Not Everyone Uses the Plural

Hold on to your seat. David VanDrunen responds to Ryan McIlhenny’s response to VanDrunen’s response to McIlhenny’s response to two kingdoms:

What is most important to me is that the Reformed community reaffirm the basic distinction between God’s two kingdoms—his common providential rule and his special redemptive rule—whether or not one agrees with all the ways I personally apply this distinction in exploring the Christianity-and-culture issues. This distinction is biblical and has very deep roots in the Reformed tradition. I would deem it a great blessing from God were the Reformed community as a whole to re-embrace it, and I see my efforts to defend the distinction as something I can do to serve the Reformed churches I love. The thing is, I struggle to think of any contemporary figure I have read or spoken to who either calls himself a neo-Calvinist or is commonly identified by others as a neo-Calvinist who does not speak of God’s kingdom in the singular. Possibly my own experience is just quirky, but ever since I began thinking seriously about this I have understood a one-kingdom view to be of the essence of what “neo-Calvinism” is. Thus I do not consider myself a neo-Calvinist. To me, the thought of a “two kingdoms neo-Calvinist” is like the thought of a “libertarian socialist.” It’s paradoxical, even contradictory.

And, of course, what makes the difference between the singular and plural of Kingdom important is how we live in this age (saeculum), a time between the advents of Christ, when believers live side-by-side with unbelievers. If kingdom is singular, what place do non-believers have in civil society? Do they have equal rights under the law, or do we put them in ghettos or treat them as dhimmi? And if Kingdom is singular, do believers learn from non-Christian philosophers, historians, and bio-chemists? Or do we bar non-Christians from universities?

Believe it or not, putting non-Christians in ghettos, treating them as dhimma, and denying them admittance to universities were all responses to making God’s kingdom singular.

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62 thoughts on “Not Everyone Uses the Plural

  1. In Alabama and Mississippi, the dhimma are now called Democrats.

    But in the good old days, even most of the Christians didn’t have rights as citizens in the kingdom of violence is good if it’s against bad. For example, the slaves of Jonathan Edwards….

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  2. D.G. – Hold on to your seat. David VanDrunen responds to Ryan McIlhenny’s response to VanDrunen’s response to McIlhenny’s response to two kingdoms

    Are you selling scorecards with those little pre-sharpened pencils?

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  3. I blogged on DVD’s initial response to McIlhenny in April. Glad to be brought up to speed. DVD will be preaching at our church this Sunday and, along with some others, I’ll be having lunch with him. Talk about having good luck in the Lord… Needless to say, I’m looking forward to some worthwhile discussion. Submit your questions! 😉

    cheers…

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  4. Jack, it would be cool to ask these questions:

    1. What is your preferred name for the second kingdom, the earthly city, the city of man, the kingdom of Satan, or some other name? if you can tell me why one name is better than another, all the better.

    2. If two kingdoms are good, wouldn’t three kingdoms be even better? If one can put all ‘spheres” besides “the church” into one other kingdom, is that a good thing? Why or why not?

    3. When “one worldview” folks tell you that “everybody has one, even if they don’t know it”, is the best way to reciprocate their patronizing to tell them that “everybody lives in two kingdoms, even if they won’t admit it”?

    4. Was Calvin’s attempt to “Christianize Geneva” somehow more defensible than Doug Wilson’s because of a situation ethic? Do we need different worldviews for different historical situations?

    5. Are all parts of the Noahic covenant (including human sacrifice as worship to the biblically revealed God) still valid for “the second kingdom” or do we need some kind of moral/judicial/ceremonial distinction when we use Genesis to justify what pagans do for pragmatic reasons?

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  5. So Jack, asking you to throw a pie in VanDrunen’s face is out of the question?

    Just kidding!

    McMark, you’re really prickly pear, aren’t you? Is there anyone who shares your unique understanding of the covenant of grace? Or are you an army of one? You seem to come off angry and shrill at just about everyone. Why are you so angry?

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  6. Darryl, this is a helpful way of putting the matter. I’m not sure I agree with David that this singular is the definition of neo-Calvinism, but I’ll certainly keep my eye out for it. I think that neo-Calvinists are more likely to speak of Creation and New (restored, renewed, redeemed) Creation. Perhaps that roughly corresponds to the two kingdoms. Perhaps the clearer difference is the degree of continuity expected. 2K says very little (only the church); neo-Calvinism says all of Creation, eschatologically renewed, a process begun at Christ’s first appearing, and purged of its sinful, fallen elements. Thus, the two kingdoms are becoming and will become one–the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever (Rev 11:15). This will not be completed until the end and so until then there will be two kingdoms, but in the end there will be just one.

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  7. I mean, dude…

    “Back in the mid-1990′s Christian biochemist Terry M. Gray was tried and convicted of heresy by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church…”

    A. We charge that Dr. Terry Gray has committed the public offense of stating that Adam had primate ancestors~ contrary to the Word of God (Genesis 2:7, 1:26,27) and the doctrinal standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (WCF IV.2, W L C 17).

    I had no idea it was like this until I started looking stuff up tonight.

    http://www.spindleworks.com/library/wcf/fi_OPC.htm

    And if you knew my internet history, I’m a pluralist–I stand up for the fundies when the smugglies are sliming them. But I thought, well, it doesn’t matter what I used to think. This has been a helluvan education.

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  8. Tom,

    It may also shock you to learn that OPC elders are required to believe in “Jesus” and “God”.

    Don’t you have another blog you need to be heading off to? Maybe a “Gadflies Anonymous” meeting or something? You could go harass the Iowa Democratic Party for me.

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  9. Dudes,

    Re: creation, and the OPC

    Just Google, ‘opc creation report.’ The one from 2004. You can find mention of the Gray trial in that official document. It’s worth checking out.

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  10. What a difference a country makes. A representative of a Japan Presbyterian denomination told me their Genesis “line in the sand” is creatio ex nihilo.

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  11. Erik, you’ll be relieved to know that I am presently a member of the CRCNA. Your regard for the OPC should be unaffected by your newfound information about me. It’s been a life-long dilemma, as I’ve mentioned here before, as to whether it’s best to be a conservative in a liberal church or a liberal in a conservative one. When I was on the faculty at Calvin and a member of the OPC, think I was both at the same time–talk about an identity crisis!

    It is the case, however, that the Harvest OPC session did accept my retreat to a position of “agnosticism”, I.e. I don’t know how to put all the pieces together satisfactorily. Dooyeweerd talks about a “docta ignorantia”. Some of us can leave things in a “gray” area. My opinions are scattered all over the Internet–you’re welcome to read all about it. Here is a fairly recent musing: http://evanevodialogue.blogspot.com/2008/11/that-old-time-theology-revisited.html and the Overture to the 2010 CRCNA Synod that what mainly my work (undoing Declaration F from Synod’s report from the early 90’s). More or less I still claim to be following B.B. Warfield’s position. There are some genetic data suggesting that the evolving population of humans was 5000-10,000, thus complicating a single pair origin from a biological perspective. I still firmly hold, nonetheless, to a historic Adam and Eve.

    Tom, even though Darryl would never say I belong to the club, I have many Old School Presbyterian convictions (including my belief in theist evolution a la Warfield’s and Machen!). I’m flattered to be known as “THE Terry M. Gray” and appreciate it that you think my comments are cool.

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  12. Cheers, Dr. Gray. Yes, your comments were cool.

    My own interest in this creationism thing has been that conservatives–whether political or theological but often both–are most vulnerable to delegitimization by the secularists or leftists [and often both] by the Genesis issue.

    The irony is that Inherit the Wind is quite a distortion–the William Jennings Bryan character as the height of conservative hubris and ignorance. So I looked up the actual real-life Monkey Trial transcript. On the key point, Bryan is quite elegant:

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/day7.htm

    Clarence Darrow–Then, when the Bible said, for instance, “and God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day,” that does not necessarily mean twenty-four hours?
    William Jennings Bryan–I do not think it necessarily does.
    Q–Do you think it does or does not?
    A–I know a great many think so.
    Q–What do you think?
    A–I do not think it does.
    Q–You think those were not literal days?
    A–I do not think they were twenty-four-hour days.
    Q–What do you think about it?
    A–That is my opinion–I do not know that my opinion is better on that subject than those who think it does.
    Q–You do not think that ?
    A–No. But I think it would be just as easy for the kind of God we believe in to make the earth in six days as in six years or in 6,000,000 years or in 600,000,000 years. I do not think it important whether we believe one or the other.

    Certainly OPC or any church has the right, perhaps the duty, of enforcing orthodoxy as it sees fit. But on this one, I find WJB’s answer sufficient both for church and for the public square. [There’s an irony in here somewhere about HL Mencken dissing WJ Bryan but praising the leading founder of the OPC, JG Machen.]

    But if conservative Christianity is going to try to shtup a literal Genesis onto the public square, I must change my mind about this 2K business and side with it, because creationism delegitimizes Christianity. Blessed are the stupid, for they shall inherit the churches, and hopefully leave the rest of us alone.

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  13. Terry – Some of us can leave things in a “gray” area

    Erik – But what if you were Terry Black or Terry White?

    Tom,

    I kind of like Bryan’s answers. Part of the appeal of 2K is that we don’t have to insist that the Bible answers every question under the sun.

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  14. Erik, neo-Calvinists don’t believe the Bible answers every question. You seem to keep saying that. The Bible says stuff about God, human-nature, God’s rule over all things Created. Nothing about DNA in the Bible as far as I can tell. What neo-Calvinists do say is that our religious being impinges on all of life, how we live and move and have our being. At least we acknowledge God for his Creation, Providence, gifts, etc. and all these good things to undeserving sinners who have been redeemed in Christ.

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  15. I kind of like Bryan’s answers. Part of the appeal of 2K is that we don’t have to insist that the Bible answers every question under the sun.

    Hm. My thought was if there’s no “Christian” way to do plumbing, why is there a “Christian” way to do the physical sciences?

    And I too like Bryan’s answers. As a religious pluralist, I find myself defending the fundies’ right to believe stupid stuff, and have argued that creationism doesn’t strictly affect one’s ability to be a good plumber, or even a physicist, for that matter.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/j_lisle.asp

    But geez, I’d rather not have to…

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  16. Tom – Hm. My thought was if there’s no “Christian” way to do plumbing, why is there a “Christian” way to do the physical sciences?

    Erik – I agree. The best we can hope for is that people set whatever biases they have aside and honestly look at data. Unfortunately this seems hard for people to do, even when it comes to science.

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  17. Terry, that may be, but speaking of two kingdoms neo-Calvinism hasn’t exactly been a boon to the only one Jesus actually instituted (as opposed to the other one he simply legitimated) in his earthly ministry, that one which proclaims the new creation. Instead, neo-Calvinism emphasizes the restoration of the old creation. As Van Drunen puts it:

    This holistic kingdom vision—notably different from Calvin’s kingdom theology—is undergirded by many of the features of neo-Calvinism mentioned above: the emphasis upon worldview, the creation-fall-redemption paradigm, and the drive for cultural transformation. One of its chief theological distinctives is the conviction that redemption consists in enabling Christians to take up again the original cultural task of Adam, that is, the task of developing the potentialities of creation and perhaps even building the stuff of the world-to-come, the new heavens and new earth. If this is
    what redemption is, it is quite logical to conclude that the church is important for the Christian life but not precisely where the main action lies. The main action is in fulfilling the original creation mandate in the various spheres of human culture.

    So 2k is with you when it comes to the very goodness and legitimacy of the original creation. But it parts with you on emphasis, which is to be placed on the new creation. Creation re-gained versus re-creation gained and all that.

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  18. Erik, my bad. Your attribution of Bryan’s view to 2K made me think that neo-Calvinism was the alternative.

    Zrim, here is one of DVD’s errors, in my opinion. He confuses the Covenant of Works with the Creation Mandate. The cultural task did not stop when Adam failed in the Covenant of Works. The cultural task was not re-instituted with Christ (“enabling Christians to take up again”). Christ did what Adam failed to do in the Covenant of Works, but the Creation Mandate, the “task of developing the potentialities of Creation” continued even in the Fallen world. This development would have happened in an unfallen world had that been our lot and most likely will continue in some fashion in the age to come.

    The continuing Creation Mandate is not part of redemption–it’s a continuation of Creation. The “redemption” part of that, and I’m a bit hesitant to use redemption language here, has to do with opposing sin and its effects in this world. The HC answers on Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, and deliver us from evil, all point in this direction. Christ has redeemed the cosmos-–already! It is finished! But between now and the Parousia, he’s mopping up and we’re called to be his partners in that mopping up operation. Of course, there are only first fruits in this age and it’s in the church that we see the main benefits. There will be a glorious appearing when all of Christ’s and our enemies will be crushed.

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  19. But, Terry, that’s sort of the point over here–it’s not in the church that we see the main benefits. With the sort of posture neo-Calvinism has in its emphasis on the continuation of the CM, the real action is outside the church. At best, church is where the culture improvers and warriors go to re-charge their spiritual batteries so they can go back out and give God a pious hand in doing something only he can do. That’s a far cry from the sort of otherworldly piety 2k wants to nurture, which has more to do with eating and drinking unto eternal life. There is also a big difference in the sort of this-worldly piety each has, neo-Calvinism being about transformation and 2k about preservation.

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  20. Zrim, why you must insist on competition is beyond me. God’a action is in all spheres each according to their distinctive norms. Believers exercise their vocations as God has called. Some to full-time ministry in the church, some in other spheres, all called by God to do his bidding. All members of the church are called to gather together in worship, discipleship, fellowship, gospel proclamation, sacrament, and evangelist mission. There’s no compromise of the unique work of the church. Sentiments that “all the world is God’s so the golf course or national park is just as worshipful as the church service” are simply ridiculous.

    An alternative sentiment that I will resist is the idea that churchy vocations are more important and have more lasting significance than non-churchy ones. So if you want to do something significant you should be a pastor or a missionary. That’s the kind of nonsense that you seem to be promoting. It’s one of the things that led me to Reforrmed Christianity in contrast to other worldly minded pietism/evangelical. That’s what you get when you say the church or missions/evangelism is where the real action is.

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  21. Terry – but the Creation Mandate, the “task of developing the potentialities of Creation” continued even in the Fallen world.

    Erik – If this is true, would you confess that unbelievers are sharing in that task with believers? I see unbelievers doing a lot of amazing and useful things with great competence.

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  22. Terry – There’s no compromise of the unique work of the church. Sentiments that “all the world is God’s so the golf course or national park is just as worshipful as the church service” are simply ridiculous.

    An alternative sentiment that I will resist is the idea that churchy vocations are more important and have more lasting significance than non-churchy ones. So if you want to do something significant you should be a pastor or a missionary. That’s the kind of nonsense that you seem to be promoting.

    Erik – I think the answer is in between the two extremes that you cite. Work in both kingdoms is important.

    We all work at our vocations and then also hopefully have something to contribute to the work of the church (in time, money, serving as an officer, etc.).

    The problems arise when people aren’t content with the extent of each kingdom. At that point they wrongly raise up the church and intrude on the civil/common sphere (or intrude on Christian liberty) or they wrongly raise up the civil/common sphere a la “aggressive” Neocalvinism and minimalize the Church as Zrim suggests.

    A real life example: We used to have a woman member who grew up in the CRC. Her dad worked with the CRC’s relief agency. He had a hard time with our URC because he thought we were nothing more than navel-gazers. He thought Christianity was about going out and “doing” in the world. He had been a Reformed college faculty member in the past, I believe.

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  23. Terry – other worldly minded pietism/evangelical. That’s what you get when you say the church or missions/evangelism is where the real action is.

    Erik – The day that this is a description of Zrim is the same day I start sounding like Richard & Tom.

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  24. Terry, not important versus unimportant but temporal versus eternal. And it’s actually the older Reformed view being promoted by 2k that includes a robust doctrine of vocation which denies precisely the sort of world-flight piety you want to deny and affirms the world-affirmation you want to affirm. And it’s neo-Calvinism that like medieval piety sets up the false dichotomy between ordained vocation and baptized vocation, creating all manner of Christian ghetto. You’re the guys who have redemptive versions of creational institutions and tasks, up to and including schools, which gives rise to a test of the alleged world-affirming piety of neo-Calvinism: can you conceive of the value of secular education for believers? My guess is you’ll say yes, but until you admit the institutional church has no calling whatsoever to baptized academics (contra CRC CO 71) then you’re more world-flight than world-affirming.

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  25. Zrim, as I’ve said for the bazillionth time. Christian schools are not the work of the institutional church. However, education in general is quite informed by your worldview and thus is an appropriate place for an alleged ghetto (I prefer “pillar”).

    As per Erik’s comment, I am glad to see that your otherworldliness doesn’t find its way into your day to day living.

    TG

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  26. Terry, your theory doesn’t match neo-Cal practice where it is very much the work of the institutional church, if church budgets with beefy Christian ed categories mean anything here at ground zero. Even so, I take your response to yet presume that creation really isn’t as very good as is and needs some amount of baptizing, in which case you might want to refrain from touting neo-Calvinism for world affirmation. Making room for ghettos (or pillars) is Protestant medievalism and Reformed evangelicalism.

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  27. Terry,

    How is it not a violation of sphere sovereignty to have an article in the church order that requires elders to “promote godly schooling” If this is then interpreted as only Christian or (maybe) homeschooling? Isn’t education within the sphere of the family?

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  28. Erik, perhaps it is. No one has said that CRCNA or URC is consistent in their neo-Calvinism. Certainly, there’s several violations (Calvin College, CRWRC, office of Social Justice). We’ve gone over this before–I think you can read the CO in a way that doesn’t violate it. It doesn’t call on the church to start and maintain Christian schools–it calls on members to do so. So it recognizes that education is not in the sphere of the church but of the family (members).

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  29. Terry, so if as you say religious being impinges on all of life then where are the calls for members to start and maintain Christian businesses and hospitals, etc.? Why just schools? And if education falls within the sovereign sphere of the family then why not learn from the Catholics and leave it to the family to decide how to educate (Christian, home, secular, etc.), instead of implying that families have some sort of biblical duty to choose one form over any other?

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  30. Darryl, under previous president Galen Byker, Calvin went on record saying it does not accept sphere sovereignty, as he defended continuing denominational ownership. It’s barely safe to be Kuyperian as Calvin. You ‘re out on a limb if you are a Dooyeweerdian. Being Reformed simply means being transformational.

    Zrim, no real beef with you. I think the CO could do without it. The call to covenant faithfulness in raising our children seems appropriate. However, Christian schools are just one way of doing that.

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  31. Terry, the call to covenant faithfulness in raising our children is more than appropriate–it’s required. But catechism is the only way of doing it. Christian academics are liberty but neo-Calvinism will never say that, no more than Fundamentalists concede that substance use is liberty. Asceticism of the mind and body both die hard.

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  32. Zrim, doesn’t catechism address the worldview questions: who is God? Who is man? What is creation? How does God relate to creation? What’s wrong? How does God fix it? Where is history going? What is my purpose in life? What is my only comfort? These catechism questions are deeply embedded in Christian schooling and home schools. It seems that some families might come together via a Christian school to catechize in addition to teach Creational truth. And, of course, catechism is the only correct context for Creational knowledge.

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  33. Terry,

    So you’re saying that if my kids go to the local evangelical school they are going to be catechized using the Heidelberg?

    Not everyone lives in Grand Rapids, Pella, Sioux County, South of Chicago, Lynden, etc.

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  34. Terry, I don’t have a problem with them co-existing, but I just don’t see how catechism relies in any way on curriculum. What hath the three Rs to do with the three Persons? The early church didn’t have Christian academics and yet the church thrived (one can only assumed the catechism was healthy). If neos could just admit they simply want their children surrounded by other Christians instead of pushing worldviewery, it would go down easier. How it aligns with being in the world but not of it is another matter, since it tends to breed the opposite, which brings us back to the world-flight problem.

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  35. Terry, the catechism was written in the 16th century. W-w language did not arise until the 19th. You’re guilty of a historical anachronism.

    You really should be able to empathize. Genesis was written (?) in 1,500 BC. Darwin comes in the 19th c. Is Genesis 1-3 addressing biological science?

    Don’t be guilty of the sins of your accusers.

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  36. Darryl, you’re such a nitpicker. I’m using catechism in the most generic sense–to teach Christian doctrine. As such the idea of worldview even though relatively modern in articulation goes way back. I do let the theology of the Bible provide the worldview context for my science. I have no trouble with that.

    Erik, not sure Evangelical Christian schools count. I think the CO has in mind Reformed Christian schools.

    Zrim, if you think education is just about the 3R’s in practice or in principle then I’d say you’re crazy. No educator thinks that. Ask Darryl, the purpose of public education was to get those immigrants to think like an American civil religion pseudo-Protestant and to wring out of the any sort of sectarianism. We’ve gone full circle now to a principled multiculturalism.

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  37. Terry – Erik, not sure Evangelical Christian schools count. I think the CO has in mind Reformed Christian schools.

    Erik – Well then that’s a hell of a burden to put on people who don’t live in Dutch ghettos.

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  38. Terry, that’s sloppy history. Certain notions actually have historical origins. Waving a wand over that history is something historians won’t allow. You can ignore this, but that would be like ignoring what you do when it comes to the workings of the natural world. Your call.

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  39. Erik, no burden. There’s always homeschooling. We homeschooled in Grand Rapids, in part because we thought the schools were a bit fundy leaning on science issues.
    And I personally don’t rule out public schools, you you have to work harder to see the connections between catechism and curriculum.

    Darryl, I don’t disagree with your history–but I’m not doing history. Surely it’s not a problem to take a modern idea like worldview and apply it to prior ages–even if somewhat anachronistically. I’m not necessarily suggesting that prior ages thought in precisely those terms. I’m more concerned with how we apply it today now that we have that sort of intellectual framework. There I will stand by my notion (along the lines of Jim Sire’s discussion in The Universe Next Door) that our theology (catechism) affects the way we view the world (worldview). Theology proper, anthropology, harmartiology, soteriology, eschatology all have implications for life. Ideas (catechism) have consequences. That’s all I’m saying. Can’t you agree with that?

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  40. Terry, I don’t deny the theoretical history of public education in America. But if you think most educators in the real world aren’t simply trying to get Johnny and Suzie to read and write more than program a worldview then crazy back at you. You indicate you were hesitant on the scientific fundamentalism around here, but your snap about principled multiculturalism sounds culturally fundie. And the fact that one “does have to work hard to see the the connections between catechism and curriculum” should tell you something. CVT was beside himself with the state of modern Christian ed, but maybe nobody was doing it to his philosophical satisfaction because there is no such thing as Christian curriculum. Christian doing education, yes, but education that is Christian? Two very different things, I say.

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  41. Terry – Erik, no burden. There’s always homeschooling.

    Erik – Yeah, and there’s always gnawing off your own arm if it gets trapped under a rock.

    And I know of what I speak. We’ve homeschooled all four kids at some point.

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  42. Terry, I cannot agree with it because the logic of w-w developed at a particular point in history in reaction to the French Revolution. W-w is an affirmation of integralism. Neo-Cals are like Roman Catholics in that regard. They both point with horror to France. But what has not been shown is that Christians need to be integrated in their thinking. Some could argue that this was the original temptation of the serpent or what the Tower of Babel project was all about.

    So while the Dutch were reacting to Napolean, they lost sight of biblical texts that might have suggested a different set of considerations. And once again the culture wars influenced theology.

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  43. Darryl, I guess we’re stuck if we can’t agree on that. To me integration flows out of the first commandment and the great commandment. You gotta serve somebody.

    Erik, you lost me on the pay cut comment. But it does remind me that there may be a communal aspect to some of these things. While I tend to push Christian liberty, I think there is a place for corporate choices, I.e. we limit our liberty as part of a social/political process. Even the idea of a church order is an agreement within a group to do things a certain way. If you are going to be part of that group then you agree to do things the way the group decides: if you disagree, you can passively submit, you can lobby in an orderly way for change, or you can separate, but there’s no place for civil disobedience or rebellion. So my advice to you who find the church order out of line–lobby for its change. Don’t keep complaining to me about it.

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  44. Terry,

    I’ve expressed my objection to my Consistory. I’ll also likely never serve as an active elder in the URC again because of it (although I could be wrong).

    My point about the pay cut is that it seems petty to me to penalize a minister because he chooses to homeschool. It’s up to him how he spends his money, whether it’s on Christian school tuition, homeschool materials, or beer. A large church with one pastor can afford it either way. Evangelical church staffs are huge compared to ours. Dutch cheapness can get ridiculous.

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  45. Terry, thanks for the advice, but it seems to me one should at least perceive some potential support for a change in the church order before doing any sort of lobbying. If there isn’t then it seems like more of a crusade. Call it what you will, but this 2ker doesn’t perceive much of that in the Dutch Reformed world and is content to voice his scruples when nominated for office and thus have his name scrubbed. Seems like good order, which beats crusading both in and outside the church.

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  46. Zrim – and is content to voice his scruples when nominated for office and thus have his name scrubbed

    Erik – Indeed. Didn’t Paul tell Timothy to aspire to the office of elder or deacon in exile? We’re like DeGaulle setting up the French government in England.

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  47. Erik, yes, it’s a good aspiration, but given the fact that spiritual leaders will be judged more strictly I’d say certain scruples help some of us dodge bullets. Phew.

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