills as flame throwers (just ask Servetus). But such identification of belief with military skill does not seem a wise move for religionists who claim to be peacemakers.

    Then there is the question of why we need chaplains to begin with. If the United States only fought wars defending its own territory the way the Founding Fathers appeared to intend, then we could actually have churches near military bases across America and let regular clergy serve the troops as part of real congregations. Of course, once you start shipping soldiers around the world, the ministry of word and sacrament requires a different form of delivery from the kind Christ and the
    apostles practiced.

    THERE IS A WAY TO FIX THAT. It’s called isolationism. That of course makes us part of the lunatic fringe, though neither of the editors belongs to the Reform Party. (If only they’d call it Reformed. . .) Still, isolationism allows7 Nicotine Theological Journal April 2000 the church to be the church. Perhaps, the better thing to call it is just war theory, a doctrine which appears to justify the defense of a nation’s borders but raises questions about countries that act like the global police. Either way, a military based on home soil would prevent churches from having to create the new office of chaplain to keep in step with the nation-state. Instead, the church could go about its regular business of a local, residential, clergy. The biggest problem with chaplains, however, may be that the military attaches too many strings and compromises the so-called ministry of military clergy. Here the recent report in the February issue of First Things, “Sex and the Married Missileer,” on the
    case of Lt. Ryan Berry should be read by all commissioners and delegates to the upcoming assemblies. At a first reading, the problem Berry faced was precisely the problem of introducing
    women into the close quarters of a missile alert facility in North Dakota. As a good Catholic, Berry objected to having to be stationed with women, sensing that such a situation put him inthe path of temptation. And here we should state emphatically that we don’t think it’s the greatest idea in the world for unmarried men and women to live together as they must if serving in the military. Male headship and gender roles are entirely beside the point. Exegeting the Seventh Commandment
    isn’t that complicated.

    AS BERRY SOON LEARNED, THE real issue was the complete sellout he received from the chaplains’ top brass when they ruled that the Berry’s concern was a “personal” religious matter, not “a specific religious practice” of the Roman Catholic Church. If these chaplains had any ounce of courage, they should have come to Lt. Berry’s aid and helped him retain his good standing in the military, not to mention assisting with the cure of his soul. But somehow the lures of serving the only standing superpower in the kingdom of man have a way of obscuring the needs of the members of the kingdom of God. We fear those lures will be especially evident when the General Assemblies of the OPC and PCA consider women in the military. This almost makes us think the Solomonic thing to do would be to make the chaplaincy the only position in which women may serve in the
    Armed Forces.

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  84. Zrim, sorry, but yes I must confess. Of course i know golf is from the land of Presbyterians. I almost want to watch braveheart now. Erik, I’ve seen that movie, if not the hundreds you keep filling me in, on. Interesting stuff here on the OLTS channel. I even saw Obama has been proffering golf as a solution togridlock, on the real telly this morning. Don’t make me say “i told you so.” For the birdie..

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  85. dgh: I don’t trust Anabaptists who teach for Roman Catholics.

    Of course not. Yoder hated the gospel of justification by an alien righteousness. He was no different from NT Wright or Norman Shepherd in that regard. I may not trust scholars who write books about conservative Roman Catholics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn by reading you.

    dgh: I am in exile (spiritually). I am a citizen (temporally). I vote.

    mark: As long as we agree that voting and not voting is not a solution, it won’t matter that much. Of course my “nonvoting” is not “Christian nonvoting”. But spiritually/temporally distinction is not yet complete, because you claim to be a citizen in two different kingdoms, do you not?

    You are two ways a citizen, a citizen from heaven, but also (you think) a citizen of a second kingdom whose power is not from heaven, and which therefore can and must fight (John 18).

    But in what way are you in exile, if at all? How are you an ‘exile spiritually”? What does that mean?
    Of course I know that the Bible does not say that we are exiles in two different ways, but neither does it say that we are citizens in two ways. It’s either or, out of one, in another….

    I am trying to investigate the structural balance you think you have in the language above (exile spiritual exile, but secular citizen). The rhetoric may sound like it’s saying something, but until you make the actual definitions more explicit, I am not so sure

    dgh: Paul was in exile and he went to the Roman Courts because he was a citizen.

    mark: Paul was in “spiritual exile”? Again, what does that mean, and what does it have to do with jewish civic authorities taking him to the Roman occupiers? Surely, you are not saying that going all the way back to Rome was Paul’s “missional way of living the gospel”, are you?

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  86. One of the best essays I have read in my recent study of Lutheranism is one by Jack KIlcrease

    http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/KilcreaseFordesDoctrineOfTheLaw.pdf

    In the course of his excellent critique of Forde’s view of law (and atonement) on p170, Kilcrease makes a point I like to make against all those sentimental hymns (Paul Gerhardt is not the only one) which accuse Christians of having “killed Jesus”.

    Forde of course denies that God the Trinity killed Jesus and says “we did it”. But God did, and some humans did. Unlike Lutherans, I would say that we didn’t all kill Jesus because Jesus didn’t die for everybody’s sins. But I do like what Kilcrease writes: “of the whole human race, only a very small number was actually present at the crucifixion. To say to a sinner that, hypothetically, he would have killed Jesus may very well be true, but it does not solve the problem of how this sinful attitude is manifest in the sinner’s own life….Such a hypothetical makes one’s sin into an abstraction….

    And then, to cheer up Modesto 2k folk everywhere (even though KIlcrease at other places does demonstrate differences between Lutheran 2k), Kilcrease WRITES THIS:

    “by exercising a kind of purely civil righteousness, the sinner might very well have not wished Jesus dead….’

    mark: Exactly so, and notice that he didn’t have to call it a good work to say this, didn’t even have to say ‘common grace”, didn’t have to say “covenant creature”!!!!

    “purely civil righteousness”

    yes, it’s an abstraction, but an interesting theory….

    Not all sin is unbelief of the gospel. Not all sin is works-righteousness.

    But sin against God’s law is still sin, even for those who never hear the gospel.

    And sin against God’s law is still sin, even for those who are justified and who will never be condemned because of that sin.

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  87. Mikelmann: You don’t get it. And because you have been studying from a non-2K perspective it may take a while.

    Well, here’s the thing: That’s painfully tautological: You can’t understand Biblical literalism unless you read the Bible literally.

    Well, first of all, despite the protestations of “sola scriptura,” all but the fundies [which you are not] employ some level of interpretation, and indeed, theology—the application of reason to the Word. The sacraments, for instance, are drawn out of the text more than explicitly in it. You can’t help but use reason–or better put theologically, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, discernment, knowledge, etc.

    We don’t say that theology is merely the product of reason, for as we all know, man’s “unassisted” reason is fallen and corrupt. But neither do you smart fellas reject theology for fundamentalism, say creationism or killing gays per Leviticus. Let’s keep it real.

    So you end up with the same problem of magisterium, one that the Reformation’s rejection of the Roman Church’s authority to interpret scripture not only didn’t solve, but increased exponentially–now there are hundreds, thousands, millions [pick one] of interpretations of scripture, and almost an infinity of wrong ones!

    http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/100-scriptural-arguments-for-the-unitarian-faith

    So who gets to decide? Protestantism has no pope, and indeed it seems to me y’all 2Kers are a minority of your own sect, Presbyterianism, and further, suggest that if I’m right about Calvin, magistrates, the Book of Daniel, and the American Revolution, then HE’S wrong!

    Where does it end?

    Now Islam, aside from its major Sunni/Shia schism, at least admits the problem of No Pope, No Magisterium, with a certain fallibilism and pluralism, that I think I’m right but that doesn’t have to extend to my condemning you as wrong. [Hence my problem with singling out the Religious Right, Sarah Palin, What haveyou. Social Gospellers on the other side, for that matter.]

    For although only one interpretation [or none, perhaps everybody’s wrong!] may represent God’s will, and everybody seems convinced that they and their sect are the recipients of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, on the whole we either get the Completion Backwards Principle [“read the Bible through the eyes of 2K!”] or an ad hoc mishmosh of theological sentiments.

    Which again is fine, and according to Melanchthon, an inevitable product of the Reformation. But this theological war of all against all is far too Hobbesian for me. I think a little humility is in order or perhaps better put, a

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallibilism

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  88. mcMark, doesn’t it have to do with with saying to die is gain. We are exiles who pray for the welfare of the city. What was true of the Israelites in exile is true of us. Why doesn’t that work?

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  89. Tom, what on earth does the problem of the magisterium have to do with ascertaining whether or not the Bible actually approves political rebellion. You keep telling us that Calvin was for resistance – a disputed historical interpretation. So what if he was? That doesn’t mean we can’t look at the Presbyterians who supported the revolution and fault their interpretation of Scripture. Plus, the church as a body did not sanction rebellion (to my knowledge). In which case, neither Scripture nor our trimmed down tradition require me to say the American Revolution was a blessing, a sign of God, a Christian rebellion, whatever you want to say about it. What 2k says is that Scripture is silent on a host of matters, especially politics. So Christians are at liberty to support or oppose rebellion. What they can’t do is make the Bible say something it doesn’t.

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  90. Argh. The above reply got caught in DGH’s moderation queue and is now old news before it’s new news. It only took a half hour to write and a day or 2 to compose mentally before that. I do hope it’s not lost or overlooked.

    Still, permit me again to thank you again, Darryl, for permitting me a say in this forum.

    Next up would be DGH’s

    And if you’ve read Calvin there’s a good reason for that. Our minds are factories of idols. So your pious wishes — like mine — are tinged with depravity. So we rely on the Word when we talk about what God requires.

    and being forced into the false dichotomy of

    What the Bible does not reveal, of the four or five political options to end slavery argued back in the day, which one “in God’s opinion,” was the proper political option.

    as though we are forced to choose between John Brown and political inertia. I don’t think you have to go 2K to say that “doing nothing” beats John Brown’s terrorism and murder. But that’s not all there is to the moral/theological dilemma.

    And FTR, “I don’t trust Anabaptists who teach for Roman Catholics” is definitely too Inside Presbyterian Baseball for moi. I’m hoping it is unrelated to the current discussion.

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  91. Tom – Argh. The above reply got caught in DGH’s moderation queue and is now old news before it’s new news. It only took a half hour to write and a day or 2 to compose mentally before that. I do hope it’s not lost or overlooked.

    Erik – Dude, you’re working way too hard. Just ingest some caffeine and let ‘er rip. No letter grades here. We’re all auditing the course.

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  92. Thx, Erik. U OK. As for me, I’m not working hard atall, or more precisely, not any harder than is absolutely necessary. ;-P

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  93. Carson: Part of the problem is that some of our versions render ἀνάγκη by “crisis.” The English word “crisis” conjures up a short-term supreme test By contrast, the first lexical definition provided by BDAG is ” constraint as inherent in the nature of things, necessity, pressure of any kind.” 1 Cor 7:26, “Because of the present constraint, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” The “constraint” that is “inherent in the nature of things” is then the sum of difficult challenges coughed up by a world that is simultaneously, on the one hand, lost and subject to catastrophic judgment, and, on the other, mysteriously ruled by Christ until death itself is destroyed (1 Cor 15:25-26).

    mark: “From now on those who have Roman or American citizenship should live as if they did not” . A Roman citizen is not Caesar, but that is besides the point of Romans 12 and 13, which command Christians to submit to Caesar and to leave the wrath to God. This cannot mean that Christians have two different citizenships (or even two different exiles!). Since the earth is the Lord’s, we do not have to withdraw from the earth even if we were born the first time with a citizenship in some secular empire which sets itself in opposition to Christ.

    In the Philippians context, the number one way “death is gain” for the Apostle Paul is martyrdom by the Roman empire as a witness to Christ. But in his present crisis, Paul concludes that the better gain (both for the people he writes to and for Christ) is to continue to live so as to proclaim the gopspel. (Later perhaps will come a possibility of Martyrdom!).

    The second reason “death is gain” is that I Corinthinians promises that the justified elect will “put on immortality”. This is not a promise that we are now immortal, nor is it a promise that we will become immortal as soon as Christian mortals die. But it is God’s promise, guaranteed by Christ’s resurrection, that those who belong to Christ will on the day He comes back to earth be given immortality.

    In that context, I am saying that it is very difficult to make a distinction between different kinds of exile (or citizenship). We tend to have one master. If we are citizens of heaven, there will always be a sense of dislocation, of “not yet” home, of “not yet” immortal…

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  94. DGH,

    Have you (or someone else) written on confessional, Old Side Presbyterians and Reformed who were loyalists? Surely there were many ministers that fit that description (?)

    Bill

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  95. Historian Mark David Hall says Zubly was the ONLY Presbyterian preacher he found opposing the revolution. [The people of Savannah dumped his library in the river.]

    http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1055&context=fac_dis

    By far the best indication of the course of action taken by the [southern] dissenting
    clergy was the example they set during the Revolution. Changing
    from men of moderation to active participants, they served as soldiers,
    chaplains, and recruiters of troops. Up to two-thirds of them can be
    definitely classified as whigs, with another one-third as pacifists.
    Only a very few were loyalists. Their main contribution, however, was
    the propagation of a political philosophy of resistance to British oppression
    and their enthusiasm for freedom of conscience in the realm
    of religion…

    David Barton indeed.

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  96. DGH,

    Thanks. This sounds very interesting: “In 1780 and 1781 Zubly wrote a series of nine essays under the pseudonym of Helvetius. These essays were published in The Royal Georgia Gazette and in John Tobler’s The South-Carolina and Georgia Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1781. In these essays Zubly used international law and the Bible to show that Americans were not fighting a legal revolution but were engaged in an illegal and unjust rebellion of which God disapproved.”

    I have read a couple of Zubly sermons advocating loyalism, and both of the arguments that I saw there were prudential rather than explicitly legal or biblical arguments for loyalism. I will be interested to see the biblical argument in these sources. I also did not know before that Zubly was initially in the German Reformed Church, which may explain some things.

    Bill

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  97. TVD,

    Thanks. This looks like it could be an interesting source.

    I think that you’re mixing Halls though – probably just an accidental slip. The author is Clive Edwin Hall, apparently for many years at Liberty University, rather than Mark David Hall of the American-Revolution-as-Christian-Event thesis currently at George Fox University. The former Hall likely agrees with the latter though but the sounds of his preface.

    Bill

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  98. Calvin–“By earthly things, I mean that which relates not to God and His kingdom, but has come connection with the present life….The experience of the ages teaches us how widely the rays of divine light have shone on unbelieving nations…the excellent gifts of the Spirit are diffused through the whole human race…”

    Calvin: A Guide for the Perplexed, p 133 (The Church and Society)—–Paul Helm—“unlike Augustine’s two cities, which are antithetical, Calvin’s two kingdoms overlap. The Christian finds himself occupying a place in both of them.

    Paul Helm, p 131—“Calvin is convicted when measured against by his own standards. He who held that the natural knowledge of God makes us all inexcusable, was surely inexcusable himself in upholding the capital punishment of Servetus in the face of the revealed knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

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  99. a different mark finds another Helm quotation on “the things of earth”

    Guy Davis—Helm wonders if Calvin expected that cultural products, resulting from common grace might carry through into the new creation. Will we hear the strains of Bach, Brahms and even Pink Floyd in the world to come? Coldplay and Radiohead maybe, but surely not Pink Floyd. Pretentiously long and complex prog-rock guitar solos in the glory? Please no! Unless that is, Carl Trueman and his ilk are going to be allowed a sound-proofed space of their own in some remote corner of the new earth. In fairness, Helm wonders if his suggestion might be too fanciful to be authentically Calvinian.
    http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/calvin-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.php#sthash.BiZ8JY1W.dpuf

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