John Clarifies Confusing Johns

John Calvin, the Genevan reformer who had the most influence on the theology of the colonial clergy, taught that rebellion against civil government was never justified: “If we keep firmly in mind that even the worst kings are appointed by this same decree which establishes the authority of kings, then we will never permit ourselves the seditious idea that a king is to be treated according to his deserts, or that we need not obey a king who does not conduct himself towards us like a king.” Calvin added: “we must honour 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.” He taught that Christians must “venerate” even those rulers who were “unworthy” of veneration. As political scientist Gregg Frazer has argued, “One cannot legitimately employ Calvin to justify rebellion, which is why the patriotic preachers argued in terms of ‘Mr. Locke’s doctrine’ rather than Calvin’s.” In the end, today’s Christians who are interested in understanding the relationship between Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 and the American Revolution must come to grips with the fact that many patriotic clergy may have been more influenced in their political positions by John Locke than the Bible. (John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? 118-19)

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310 thoughts on “John Clarifies Confusing Johns

  1. A teaser from DGH’s upcoming book “Calvinism: A History.”

    Hart covers overlooked groups such as the German Reformed in North America. While the OPC is often regarded as a hybrid of Dutch Reformed and Scottish Presbyterian sources, it might be that it most closely resembles the German Reformed in temperament. Hart writes: “German Calvinism would not yield the busybodies that Scottish Presbyterianism and Dutch Calvinism produced. The Germans were sober, diligent, resilient, and content to let others experience the headache and excitements that came with running things.”

    (Swiped from the OPC GA docket, written by OPC Historian John Muether.)

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  2. Dr. Fea is currently working on a book, “A Presbyterian Rebellion: The American Revolution in the Mid-Atlantic.” The world anxiously awaits his deeper research into the subject, and hopes that his studies into the necessary political theology do not begin merely in the two decades or so before 1776, but a couple centuries before*.

    The counterargument is that it was Locke who was influenced by the Calvinist resistance theory of the 100 years before the 1689 publication of his Treatises on Government and was seen by the Founding era as a continuation of that tradition of “Christian thought,” not as the father of a new secular “Enlightenment thought.”
    _______
    E.g>

    A Short Treatise on Political Power, John Ponet, D.D. (1556) President John Adams credited this Calvinist document as being at the root of the theory of government adopted by the the Americans. According to Adams, Ponet’s work contained “all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke” including the idea of a three-branched government. (Adams, Works, vol. 6, pg. 4). Published in Strassbourg in 1556, it is one of the first works out of the Reformation to advocate active resistance to tyrannical magistrates, with the exception of the Magdeburg Bekkentis (the Magdeburg Confession).

    http://www.constitution.org/primarysources/primarysources.html

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  3. Tom, a counter-counter argument is what Fea wrote. Calvin did not support resistance. So how could Locke get it from Calvin?

    Or maybe you think Calvin wasn’t a Calvinist?

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  4. D, do you genuinely not follow the argument or are you being sophistic? At this point I’ll happily yield the floor to Mr. Larson, who clearly does understand the argument. It’s not based solely on John Knox, as Calvin discouraged him, but Knox was the major founder of the Church of Scotland, the predecessor church of your own OPC, and was by all accounts a “Calvinist.”

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  5. Tom, apparently you don’t understand. Was Locke or Calvin more responsible for the American rebellion? It’s a tangled question. You seem to think that the answers are as easy as you put them. You could, for instance, try to show that Jefferson or Adams was reading Calvin or Beza. You could also try to show that Locke was reading Calvin or Beza. All you seem to have is that the Founders read Locke, Locke read some resistance theory, and voila — Calvinism bears the burden for the American revolution. But why stop with Calvinism? The Calvinists read Lutherans and the Lutherans and Calvinists read Roman Catholic resisters. In other words, you stop the process of historical development at a place where the decision to stop is arbitrary. The only think that seems to be compelling to you is that some Old Lifers oppose your reading and of course they can’t be right.

    The opponents of your view may not be correct, but that hardly vindicates your argument (whatever it is). If I’m too often theological, you’re primarily personal in your argument. So much so that you can’t even concede your position is debatable. And the quotes from Fea and Frazer certainly indicate your argument is not the last word.

    So why not knock off ridiculing people who disagree with (all about) YOU?

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  6. Darryl, if you don’t state the other fellow’s argument honestly, you cannot claim victory over it.

    200 years of Calvinist resistance theory before the American revolution—as well as John Calvin’s own pervasive influence over Geneva’s civil government–raise a serious historical challenge to your “radical” variation of Two Kingdoms theology and resultant criticism of the Founding, many of your contemporary co-religionists, and of the Religious Right.

    It’s your theology that is debatable, and your history as far as it ignores the above. That is all. Peace.

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  7. Tom, thanks for being direct. You disagree with 2k. That’s fine. You support Sarah Palin. Fine. But you assume that my theology is somehow responsible for what John Fea and Gregg Frazer wrote? Are you kidding?

    Perhaps you are aware that Calvinists in Scotland, Canada, and Geneva did not support the American Revolution.

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  8. Knox is saying bad things about Catholicism. Aren’t you conflicted?

    History is history. I went to the American Revolution looking for Thomism and found Calvinism. America was more a Protestant nation than a “Christian” one*, and more Reformed than Lutheran or Anglican. Very interesting story.
    _____
    *Or an “Enlightenment” one, if one considers the Enlightenment in its common sense of secular vs. religious, reason over revelation. The Scottish Common Sense Enlightenment as taught by James Wilson and John Witherspoon was quite friendly to Protestantism and to natural law, and fit very well into the Christian context.

    “The law of nature and the law of revelation are both Divine: they flow, though in different channels, from the same adorable source. It is indeed preposterous to separate them from each other.”
    —James Wilson, Of the Law of Nature

    If one’s exposure to the Founding is restricted to the voluminous and oft-quoted post-presidential pontifications of Adams and Jefferson, people can get completely the wrong picture of the Founding. And do.

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  9. DGH: Tom, thanks for being direct. You disagree with 2k. That’s fine. You support Sarah Palin. Fine. But you assume that my theology is somehow responsible for what John Fea and Gregg Frazer wrote? Are you kidding?

    I am acquainted with both gentlemen, Darryl. Dr. Frazer has been a frequent topic [and guest!] in the comments section of my home blog, American Creation. Indeed, we have sharpened each other’s iron, as it were. As for Dr. Fea, he too has been a friend of the blog. I’m anxious to see what happens when he rolls his sleeves up on the Calvinism question. My own major point has been that one cannot understand the theology of the American revolution without understanding the English civil wars of the 1600s.

    The theology is all settled in 1688 with the abdication/exile of Charles II and the enthronement of King William and Queen Mary [whom they import from Holland!]. Calvin is quite right that you can’t just overthrow unjust governments. But you can overthrow illegitimate ones with a more legitimate authority [“magistrates”], in the American case that the king “abdicated” and the Continental Congress were the legitimate magistrates, not the British parliament.

    The arguments of the Declaration of Independence are a rerun of the justifications for Britain’s Glorious Revolution of 1688.

    The Americans gave much respect to this stuff. Just because they rejected the absolutist position on Romans 13–which amounts to a practical endorsement of the Divine Right of Kings–does not mean they rejected Romans 13 completely. Romans 13 forbids the individual from unilaterally rebelling [“Let every soul“], but not the inferior magistrates standing up for the people they represent, backed by the sovereign people as a whole.

    As regards your [radical?] “2K” theology, I have given it much thought, and find the weak spot is in where the line between church and state–or more precisely, religion and government–has drifted. Ecclesiastical courts [and/or canon law] used to handle the business of marriage and family and many other facets of society. At first, when the Puritans left ecclesiastical courts back in England as too Catholic, biblical morality still easily found its way into civil law–as we see from James Wilson, and from the great English jurist William Blackstone, that the Bible and natural law could conflict was unthinkable–they both came from God.

    However, as church and state religion and government have been forcibly separated by 20th century jurisprudence, the idea that “you can’t legislate morality” hath falsely crept into our concept of law. But of course you can legislate morality. You can’t Michael Vick your dog, you can’t screw on the sidewalk.

    So what has happened is that Christians and biblical morality have been pushed out of the public square–or neutered–so much so that if biblical morality agrees with a natural law argument [such as over gay marriage], it’s an improper mix of “church and state!”

    But it’s not yet time for rolling over to recently-drawn judicial boundaries [post-Everson vs. Board of Education 1947] that are unprecedented in Protestant history [post 1517, as it were]—limits on “spheres of sovereignty” that are the product of changing the meaning of words such as “liberty.” To John Calvin, or to Locke, or to those who ratified the American Constitution, “liberty is not license.” And as long as we have an influence on your [our] magistrates [legislators], I cannot agree that we are commanded by the Bible to accept these illegitimate boundaries.

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  10. Tom,

    We’ve had a “war on terror” going since 9/11. We have many Christians in the U.S. Some of them are Calvinists. Do you say that Calvinism is the inspiration for the war on terror?

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  11. Tom,

    Why are you concerned with the Bible influencing public policy if you don’t even regard it highly enough to be a member of a church?

    And who says the Bible doesn’t influence public policy? A legislator is free to quote from the Bible all they want while campaigning or in office. An attorney arguing before a court can quote the Bible if they want to. It’s a free country.

    Was King George prohibiting freedom of religion? If he wasn’t, were Christians using religious pretense in order to just keep more of their material stuff?

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  12. The practical problem of trying to govern by using the Bible is that Jesus himself tells us that the road is narrow. This creates problems in a representative republic where you have to persuade majorities.

    Tom might say that the majority doesn’t want to live in a whorehouse. Just yesterday the twice-elected administration said they want to make the Plan B abortion pill available to anyone, no matter how young, over the counter. For the majority of people in our country sexual freedom is the highest value. It looks like the majority of Americans do want to live in a whorehouse.

    The only possible solution to this problem is solid churches, and even then the road remains narrow.

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  13. It doesn’t work, Tom.

    Sin.

    That is why. We are all bound in it. There’s no making this place (any place) into the utopian Kingdom of God on earth. it ain’t gonna happen.

    And the danger is to link right behavior with the gospel.

    Would you really want to live in Puritan New England? I highly doubt it.

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  14. How much time did Jesus spend addressing the ills of govt. during his time on earth?

    Virtually none. Zero. Zip. Nada.

    He had much bigger fish to fry.

    __

    We have as role as citizens to do what we can…but NEVER ought we link this ‘law’ work… with the gospel.

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  15. Tom, are you doing history or theology or simply opining? When you say you can’t agree with an interpretation of the Bible, that’s theology. When you say that 1776 was a version of 1688, or that churches used to handle civil matters, that has the sound of history but you are actually saying that what used to be should be. I have no trouble with someone who believes that the U.S. at a certain point was a better polity than today. But that isn’t historical. That’s a normative statement based on history. This is all your opinion (and yet you cry foul when others have their opinions).

    What is difficult for your position is that you like the Baylys selectively invoke the past. If you want 1776 you don’t really have 1688. If you want Puritan supervision of the public realm you also get that nasty bit about witches. You want the good parts without the bad. That’s not very historical.

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  16. When you say that 1776 was a version of 1688, or that churches used to handle civil matters, that has the sound of history but you are actually saying that what used to be should be.

    What I’m saying is your 2K theology draws the line in a different place on these matters than where both Calvin and the Founders understood it to be, and that biblical/natural law morality needn’t be cordoned off by a misapplied church and state separation.

    Further, my objection to your Romans 13 absolutism is that it puts you with the Divine Right of Kings, a theology that has been dead for over 300 years. But you’re correct it’s my opinion that the Divine Right of Kings is unsound biblically. Guilty. But it is a devastating rebuttal, both rhetorically and substantively, so I think it’s worth your while to attempt to separate yourself from it. If you can.

    As for “selectively invoking the past,” ’tis you are guilty of it right here, by invoking the freak occurrence of the Salem witch trials as the basis for an argument, or that it’s a fair analogy to say, the political question of gay marriage.

    As for immantizing the eschaton, no, that’s not me. That’s more the modern project, to which I am opposed. Man is far too depraved for perfection, and the utopian schemes of modernity require a more perfect human than God hath created.

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  17. TVD, You keep working with categories with different genesis than ours. 2k is a theological construct emanating from a biblical theological distinction between cult and culture. Let me give you an example 1 cor. 5;

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    2k as a theological construct is an ‘in-house’ grid by which we argue that the church militant should conduct itself. Much like the distinction Paul is making in the aforementioned letter. This sort of distinction informs the american presbyterian revision of the WCF in 1788 in removing the civil magistrates oversight of ecclesial concerns up to and including adjudicating heresy. It’s a distinction, in fairness that needs to cut both ways, and it’s best argued from the perspective of competence, holding aside all the erastian abuses, unless you’re keen on Prince Charles overseeing your religious catechetical training. We don’t want Barney Frank adjudicating christian heresy trials and likewise the state department doesn’t want to take it’s cues from John Hagee(zionist) on the Israeli-palestinian situation. Now, within these distinctions is the idea of dual citizenship; I’m both an american citizen and an officer in a christian church. There may and are numerous legitimate stands or opinions I may express or act upon as a citizen that are entirely inappropriate in my role as a church officer or for the church corporate. Example; I may work at the local election office for Barack Obama and solicit votes for him in the community. That political association has no business being championed in the church militant or prejudicing my decisions and behaviors as regards church discipline or administration(these decisions are informed from scripture). This is where we come back to Paul’s distinction aforementioned; ‘drive the sexually immoral from you'(cultic practice). I do NOT mean the sexually immoral of the world, for what have I (apostle-ecclesial office) to do with judging outsiders.

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  18. Sean,

    Excellent explanation. Now if only the Spurs can be as coherent tonight.

    Tom,

    Can you see why part ways with the Baylys (other than their personalities)?

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  19. Tom, try not to imitate Doug by drawing all sorts of conclusions from a comment at a blog. I invoked the Witch Trials only to mention but one development that you conveniently ignore. The greater question is how to make the past a model for the present. That seems to be what you do. My only model for the present is Scripture. Sola scriptura guilty. And so far I’m reading Scripture differently from Winthrop and Calvin. Guilty. But I don’t confess Winthop or Calvin. Innocent. I confess a confession which summarizes God’s word. Guilty.

    In addition, I study history and know some missing links (in your account) between 1688 and 1776 and 2013. Those missing links indicate that I don’t need to follow Calvin and Winthrop the way your historical absolutism does. I know about Witherspoon (who according to Fea and Frazer followed Locke more than Calvin — he didn’t confess Calvin either; and when he revised the Confession of faith he didn’t mention a magistrate’s duty to protect rights). I also know about Henry Van Dyke, sr., who taught the spirituality of the church and that the church should not involve itself in politics. I also know about 20th c. figures who also refused to let the church become involved in politics. Are you telling me I’m supposed to play ignorant because other scholars, who don’t apparently study the history of theology or the church aside from a few notable figures, don’t know about these developments and haven’t factored them in? And am I supposed to be ashamed of knowing historical developments that you (and they) don’t know about? And is this history in theological and church circles somehow irrelevant to the way that we trace the influence of Calvinism? Devastating my arse?

    Tom, you do theology all the time. You can’t help but do so when you invoke the Bible and Calvinist positions on politics. The normative language is all over the place. You’re as mired with dogmatism and exclusivity as the next guy. Your conceit is that you don’t know it.

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  20. Tom Van Dyke, just to let you know, radical two kingdom theology understands 1 Cor. 5 in a very, bazaar, fashion. Sean thinks that verse gives him licence to party with, and cavort around with homosexuals socially as long as they are not members of his church. If they were in Seans church, then he could have nothing to do with them!. But because they are not christians, it’s fine to go out drinking with them. Huh?!

    If you’re scratching your head, good for you! I showed Sean verses like “bad company corrupts good morals”, and “be ye separate from the world”, “what fellowship has lightness with darkness”, and “friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God”, and they had no force. Why? Because he has one verse he’s wrenched out of context, to override the whole new testament testimony. It kind of reminiscent of his understanding of Romans 13.

    It’s what puts the “radical” in 2K

    .

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  21. In addition, I study history and know some missing links (in your account) between 1688 and 1776 and 2013. Those missing links indicate that I don’t need to follow Calvin and Winthrop the way your historical absolutism does. I know about Witherspoon (who according to Fea and Frazer followed Locke more than Calvin — he didn’t confess Calvin either; and when he revised the Confession of faith he didn’t mention a magistrate’s duty to protect rights). I also know about Henry Van Dyke, sr., who taught the spirituality of the church and that the church should not involve itself in politics. I also know about 20th c. figures who also refused to let the church become involved in politics. Are you telling me I’m supposed to play ignorant because other scholars, who don’t apparently study the history of theology or the church aside from a few notable figures, don’t know about these developments and haven’t factored them in? And am I supposed to be ashamed of knowing historical developments that you (and they) don’t know about? And is this history in theological and church circles somehow irrelevant

    It’s a shame you passed up the opportunity to educate your flock, then. And to test your arguments.

    Look, you can do or say anything you want inside your own church. You own it, and God’s truth is whatever you say it is. Live like the Amish if you believe that’s God’s Will. But when you start condemning others, that’s ecclesiastical imperialism. Further, it gets rather abusive. I have come to learn that if you abuse your co-religionists so, I can expect no better. At this point I can follow you hammering on the Kuyperians, or watch the Baptists debate the biblicity of Calvinism within their own sect.

    I do find it interesting that your Presbyterian theologies get bound to a particular time and place. For instance, your “revised” 1788 Westminster Confession is solely a creature of the church in the United States. This puts an added weight on your theological history and the necessity to know where you stand in this world both then and now.

    Ironically then, were your religion more catholic and universal, that is, untethered to time and place, there wouldn’t be such a necessary interplay between this world and the next.

    Your customary invocation of the Salem witch trials is not “just another example” of etc.etc.etc., because it was a freak occurrence. As for my own invocation of Bible and Calvinism, I’m using your ontological vocabulary. In the company of unbelievers, I use their language, usually that the Bayly types have a right to their opinions and for those opinions to inform their politics. It’s a question of religious freedom, and where the rubber meets the road between religious and civil liberty–and it’s not a matter of theological indifference.

    Tom, right, Hall admits it is a contested question. Would that you did the same.

    That is self-evident, Darryl. You’re contesting it. ;-P The secular academy likes it even less, since they prefer the American Founding to be a triumph of Enlightenment reason over religious faith [read: irrationality and “superstition”].

    And your version of 2K indeed seems saddled with a defense of the Divine Right of Kings. It is indeed a devastating critique, probably a fatal one in open debate, because it’s pretty much the starting point for the “political theology” of this whole deal.

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  22. Tom Van Dyke, just to let you know, radical two kingdom theology understands 1 Cor. 5 in a very, bazaar, fashion. Sean thinks that verse gives him licence to party with, and cavort around with homosexuals socially as long as they are not members of his church. If they were in Seans church, then he could have nothing to do with them!. But because they are not christians, it’s fine to go out drinking with them. Huh?!

    I must admit that this is where I parted company with the Baylys, calling people “sodomites” and all. Their defense was that they are only using Biblical language, but I question their tactics. I saw an article the other day speaking of the Jesus Truth, but that there is also the Jesus Way. The Jesus Truth gets pretty much like the Pharisees sometimes, when not tempered by the Jesus Way.

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  23. Tom, when I speak to homosexuals, I call them just that, homosexauls. I’m not going to call them sodomites because I think that would poison the well before we even spoke. And the reason I do talk to these men, is always evangelical. But I don’t like using the word “gay” to describe what they do either, because it’s not. Moreover, I find it alarming, that to say “no homo” like the Indiana Pacer player said last week, should cost him 75 thousand dollars.

    We are living in heightened times of sensitivity where any negative thing that’s said about homosexuality can be called a hate crime.

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  24. Sean: TVD, You keep working with categories with different genesis than ours. 2k is a theological construct emanating from a biblical theological distinction between cult and culture. Let me give you an example 1 cor. 5;

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    2k as a theological construct is an ‘in-house’ grid by which we argue that the church militant should conduct itself. Much like the distinction Paul is making in the aforementioned letter. This sort of distinction informs the american presbyterian revision of the WCF in 1788 in removing the civil magistrates oversight of ecclesial concerns up to and including adjudicating heresy. It’s a distinction, in fairness that needs to cut both ways, and it’s best argued from the perspective of competence, holding aside all the erastian abuses, unless you’re keen on Prince Charles overseeing your religious catechetical training. We don’t want Barney Frank adjudicating christian heresy trials and likewise the state department doesn’t want to take it’s cues from John Hagee(zionist) on the Israeli-palestinian situation. Now, within these distinctions is the idea of dual citizenship; I’m both an american citizen and an officer in a christian church. There may and are numerous legitimate stands or opinions I may express or act upon as a citizen that are entirely inappropriate in my role as a church officer or for the church corporate. Example; I may work at the local election office for Barack Obama and solicit votes for him in the community. That political association has no business being championed in the church militant or prejudicing my decisions and behaviors as regards church discipline or administration(these decisions are informed from scripture). This is where we come back to Paul’s distinction aforementioned; ‘drive the sexually immoral from you’(cultic practice). I do NOT mean the sexually immoral of the world, for what have I (apostle-ecclesial office) to do with judging outsiders.

    Thank you, Sean. But very soon–and you hate to legitimize Doug, but you are–the law will compel you to accept homosexuality as the equal of man-woman, and although speaking ill of homosexuality won’t be illegal as it is in Canada [probably], you will have your career and livelihood at stake, and it’ll be legal to screw you. And your children will be inculcated at every turn with homosexuality as alt-normative.

    I understand the problems of the state controlling the church: the Founding era was quite aware that Henry VIII was both king and pope. Indeed, the American Calvinists got upset at the prospect of the crown appointing Anglican bishops in America!

    As for the church controlling the state, for practical purposes there is no “church.” The Catlicks split 50-50 Dem-Rep, the Jews go 90% Dem, and the evangelicals are only 65-35 Rep or so, and I imagine the Protestant mainline is the opposite. There is no reason to fear theocracy, but frankly if Utah wants live and legislate according to Mormon values, the Constitution does not prohibit that.

    I see no theological or political reason that Salt Lake Cityans have to live in Amsterdam if they can help it.

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  25. Doug, I’d rather have the rest of this particular conversation elsewhen. It requires a level of delicacy and sincerity that a discussion of the merely political doesn’t have or need. God has given people with “Same-Sex Attraction” a great burden, one that almost all of them would rather not have. We still don’t understand it very well, so caution is the best part of wisdom here.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/01/same-sex-science

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  26. Sean,

    Miami is scary good when they turn up the defense (Indiana game 7, San Antonio game 2), but they don’t bring it every night. San Antonio is always crafty, though. A six foot one point guard can only get you so far so Manu and everyone else has to step up.

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  27. I think practicing homosexuals could attend our churches indefinitely (unless the intent was just to be disruptive). Joining is another matter due to seventh commandment issues. What better place to be than hearing the law and gospel on a weekly basis (twice on Sundays). Since when do we require people to clean up their act before they can gather with us?

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  28. Tom – and God’s truth is whatever you say it is

    Erik – This ignores the fact that we are governed by Confessions that are hundreds of years old. This is like me telling you that being an American “is whatever you say it is”, just because the Constitution can be and has been amended. What’s the difference?

    There’s no way around the “whatever you say it is” unless you have a Pope, which comes with its own set of problems (like is a Pope biblical).

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  29. Tom – But when you start condemning others, that’s ecclesiastical imperialism.

    Erik – Condemning? Who’s condemning? We can’t have opinions? We have to regard every church and theology as being of equal merit? Really? Do you live this way?

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  30. Tom – Ironically then, were your religion more catholic and universal, that is, untethered to time and place, there wouldn’t be such a necessary interplay between this world and the next.

    Erik – Why Vatican II if Rome felt no need to be tethered to time and place (i.e. the modern world)? Once again, our Confessions are hundreds of years old with not many changes. Yet Rome has a catechism with almost 3,000 entries. That’s timeless in the same way IRS regulations are timeless. You just keep adding to them to try to deal with new circumstances that crop up.

    You should read the Heidelberg and the Westminster Shorter so you have some better background. Each would take you less than 30 minutes.

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  31. TVD, the point was to protect the sanctity of the church and the state from encroachment from each other. Pluralistic society is entirely congruent with the christian church in this age. When the state oversteps into ecclesial concerns, we object, and if necessary, as with the Emperor’s cult(Rome), endure martyrdom. As a U.S. citizen I have enormous problems with establishmentarianism of any stripe. As a localist, I’m all for individual communities, even states, creating democratically imposed particularlities suited to their population. Galveston likes to look at oil platforms from their beachfront property, Santa Monica not so much. As for Doug, well, the lady doth protest too much, me thinks.

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  32. Tom – , usually that the Bayly types have a right to their opinions and for those opinions to inform their politics

    Erik – And we have a right to oppose them for making Christianity a stench in the minds of many needlessly because of their approach and their rhetoric.

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  33. Tom – And your version of 2K indeed seems saddled with a defense of the Divine Right of Kings

    Erik – Actually its a defense of the notion that you can be content with whatever rule you find yourself under as long as you are free to worship God in the way you choose. Man’s life does not merely consist of his other rights and his possessions. We may desire another polity than what we have, but we can learn to live under many polities as Christians. That’s because we have hope beyond this life. We look to the life to come.

    Many Christians today are so tied in knots over politics that they lose sight of this.

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  34. Tom, actually the starting point for this whole deal is Unam Sanctam, which you imperiously blew off. (And am I to believe that when you dismiss me, belittle my cv, mock my arguments, you are a warm and fuzzy follower of Jesus?) If you think Divine Right of Kings is so devastating, why don’t you spell it out rather than blessing your own arguments as brilliant? Calvinists are by nature divine-right theorists of providence because Jesus and Paul were. Just because I believe God ordains whatever is right, including Charles I, doesn’t mean I like monarchy or defend it.

    It’s not just the witches. It’s Servetus. It’s Roger Williams. It’s the Spanish and Roman Inquisition. When theology ruled a lot of people who would today be citizens suffered. To most educated people that is obvious. But it doesn’t fit your “paradigm” of abusing 2k as something illegitimate to Calvinism — which is rich since I now need someone who lauds Arminianism to school me on genuine Calvinism.

    I’m not sure what you’re driving at when I appeal to 1788 — and more (there you go again selectively overlooking the 19th and 20th century Calvinists). We are after all arguing about history. Now you want me to be pietistic and not argue about history. Nervous?

    As for Hall, you are the one who played he-has-the-bigger-cv-phalus-than-you when you asserted that 1776 is about Calvin not Locke. Hall says it’s both/and, and scholars are still arguing about it, including Fea and Frazer. You’re the guy who made it seem it wasn’t contested, and that Tom is smarter than all the Ph.D’s put together.

    BTW, if the American founding was a triumph of Calvinism over the Enlightenment, what the hades happened?

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  35. This is the kind of crap that will get you in trouble over homosexuality (from today’s Des Moines Register). People need to live and let live and not be obnoxious and they’ll be fine legally:

    An apartment complex’s management company will have to pay $147,000 to two gay men after a Council Bluffs jury found the couple had been discriminated against by an on-site maintenance man and others who failed to stop the harassment.

    Jurors awarded $22,000 in economic damages to Charles Anderson and Brandon Morehead, plus $50,000 for emotional distress and $75,000 in punitive damages, according to a news release issued by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which had sued on the couple’s behalf.

    According to the commission, jurors heard testimony that Allen Emert, a maintenance technician for the apartment complex management company, New Life Multi-Family Management LLC, repeatedly harassed the defendants and called them names after he learned in March 2011 that they were sharing a one-bedroom apartment.

    Two of Emert’s supervisors failed to stop the daily epithets, which included, among other things, “queer” and “pillow biters.”

    The four-day jury trial ended in a finding that New Life Multi-Family Management had discriminated against Anderson and Morehead based on their sexual orientation.

    “As the jury in this case determined, there is no place in the state of Iowa for such outrageous and illegal activity, and failure to stop such behavior can result in serious penalties to responsible parties,” Beth Townsend, director of the rights commission, said in the news release. “The Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act were both written to ensure that Iowans are as free from discrimination and harassment in their housing as they would be in their place of employment.”

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  36. Tom, so you are going to save us from having to accept homosexuality?

    No, you’re elect. You’re already saved. Raise your kids in Amsterdam or Salt Lake City. It’s all the same.

    But you ARE saddled with the Divine Right of Kings, although I don’t think Calvinism is. It’s a theology no modern-day Protestant would be caught dead in a field with. Were we to begin at the beginning, I’m not sure your argument would survive past that.

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  37. Tom – , usually that the Bayly types have a right to their opinions and for those opinions to inform their politics

    Erik – And we have a right to oppose them for making Christianity a stench in the minds of many needlessly because of their approach and their rhetoric.

    Roger that, EC. They banned me over this, and for my objection to their high-handedness in manipulating and editing the comments, something that would never happen here.

    😉

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  38. BTW, if the American founding was a triumph of Calvinism over the Enlightenment, what the hades happened?

    Exactly.

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  39. Tom – Secularists love it

    Erik – You look at some of these things wrong. I probably agree with secularists as much as I do with fundamentalists. Don’t worry about teams. Worry about truth.

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  40. Tom,

    Also, secularists don’t love it when George W. Bush is president.

    You need to digest that T.S. Eliot (in many ways a conservative) said, “I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature, and a royalist in politics.”

    With stability comes order and with order often comes fertile ground for the church. Revolution in and of itself is no conservative virtue.

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  41. With stability comes order and with order often comes fertile ground for the church. Revolution in and of itself is no conservative virtue.

    Absolutely. See my remarks elsewhere. Back in the day, they feared not tyranny, but anarchy most. This is why the “magistrates” bit works–a structure of lawful authority remains intact.

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  42. Tom,

    Van Drunen theorizes that this is the main reason for Calvin’s Geneva. He highly valued social stability. Sevetus was seen as a threat to that (and not just by Calvinists).

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  43. Tom, Van Drunen theorizes that this is the main reason for Calvin’s Geneva. He highly valued social stability. Sevetus was seen as a threat to that (and not just by Calvinists).

    Yup. And then look next door to Germany, Luther and the Anabaptists, who by the measure of the times, were both theologically and politically anarchists. It was a bloodbath, man.

    BTW, Servetus is where Beza comes in, in

    De jure magistratuum
    (On the Rights of Magistrates)
    1574

    Concerning the Rights of Rulers Over Their Subjects and the Duty Of Subjects Towards Their Rulers.

    A brief and clear treatise particularly indispensable to either class in these troubled times.

    By Theodore Beza

    http://www.constitution.org/cmt/beza/magistrates.htm

    I had hoped to find a Calvinist hereabouts who’s read it, so I don’t have to. 😉

    I really did come here to learn, not to fight.

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  44. Tom, you are a *blessing* to each and everyone of us here at Old LIfe, even though most of us haven’t realized it yet. You are single handedly causing Darryl to make impassioned arguments to defend his historical omissions. You are forcing him (right in front of his kool aid drinkers) to make the best possible case scenario for his *peculiar* slant of history, which ironically dovetails with his radical two kingdom theology.

    May the best theology win!

    I am learning much! Iron sharpens iron! But I am going to (shut up) watch and listen with great fascination.

    Keep pressing on!

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  45. Tom, my prayer is that we are all granted more wisdom to apply the lessons of history in a God glorifying way from this day forward. History is history, but wisdom should be our goal. And Jesus is the spirit of wisdom and knowledge. Moreover, let’s never forget that all things work together for good, for those of us who love the Lord, and are called according to his purpose.

    I believe that’s the large majority of men here at Old Life, including you, Tom.

    In Jesus name, amen.

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  46. Erik,

    Your comment (10 or 15 up from this one) comparing the CCC to IRS regs is priceless. We forget so often the richness of our tradition as expressed in our historical creeds of the 16th and 17th centuries. They are a testimony to what God was doing with His church at the time. With what I know, to return complaints about our “moving targets” with the Catholic’s Vat II, seems the standard response. I’ll be reading in this regard.

    Carry on,
    AB

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  47. Erik, ahem, everyone else stepped up. Only the Spurs could put Danny Green and Gary Neal front and center at the podium while Manu, Tim and Tony sneak out the back door. We don’t even know what’s next from these guys. Maybe it’s time for the towel boy to bury the Heat for a game.

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  48. Still no clue on what the final outcome will be of the Finals.

    I have never before seen a great athlete like LeBron completely quit out there in a given game and think that is just fine with his image. Then he bounces back and wins the next game.

    Then again, Wilt always packed it in unless his team was 30 points better. He lost a decent number of titles when his team was merely 20 points better.

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  49. I keep reminding myself to never take seriously a LeBron game that isn’t crucial to a series.

    He might even quit early in game 4 and still be MVP of the Finals after another title.

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  50. Tom, and that link proves what? I’m still wondering how you think I believe in the divine right of kings. I believe in the divine right of kings (England and Netherlands), the divine right of republics (U.S. and China), and the divine right of Canada.

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  51. Tom, if you want to learn, then check out Kuyper. Calvinists today read him not Beza. I’m not saying Oldlifers agree with Kuyper. But Kuyper is the norm today, not Beza.

    This is why when you think you’re schooling us on the sixteenth century, you’re not. In the post 1800 environment, Kuyper is much more relevant. And interestingly enough, he founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party. Get it? Calvinism against revolution.

    No Calvinists are debating Beza today. You keep holding us (theologically) to your own personal standard.

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  52. No Calvinists are debating Beza today. You keep holding us (theologically) to your own personal standard.

    Try to state my argument accurately, Darryl. That ain’t it.

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  53. Tom, your argument is that Calvinism influenced the American founding. It did so more than Locke. The Calvinist influence came not from Calvin but from Calvinist resistance theory. And this makes 2k kooky and the academics who stress Adams, Jefferson, and Madison biased.

    What am I missing (except for the part that about some cultural trend to exterminate Christians and that you are above the dirty work of theology)?

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  54. Much closer, thank you, Darryl.

    As for your [breakaway] church in the 21st century, believe what you want. But you keep touting the Westminster Confession as its foundation, particularly the 1788 revision that created the Presbyterian Church in the United States.

    The head of the panel that revised it was none other than American Founder Rev. John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence. If your version of “Two Kingdoms” theology were the norm, the revision was certainly the place to establish it as such, and it’s highly questionable that Witherspoon would have been given the nod.

    You can certainly condemn the Founders if you want, but only on the basis of your particular theology, not on any valid normative historical basis. Or if you’re going to argue that Presbyterianism in the United States and its 1788 revision of the WCF condemned the just-past revolution, it’s time for you to start accepting some of the burden of proof for your demurral.

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  55. Yes, John Witherspoon was the moderator of the group that wrote the American revision of the Westminster Confession, and according to you yourself, yours is a “confessional” faith.

    It’s quite clear that in appointing Witherspoon, the new Presbyterian Church of the United States had no objection to the just-won Amerivan Revolution. [I daresay they were quite pleased with it.]

    So cut the BS, brother. You have no principled reply, so these personal attacks are all you have left.

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  56. Tom,

    For the thousandth time, the revision of Chapter 23 of the Westminster is favorable to Two Kingdoms. You keep bringing that up as if Chapter 23 supports you. It doesn’t. You labored for a while under the illusion that the tiny, little, obscure, baby-sized, splinter-group-like Orthodox Presbyterian Church used their own private version of Chapter 23, but they don’t. They use “Witherspoon’s” 1788 revision. Make a few new arguments or move on. This is getting pathological.

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  57. Tom, For the thousandth time, the revision of Chapter 23 of the Westminster is favorable to Two Kingdoms. You keep bringing that up as if Chapter 23 supports you. It doesn’t. You labored for a while under the illusion that the tiny, little, obscure, baby-sized, splinter-group-like Orthodox Presbyterian Church used their own private version of Chapter 23, but they don’t. They use “Witherspoon’s” 1788 revision. Make a few new arguments or move on. This is getting pathological.

    You’re saying John Witherspoon revised the WFC so that it implicitly condemned the American Revolution?

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  58. Tom – You’re saying John Witherspoon revised the WFC so that it implicitly condemned the American Revolution?

    Erik – You’re the only one here who is arguing for a single, monolithic interpretation of the impact of “Calvinism” on the Revolution.

    I am saying that Westminster 23, as revised, is friendly to Two Kingdoms Theology, as is Belgic 36 of the Belgic. It’s why I can be an officeholder in the URC and say I am a proponent of Two Kingdoms theology. I think the Confessions, as revised, are Biblical. I have more at stake in this than just winning an obscure historical argument with some guy on the internet.

    I do say that it is not surprising that Witherspoon was a college president and a politician as well as a minister. Do you know any politicians today whose public stances do not always match their supposed private, religious, convictions?

    Chapter XXIII

    Of the Civil Magistrate

    I. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, has armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.[1]

    II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto:[2] in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth;[3] so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.[4]

    III. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven;[5] yet he has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed.[6] For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.[7]

    IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates,[8] to honor their persons,[9] to pay them tribute or other dues,[10] to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake.[11] Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them:[12] from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted,[13] much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.[14]

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  59. Now compare the Revision of Paragraph 3 (but not 4):

    CHAPTER 23
    Of the Civil Magistrate
    1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under him, over the people, for his own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evildoers.

    2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth; so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the new testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.

    3. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.

    4. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less hath the pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.

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  60. Unresponsive, Erik. I asked

    You’re saying John Witherspoon revised the [WCF] so that it implicitly condemned the American Revolution?

    As for Belgic 36, I’ll pass. You all seems to have your hands full on that one inside your own church.

    I am saying that Westminster 23, as revised, is friendly to Two Kingdoms Theology

    Well, there’s Two Kingdoms theology, then there’s your Two Kingdoms theology. John Witherspoon clearly found the American revolution justified before God–or at least hoped it was.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

    Bold face mine. You really have no affirmative argument that the Presbyterian Church in the United States [formed in 1788] had a problem with that. Further, you can claim “Calvinism” is no more than the sum of your ecclesistical confessions, but the historian must beg to differ. You yourself claim the “winning” side is sometimes wrong, which is why your sect broke away from its parent church in the first place. You may believe the majority of your parent church interprets the Confessions wrong, or that you left for non-Confessional reasons, but the socio-historian can’t get in the middle of all that.

    If in 2013, you wish to argue that God wasn’t OK with the American Revolution, that’s your religion and you’re entitled to it. The historian can only look at your church in 1788 and they seem OK with it.

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  61. Tom,

    I am hoping for the best, that my response does not provoke condescension or a snarky response, but I really believe, besides obvious differences on theological matters, there are still some misunderstandings here. By reading your posts, you seem to be under the impression that the 2K position on the American Revolution was that the Revolution was not biblical because 2k’s believe Rom. 13 clearly calls for submission to governing authorities even when those authorities are tyrannical (I believe you labelled Galloway a “2ker” much to my surprise).

    And since Calvin taught the doctrine of the rightful authority of lessor magistrates to overthrow tyrants, and since the founding fathers used that belief to justify the Revolution, we are not being consistent Calvinists when we call the Revolution un-biblical, and have strayed from original Calvinism. Am I correct so far?

    By the way, we do not believe the revisions to the WCF condemn the Revolution as un-biblical – the revisions were dealing with a different question.

    Here is where I believe the confusion lies. I not only agree that Calvin taught this resistance theory and others used his theory (and Knox’s) to justify the revolution, I actually agree with the theory itself, though I would also hold to Calvin’s warning that unless there are legitimate lessor authorities on our side we have no right to rebel against tyrants on our own.

    “We must…be very careful not to despise or violate that authority of magistrates, full of venerable majesty, which God has established by the weightiest decrees, even though it may reside with the most unworthy men, who defile it as much as they can with their own wickedness. For, if the correction of unbridled despotism is the Lord’s to avenge, let us not at once think that it is entrusted to us, to whom no command has been given except to obey and suffer” (Institutes, 4.20. 31).

    The problem I believe is your understanding of the 2k position, at least as many on this blog understand it. The 2k position is not that the war was un-biblical; the 2k position is that the preachers did not have the right to speak of the Revolution as God’s will for them. In other words, as in the Civil War, one needed to follow their consciences as to which authority, higher or lower, they would follow, and Christians were free to come to different conclusions. So what we object to is not the justification for the War from Calvin’s theory, but the use of the Bible and pulpits to promote the War effort. (Even Calvin did not argue from Scripture in the Institutes for his resistance theory, but from history.) So to speak either for or against the war as a herald of Christ was to misuse the Scriptures and go beyond the mandate for the church given by God. And we also object to the common misuse of apocalyptic imagery by Calvinist preachers from the Book of Revelation used against Britain to justify the War effort.

    So here is where I see our differences:

    1. The proper use of the pulpit – whether it is legitimate to speak out on political matters like supporting the war from the pulpit; you seem to generally lean toward the affirmative while we would not. This is where a different theology of what constitutes the gospel will obviously impact what one believes the church should be preaching

    2. The proper definition of Calvinism. We do not see Calvin’s political resistance theory as integral to Calvinism itself. You seem to.

    I have more, but let’s see if I am tracking with you so far?

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  62. TVD,

    What were your dispassionate historical bona fides again? And until you pony up some theological chops you’re way out of your pay grade making definitive statements about what is and what ain’t Calvinism, other than a convenient catch-all for an entire swath of theology and tradition you apparently can’t be bothered to define, nor adhere to. When you manage to wrangle the dual citizen concept and grasp the distinction between God as redeemer and God as creator, then we can make some headway. But, since you can’t/don’t do theology…………………………

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  63. Sad how some take for granted the patience and compassion we show to individuals who refuse to join a church, and thus are not partaking of the means of grace, and thus have nothing to say to us about spiritual matters at all..

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  64. Tom,

    What is the “correct” Two Kingdoms theology? Our own internal critics don’t seem to be able to answer that so I’m not holding my breath.

    Tom – Bold face mine. You really have no affirmative argument that the Presbyterian Church in the United States [formed in 1788] had a problem with that.

    Erik – If you’re a “socio historian” you’re a bad one because you have too much of a personal axe to grind in this case.

    Yeah, because you can cite Pope John Witherspoon. You need more names. King George’s “Presbyterian Rebellion” doesn’t count. Even your (only?) online ally Hall says “it’s complicated”.

    As far as “my church” (I know what you mean, but it’s not mine) being “o.k.” with the Revolution, your evidence is not sufficient as of yet. Where are the clearly partisan statements that Presbyterian Churches made in support of the Civil War being made in support of the Revolution? I wanted statements of churches, Presbyteries, and the church as a whole, not just individuals. Individuals do not speak for the church in Presbyterianism. We have no Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.

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

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  65. By reading your posts, you seem to be under the impression that the 2K position on the American Revolution was that the Revolution was not biblical because 2k’s believe Rom. 13 clearly calls for submission to governing authorities even when those authorities are tyrannical (I believe you labelled Galloway* a “2ker” much to my surprise).

    And since Calvin taught the doctrine of the rightful authority of lessor magistrates to overthrow tyrants, and since the founding fathers used that belief to justify the Revolution, we are not being consistent Calvinists when we call the Revolution un-biblical, and have strayed from original Calvinism. Am I correct so far?

    Pretty close, Sean, although I’m not saying you’re “straying” from Calvinistic principles, only ignoring that the Revolution at least arguably met the necessary conditions–that the king “abdicated” by making war on his own people, and that Parliament was not the duly constituted “inferior magistrate”–the Continental Congress was.

    By the way, we do not believe the revisions to the WCF condemn the Revolution as un-biblical – the revisions were dealing with a different question.

    I appreciate that fact and always have–it’s just there’s often too much noise hereabouts to get to Square Two. [Revolution is Square One.] Yes, I understand your [radical?] 2K wants the government [magistrates] out of enforcing the Ten Commandments. Have I that correct?

    My only reply is that I certainly agree about the first tablet–man’s relationship and duties vis-a-vis God. But the Second Tablet–how man treats man–is not only moral, it’s related by natural law to social stability. In the olden days, ecclesiastical courts–or in the Puritan case, civil ones–did indeed adjudicate these matters. But what’s happened is that by taking the church out of the picture, we have left a void where the Second Tablet is pretty much ignored now except for the stealing and killing.

    In this way, “radical” 2K helps create anarchy. By all accounts, Calvin’s and others’, anarchy is the worst of all conditions, even theonomy.

    the 2k position is that the preachers did not have the right to speak of the Revolution as God’s will for them.

    I can dig that for the Revolution but

    as in the Civil War, one needed to follow their consciences as to which authority, higher or lower, they would follow, and Christians were free to come to different conclusions.

    I think this is where the rubber meets the road, even within your own church. When you have slavery, or worse, the Holocaust, the anti2K argument is that Christians have the duty to oppose it. This is actually where the Unum Sanctum papal bull can apply, that the pope can at least command the Christians under his papal authority to do the right thing in the real world. [The archbishop of New Orleans excommunicated segregationists back in the day.]

    So my theological argument would be that your “radical” 2K draws the line in the wrong place. Danged right your church and every church–as a church–should speak out against slavery, segregation, the Holocaust! They are not merely abstract political matters, they are the real world, and the Second Tablet is about the real world.
    _______
    *I don’t recall who that is. I’m having enough trouble getting Kuyper right and your differences with him. But if I get him right, if Belgic 36 means you have to persecute heretics, he’d rather not.

    Me either. Two Kingdoms, and all that. I think we’re all in agreement on this one. Group hug.

    As for the rest, it’s so nice to have a discussion without spending the first 3/4 of my time and effort correcting distortions of my position, so I think I’ll just quit here. Thanks, man. Really. Peace.

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  66. Ooops, my thx is for Todd. Sean was taking part in the usual mugging along with the usual suspects.

    Thx, Todd. Good stuff.

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  67. Tom,

    You’re off on the second table of the law.

    Which items from the second table would you like to see the Magistrate enforcing that he is not?

    Why the second table and not the first?

    What else do churches have a duty to oppose in the civil sphere? Why just the holocaust, slavery, and segregation? Aren’t there a lot of other important causes?

    What mechanism do you suggest the church uses in opposition?

    Good answer, by the way.

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  68. Tom,

    Should the civil magistrate punish bestiality?

    Should a church discipline a member who publicly states that the civil magistrate should not necessarily punish bestiality?

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  69. Tom,

    Another question: How is the church (I’m using my church, for instance) failing to oppose the evils that you speak of when they speak against the violation of the Ten Commandments each and every Sunday?

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  70. Tom – So my theological argument would be that your “radical” 2K draws the line in the wrong place. Danged right your church and every church–as a church–should speak out against slavery, segregation, the Holocaust! They are not merely abstract political matters, they are the real world, and the Second Tablet is about the real world.

    Erik – This is the most honest statement you have made in your weeks here and I sincerely appreciate that.

    On what grounds do you say the second table is “real world” and the first table is not? Expound on that.

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  71. If you’ll keep conversing on this we can have a serious breakthrough in understanding. I need to sign off for a few hours but I’ll check in later tonight or tomorrow morning. If you answer my questions I think others will have some insight in response to your responses.

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  72. Tom: Pretty close, Sean, although I’m not saying you’re “straying” from Calvinistic principles, only ignoring that the Revolution at least arguably met the necessary conditions–that the king “abdicated” by making war on his own people, and that Parliament was not the duly constituted “inferior magistrate”–the Continental Congress was.

    Todd: Actually, I wrote that I did think the Revolution met the conditions of Calvin’s lessor magistrates theory.

    Todd: [Revolution is Square One.] Yes, I understand your [radical?] 2K wants the government [magistrates] out of enforcing the Ten Commandments. Have I that correct?

    No, that is not correct. The government can certainly enforce moral standards. What we do not believe is that the church can arbitrarily instruct the government about which sins that the Bible calls sin they must punish and which sins to allow. The government should not enforce religious convictions, but is to work for the common good. The Bible does not offer details as to how government should enforce against certain sins.

    Tom: But what’s happened is that by taking the church out of the picture, we have left a void where the Second Tablet is pretty much ignored now except for the stealing and killing.

    Todd: This assumes a common view, which I don’t think is based on Scripture or morality, that if the church speaks against something the world follows. We do not have legal abortion because the church failed to tell the world what God thinks about abortion. We have legal abortion because most people in this country want it legal (with some limits of course), and most people in this country are not Christians, and most do not give a rip what the church says about the matter.

    Tom: In this way, “radical” 2K helps create anarchy. By all accounts, Calvin’s and others’, anarchy is the worst of all conditions, even theonomy.

    Todd: Our view of church-state relations do not create anything. You attribute to the church far too much power and influence over the world. The world is not listening to 1k or 2k churches on any matters. Heck, half the people in our pews are not even listening.

    Tom: I think this is where the rubber meets the road, even within your own church. When you have slavery, or worse, the Holocaust, the anti2K argument is that Christians have the duty to oppose it. This is actually where the Unum Sanctum papal bull can apply, that the pope can at least command the Christians under his papal authority to do the right thing in the real world. [The archbishop of New Orleans excommunicated segregationists back in the day.]

    Todd: Which is why as Protestants we think the Pope goes beyond the Word of God.

    Tom: So my theological argument would be that your “radical” 2K draws the line in the wrong place. Danged right your church and every church–as a church–should speak out against slavery, segregation, the Holocaust! They are not merely abstract political matters, they are the real world, and the Second Tablet is about the real world.

    Todd: Calling a sin a sin is not the same as thinking we have the definitive, from the Lord, political solution as to how to end the sin. No 2ker would object to calling slavery a sin. They would object to declaring that one cannot fight for the South if he truly believed Lincoln was violating the Constitution and promoting tyranny. We believe in liberty of conscience for the Christian.

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  73. Oh TVD, you saint you. Always above the fray, never formed by actual content or accomplishment. Only on the Internet in L.A. Milk that 15 baby.

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  74. In this way, “radical” 2K helps create anarchy. By all accounts, Calvin’s and others’, anarchy is the worst of all conditions, even theonomy.

    Tom, no. The 2k represented here is all about order and submission and eschews civil disobedience, even under a theocratic state. That’s the natural upshot of resisting resistance theory. So how are you getting this? It’s the anti-2kers (OT code theonomic and NT ethic Anabaptist) who look for every excuse to more or less rebel against and undermine a state that isn’t expressly Christian.

    So my theological argument would be that your “radical” 2K draws the line in the wrong place. Danged right your church and every church–as a church–should speak out against slavery, segregation, the Holocaust! They are not merely abstract political matters, they are the real world, and the Second Tablet is about the real world.

    But, Tom, WCF 31.5 says that synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth. Again, we confess Westminster, not Van Dyke.

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  75. Tom, this is news that Witherspoon was the main player in the revision? But if he was the kind of rights-defending Calvinist you allege, then why no rights in the Confession.

    As for 2k not being part of the American revisions, you haven’t been doing your reading.

    And just out of curiosity, on what basis do you condemn Locke and the Enlightenment other than theology?

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  76. Tom, where did anyone here ever say that the American Revisions condemned revolution? The point was about the magistrate’s responsibilities. But I like your tactics. When cornered, whack another mole.

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  77. But, Tom, WCF 31.5 says that synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth. Again, we confess Westminster, not Van Dyke.

    Confess whatever you want, brother. Do all of you agree on the interpretation of your various Confessions? High-speed rail and tax rates, sure. But was the Holocaust a “civil affair?”

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  78. The government can certainly enforce moral standards. What we do not believe is that the church can arbitrarily instruct the government about which sins that the Bible calls sin they must punish and which sins to allow.

    Well, Todd, we already established that even the Hebrews didn’t kill gays and stone drunk and disobedient children. But what we’re getting to is where “radical” 2K starts running out of horsepower–a) where the government takes control of “society,” of our communities, and
    b) where natural law, not simply biblical warrant, figures in–although the two are theoretically not in conflict.

    There are limits to what we must accept from the government. We are not required by the Bible–or any decent theology–to do wrong.

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  79. Erik – This is the most honest statement you have made in your weeks here and I sincerely appreciate that.

    On what grounds do you say the second table is “real world” and the first table is not? Expound on that.

    http://judaism.about.com/cs/judaismbasics/f/tencommands.htm

    The Ten Commandments
    1. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.
    2. You shall have no other gods but me.
    3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
    4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
    5. Honor your father and mother.
    6. You shall not murder.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    8. You shall not steal.
    9. You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    10. You shall not covet.

    The rabbis teach that the first five sayings, on the left side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with God (belief in God, prohibition of improper worship, prohibition of oath, shabbat, respect for parents). The second five sayings, on the right side of the tablet, concern man’s relationship with other people (prohibitions of murder, adultery, theft, false witness, coveting). Judaism teaches that our relationship to our parents is akin to our relationship to God because our parents created us. Disrespect of parents is considered an insult to God. Thus, respect for parents is included on the right side of the tablets with the other sayings that concern our relationship with God.

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  80. Tom, playing the Third Reich (and slavery) card is a classic anti-2k move. Its power lies in playing on deeply seated American-made fear and loathing. But if the question is whether the church qua church has biblical warrant to rebel against the civil authorities God has ordained, even tyrants Americans love to loathe, then no. That’s why WCF 31.5 was written. That doesn’t mean the complexities of the human condition are easily circumvented. But it could mean that a superior form of obedience comes in enduring those one hates. After all, what credit is it to love those who love or do good to those who do good? That’s the biblical ethic. You’ve read a lot. Have you read the Bible?

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  81. Tom: But what we’re getting to is where “radical” 2K starts running out of horsepower–a) where the government takes control of “society,” of our communities, and b) where natural law, not simply biblical warrant, figures in–although the two are theoretically not in conflict.

    Todd: When government takes control of society churches to not have the power to stop it, regardless of their theology. If you are suggesting that 2k cannot answer the question of whether to rebel or not, fine, we cannot. But we can quote Scripture on submission, and if there is a lessor authority calling for rebellion, we can guide them to follow their consciences. What do you want the churches to do in that situation?

    Tom: There are limits to what we must accept from the government. We are not required by the Bible–or any decent theology–to do wrong.

    Todd: Nobody has said otherwise. You do understand though that the church has a specific message for all sinners, whether presidents or plumbers. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. (See Luke 24:46&47). If we do not agree on the gospel, all these other matters are superfluous to debate over.

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  82. <i.Tom, playing the Third Reich (and slavery) card is a classic anti-2k move.

    No, it’s an attempt to get you out of the abstract and make you face your theology. See, the problem is that as long as the stakes are low and there appear to be no consequences, your “radical” 2K seems quite reasonable.

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  83. Todd: When government takes control of society churches to not have the power to stop it, regardless of their theology.

    True in some cases of tyrants such as Nero, or when Israel was a subject people. But not true in a democracy or a republic where the people can stand up and turn the tide.

    Hitler could have been stopped; as early as Kristallnacht the Jews could have been protected by their countrymen, and by the churches. The helplessness/inevitablity argument from fatalism simply doesn’t wash.

    Todd: Nobody has said otherwise. You do understand though that the church has a specific message for all sinners, whether presidents or plumbers. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. (See Luke 24:46&47). If we do not agree on the gospel, all these other matters are superfluous to debate over.

    The way [some of] you go after fellow Christians and/or Presbyterians, I quite agree. You see a quest for theological purity, I see Pharisees.

    [Matthew 12, Mr. Zrim.]

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  84. Tom,

    Thanks for the Ten Commandments and I don’t disagree with your statement after them, but are you suggesting that God isn’t “real” by excluding 1-5 from the “real world”?

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  85. Tom,

    Others have asked this, but what, specifically, is it that you think Christian churches could have done to end slavery and prevent the Holocaust?

    What is it today that you think Christian churches can do to end abortion or gay marriage?

    Is it just pious talk you are looking for?

    If you say it is not offering communion to or excommunicating members who are on the wrong side, how are the Catholics doing with their high-profile pro-choice politicians?

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  86. Tom,

    Hitler, slavery, and the Pharisee cards are usually marks of desperation in a debate.

    Make the exegetical case for comparing (some of) us to the Pharisees.

    When do we get to start hanging Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot on you because of your defacto atheism? No concern for the first table of the law, no clear Christian profession, must be an atheist. If you get to generalize about us, why can’t we generalize about you?

    Kristallnacht was Nov. 9-10, 1938. By that point the Enabling Act had been in place and all other parties and trade unions had been disbanded for over 5 years. The communists and socialists had been banned for over 5 years. Hitler had eliminated his opposition within the party 4 years earlier. Germany had been rearmed and had united with Austria. How could Jews have been protected by their countrymen and by the churches at this point?

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  87. Tom,

    You were going good, but now you’re just starting to emote. It is reminiscent of Bryan Cross when the debate over the Motives of Credibility began to go South on him. You seriously need to hang in, think, and keep arguing logically, not emotionally. You might reach some surprising conclusions.

    This whole comment reveals that you needed a good night’s sleep:

    Todd: Nobody has said otherwise. You do understand though that the church has a specific message for all sinners, whether presidents or plumbers. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. (See Luke 24:46&47). If we do not agree on the gospel, all these other matters are superfluous to debate over.

    The way [some of] you go after fellow Christians and/or Presbyterians, I quite agree. You see a quest for theological purity, I see Pharisees.

    [Matthew 12, Mr. Zrim.]

    From an intellectual standpoint that qualifies as a “punt”.

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  88. Tom,

    You came here arguing for the “Calvinism” of the American Revolution and now you are at the point of telling us that churches could have/should have stopped slavery and the Holocaust. You seem to have some kind of “theology of glory”, yet you still have no visible church membership or affiliation that you are willing to tell us about. Ultimately, how is this any different from the Islamic radical who, while likely eschewing ordinary Muslim piety and worship, does train for Jihad and look toward a future day of glory in which he will strike a blow at the Great Satan in martyrdom? How is yours not the spirituality of John Brown?

    It’s reminiscent of the 9/11 Hijackers who were striking a blow for Islam, yet were visiting strip clubs and smoking hashish in the days leading up to the attacks.

    http://www.wanttoknow.info/011015newsweek

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  89. Bros, it’s 31.4. 31.5 doesn’t exist in the revised confession. (But you’re in good company. John Murray made the same mistake. For Tom’s sake, that the OP’s John Murray, not John Courtney Murray.)

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  90. Tom, I am facing my theology. The church has as much warrant to help turn back the dread pirate Hitler as she does to join the amen chorus and affirm the beloved Reagan (zippo). It doesn’t matter if she runs the risk of getting her skull cracked or head patted. Her kingdom is not of this world, even if her members are its citizens.

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  91. you know, there’s a book called the Holy Bible and it has like Genesis and the Psalms in it, I suggest you 2K people buy one and get to know it… (snicker)

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  92. Tom: True in some cases of tyrants such as Nero, or when Israel was a subject people. But not true in a democracy or a republic where the people can stand up and turn the tide.

    Todd: Well, if it is a democracy then they can be easily stopped – vote them out.

    Tom: Hitler could have been stopped; as early as Kristallnacht the Jews could have been protected by their countrymen, and by the churches. The helplessness/inevitablity argument from fatalism simply doesn’t wash.

    Todd: Blaming the Holocaust on a certain theology of those who did not cause it is simply a lazy way to score cheap rhetorical points; no different than Hal Lindsay blaming the Holocaust on amillennial theology. Anyone can play armchair quarterback, writing on a blog where one is safe and free to sip on a gin and tonic and publicly write whatever one likes and claim to know how the Holocaust could have been stopped by people who could never even imagine what Hitler would actually do. While not excluding the populous of all sin, it is much more complicated than your picture. By the way, are you excluding the loud silence of Pius XII, who was made aware of the death camps, in your criticism? Are you excluding the 1k churches who violated their kingdom responsibilities by urging their parishioners to support Hitler early on?

    As for being called Pharisees, a Pharisee is a hypocrite, you know, like condemning church goers you don’t even know who give of their time, money, and prayers for Christ’s church, all the while sitting at home writing on blogs doing nothing but criticizing others’ theology. Sure hope that doesn’t describe you in any way.

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  93. Run, Todd, run.

    Tom, 2kers could pin apartheid on the Dutch neo-Cals, but the second commandment keeps nagging.

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  94. Todd: Blaming the Holocaust on a certain theology of those who did not cause it is simply a lazy way to score cheap rhetorical points

    You keep saying that. One must choose a serious example to illustrate the problem. Pick another example, then. It comes out the same, good men doing nothing.

    I certainly understand the problem: as Weyland argued, for the church to fight slavery in Roman times would have made Christianity a politics of this world and not a religion concerned with the next. OTOH, you don’t leave your ox in a pit on the Sabbath. Formal religious observance is secondary, indeed silly here, when the needs of the world and your fellow man cannot wait.

    If you can violate the 4th commandment for an ox, you can violate your Confessions for human beings.

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  95. Tom – doing nothing

    Erik – Is prayer something?

    Tom – Formal religious observance is secondary, indeed silly here, when the needs of the world and your fellow man cannot wait.

    Erik – Couldn’t you be meeting needs of the world and your fellow man with the time you spend arguing on blogs?

    Who is forbidding Christians from being involved in doing good deeds? or from being involved in politics?

    You still haven’t answered exactly what it is that you wanted the church to DO. Raise an army? Take out Newspaper ads? Hold a press conference? What?

    You are sounding more and more like a theological (and political) liberal — it’s all about good intentions.

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  96. Tom, my ox belongs to me and I am responsible for its welfare, but does the world really belong to the church in the same way? Even if we grant this dubious premise, where do you draw the line on what the church is responsible to respond? Or is it everything, because there are endless needs at any given place and time. At some point her back will break. Do you understand the difference between charity and utopianism?

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  97. Todd says: “We do not have legal abortion because the church failed to tell the world what God thinks about abortion. We have legal abortion because most people in this country want it legal (with some limits of course), and most people in this country are not Christians, and most do not give a rip what the church says about the matter.”

    Not true Todd. When Roe V Wade passed in 73, a little over 70% of Americans were against abortion. But the Politically correct crowd, did an end around by using Judges to suddenly see it as a constitutional right. Some call that legislating from the bench.

    The Protestant Church failed to oppose this evil with a unifed voice right from the get go, when it could have been stopped, much to our shame. But there is no way abortion could have passed in a the democratic process. After legal abortion was snuck through, the politically correct police (American Teacher Union, folk) have been working overtime indoctrinating our children in public schools, by framing abortion as a womens right to choose, and also saying she has the right over her own body. All red herrings.

    But the way abortion was orginally passed was pure skulldugery. Futhermore, you have no way of knowing this didn’t all come about by the church failing to oppose a whole slew of other public sin/cirmes like porno. You just can’t say one way or the other.

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  98. Todd, have you ever asked yourself, where was the church in 73 when Roe V Wade passed? To Protestant shame, the Roman Catholics were far more vocal than we were. With a huge majority (over 70%) of Americans against abortion, we could have overtuned this horrible evil, which has now claimed over 50 millions innocent lives! America’s legal abortion, makes Hitler look like a Cub scout when it comes to murder!

    Face it Todd, the church was WAY to (radical?) two kingdom even back in the seventies! Just looking the other way while the blood was spilled. If we were more vocal, abortion would be illegal as we speak!

    I apologize for my spelling, I don’t have spell check guys!

    God bless, and keep pressing on!

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  99. Doug – The Protestant Church failed to oppose this evil with a unifed voice right from the get go

    Erik – “The Protestant Church” had no unified voice on much of anything in 1973. I’m sure there were lots of theological liberals (the ones that Tom likes to laud) who had no problem with legalized abortion.

    The other problem I have with your thesis is that we have (or had in 1973) a majority with pro-life convictions. The late 60’s & early 70’s were all about sexual liberation for much of the population. Today sexual freedom remains the highest value for many people. It’s hard to have sexual freedom without unrestricted access to abortion. It stinks, but it’s true. Americans haven’t had the stomach to deal with the consequences of unplanned pregnancy in an honorable way since the Baby Boomers began coming of age. The “Greatest Generation” appears to have been worn out by the Depression and the War and did a lousy job with their kids for the most part. The Boomers added hedonism and lack of self control to the mix and here we sit today with millions of aborted children and $16 trillion in debt. A righteous majority indeed.

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  100. Doug – If we were more vocal

    Erik – To who? By what means? Saying what?

    I see Pro Life commercials, bumper stickers, license plates, etc. and agree with them, but they’re not changing things overnight. What was the church going to say and to whom that was going to stop abortion in 1973 or at any time thereafter?

    Are people just sitting around out there waiting for a minister to instruct them on morals?

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  101. And finally Todd, it’s the R2K hermonutic that teaches the church to look the other way in the public realm, when I believe we have an obligation to speak the truth of God’s word against this horrible evil. Can Darryl or Zrim give a biblical reason why we shouldn’t have legal abortion in our society? No they can’t. (Guilty! Case closed!)

    And that’s the great evil of R2K in my humble opinion. R2K keeps the church from unifying on something that should be a no-brainer. We should be of one voice praying against abortion. More over, when asked if we should have same sex marriage R2K men are unable (more like unwilling) to use God’s word, to combat this grevious sin.

    Once again guys, I apologize for my poor spelling.

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  102. The bottom line is that people do evil things, because, get this, they’re evil. Hearing the Law does not stop people from doing evil. Hearing the gospel may, which is why this is what the church focuses on. We preach the law so that some may hear and repent, but only as a prelude to hearing the gospel. And the trick to it all is, people need to be willing hearers. Remember Jesus’ parable about the soils? If you want to help people, befriend them and invite them to church. Don’t just blast the law with a bullhorn and expect people to fall in line.

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  103. Doug: Not true Todd. When Roe V Wade passed in 73, a little over 70% of Americans were against abortion. But the Politically correct crowd, did an end around by using Judges to suddenly see it as a constitutional right. Some call that legislating from the bench.

    Todd: Doug, yes and no. For one, the majority in America respond in surveys that they are personally against abortion, but not necessarily against making it illegal. And even through Republican presidents and Republican congresses over the eyars, few politicians had the guts to dare propose to make it illegal, knowing it would not be popular with the majority.

    Doug: But there is no way abortion could have passed in a the democratic process.

    Todd: probably not right away, but in time

    Doug: But the way abortion was orginally passed was pure skulldugery.

    Todd: Agreed, probably the worst explanation of a law I have ever seen. Even liberal law professors at Harvard (my friend was a law student there) admit it was terrible law, but still want abortion legal.

    Doug: Futhermore, you have no way of knowing this didn’t all come about by the church failing to oppose a whole slew of other public sin/cirmes like porno. You just can’t say one way or the other.

    Todd: then why do you keep saying it was the church’s fault if you can’t say one way or another?

    Doug: Face it Todd, the church was WAY to (radical?) two kingdom even back in the seventies! Just looking the other way while the blood was spilled. If we were more vocal, abortion would be illegal as we speak!

    Todd: So now “RTk” has been the majority position of the church since the 70’s? Ever hear of the Moral Majority? And I thought our 2k was new, you know, from Kline, Godron, etc… who knew it was so popular all along?

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  104. Doug,

    In a Republic, how do we stop evil people from electing other evil people to represent their interests?

    Who is trying to stop prayer? It’s one thing we should do with regards to the Magistrate. Who is denying this? You need to at least make an accurate critique.

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  105. Hey, wait a minute. Escondido wasn’t around until the 80s so how could R2K have been responsible for anything in 1973. John Frame needs to revise his hypothesis.

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  106. Erik, back in 73 abortion was very unpopular. Only twenty nine percent of Americans would have any truck with it. Where were the Machen’s who came before both houses of Congress? Where were the Presbyterians? Where was the powerful reformed voice?

    I didn’t hear it either.

    It took Falwell eight years before he came out against abortion, and he was opposed by guys like Billy Graham who like R2Ker’s thought the church should stay out of politics all together.

    Finally Erik, you are confusing the word law. Remember there are *three* uses of the law. Don’t fall for DG’s trick of confusing them. We have laws against murder, not because it will stop all murder, but because it’s a crime!!! the exact same *should* be true for abortion. Please don’t confuse laws that define and punish crime, with Jesus parables about the soil.

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  107. Erik, I wasnt blaming Escondido, I was blaming that mindset. It’s been around since Jesus warned the 7 churches. I don’t have my Bible handy, but one of the churches that Jesus warned and was commanded to repent; was also *complemented* for hating the sin of the Nicolations, which Jesus said he also hated.

    You can look it up and see what that sin was. It was some type of sexual immorality. So even back in 67 AD there was pressure on the churches to accept sexual perversions, and one church that fought back was praised by Christ our Lord. Jesus clearly taught that we should oppose and HATE certain sexual sins!

    This is my last post for a while, I know my spelling sucks!

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  108. Tom, my ox belongs to me and I am responsible for its welfare, but does the world really belong to the church in the same way? Even if we grant this dubious premise, where do you draw the line on what the church is responsible to respond? Or is it everything, because there are endless needs at any given place and time. At some point her back will break. Do you understand the difference between charity and utopianism?

    Thank you for the reply, Mr. Zrim, but that is not an answer. Yes, there are reasonable limits to be discussed. But if we may violate the 4th commandment for oxen, you can violate your Confessions for human beings. Especially your children, a topic that has not been broached in the least in all these confessional pontifications.

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  109. Tom, you are so out of our Reformed world, the 4th commandment has a set of issues all on its own for observance in our churches.

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  110. Doug Sowers posted June 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm: “It took Falwell eight years before he came out against abortion, and he was opposed by guys like Billy Graham who like R2Ker’s thought the church should stay out of politics all together.”

    Rev. Todd Bordow posted June 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm: “Billy Graham was a 2ker? Cue Twilight Zone music.”

    Would you not grant that Billy Graham was at least coming out of the old Southern “spirituality of the church” tradition? I know he wasn’t a 2Ker, but Sowers said he was “like R2Kers,” not that he was one of them — and there are at least some similarities between the effects of the SOTC and 2K on Christian political engagement. If you say there aren’t, then you can’t argue that new 2K is just classic Old School Presbyterianism. (I’m happy to say that 2Kers and SOTC are both wrong, but I realize there are important differences between the two and it’s possible to be an Old School Southern Presbyterian without being a 2Ker.)

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  111. DTM,

    If Hart is a 2Ker (I see Mark is now using “Neo-2k” so you need to catch up) and Hart is also a Machen scholar (and fan) and Machen was all about Old School Southern Presbyterian Spirituality of the Church how can you be an Old School Southern Presbyterian without being a 2ker?

    I thought you told us recently in your monumental Baylyblog essay that 2K was all wet because it was reviving the flawed Southern Presbyterian Spirituality of the Church arguments (for slavery, in your mind)?

    I’m also still waiting for the definition of “Real 2K” as opposed to “Radical 2K” (from you or anyone).

    Can I not get an hour off around here?

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  112. D. G. Hart posted June 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm: “Perhaps you are aware that Calvinists in Scotland, Canada, and Geneva did not support the American Revolution.”

    Dr. Hart, I’d be interested in links about objections from Geneva to the American Revolution. I certainly understand why Scotsmen and Canadians who supported the British Crown would object, but I wasn’t aware until now of objections from Geneva.

    Also, considering the theological decline of the Genevan Academy by the 1700s, I would want to know on what grounds the Calvinists in Geneva opposed the American Revolution, and just how “Calvinist” they were. I trust you will agree that the modern PCUSA is not the best arbiter of what it means to be Presbyterian, and while I don’t know a whole lot about the spiritual state of the Genevan church in the 1770s, I think it’s pretty obvious that by that time there were healthier Reformed churches elsewhere.

    Links to theological objections by Scottish Presbyterian ministers against the American Revolution would be especially interesting. I think they are more likely to be both theologically sophisticated and confessional in ways that may not be the case with the “backwoods” Canadians and the increasingly problematic Enlightenment-influenced clergy of late 1700s Geneva.

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  113. Erik, with regard to the Old School Southern Presbyterian “spirituality of the church view” and its relationship to “Two Kingdoms” theology — the point of my essay was not that they are identical, but rather that “Two Kingdoms” theology is not required by the revisions to the Westminster Standards. I argued that the only real precedent for “Two Kingdoms” theology in Reformed history is the Southern Presbyterian position, which I believe was wrong, and which I believe emasculated the church on some very important moral issues.

    Theologies can be similar though not identical. Sometimes the differences can be very important. I am not at all convinced that Dr. Morton Smith, to cite a classic Old School Southern Presbyterian, is on the same page as Drs. Hart, Clark, Horton, and Van Drunen — and I’m not sure Hart, Clark, Horton, and Van Drunen would want Morton Smith defending them, given what happened in Western Carolina Presbytery of the PCA. No reasonable person can deny the tremendous good that Dr. Morton Smith did in the founding of the PCA, but based on published reports, he holds views on race which, while common when the PCA was founded, are views which virtually nobody wants to admit to holding today. They are an embarrassment to PCA conservatives, and I both hope and assume such views are rejected by all 2Kers.

    As for what is “real 2K” theology, I think it is becoming clear that there are a lot of different viewpoints under the rubric of “Two Kingdoms” theology. Matt Tuininga and Steve Zrimec are not the same. You’re not the same as Rev. Todd Bordow. Theologies often have a continuum of consequences, especially early in their development, and that is why church history is complicated.

    We’ll know a lot more in a few years.

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  114. Darrell: Would you not grant that Billy Graham was at least coming out of the old Southern “spirituality of the church” tradition?

    Todd: No, I have never seen evidence that he even understood Presbyterian history. Billy Graham’s desire for revival was to reduce the threat of communism taking over America. He believed that if America in revival turned back to God; God would then protect them from the communist threat. His preaching was too much about politics. And being the pastor to Presidents hardly qualifies one for anything close to a 2k moniker.

    Darrell: (I’m happy to say that 2Kers and SOTC are both wrong, but I realize there are important differences between the two and it’s possible to be an Old School Southern Presbyterian without being a 2Ker.)

    Todd: What do you see as the difference?

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  115. Okay, Rev. Bordow, now that I know what you meant about Billy Graham, I think I understand what you meant a bit better.

    I do think it is clear that Graham initially opposed the rise of the Christian conservative movement and feared that by politicizing evangelicalism, politically active pastors would hurt the church’s witness to the world. In that respect, he was part of the older Southern “spirituality of the church” tradition, but that was simply accepting the then-standard viewpoint of most Southern evangelicals in his day. It was Schaeffer, Falwell, Kennedy, Robertson, and Dobson who were making a major break from the older consensus; Graham was simply restating the older viewpoint which had been held for well over a century in the South.

    By the way, many years ago I had the opportunity to preach in Graham’s home ARP church, which by that time was in serious decline with a huge building and a tiny congregation. It was interesting to hear stories about Graham’s family. Much of his subsequent development can be understood a bit better if one knows the heritage of the ARP, its focus on the free offer of the gospel, and its history of experiential Calvinism, as well as how Graham grew up in a context which had many similarities to Southern evangelicalism and was quite different from the anti-revivalist heritage of the much larger PCUS, with its heritage of Dabney and Thornwell.

    Regarding your question of what I see as differences between SOTC and R2K, I would hope that racism is a difference. What side would “Two Kingdoms” people have taken on slavery in 1861? How about civil rights in 1961?

    I’ve heard Two Kingdoms people make an argument that slavery is a violation of natural law and needs to be opposed on Two Kingdoms grounds. You agree with that, I hope, and if you do, then you’re not in agreement with Dabney and Thornwell.

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  116. But there was a time when even Jerry Falwell was 2k-ish. During the 1950s and early 60s he refused to weigh in over civil rights on SOTC sounding grounds. But then the late 60s happened, and the cultural tide turned, and soon out popped the Moral Majority. One might say he was conveniently 2k when the culture was in his segregationist favor, as in go 2k when the particular forces you oppose are clamoring for the wheel and take the pious high ground, but once it begins appear they will gain cultural ascendancy go anti-2k culture warrior and fight fire with fire.

    But, Tom, a real 2ker doesn’t blow to and fro with the worldly winds. He sticks to his spiritual principles, even when his earthly side is winning. And that’s because he’s learned not to put too much stock in the cares of this world, not because he doesn’t care but because this world is fleeting. It’s a matter of putting provisional life into eternal perspective. Why is that so odious to you?

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  117. “I’ve heard Two Kingdoms people make an argument that slavery is a violation of natural law and needs to be opposed on Two Kingdoms grounds. You agree with that, I hope, and if you do, then you’re not in agreement with Dabney and Thornwell.”

    Oh, I thought you meant there was a difference in the doctrine itself, not the application. I would oppose slavery on Biblical grounds (Luke 6:31) as well as NL. But the SOTC doctrine was not limited to the South, as both Stuart Robinson and Charles Hodge held to it. http://www.opc.org/OS/html/V7/3d.html

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  118. Rev. Todd Bordow posted June 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm: “Oh, I thought you meant there was a difference in the doctrine itself, not the application. I would oppose slavery on Biblical grounds (Luke 6:31) as well as NL. But the SOTC doctrine was not limited to the South, as both Stuart Robinson and Charles Hodge held to it.”

    I think we may now finally be getting somewhere.

    I have no desire to advocate for Gardiner Spring resolutions. Some of the things done by the anti-slavery Northerners were grossly unbiblical, and I am quite aware that at the Northern Presbyterian General Assembly, the Princeton theologians took tremendous criticism from people who failed to understand the difference between loyalty to God and loyalty to America.

    However, I am quite pleased to hear you say that you “would oppose slavery on Biblical grounds (Luke 6:31) as well as NL” — by which I assume you mean natural law, though please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Does that mean you would not have a problem with, for example, a church assembly voting 1) that slavery is a sin against God and slaveholders cannot be members because slavery (as practiced in America) was based on manstealing, and 2) that the church as institute should cite both general revelation through natural law and special revelation through Scripture in saying that the state should forbid slavery?

    Does that mean you would not have a problem with the decision by the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland, prior to the German invasion, to declare that membership in the Dutch Nazi Party was a sin worthy of excommunication?

    If you think those decisions by church assemblies with regard to slaveholders and Nazis were legitimate, we are a lot less far apart than I had thought.

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  119. DTM – I argued that the only real precedent for “Two Kingdoms” theology in Reformed history is the Southern Presbyterian position

    Erik – Which is why you (still) need to actually read Van Drunen.

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  120. DTM,

    The concern that “politically active pastors would hurt the church’s witness to the world” is not what the “Southern Spirituality of the Church Tradition” was about. It was about not going beyond what Scripture commands the church to do. To quote Hart & Muether:

    “the church is a spiritual institution with a spiritual task and spiritual means for executing that task.”

    http://www.opc.org/OS/html/V7/3d.html

    Trying to have a discussion with you is maddening because you always inevitably lapse into “Dan the Illogical Scientist” mode and think you understand things that you don’t.

    You superimpose your wooden critiques of things you disagree with over the things themselves.

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  121. D: However, I am quite pleased to hear you say that you “would oppose slavery on Biblical grounds (Luke 6:31) as well as NL” — by which I assume you mean natural law, though please correct me if I’m wrong.

    T: Yes, natural law

    D: Does that mean you would not have a problem with, for example, a church assembly voting 1) that slavery is a sin against God

    T: I don’t think something like that needs to be voted on, but I have no problem with the church declaring that chattel slavery was very sinful.

    D: and slaveholders cannot be members because slavery (as practiced in America) was based on manstealing,

    T: I wouldn’t go that far as a Presbyterian. That would suggest that no slaveholder could have had a credible profession of faith, which I could not say. There are other ways of dealing with these things besides banning from church membership

    D: and 2) that the church as institute should cite both general revelation through natural law and special revelation through Scripture in saying that the state should forbid slavery?

    T: Yes and no. I have no problem with the church citing NL and Scripture to show our people that slavery is sinful, but I would not have the right or authority to tell the government how to outlaw it.

    D: Does that mean you would not have a problem with the decision by the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland, prior to the German invasion, to declare that membership in the Dutch Nazi Party was a sin worthy of excommunication?

    T: Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. My two hobbies are golf and reading history. I recently read six civil war books, then moved on to the Mexican American War and then the Spanish-American War. I just finished reading “Escape From Sobibor” so the Holocaust has been on my mind lately. All this to say, I believe history is very complicated, and too often we look back and think we would do differently or know better, and in 500 years we will probably be judged harshly for things we do today that we don’t even see as wrong because we are so used to them.

    I know I would risk my life to hide the Jews, being Jewish myself, but I don’t know as a Pastor what I would recommend as far as church policy, given the limited knowledge the people had of government plans and secrets. I probably would not support a complete ban on party membership, because that should be dealt with on a on-on-one basis. In other words, if a member of my church was only cleaning toilets as a member of the party and was not in on the SS plans and persecutions, I could not ban him from God”s church. If Daniel was allowed a government position in the evil Babylonian government, who am I to say that is sinful? I know there are a number of faithful believers in the communist party in China, for example, that actually use their authority for good.

    D: If you think those decisions by church assemblies with regard to slaveholders and Nazis were legitimate, we are a lot less far apart than I had thought.

    T: Well, I am not ready to say they were legitimate, so I guess we are still far apart, at least on this issue.

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  122. DTM – However, I am quite pleased to hear you say that you “would oppose slavery on Biblical grounds (Luke 6:31) as well as NL” — by which I assume you mean natural law, though please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Erik – That is so condescending in the Dr. K. mode. Of course after that statement you have to push the envelope to “the church as institute”.

    The opposition has been so inept here lately that I am seriously considering a long sabbatical if not retirement from these debates. Daily Doug, then two weeks of Tom, now the return of DTM. I long for the return of a CD-Host who at least made good, sincere arguments from a differing perspective without being inane, incomprehensible, or condescending. I’m going to declare victory by default and exit the scene soon if this doesn’t improve dramatically.

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  123. Todd,

    That was a nice answer. I did not know you were Jewish. Now be prepared for DTM to completely misunderstand or misconstrue your clear answers to the point you want to tear your hair out. I’m going to bed.

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  124. But, Tom, a real 2ker doesn’t blow to and fro with the worldly winds. He sticks to his spiritual principles, even when his earthly side is winning. And that’s because he’s learned not to put too much stock in the cares of this world, not because he doesn’t care but because this world is fleeting. It’s a matter of putting provisional life into eternal perspective. Why is that so odious to you?

    There are Two Great Commandments, Mr. Zrim, not just one. To separate them is to miss the whole point.

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  125. @ Rev. Bordow: I’ve watched the “Escape from Sobibor” movie several times. It’s a great movie about man’s inhumanity to man, and about how Davids can sometimes successfully strike back against Goliaths.

    @ Erik: Actually, I did know that Rev. Bordow was ethnically Jewish. I was advised of that privately and to some extent I’ve been more patient with his views since then.

    For both: It is a basic principle for me that I care more about the direction someone is going, theologically speaking, then where they are right now. To cite an obvious example, a conservative in the United Church of Christ or PC(USA) who is suffering a great deal of abuse for defending basic principles of biblical authority is not going to get jumped by me for his women elders on his church board anywhere near as quickly as I would rebuke a PCA pastor whose church deliberately defies denominational rules to invite women to preach or to ordain them to office.

    I am an adult convert to evangelical Christianity. I know what it means to face very major family opposition to my conversion. I have not asked about private matters, but I’m quite aware that family opposition is usually a lot worse for converts from Judaism than anything I have ever faced.

    Let’s just say our record in the Reformed faith of attitudes toward Judaism, despite its problems, is better than most, and many Jewish people have good reason to have bad attitudes toward Christians. There have been times, when dealing with Orthodox Jewish friends, that they suddenly got wide eyes when they figured out my Dutch Reformed connections and said, “You’re one of **THOSE GUYS**!!!”

    I’m anything but Dutch, but I’m happy to count the attitudes toward the Jewish people held by Oliver Cromwell, by many of the Puritans, and by the Dutch Reformed as part of my theological heritage. Down here in the Bible Belt, positive attitudes toward Jewish people are fairly common, though often based on a certain type of dispensational theology with which I cannot concur, and it is not irrelevant that one of the major leaders of a Tea Party group in an adjacent county is a very conservative Jewish businessman. Evangelical Christians in the South are some of the greatest defenders of Jewish people and of Israel, and perhaps with time, that will bear fruit in overturning centuries of well-earned negative attitudes by too many Jewish people toward Christianity.

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  126. Darrell,

    Regarding your question of what I see as differences between SOTC and R2K, I would hope that racism is a difference. What side would “Two Kingdoms” people have taken on slavery in 1861? How about civil rights in 1961?

    To add to Todd’s statements here, I think it is important to distinguish 2k as a theological premise, which is not very complicated, and the conclusions drawn from it – which can be varying and manifold. There are a lot of reasons for this, but in the end I think the main reason is this: Typically while 2kers are very much in favor of a close reading of the Reformed Confessions as the ecclesiastical norm for the Reformed piety and practice, however in non-ecclesiastical matters (politics, culture, etc.) we hold to liberty of conscience, maintaining NL as the ethical norm on all matters outside of the church. NL at its core is a fairly simple ethical concept – God has revealed in nature and to the human conscience an understanding of good and evil, and NL simply attempts to promote the good and mitigate the evil. The blessing and curse of liberty is that not everyone understands how to define good and evil at all times – even if it is as a general rule built into every sensible legal code since the beginning of human culture. Chalk that up to two factors – A)human sin which obscures our ability to apprehend the truth perfectly, even if we can understand it enough to both be accountable to God for how we responded to revealed truth, and even if we understand the truth to order more or less functional societies; b) Human situatedness: we are bound temporally, culturally, and geographically and sometimes whole societies can whiff on one aspect of NL or another simply because of blind spots that plague us all. I suppose this can be used as an argument against NL2K argumentation, but I would challenge anyone, even those who wish to see a more active role of the Special Revelation in Scripture as a principle for ordering societies, because regardless of the authoritative source, NL or Scripture, there is still a highly fallible human element seeking to govern from it, and apply it correctly on this side of glory. (e.g. Southern Presbyterians who used Scripture to justify chattel slavery).

    All this to say, you are going to be hard pressed to find a side on these matters, but you will encounter some fairly rigorous debate amongst those in the 2k camp on these matters. For instance, I think that the South got slavery terribly wrong, and States Rights very right. I think that the civil disobedience utilized in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s-60’s was justifiable both on NL grounds, and on the basis of Reformed Resistance Theory (RRT). And while I understand that Reformed Christians were divided on the question of the American Revolution, I also think that NL and RRT can be understood in a way that makes room for the rejection of one form of government, in this case an imperial monarchy, for another, in this case a representational democratic republic. I also think this means Christians can be involved in Revolutions in the extraordinary times when they become necessary, so long as they avoid forms of government that are not tenable on NL or biblical grounds – e.g. anarchy, despotism, tyrannical totalitariansim. But, at the same time, these are political decisions that Christians have liberty to make, they are not privileged on the basis of their faith, and they might end up paying with their lives, liberty, and property for allying with the loosing side – they must accept this as a political risk, and not assume automatically that “God is on their side”. Additionally, when one chooses to set aside the general obligation that Christians have to their ruling authorities, even if it is to reform the government, or install a new more orderly one, they must have an ethical warrant for it – namely, the competing ethical claims of submission to the magistrate, and the NL demands on the magistrate that have been breached by the authorities must be of such a serious nature that it necessitates choosing between two ethical norms that find themselves at odds in an extraneous situation.

    But, to be sure, there are 2kers who will disagree with me on this, and will find little if no wiggle room on the ethical mandates in Romans 13. So, I would assert, that the more you come to understand what 2k teaches, the more you might find yourself disagreeing not with 2k as an theological/ethical/ecclesiastical construct, but how some choose to apply it. This is why I made the comment I did over at Tuininga’s blog today about how you need to tighten your theological understanding and critique of 2k – because where you sound the alarms is almost always at the level of application, and not at the level of core 2k assumptions. E.g. “so and so is dangerous to the church because of the encroachment of such and such liberal political ideal” without establishing why liberal versus conservative political/cultural ideals are to be rejected theologically or why they should be censured (or shunned) within the church.

    There are several issues that you are concerned with politically with which I agree, but I know that we certainly have differences over matters of foreign policy – what if I were to say (for the sake of argument – forgive any caricatures, I know your views are more nuanced than this example), “Maurina is a real danger to the church because his views of America’s foreign interventions are advocating policy squarely against the 6th Command… such views of aggressive foreign policy have no place in the Church of our Savior who calls each of us to turn the other cheek – are nations any different?” I am sure you would have a litany of legitimate objections to this clarion call, not the least being your freedom as a Christian to approach matters that Scripture is not clear on (such as foreign policy of modern nation-states). You might have even more legitimate theological, ethical, and political objections to raise. What 2k is seeking to mitigate is any one particular political POV from rising to the level of orthodoxy in the church, because we take Christian liberty very seriously, even if we might disagree with similar levels of seriousness of how that liberty is exercised on matters where Scripture isn’t clear.

    I realize that the common objections against 2k – abortion, gay marriage, the Nazis, and slavery in the Antebellum South might be raised here. Scripture is against them all 2k opponents argue, and to a great degree many if not most 2kers (myself included) agree, these issues all arise from human sinfulness. The far more interesting, difficult, and important question is, does Scripture demand that Christians agree on how these issues are approached politically or otherwise? To me this question strikes at the crux of the 2k controversies, because 2kers are saying *no* there is room for Christians to have varying opinions not on what constitutes sin, but how we deal with these at a societal level, while 2k opponents are arguing that the church be unified along political lines, often as a matter of orthopraxy if not orthodoxy.

    Are we making progress here, even if there are significant areas of disagreement?

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  127. Are we making progress? Maybe.

    I agree with you that my main problem with “Two Kingdoms” theology is the way it gets applied.

    I get seriously concerned when I see people writing things like this with regard to abortion: “the church should remain silent politically about what the state may or mayn’t allow its citizens to do in their own bodies.”

    Matt Tuininga isn’t saying things like that. Neither is Dr. Clark. Both have taken some pretty strong stands against abortion, and other issues could be named as well.

    But some are saying such things.

    Does that mean some 2Kers are taking extreme positions which are not required by the underlying theology, or does it mean that some 2Kers are failing to take their underlying theology to its logical conclusions?

    I don’t know the answer.

    I do know I’m worried.

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  128. Doug, the biblical argument against abortion is thou shalt not kill. Boo! (case closed your arse)

    The constitutional reason is the commerce clause — the lack of young people is putting a terrible burden on the economy. We need more people to contribute to Social Security and Medicaid.

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  129. DTM, if Billy Graham were a 2ker, what in the world was he doing playing presidential politics (and doing it so badly)? The things you leave out of your historical analysis is breathtaking.

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  130. DTM, well, there is Calvin who opposed revolution. And the Genevans did oppose the French Revolution. What people don’t realize is that the Reformed churches were as much a part of the “ancient regime” as the Roman Catholic Church. That is, the churches were part of the political and social hierarchy that democracy and liberalism sought to overthrow. We did not have the same kind of hierarchy in the U.S. but it had resemblances and universal sufferage took a long time to come (first for men with Andrew Jackson, and then for Women with the 19th Amendment).

    So I infer that the churches both 17th and 18th century were opposed to the American revolution which did away with monarchy and an established church. It was a threat to the social order of Europe. That is why it was “liberal” in the old classical sense.

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  131. Darrell, if you ever read VanDrunen’s NL2K you would know that we have historical precedents for 2k. If you ever read the Westminster Confession you’d know that (31.4, 31.5 in the original).

    I would ask you to avoid history until you know more.

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  132. DTM, Graham was maintaining a position held in the South? You mean the South that supported Prohibition and the South that produced the Scopes Trial?

    More historical awareness, please.

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  133. DTM, how would you feel about a church ruling that membership in the Republican Party is a sin and worthy of excommunication because Republican officials have taken God’s name in vain and have exploited God’s law for political ends without talking about the relationship between law and gospel? What if the civil religion of the Republicans is a false gospel? Have you ever considered that?

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  134. DTM, “the church should remain silent politically” is different from “the state should legalize abortion.”

    I don’t think you understand the difference. You infer the latter from the former. That violates the 9th commandment. (And I don’t think the state should enforce the 9th commandment against you.)

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  135. Tom – There are Two Great Commandments, Mr. Zrim, not just one.

    Erik – The problem with Tom & Darrell’s application of “love your neighbor as yourself” is that, on any question, they are compelled to extend it into the political realm. Show me examples of Jesus doing that.

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  136. Jed – And while I understand that Reformed Christians were divided on the question of the American Revolution,

    Erik – No, Tom teaches us that Pope John Witherspoon made all Calvinists be for the Revolution.

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  137. DTM,

    Would you favor the growth of police power needed to enforce a ban on abortion from the point of conception?

    Would you require all women to register their pregnancies with the state (the way live births are registered right now) as soon as they know they have conceived?

    How would this work?

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  138. So now I have to fret about how so-called 2K people from the past would have voted on contemporary issues? I’ll give that the full attention it deserves.

    Quite amusing, not as disturbing as the time another “Reformed” forum let me know in no uncertain terms that I was WRONG to bow my head during the blessings at the beginning and ending of services. I can’t humble myself enough before God during such moments.

    Shrug and smile and keep pressing on….

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  139. D.G. – We need more people to contribute to Social Security and Medicaid

    Erik – It’s Medicare you’ll be on soon, D.G. As long as Mrs. Hart is gainfully employed you shouldn’t need Medicaid.

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  140. Dr. Hart, it wasn’t me who was saying that Billy Graham was a 2Ker. I was agreeing with Doug Sowers that early on, Graham was opposed to the “politicization” of evangelicalism.

    Here’s my comment again: “Would you not grant that Billy Graham was at least coming out of the old Southern “spirituality of the church” tradition? I know he wasn’t a 2Ker, but Sowers said he was ‘like R2Kers,’ not that he was one of them.”

    I think it’s fairly clear that Graham was inconsistent about many things. Also, his career spanned so many decades that his views changed with time. Sometimes that was good, sometimes not so good.

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  141. Okay, Erik, you wanted quotes. What do you think of these comments? Given some time I think I can go find some more, but I’d like you to analyze these and tell me what you think.

    With regard to homosexual marriage: “I’d say that while the church must maintain a moral opposition to that which is immoral, I think she should be careful when questions become politicized. So when you say the ‘church has to discourage the state from morally affirming what the church finds to be inherently unjust,’ I do get a little nervous since it sounds like some potential intermeddling.”

    With regard to abortion: “the church should remain silent politically about what the state may or mayn’t allow its citizens to do in their own bodies.”

    “Issuing formal ecclesial statements in obvious response to political developments is suspect to me. It is as suspect and objectionable as when our URC puts right-to-life literature and petitions in the narthex. To my mind, this all suggests that the pro-life movement has had considerable more influence than the doctrines of 2k and the SOTC.”

    “Re your point about the RPW and liberty, I believe elective abortion should be outlawed by local authorities. But proving it from the Bible is vexing. Easier is to see how believers are called and even bound to nurture and preserve life at all costs, especially those over which they are personally ordained (e.g. mothers and fathers). And this absolutely regardless of what the state allows them to do. So while I see liberty for another believer to have another political conclusion than me on reproductive legislation, I only see a binding for what they do in their personal reproductive lives.”

    And again: “I’d put it this way: a Christian church must cultivate piety in her members (Xn mothers mayn’t take the lives of their children), but that same church mayn’t tell either that same member how to vote anymore than she may intermeddle in political affairs… I’d put it this way: a church shouldn’t tell her members what sort of politics s/he should have because that would trample his/her liberty.”

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  142. Also, Eric, would you consider this quote to be neo-Calvinist or anti-2K? If so, would you oppose the sentiments the quote expresses?

    ““Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.”

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  143. DTM,

    On the church intermeddling, check out WCF 31.4.

    On the state and my body, do you favor the prohibition of super-sizing? I thought you were a small govt. conservative. (If so, please explain how a state law against abortion squares with that. Where do you draw the line between a woman’s uterine and my stomach or lungs? “It’s obvious” is not an option.)

    If you think that abortion is wrong, as I do, how do you what the state is supposed to do? Idolatry is wrong, right? So the state shuts down mosques and cathedrals and synagogues? You still haven’t understood the difference between politics and Christian morality.

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  144. DTM, while you’re quoting Machen, try this one:

    There are certain things which you cannot expect from such a true Christian church. In the first place, you cannot expect from it any cooperation with non-Christian religion or with a non-Christian program of ethical culture. There are those who tell us that the Bible ought to be put into the public schools, and that the public schools should seek to build character by showing the children that honesty is the best policy and that good Americans do not lie nor steal. With such programs a true Christian church will have nothing to do. . . .

    In the second place, you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission. . . .

    The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life — nay, all the length of human history — is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there a mysterious, holy, living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and offered us communion with Himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation, for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whosever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kingdoms of the earth — nay, all the wonders of the starry heavens — are as the dust of the street. (1933)

    Selective quoting is not in accord with God’s law — oh the irony.

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  145. Dr. Hart, I recognize Machen was a Southern Presbyterian. I’m not going to agree with him on everything. But I’m not sure he would agree with the modern 2K movement, either.

    As a professor at an Ivy League institution, it seems obvious that Machen was intensely involved in cultural issues in a way that today’s conservatives simply cannot be, and which was also very different from the Dutch Reformed separatist model.

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  146. DTM,

    One thing you lose sight of is that what you do personally with regards to politics is none of my business. If you want to spend every waking hour on political activism, that’s fine. You just can’t be a totalitarian about it, come into my church, and demand that my pastor and my consistory join arms with you in your efforts, regardless of how righteous you think those efforts and causes are. You also can’t demand that I join you. I suppose you can try, but if I rebuff you you have no recourse against me. It’s a free country and we also have Christian liberty when others attempt to bind our consciences. It’s your side that is all about making demands on others. Our side just wants people to be able to be left alone by people like you.

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  147. I’ve used some of those same Machen quotes when engaging evangelicals who run around actively attempting to recruit members of the congregation to get involved in political issues. They look at me like I’m an alien. The latest, greatest hot button is same-sex marriage legislation. So they push back at me with the locomotive stopping question, “What about the children??” (since this kind of thing will be taught on a regular basis in public schools). My answer is that is why we are (should be) catechizing them. Then I usually get a look as though I’m an advance scout for a general alien invasion.

    Luther had it right; not enough head beating going on in the churches these days….

    “The law is divine and holy. Let the law have his glory, but yet no law, be it never so divine and holy, ought to teach me that I am justified, and shall live through it. I grant it may teach me that I ought to love God and my neighbour; also to live in chastity, soberness, patience, etc., but it ought not to show me, how I should be delivered from sin, the devil, death, and hell.

    Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law,) but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me : to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth.

    Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

    –Martin Luther, “St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians” (Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co., 1860), 206.

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  148. Dr. Hart, I want to make sure I have understood you. You do support laws against abortion, don’t you? Also, you do believe abortion should be illegal, right? It seems exceedingly unlikely that you have taken a libertarian position on the government turning a blind eye to the mass murder of unborn babies, but maybe I’ve missed statements by you to that effect.

    On your other question, I trust you understand that there is a huge difference between the government prohibiting murder and the government prohibiting sale of 20-oz soft drinks. The two issues are not moral equivalents. One is the proper role of the government in accord with Romans 13 and many other passages of Scripture. The other is an extension of the civil magistrate into a sphere where it has no biblical warrant for action.

    D. G. Hart posted June 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm: “DTM, On the church intermeddling, check out WCF 31.4. On the state and my body, do you favor the prohibition of super-sizing? I thought you were a small govt. conservative. (If so, please explain how a state law against abortion squares with that. Where do you draw the line between a woman’s uterine and my stomach or lungs? “It’s obvious” is not an option.) If you think that abortion is wrong, as I do, how do you what the state is supposed to do? Idolatry is wrong, right? So the state shuts down mosques and cathedrals and synagogues? You still haven’t understood the difference between politics and Christian morality.”

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  149. DTM, Princeton Seminary was not and never has been part of the College of New Jersey or Princeton University. It is not an Ivy League institution. (If I were keeping score on historical errors . . .)

    You write: “it seems obvious that Machen was intensely involved in cultural issues in a way that today’s conservatives simply cannot be, and which was also very different from the Dutch Reformed separatist model.” What in the world does this mean? I can think of a host of seminary professors from Machen’s day, even those at the Ivy League Harvard Div. School or the Yale Div. School who never testified before Congress.

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  150. DTM,

    The political home for many of the things that you disagree with is the Democratic Party. Do you believe that church members who are also members of the Democratic Party should be subject to church discipline? Why or why not?

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  151. Kent:
    “Quite amusing, not as disturbing as the time another “Reformed” forum let me know in no uncertain terms that I was WRONG to bow my head during the blessings at the beginning and ending of services. I can’t humble myself enough before God during such moments.”

    Bro, is it INTP to carry that chip around on your shoulder? Where in this thread: http://www.puritanboard.com/f67/bowing-heads-during-benediction-62950/ are you jumped on, berated, or abused in any way? There are two sides well-represented on the thread, and no opinion is condemned.

    Let the reader be the judge. Who is reading into the words and motivations of others? Consider the wide variety of persons and opinions found on the P-B–where snark and invective is limited, in the interest of peace and toleration of so many different, but Confessional views.

    The P-B isn’t a “Constantinian” site, or a “2-K” site. The P-B doesn’t have an obvious “slant.” Yea, the Viking is there; and so are a bunch of others who think Establishmentarianism is happily tossed on the rubbish heap of history.

    The P-B doesn’t need a “defender” out on the internet, looking for detractors, trying to set the record straight. It is just a discussion board with little toleration for personal sniping, and very up-front about that. When a man joins, he’s asked to read and agree with the house-rules: http://www.puritanboard.com/faq.php?faq=vb_faq#faq_forumrulesfaq There isn’t any room in a corner of the internet for such a place to live, and let-live? Come to your own conclusion.

    It’s a bit wearing to come to OLTS on a daily basis, and there’s this constant, one-sided ripping of that Confessional forum, where few if any of our OLTS frequent-commentators participate. In some debate or another, its usually the doctrinaire any side who get bent, and leave–on account of the other participants, or on account of the moderation. You know the saying: can’t please everybody all the time.

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  152. DTM, the Bible condemns gluttony. Some Christians think that super-sizing is sinful. If the magistrate is supposed to enforce God’s law, why do you get to choose which laws the magistrate doesn’t need to enforce? “And ye shall be as gods. . .”?

    I am opposed to abortion. I do not know the legislative wrinkles of it. And since I don’t live in a progressive state like California where voters regularly have referenda on legislation, I’ve never had to vote on abortion law.

    What you don’t understand is how it is possible to think something is wrong morally and also oppose govt. enforcing that morality. Here we need big Tom Van Dyke to step up about the Whig political theory of the revolution. If you grant the magistrate power to enforce morality, where do you stop?

    DTM, you have no conception of this fundamental American political point. That does not mean I advocate anarchy or that govt. should have no moral compass. But you don’t understand a pretty important piece of U.S. conservatism — being small government means not giving government power over our personal lives. If you don’t want to support American liberty, fine. But I don’t want to live in your kind of society. I wouldn’t be able to blog. (But don’t tell my wife about the kind of society you’re proposing.)

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  153. Having not grown up midwestern, protestant, presbyterian, reformed or dutch, this must be what it’s like for reformed presby cradles to listen to vat II cradle’s argue with latin-rite prot-catholic’s for rightful claims to their past. As it is, I’d like to kick both the southern baptist fundies and CTS/Keller bunch out of the PCA. There’s got to be a trade we can do somewhere in all this.

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  154. DTM, – “The other is an extension of the civil magistrate into a sphere where it has no biblical warrant for action.”

    Erik – If health care is becoming socialized (which it is under Obamacare — wait until you see how much young people’s premiums are going up to subsidize older people’s premiums), and if our money represents the fruit of our time and effort (our lives), and allowing people to get fat and get diabetes costs us more for health care, then how does the civil magistrate have no warrant for action in what (and how much) people eat and drink?

    Also, if people get fat or get cancer by consuming the products of greedy soda companies and fast food companies (or greedy tobacco companies) they often eventually die prematurely. If the government is to protect life at all costs, then how can they have no warrant for action?

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  155. D: Does that mean you would not have a problem with, for example, a church assembly voting 1) that slavery is a sin against God

    T: I don’t think something like that needs to be voted on, but I have no problem with the church declaring that chattel slavery was very sinful.

    “When the Presbyterian assembly was called on a few years ago, to say that slavery is a sin against God, it was voted by the Assembly, that it is inexpedient to take action on the subject, and as soon as that was done, Dr. Cox jumped up and clapped his hands, and thanked God that their Vesuvius was capped; and having got rid of slavery, they all engaged in prayer; while the poor heart-broken slave was lifting up his hands to them, and clanking his chains and imploring them in the name of God to aid him; and their reply was, it is inexpedient for us to do so: and Dr. Cox clapped his hands and thanked God that the Vesuvius was capped; that is, that the question of slavery is got rid of. —Frederick Douglass 1746

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

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  156. Here we need big Tom Van Dyke to step up about the Whig political theory of the revolution. If you grant the magistrate power to enforce morality, where do you stop?

    That is the question to be asked and to be answered, Darryl.

    Your solution is avoiding the question, but that is no solution atall.

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  157. Tom,

    How did slavery end in every other part of the world without civil war?

    How many people died in the U.S. Civil War?

    I think you’re 100 years off on your date.

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  158. The debate over slavery is similar to the debates over abortion and alcohol consumption. You can get on your moral high horse and demand an immediate end to all of these things (which is basically what happened with slavery and alcohol consumption), or you can look at the practices and the abiding nature of human sin, and ask how we might wisely seek to curtail them. The prohibitionist gets to thump their chest and feel self-righteous. The wise curtailer may end up getting better results, though.

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  159. Yes, it’s called a typo, Erik. The full title is

    Slavery in the Pulpit of the Evangelical Alliance: An Address Delivered in London, England, on September 14, 1846

    Frederick Douglass’ condemnation of the Presbyterian Church for its inaction and inertia on slavery is quite well-known. Were you aware of this aspect of your history? There is more. Read the link.

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

    If your legalistic approach to religion is unmoved by Douglass’ disgust, if you are incapable of shame at it, well, the point is made. You can offer no defense, only the usual sarcasm and diversion.

    “You will observe, that during the speeches of Mr. Garrison and Mr. Thompson, special reference has been made to the church in America. Why, Sir, do we so often allude to this, and make special attacks on the American church and clergy? It is not because we have any war with them as a body of Christians, not because we have any war with the ministers in America, as such,—not at all; but they have thrown themselves across the pathway of emancipation, and made it our duty to make war upon them, or desert the cause of the slave. Why, Sir, the political parties in the United States that uphold the sin of slavery dwindle into insignificance, when compared with the power exercised by the church to uphold and sustain that system.

    I have heard sermon after sermon, when a slave, intended to make me satisfied with my condition, telling me that it is the position God intended me to occupy; that if I offend against my master, I offend against God; that my happiness in time and eternity depends on my entire obedience to my master. Those are the doctrines taught among slaves, and the slave-holders themselves have become conscious about holding slaves in bondage, and their consciences have been lulled to sleep by the preaching and teaching of the Southern American pulpits. “There is no place,” said an Abolitionist in the United States, “where slavery finds a more secure abode than under the shadow of the sanctuary.”

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  160. Tom,

    You’re starting to lose bladder control and embarrass yourself. Jesus tells us not to do our good deeds before men. How would you know what I do or don’t do?

    I have no problem with Douglas’s attempts to end slavery. Ask yourself how you (or DTM) would react to a similar sermon today in which “slavery” was replaced with “gay marriage”. Would you guys be ashamed of your inaction on helping gays marry?

    My point is, societies have discussions over difficult moral issues. The political process is the manifestation of that. Throwing a tantrum and demanding that the church devote all its energies to stamping out this or that purported evil is not the answer though. The church has other business to attend to. You put no value on spiritual matters (they’re not “real world”, according to you), but that doesn’t mean that no one else does.

    I am sure a lot of slaves trusted Christ, accepted their unjust circumstances, and lived godly lives in spite of them. Other slaves went free and lived in sin. Who was better off in the long run? Extend your view, man.

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  161. Tom,

    You come across as a bit of a condemning moral grandstander here. But what of your private sins, the ones that only you know about? What is your solution for those since they are offensive to God? Do you bring the same condemnation to your own sins as you bring to the sins of society and other people?

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  162. I have no problem with Douglas’s attempts to end slavery.

    Uh huh.

    “Only think of a religion under which the handcuffs, the fetters, the whip, the gag, the thumbscrew, blood-hounds, cat-o’-nine-tails, branding-irons, all these implements, can be undisturbed.

    Only think of a body of men thanking God every Sabbath-day that they live in a country where there is civil and religious freedom, when there are three millions of people herded together in a state of concubinage, denied the right to learn to read the name of the God that made them,—where there are laws that doom the black man to death for offences which, if committed by white men, would pass unpunished. Think of a man standing up among such a people, and never raising a whisper in condemnation of such a state of things, denouncing the slaveholders, or speaking a word of pity or sympathy with the poor slave.

    This in itself should have been sufficient to have led the Evangelical Alliance to have barred and bolted its gateways, to keep out from them the persons who have been here, such as Dr. Smyth, of Charleston, South Carolina. I happen to know something of him. Sir, that man stands charged, and justly charged, with performing mock marriages, in the city of Charleston, among the slaves, leaving out the most important part of the ceremony, “What God has bound together, let no man put asunder.” When marriages are performed among slaves, this is left out, and for the best of reasons,—when they marry them with the understanding that their masters have the right and power of tearing asunder those they have pretended to join together…”—(cries of “Shame, shame”).

    —Frederick Douglass, 1846

    Shame, shame indeed. Know your history. This is where your theology led, and where it leads.

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  163. Sadly the right is not immune to the same utopian impulses that plague the left. It’s just on the right they are channeled into causes like an immediate end to all abortion or ending the IRS.

    Imagine you’re a Presbyterian pastor in the south in the 1850s. You have some members of your church who are slave owners and many who are not. You also attempt to minister to slaves. You have some slaveowning members who are hard-hearted and are cruel to their slaves. Perhaps you go to them with gentle biblical admonitions to treat their slaves with more kindness. With those slaveowners who are kind to their slaves, perhaps you talk to them about considering setting them free. When the slaves themselves need counsel and encouragement you try your best to provide it.

    What you probably don’t do is stand in the pulpit each Sunday and condemn slavery and demand an immediate end to it. For one thing, you would only get to do it one Sunday because you would be fired. The members are paying you, For another thing, you have no power to carry out your wishes. You have no civil power or army.

    Even today pastors are not satisfied with the decisions of all of their members. But how do they deal with this? Most of the time with Biblical teaching and gentle persuasion. Occasionally they will join with the elders in administering church discipline.

    You need to take an honest look at what the church is and how it goes about doing its business.

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  164. Tom,

    And then there’s this:

    John Gloucester (1776-1822)

    “Presbyterian minister and founder of the first African-American Presbyterian church. Born a slave in Kentucky and converted by the preaching of a Presbyterian minister, Gideon Blackburn. Gloucester began to receive training for the ministry when Blackburn purchased him and took him to his home in Tennessee for instruction in Presbyterian divinity. After Gloucester preached to the nearby Cherokees, Blackburn advocated in 1807 that the Presbytery of Union license him to preach. At the same time, Archibald Alexander, then pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, who met Gloucester at the 1807 general assembly, asked him to go North for the purpose of serving in the Evangelical Society, an agency that evangelized blacks in Alexander’s hometown. Blackburn agreed to free Gloucester to comply with Alexander’s request. Gloucester’s preaching led in May 1807 to the organization of the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. he was finally licensed to preach in 1810 by the Presbytery of Union and a year later transferred his credentials to the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

    In addition to pastoral duties and overseeing a sabbath school and a day school, Gloucester traveled frequently to raise funds for the manumission (freeing) of his wife and four children. In 1818 he went as far as England to secure the remainder of the fifteen hundred dollars he needed. His trip was successful, and upon his return to Philadelphia he was reunited with his family. Gloucester’s two sons, Stephen and James, followed in their father’s footsteps, the former founding the Central Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia in 1844 and the latter organizing the Siloam Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn in 1849. Gloucester’s admirers remembered him as an excellent preacher and an even better singer. Consumption (tuberculosis) contributed to his death.”

    The author? D.G. Hart

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  165. For the proper perspective, the reader should imagine Mr. Charter making his excuses to Frederick Douglass, not to me.

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

    I’m sorry, Erik. It’s not funny and it’s not fit fodder for your sarcasm. You wouldn’t dare say those things to Frederick Douglass’s face. At least I don’t think you would.

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  166. Tom,

    And as much as you want to declare the Revolution “A Presbyterian Revolt” I’m hoping that you aren’t trying to make a case for “The Presbyterian Institution of Slavery”. Weren’t there a lot of other Christian groups in the South? And irreligious people, too?

    As far as your (and DTM’s) critique of the Spirituality of the Church goes, can you cite Christians in the South who were outspoken against slavery? It seems like several denominations split along geographical lines when the Civil War occurred.

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  167. Tom, and where pray tell have you weighed in and straightened out this thing we call a federated republic which recognizes no religion as its basis? Please solve life on sinful planet earth. Today would be best.

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  168. Tom’s starting to resemble Bud Cort trying to continually shock his mother with his fake deaths in “Harold & Maude”. Every time he comes back he turns up the rhetoric a notch.

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  169. “Tom,

    How did slavery end in every other part of the world without civil war?

    How many people died in the U.S. Civil War?

    I think you’re 100 years off on your date.” Erik Carter

    Erik, Ever hear of William Wilberforce?

    The RPCNA was a Southern Church at one time. It migrated North due to the Slavery issue. Only 13 % of those who fought in the South were slave Owners. Not everyone in the South had appreciation for Slavery. Thomas Stonewall Jackson did not and even had a hired freed black man on his staff. They dearly loved each other in Christ. We can argue the politics of the Civil War and really truly get nowhere. In fact if you read the Black Professor Walter Williams from George Mason University, he has a strong argument that the root of the Civil War wasn’t anything about slavery. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams120298.asp

    Abraham Lincoln truly wasn’t a champion to free the slaves. He didn’t emancipate slaves in the North when he should have. He only did it concerning the Southern States. Slavery was still legal in 4 Northern States after the supposed emancipation proclamation which Lincoln had no jurisdiction to perform as he only emancipated slaves in the rebel states.

    Anyways, that is my 2 cents worth. I could be mistaken but I think I have my facts straight.

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  170. Darrell,

    Does that mean some 2Kers are taking extreme positions which are not required by the underlying theology, or does it mean that some 2Kers are failing to take their underlying theology to its logical conclusions?

    I don’t know the answer.

    I do know I’m worried.

    This is what is most troubling about some of your rhetoric online (Baylyblog, group messages, etc.), you are taking a ready, fire, aim approach to 2k. You claim you don’t know the details of 2k’s (underlying) theology well enough to know what it may or may not imply, yet you have no problem at all decrying it, and it’s advocates vociferously and publicly. The problem is, I know you also have the capacity for some really intelligent discussion, and raise some insightful questions about 2k and its implications. It leaves me scratching my head as to what exactly you are seeking to accomplish in your public statements.

    The fact of the matter is the best place to understand 2k theology is to read the published material by 2k scholars subject to peer review. This means paying close attention to what authors like Van Drunen, Hart, Clark, Horton, et. al. have written in Journal articles, scholarly works, and books. They are anything but opaque. They have also been clear on what they view as the implications of their views. The blogosphere is useful for discussion, but not for understanding core theological tenets with great clarity. You are citing, as far as I can tell untrained, unordained, and possibly anonymous sources who aren’t, for good reason, held to the same standards of accountability as seminary professors and ordained officers in Reformed churches.

    It seems highly problematic to me that you are unsure of whether or not 2kers with whom you disagree most are drawing unsound conclusions from their theological base (which happens in every camp), or if the premises upon which 2k theology is framed upon are unsound, and then you go on to decry 2k theology as a danger to the church. How I see it is you see some of the views espoused by 2kers as either politically/culturally dubious or dangerous, or both, and then you draw from this that they are also dangerous to the church. What I don’t see is sound argumentation that connects the political/cultural questions to the ecclesiastical question. How can you if you aren’t sure if the whole system is unsound, or if it is a few individuals conclusions that are out there?

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  171. I have some questions concerning the revolutionary war. Much of the Reformed discussion and struggle was against Erastianism and Popery. Even during the great meeting of the divines at Westminster the debate about the Mediatorial Kingdom and Reign of Christ took on disagreement on how to interpret that Reign of Christ in light of Erastianism and the Reformed Presbyterian view. It seems both were at opposite ends of the pendulum swing.

    Maybe D. G. can enlighten us here. From what I understand about our Early History the Revolutionary war wasn’t necessarily about some tea and tax. That was a big part of it since the phrase Taxation without Representation became a battle cry. But there were other pressing issues weren’t there. Patrick Henry seemed to be more involved with combatting Erastianism and the Kings Church. It wasn’t that PH was negating an Established Christianity. It was that the Anglican Church was the approved Church without sanctions. If a congregational Church or Presbyterian Church wanted to form it had to apply for license and a lot of the time that led to persecution and most of the time denial for the license.

    It seems I read quite a bit about this topic back in the late 80’s but have lost a lot of what I learned and read. Probably due to getting old. But there seems to be some justification for the revolutionary war to get out from under Erastianism which mind you is not necessarily Establismentarianism.

    Am I mistaken about this Dr. Hart?

    I don’t know how reliable the resource is below but I have read other accounts very similar in books.
    http://christianpersecutioninamerica.com/patrick-henry-black-robed-regiment/

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  172. Tom, and where pray tell have you weighed in and straightened out this thing we call a federated republic which recognizes no religion as its basis? Please solve life on sinful planet earth. Today would be best.

    Darryl, I’m more interested in your answer to Frederick Douglass’s well-known condemnation of your church and the impotence of its laissez-faire theology–which is in particular your own “2 Kingdoms.” Tell it to Douglass, not me. Your sarcasm is inappropriate.

    “When the Presbyterian assembly was called on a few years ago, to say that slavery is a sin against God, it was voted by the Assembly, that it is inexpedient to take action on the subject, and as soon as that was done, Dr. Cox jumped up and clapped his hands, and thanked God that their Vesuvius was capped; and having got rid of slavery, they all engaged in prayer; while the poor heart-broken slave was lifting up his hands to them, and clanking his chains and imploring them in the name of God to aid him; and their reply was, it is inexpedient for us to do so: and Dr. Cox clapped his hands and thanked God that the Vesuvius was capped; that is, that the question of slavery is got rid of. —Frederick Douglass 1846

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

    As for your attempt to engage the American revolution, the discussion remains open, and quite lively, at the American Creation blog.

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  173. “Abraham Lincoln truly wasn’t a champion to free the slaves. He didn’t emancipate slaves in the North when he should have. He only did it concerning the Southern States. Slavery was still legal in 4 Northern States after the supposed emancipation proclamation which Lincoln had no jurisdiction to perform as he only emancipated slaves in the rebel states.”

    Randy,

    Lincoln did not have the authority to free slaves in the north. Lincoln claimed the authority to free southern slaves as commander-in-chief of the military because he said there were no legitimate governments in those Southern states once they rebelled; in essence they had recanted their citizenship and thus lost protection of the U.S. Constitution. Lincoln did not have the authority to single-handedly, without congressional approval, free slaves in states under the Constitution. Whatever one thinks of his reasoning, it was a brilliant political move, and kept European countries from supporting the South and maybe turning the tide of the war.

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  174. You are correctTodd. It was a political move to keep Europe from supplying the South since William Wilberforce successfully (after 40 years of lobbying) got Parliament to abolish slavery. LIncoln knew how to play the Slavery card well as many try to do (right or wrong) today. The South Seceded and had it’s own Confederation and Constitution and Lincoln assumed authority he didn’t have. It made him look like a champion of a subject he was not a champion for. It was merely a political move and opportunity.

    Thanks Tom for the reply but I would really appreciate getting Dr. Hart’s quick opinion. These guys were forcibly being taxed and tyrannically being force to support a Church that was under the King of England’s Domain which some considered to be an usurpation of Christ’s authority. Therefore the war also might have had other motives that some weren’t taught about in their public school history books. This is very similar in my estimation to the rewriting of history considering Lincoln the supposed Great Emancipator. .

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  175. Thanks Tom for the reply but I would really appreciate getting Dr. Hart’s quick opinion. These guys were forcibly being taxed and tyrannically being force to support a Church that was under the King of England’s Domain which some considered to be an usurpation of Christ’s authority.

    As you will, Randy. That’s not what happened, though. Taxation to support the Church of England was not remotely an issue. The above link is to Dr.Hart vs.Dr. Mark David Hall on the real theological issues.

    As for Lincoln the Emancipator, again, Frederick Douglass may be of help.

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/oration-in-memory-of-abraham-lincoln/

    “I have said that President Lincoln was a white man, and shared the prejudices common to his countrymen towards the colored race. Looking back to his times and to the condition of his country, we are compelled to admit that this unfriendly feeling on his part may be safely set down as one element of his wonderful success in organizing the loyal American people for the tremendous conflict before them, and bringing them safely through that conflict. His great mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save his country from dismemberment and ruin; and, second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both, he must have the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his loyal fellow-countrymen. Without this primary and essential condition to success his efforts must have been vain and utterly fruitless. Had he put the abolition of slavery before the salvation of the Union, he would have inevitably driven from him a powerful class of the American people and rendered resistance to rebellion impossible. Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.”

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  176. Randy,

    You, Tom. and DTM are in a contest in some kind of Random Factoid Festival.

    Wilberorce was English. They outlawed the slave trade in England without fighting a civil war. They also didn’t have cotton plantations in England.

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  177. Randy, last I checked, the Declaration of Independence was readily accessible in print and on line. Here are the grievances of the colonists against the king and parliament:

    The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    It may be just me, but I don’t see a lot of religion there.

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  178. Tom, are you still discussing the revolution over there? Oh my. That was tired after the first 36 hours.

    And when will you blog about my disagreements with your mother?

    As for Douglas, he was a political radical and completely out of accord with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. I don’t trust him. Did you ever hear what he had to say about the Constitution? And those Presbyterians who backed the revolution were also NOT opposed to slavery.

    Check.

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  179. Tom,

    I browsed the comments over there but nodded off. Church history is what animates me. General history and the American Founding would be down the list. To each his own, though

    Like

  180. Read your church history re Frederick Douglass and slavery, then, Erik. He has you figured out.

    You too, Darryl. Douglass shows what’s wrong with your theology, far more embarrassing and shameful than whatever you think Sarah Palin does to Christianity.

    Jesus is as the least of us, “the poor heart-broken slave was lifting up his hands to them, and clanking his chains and imploring them in the name of God to aid him; and their reply was, it is inexpedient for us to do so.” Explain to Him why your church and religion forbid you from helping him.

    I had read awhile ago of Douglass’s condemnation of the Presbyterian parson who was a slaveowner. But reading him again today, I see you–ostensibly good men, but tolerating the intolerable, leaving it to abstractions of theology and “freedom of conscience.”

    “Only think of a religion under which the handcuffs, the fetters, the whip, the gag, the thumbscrew, blood-hounds, cat-o’-nine-tails, branding-irons, all these implements, can be undisturbed…”

    Think.

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  181. “Are these the same righteous Presbyterians who were part of the Revolution a few decades earlier? Make up your mind.” –Erik, in response to TVD

    Again, Erik, you’re asking Tom to organize his disparate facts into something that resembles a coherent narrative. I think it’s apparent that such skills are not exactly within Tom’s wheelhouse.

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  182. Douglass’s argument against your theology is coherent, Bobby. There has been no answer for 150 years. There cannot be. Be as sarcastic as you like. Douglass’s sarcasm is far more telling, for it is the truth.

    When the Presbyterian assembly was called on a few years ago, to say that slavery is a sin against God, it was voted by the Assembly, that it is inexpedient to take action on the subject, and as soon as that was done, Dr. Cox jumped up and clapped his hands, and thanked God that their Vesuvius was capped; and having got rid of slavery, they all engaged in prayer…”

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

    “…the poor heart-broken slave was lifting up his hands to them, and clanking his chains and imploring them in the name of God to aid him; and their reply was, it is inexpedient for us to do so.”

    “Only think of a religion under which the handcuffs, the fetters, the whip, the gag, the thumbscrew, blood-hounds, cat-o’-nine-tails, branding-irons, all these implements, can be undisturbed…”

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  183. Tom,

    If you’re trying to tell us our Presbyterian & Reformed forefathers were sinful people we have a hard time disagreeing with you. We’re Calvinists, after all.

    Now what’s your excuse for thinking you’re a good person?

    Without knowing your confession of faith all I can conclude is that you’re a guy with an opinion and a bad haircut.

    You need to figure out that Jesus is the only hero in Reformed theology.

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  184. Tom, Douglas’ arguments were coherent until he ran up against the Constitution. But who cares about the rule of law when you have John Brown on your side?

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  185. Where’s the scary music to accompany Tom’s posts like you hear on those negative political ads during campaign season? Work on that, D.G.

    Tom,

    If you do some more internet research maybe you can come back and tell us how Presbyterians were responsible for The Holocaust, herpes, halitosis, and mullets.

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  186. Another diversion? We’re speaking of the Presbyterian Church and your theology, DGH. You and your fellows have no principled reply to Frederick Douglass’s indictment of it. There can be no principled reply to the cries of the heart-broken slave, no excuse possible for “a religion under which the handcuffs, the fetters, the whip, the gag, the thumbscrew, blood-hounds, cat-o’-nine-tails, branding-irons, all these implements, can be undisturbed.”

    As for your telling of history, it’s half-true: Douglass changed his mind on the Constitution–look up his speech delivered to the Church of the Puritans, New York, June 1863. See also Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech of February 1860. Everyone knew from the first that slavery was wrong, and that it must end…someday. The religious justifications for slavery actually came later, in the 1800s, when the day came to translate the natural law into practical reality.

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  187. Tom,

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader but he was also a serial adulterer. Does he get to wear the white hat or the black hat? According to your thinking people only get to wear one.

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  188. And he led a civil rights movement that started with preaching and people marching in suits and fedoras, which overnight became hippies and vulgar language and fornication in the streets (they used a different word beginning with f)

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  189. Thanks D.G. I don’t see any religion there either. If I remember my reading from 20 years ago on the subject, Christianity was truly in a sad state of affairs before the revolutionary war. It wasn’t much better after if I remember correctly. I sincerely wanted to gain some knowledge on the subject from you. No strings were attached. At the same time I must admit that it does seem (my perceived inferences from historical understanding) that religion was a subject matter per John Witherspoon or Patrick Henry’s fight for a right to defend men of God. Might there be some truth to the argument about fighting Erastianism. Also from what I understand, the separation of church and state had more to do with the subject matter of the King’s religion being tyrranically enforced and other denominations being suppressed. Can you tell me if that is what the substance of that issue was about? I truly haven’t studied that out and I am only relying upon my poor memory. I can’t even remember where I picked that kind of knowledge from. It was probably something I read when I was studying the period surrounding the Great Awakening.

    If I am not mistaken PH also desired for taxes to be levied for Christian ministers of various denominations. That wasn’t very Baptist of him was it? LOL. I only mention that to show that he did have some Establishmentarian ideology.

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  190. Tom, Douglas complicates your life as much as it may mine. The founders who so relied on Calvinism (perhaps) and Locke were the same ones to include provisions for it in the Constitution. Since you are a fan of the “American creation,” you have some ‘splainin’ to do to Mr. Douglas should you ever meet him in the world to come.

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  191. Randy – Christianity was truly in a sad state of affairs before the revolutionary war

    Erik – No Randy, Pietist Tom and his ally, Dr. Hall, tells us that 50%-75% (down from 75%) of every man, woman, child, pet, tree, and other inanimate objects was fiercely committed to the Calvinist values of rebellion, revolution, and general hell-raising. Get your facts staight. It’s in the history books.

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  192. Tom, Douglas complicates your life as much as it may mine. The founders who so relied on Calvinism (perhaps) and Locke were the same ones to include provisions for it in the Constitution. Since you are a fan of the “American creation,” you have some ‘splainin’ to do to Mr. Douglas should you ever meet him in the world to come.

    Darryl, I don’t have any complications atall. This counterattack is not the same as a defense of the theology that Frederick Douglass so pointedly exposed as heartless and hypocritical. One would do well to meditate on his words and perhaps reconsider that theology a bit.

    As for the Constitution and slavery, read Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech. The Founders knew slavery was wrong: it’s why they banned it in the territories, and why they provided for the abolition of the slave trade. Yes, they were weak in seeing it through, but the difference from Presbyterianism’s lack of effective opposition to slavery is that you do not see the latter as a failure or a cowardice, but as an unfortunate but necessary consequence of your “2K” theology.

    Off to Vegas for our 27th anniversary. Peace.

    http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm

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  193. Tom – Yes, they were weak in seeing it through, but the difference from Presbyterianism’s lack of effective opposition to slavery is that you do not see the latter as a failure or a cowardice, but as an unfortunate but necessary consequence of your “2K” theology.

    Erik – Let’s see, “The Founders” (I.e., politicians and statesmen) who actually wrote Constitutions, passed legislation, and controlled executive & judicial branches get a pass while “Presbyterians” who lacked any power to end slavery take the blame? Don’t take that logic to the craps table.

    Nice to hear you have been married for 27 years. Hopefully some kids to go along with that for Father’s Day (and I’m being sincere about that). We’re getting some personal stuff out of you bit-by-bit.

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  194. The notion of churches being responsible for social ills is a common theme (especially among those of a revivalistic or pietistic bent). Surely if the church experienced revival and loved God more X would disappear from America. This notion is reflected in Charles Sheldon’s “In His Steps – What Would Jesus Do” (1897). This is the book that I argued with a pietist in my own church over recently:

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

    I want to hear the case for (1) How Christians (including Tom’s “Presbyterians”) could have unilaterally stopped slavery, and (2) How Christians can unilaterally make abortion illegal today.

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  195. Interestingly, my atheist friend Hector Avalos argues that not only did Christianity have very little to do with ending slavery, but that it actually facilitated it. In other words, if he is to be believed, Southern Presbyterians were far from the only problem:

    http://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Abolitionism-Ethics-Biblical-Scholarship/dp/1909697184/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1371421393&sr=8-3&keywords=hector+avalos

    “In this immensely wide-ranging and fascinating study, Avalos critiques the common claim that the abolition of slavery was due in large part to the influence of biblical ethics. Such a claim, he argues, is characteristic of a broader phenomenon in biblical scholarship, which focuses on defending, rather than describing, the ethical norms encountered in biblical texts. The first part of Avalos’s critique explores how modern scholars have praised the supposed superiority of biblical ethics at the cost of diminishing or ignoring many similar features in ancient Near Eastern cultures. These features include manumission, fixed terms of service, familial rights, and egalitarian critiques of slavery. At the same time, modern scholarship has used the standard tools of biblical exegesis in order to minimize the ethically negative implications of many biblical references to slavery. The second part of the book concentrates on how the Bible has been used throughout Christian history both to maintain and to extend slavery. In particular, Avalos offers detailed studies of papal documents used to defend the Church’s stance on slavery. Discussions of Gregory of Nyssa, Aquinas and Luther, among others, show that they are not such champions of freedom as they are often portrayed. Avalos’s close readings of the writings of major abolitionists such as Granville Sharp, William Wilberforce and Frederick Douglass show an increasing shift away from using the Bible as a support for abolitionism. Biblical scholars have rarely recognized that pro-slavery advocates could use the Bible just as effectively. According to Avalos, one of the complex mix of factors leading to abolition was the abandonment of the Bible as an ethical authority. The case of the biblical attitude to slavery is just one confirmation of how unsuitable the Bible is as a manual of ethics in the modern world.”

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  196. Tom, but my theology is for keeps. Douglas’ is but for a generation.

    And you tell me about doing history when you cite Lincoln as THE interpreter of the founders? Oh brother brah.

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  197. “Explain to Him why your church and religion forbid you from helping him.”

    This is the problem in a nutshell. You are arguing against a strawman (I don’t mean to sound like a CTC pedantic). I hope the others here will correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of 2k is that the church does not have the authority to require her members to assume responsibilities not required in scripture. For example, my session can discipline me committing adultery, but they don’t have the authority to discipline me for voting for a political candidate who supports no-fault divorce. This does not mean that a good presbyterian can’t campaign against no-fault divorce.

    2k goes a bit further and says that a pastor (or session) shouldn’t make declarations on the part of the church on subjects about which the Bible does not speak. It is fine for a pastor in course of exegeting a biblical text to note that adultery is sinful, but he should not suggest that we vote for a particular candidate or tell a candidate how to vote on a law related to no-fault divorce. These are prudential concerns – should the Apostle Paul campaigned against slavery and infanticide? He didn’t – why wasn’t he wrong?

    Now of course it is possible that the culture that gives rise to presbyterians may also be associated with either positive or negative behaviors. It is improper to go from that association to causation whether the issue is the philosophical grounding of the revolutionary war or inaction against the injustice of slavery. Establishing that the causal factor is the religion itself (which you have claimed) requires showing the connection between the religious claims and the subsequent behavior. This is hard to do for non-confessional traditions. It is easier to do for confessional traditions such as presbyterians. All you have to do is show the connection between our confessions and the behavior. If you can’t do that (as in the case of the revolutionary war), then it is more likely that what you have is a cultural connection that gave rise to both the religious and political views. An interesting connection perhaps, but not the one you are claiming here or in the case of the revolutionary war. Showing quote after quote does not establish anything.

    Note that the confessions are in flux – they are revised (reformed?). These revisions generally happen after years and even decades of discussion and debate. Thus demonstrating a conclusion from the confessions requires that you account for this dynamic (again something missing in your analysis of the revolutionary war). Not doing this does not necessarily indicate that your conclusions are wrong – it just leaves your argument incomplete. Going back to the revolutionary war, the 1788 revision may have been the result of decades of debate within the church. If you really want to know the connection between Calvinism and the founding of America, it would be worth your while to study how those revisions arose. Why did they change? What dissent was there at the time? Over what time span did that discussion take place? These would be fascinating questions for a Colonial historian to look into if it hasn’t been done already. Was the revolution driven by colonials who happened to be Calvinists or by Calvinists who happened to be colonials? Looking into why the WCF was so revised might provide some interesting insight to this question.

    By the way, have you read Noll’s book on the Civil War? Definitely worth your time if you haven’t.

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  198. sdb, I liked your post, however I have a few suggestions. Number one, their is such a thing as God ordained slavery. Some refer to it as an indentured servant. There was a time, if you didn’t own your own land, you had to be someone’s servant. So when we only use the word “slavery” it can be deceiving. The reason Presbyterians were somewhat reticent to say all slavery is wrong, is because it isn’t. God himself gave parameters for slavery. Could God be immoral? Chattel slavery on the other hand IS immoral because God does not sanction it. Moreover, the slaves that were bought in the south were kidnapped in Africa, so it was akin to aiding and abetting that sin. It compounded the sin.

    To get a handle on this read Douglas Wilson’s book “Black And Tan”. Wilson puts a truly reformed perspective on slavery in America. I found his book very useful.

    Blessings

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  199. In the past two days I have encountered passionate public arguments by liberal protestant clergy (one UCC, one Methodist) against lifting regulations on homeschooling and against the expansion of gambling into a county that lacks a casino. If our Presbyterian & Reformed ministers do not do this as well are they guilty of undermining the protection of children and for the ruination of lives from gambling addiction? One woman suggested that the prostitution of minors inevitably accompanies gambling. Are our P&R ministers guilty of this as well via their silence?

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  200. Tom, but my theology is for keeps. Douglas’ is but for a generation.

    You’d have the guts to say that to Frederick Douglass’s face? Or anywhere in public in 21st century America?

    I don’t think so. Even Pat Buchanan isn’t that wack. But I’d like to see you do it, just to see the reaction.

    How long do you think it took the Conference to settle this question? Just three times as long as it took the Evangelical Alliance to settle the compromise—three weeks. They had prayers for the Committee to examine the matter—they had Conferences that they might be brought to an harmonious resolution. They fasted and prayed, and had communion and prayed, and had love-feasts and prayed. They held class-meetings and prayed, and held all kinds of meetings for three weeks, and came to the determination that Bishop Andrews be, and hereby is— what?—suspended? No; but requested to suspend himself till he got rid of his impediments,—only requested! He was left to determine how he should get rid of the slaves. Had the bishop become a sheep-stealer instead of a man-stealer, he would have been cut off at once. Had the Evangelical Alliance the other day had to do with sheep-stealing, had they known how much better a man is than a sheep, they would at once have declared against the slaveholders. (Loud cheers.)

    —Frederick Douglass, Slavery in the Pulpit of the Evangelical Alliance: An Address Delivered in London, England, on September 14, 1846

    http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1083.htm

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  201. Erik, I live in California where we passed gambling back in the mid-eighties. It passed because it was to help our schools, or so they said. Now, our State spends millions of dollars each year advertising the lotto. I shake my head, wondering if that is a proper function of government.

    Laws have consequences. We also have “scratchers” that people can buy everyday. What the lotto has produced, are a bunch of degenerate gamblers. I can’t see the wisdom in State sponsored gambling. The odds of winning our lotto, make going to Vegas look like a sure thing. Legalized gambling is State sponsored foolishness in my opinion.

    As a footnote, California schools (as well as our State in general) are in bigger trouble now, than before we passed the lotto. We have tons

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  202. Tom, you love history. Read Douglas Wilson’s “Black And Tan”. It’s been esteemed by the foremost expert on Southern slavery Professor Eugene Genovese. Who said, “Wilson is far more correct, than the politically correct professors today.” That’s a paraphrase of Genovese. He actually lauded Wilson

    After digesting Black And Tan, I think you will have a greater appreciation for the different kinds of slavery, and the issues our nation faced back then.

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  203. Doug,

    I agree gambling is stupid, but we haven’t outlawed stupid yet. The government only gets involved for the same reason they (used to) own liquor stores. They figure if anyone is going to make money on vice they should. Maybe they’ll produce porn, sell drugs, and run whorehouses at some point using that logic.

    Hart wrote a post on Genovese sometime in the past year, I believe.

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  204. Mr. Sowers, not being a Biblical literalist, I believe Frederick Douglass’s condemnation of “a religion under which the handcuffs, the fetters, the whip, the gag, the thumbscrew, blood-hounds, cat-o’-nine-tails, branding-irons, all these implements, can be undisturbed” stands on its own accross the ages.

    I see tall weeds and deep waters with this

    http://dougwils.com/s29-culture-and-politics/c161-the-bible-culture-and-race/with-a-bit-of-menthol.html

    but would love to see Doug Wilson’s critics accept his challenge for an open public debate. I’d really like to see that. Perhaps some Old Lifers would be game.

    So, speaking of having such a conversation, let me reiterate the invitation that I gave to Anthony Bradley when this issue surfaced the last time. This invitation goes to Bryan Loritts, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Eric Mason, and is reissued to Anthony Bradley. You are welcome to fly to Moscow at anytime, on our dime, in order to have that conversation. We can have it in public or in private, and it will be a conversation, not a brawl. If you come out we will find or create a venue for you to minister to us, and that will be in addition to our conversation. If that won’t work out, then why don’t you issue me an invitation to come have that conversation where you are? I will do what I can to make it.

    The conversation should center on the blood of Christ…

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  205. Erik, does something have to be a immoral like murder, for it to be illegal? Can’t we call it a wisdom issue? Our State is not better off since we instituted gambling, it’s worse off. And the lower class is adversely affected. It’s the middle to lower class people, the people who need money the most, that wind up gambling it away. In my mind, it makes California look like an enabler. So I have to ask, is that the proper function of government? To spend millions of OUR tax dollars to suck more people into a gambling addiction?

    I think not.

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  206. Tom, what if you found out that over 90% of slavery in the south wasn’t about whips and gags and all that nonsense. What if you found out that most of the slaves had a loving relationship with their masters. Would that change your perspective?

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  207. @Tom Van Dyke, I would LOVE to see DGH take on Wilson. The only caveat is Wilson insists that the debate be taped. Would Hart dare to debate Douglas Wilson? This could wind up being a huge embarrassment for someone. So does Darryl have what it takes?

    I think not

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  208. Tom, one of the facts that causes me to lean towards believing Dr. Genovese and Wilson, is that over 90% of the slaves stayed with their masters. If slavery was truly about whips, gags, and thumbscrews, that wouldn’t be the case, would it? It would be in the reverse, only ten per cent would have stayed on.

    That one fact alone gives credence to Genovese, and undercuts Frederick Douglas’s premise. Tom, it’s common sense!

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  209. Tom,

    Old-Lifers are not easily offended and don’t have knee jerk reactions when it appears that political correctness has been violated so we’re not good candidates to debate Wilson on anything. The man would be a good Old Lifer if he wasn’t such a postmillennialist culture warrior (i.e., a smarter, more nuanced, more elegant version of the Baylys).

    You should check out the conference he did on sexuality for the Baylys within the past year or so. Fascinating viewing, especially the Q&A.

    http://literatecomments.com/?s=doug+wilson&submit=Search

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  210. Doug – To spend millions of OUR tax dollars to suck more people into a gambling addiction?

    Erik – If they don’t do that they’ll just be giving your money to some suck-up public employee union. You & Tom enjoy it, though. I’ve heard the weather’s great.

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  211. Tom, one of the facts that causes me to lean towards believing Dr. Genovese and Wilson, is that over 90% of the slaves stayed with their masters. If slavery was truly about whips, gags, and thumbscrews, that wouldn’t be the case, would it? It would be in the reverse, only ten per cent would have stayed on.

    That one fact alone gives credence to Genovese, and undercuts Frederick Douglas’s premise. Tom, it’s common sense!

    Mr. Sowers, I’ll argue Frederick Douglass’s point because it agrees with my own, and is more eloquently and passionately expressed. As for this Doug Wilson fellow, all I see are tall weeds I’m not interested in being dragged into.

    Indeed, you can’t even cite Abraham Lincoln’s [quite valid] Cooper Union argument about the Founders without Lincoln being discredited, his facts and argument ignored. You still don’t know what you’re dealing with here.

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  212. Tom, you misunderstand me. I don’t have a dog in this fight. Just whatever you do, don’t indict God, who allowed slavery in his law. Neither you nor I, or anyone has the moral standing to say it’s wrong, if God says it’s right.

    Let God be true, though every mans a liar.

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  213. Neither you nor I, or anyone has the moral standing to say it’s wrong, if God says it’s right.

    Mr. Sowers, the natural law and the scriptures cannot be in conflict, for they flow from the same Adorable Source. Truth cannot contradict truth.

    Chattel slavery violates the natural law, and is also “manstealing,” prohibited by Exodus 21:16.

    And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

    That’s sufficient for this discussion. I’m not very interested in associating myself with Doug Wilson. One cannot even associate himself with Abraham Lincoln in this discussion and come out clean.

    I see what Wilson is after [GoogleBooks link to his essay here]

    http://tinyurl.com/mkcfqmb

    but I think his distinctions don’t go far enough. Neither am I impressed by Bible-parsing that pretends it’s not theology, but merely sola scriptura. The Bible prohibits man-stealing, and anyone using their God-given reason knew slavery was a violation of the natural law. Further, every violation of the natural law doesn’t have to be explicitly enumerated in the Bible for Christians to oppose it.

    [At least in the opinion of this non-fundie. Hell, some violations of the natural law we have today hadn’t even been thought up yet when the scriptures were written. Indeed chattel slavery as practiced in the American South was not the norm in Bible-era societies to which the Biblical sentiments more strictly apply.]

    There were plenty enough Presbyterians and Christians of other stripes who didn’t merely shrug their theological shoulders at “the peculiar institution” back in the day, who saw it for the obscenity against God and man that it is. Frederick Douglass’s disgust at those who did no no more than raise bland whimpers of protest is still valid.

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  214. Doug, please, a few moments of silence for those of us who enjoy liberty in worldly amusement–James Gandolfini just died today.

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  215. Zrim,

    You beat me to it. Wow, I’m floored. One of the best TV series’ ever. In many ways it is the show that made “The Wire”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, and every other show of the golden age of TV that we are in right now possible. I would have liked to enjoy his work for another couple of decades, at least.

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  216. Erik, he sure had that shotgun shine, shame about it. I guess it’s hard when you’re born under a bad sign with that blue moon in your eyes.

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  217. Erik, Oz was the best show ever.

    And I’m not really interested in seeing any episodes of it ever again.

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  218. Kent,

    I have not seen that.

    Zrim,

    Coincidentally I have season one of “The Sopranos” checked out right now. Got it for the wife but she doesn’t have time. I’ve considered a re-watch and now might be the time.

    The single-funniest line in the series (R-rated language, of course):

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  219. Erik, sorry you missed it. Since most of the Oz actors are all over TV and movies these days, must be nice to see them without typecasting them mentally in their worst prison moments.

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  220. “What if you found out that most of the slaves had a loving relationship with their masters.” “Tom, one of the facts that causes me to lean towards believing Dr. Genovese and Wilson, is that over 90% of the slaves stayed with their masters. If slavery was truly about whips, gags, and thumbscrews, that wouldn’t be the case, would it? It would be in the reverse, only ten per cent would have stayed on.”

    Wilson (and Doug) are simply rehashing the many myths propagated after the war by Mildred L. Rutherford and her DOTR to revive the spirits of Southerners and justify the Rebellion. Half a million slaves left the plantations to fight for Lincoln against their “beloved” masters after the EP. The fact that some stayed on the plantations after the war was not due to a paternal love for their former masters, but for economic reasons. They were trying to survive, and they now could make a wage on the plantation, and there were few jobs available elsewhere. Most slaves had been split from their families, and yes, beaten, so this idea that they were happy as slaves is a sad mythology, but I have come to expect nothing better from Wilson.

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  221. Tom says: “Chattel slavery violates the natural law, and is also “manstealing,” prohibited by Exodus 21:16.”

    I agree 100%!! And so does Douglas Wilson!! Don’t judge the brother before you have taken the time to actually read his fine work. Douglas Wilson is a precious resource in understanding American slavery. And I think you would wind up agreeing with him!

    God bless you Tom, and keep pressing on!

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  222. Todd, you are simply wrong. Have you read “Black And Tan”? No? I didn’t think so! Dr Genovese is the foremost historian of Southern Slavery, and he fully concurs with Wilson not you. What’s your source, Todd?

    Why should anyone believe you, over Genovese?

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  223. Eugene Dominic Genovese (May 19, 1930 – September 26, 2012)[1] was an American historian of the American South and American slavery. He has been noted for bringing a Marxist perspective to the study of power, class and relations between planters and slaves in the South. His work Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made won the Bancroft Prize. He later abandoned the Left and Marxism, and embraced traditionalist conservatism.

    Me: Okay Todd, if you insist on clinging to a Marxist perspective on slavery in the south, then be my guest. Just don’t call yourself a believer, anymore! Once Genovese was *converted* he repented of his folly, what’s your excuse?

    How about doing a little research before you stick your foot in your mouth. Or better yet, if you’ve got the *stones* go debate Wilson. He’s begging for someone, anyone to step up to the plate. Do you think you’ve got a leg to stand on? You will be treated with more respect than you just gave Pastor Wilson. And if you’re in the right, perhaps you can benefit the whole body of Christ.

    Are you scared?

    Let’s all watch this on tape!

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  224. Doug – To spend millions of OUR tax dollars to suck more people into a gambling addiction?

    Erik – If they don’t do that they’ll just be giving your money to some suck-up public employee union.

    Me: That’s pretty jaded Erik. See what Hart’s brand of 2K is doing to you? I ask you a question about the proper role of the State, and you say it’s either gambling or worse? You even were contemplating the State should start running prostitution! Would you vote for such a provision?

    This confirms a suspicion I’ve had about you since I first started reading you. As a bible believing Christian man, you have been frustrated Christian conservative, and Hart’s 2K madness has given you an apparent way out. Or so you thought. Erik my brother, you have fallen for “fools gold”. For you to answer my question with that nonsense is not good.

    I’m praying for you brother, please do the same for me.

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  225. sdb, Wilson co-wrote SSAIAW. The errors documented in the book were not Douglas Wilson’s. This is why Douglas Wilson wrote “Black And Tan” by himself. He consulted Dr. Genovese, who as I pointed out is considered the foremost authority on the Antebellum South. Black And Tan is a book twice the size of his original work, without the errors.

    It has the blessing of the best historian on the Antebellum South.

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  226. sdb, you may notice virtually no one wanted to critique “Black And Tan” except a few unabashed commies. Why? There were no errors!

    As Jesus once said, “where are your accusers”?

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  227. Doug,

    I think that at minimum Wilson’s views engender racism, and his love for the Confederacy is squarely at odds with his Constantinianism. His defense of the slave/owner relationship still does not account for the fact that it was economic exploitation, and it does not account for the fact that while the international slave trade was legal (for the majority of slavery’s existence in the Americas) it was barbaric and inhumane.

    Almost everyone outside of Wilson’s church and school institutions in Moscow see his aims for that community see him as a real problem for the region – Christians included. Face it, he is polarizing, those who agree with him love the guy, but those who don’t have real issues with him.

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  228. Jed, have you read “Black And Tan”?

    No? I didn’t think so. I would strongly suggest you actually read the book before you attempt to critique Wilson by importing racism. He has the backing of the foremost historian on the Antebellum South Dr. Genovese. I read the book and found it very useful.

    Just so you know, RC Sproul has invited Wilson to speak at Ligonier more times than any 2K man you can think of. How polarizing can he be? RC loves him! And RC is neither FV nor theonomic.

    It was Wilson who coined the term Evan jelly fish, so he can’t be all bad.

    Blessings,

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  229. Anyone see the Wilson/Hitchens debate? I thought Hitchens won hands down. Wilson seems to be better at writing than debating imho.

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  230. Doug
    In my experience debates are less about truth than rhetorical skill.

    What is your basis for declaring Genovese the greatest southern historian? What criteria did you use to determine this?

    My link to that review wasn’t to provide a point by point rebuttal of Wilson’s thesis, but instead to provide some insight to how Wilson interacts with critics (bullying and intimidation rather than reasoned discourse).

    What are the errors in SSAIW that were corrected in B&T? Generally when you put your name on a cowritten document, you are taking responsibility for the content. In my field it is quite a blackmark on your career when there is a problem with a paper you ostensibly cowrote and you try to distance yourself from that problem by blaming your coauthor.

    What exactly is a Marxist perspective on slavery and why must it be repented of? Again I would recommend that you read the reviews at the link above. Charity and humility are not traits I associate with Wilson’s public persona. That’s a problem…

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  231. Tom, so how do natural law and the Bible cohere when the latter says that believers in Christ are “bought with a price” and Paul says that Christians are slaves of Christ? Maybe its the natural law that Aristotle knew, the one that says not every human being is capable of autonomy. I’m not saying I can tell the difference among humans, but your glib assertion of correspondence between NL and the Bible is not exactly thoughtful.

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  232. Doug, here’s another attempt to crack into your skull. Eugene Genovese believed I am a good historian and recruited me to serve on The Historical Society’s original board of governors.

    It’s a tangled world out there in the realm of ideas. Stay well read, my friend.

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  233. D.G.,

    I agree that “The Wire” requires less suspension of disbelief. There were a few scenes in The Sopranos that bugged me. One is that a character who later becomes pretty major plays a bit part in an early episode as a “civilian” in a donut shop. There are also a couple of murders that take place that would be easily solved by police that are just dropped by the writers as soon as they take place. I would give “The Wire” a 9.5 and “The Sopranos” a 9. My 10 is reserved for the show I haven’t seen yet, although seasons 1 & 2 of “The Killing” and the entire run of “Mad Men” are close.

    Tony Soprano was one of a kind, though. Destruction came to nearly everyone who crossed his path.

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  234. Doug,

    Do I have to read “Black and Tan”, or can I read the original version, “Southern Slavery as it Was”?

    I haven’t read either, but might someday.

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  235. Erik, “Black And Tan” is the only way to go. Moreover, it’s an excellent read and three times the size of SSAIW, without the errors. Plus SSAIW was a 50 pg tract. BAT is a 200 page book.

    sdb, Of course Wilson’s name was on it. This is what Wikipedia says:

    Canon Press ceased publication of Southern Slavery, As It Was when it became aware of serious citation errors in several passages authored by Wilkins.[12] Robert McKenzie, the history professor who first noticed the citation problems, described the authors as being “sloppy” rather than “malevolent.”[13] Wilson reworked and redacted the arguments in the tract, and published (without Wilkins) a new set of essays under the name Black & Tan (ISBN 1-59128-032-X) after consulting with historian Eugene Genovese.[14]

    Me: Wilkins wrote a heart felt letter apologizing to Wilson for the citation problems exonerating Wilson. I take Wilkins at his word. That’s why Douglas Wilson wrote a much more extensive rigorous book with only his name on it.

    Frankly sdb, I have heard Wilson debate all sorts of men, and I have never heard him bully anyone. Chrisotpher Hitchens and Wilson got along famously! Did you read his book he co-wrote with Hitchens? It was heart warming! Douglas Wilson never just tries to *merely* win the argument, his goal is the win the man, as well. He’s got a tender heart, and tough skin. Hitchens confessed he learned a lot with his exchange with Wilson, which surprised him.l

    His main enemies, are the Politically Correct crowd, with there Marxist egalitarian leanings, so of course they hate him. Wilson is Christian reformed! WE, as Christians should applaud Wilson! He’s doing the Lords work, and doing it above reproach. The only rub, with fellow brothers is that Wilson is theonomic PostMill, exactly like me 🙂 But that is no reason to beguile a brother in Christ.

    sdb, I do find it interesting that no one; and I mean no one in the Christian community wants to debate him; why is that? I have listened to Wilson’s debates, and he has never been rude or mean. So I don’t know where you get this bully story from. Have you seen any of his debates? He is very good, which is why I suspect no one wants to see them self getting their clock cleaned.

    His debate with James White on should we re baptize RC’s was masterful. Both men comported themselves with class dignity, and Christian charity. It was a beautiful thing!

    Finally, I suggest you read “Black And Tan” for yourself. I’m betting you’ll like it!

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  236. In an earlier incarnation I actually bought a bunch of Canon Press books to sell out of our convenience store. Not many of them sold, but the store was in a rural, un-Reformed area. He’s an interesting guy. I just wish he could lose the postmillennialism, federal vision (leanings & associations), paedocommunion, etc. He & many in the CREC have an air of, “Now that we’ve become Reformed we’re going to show all these old-timers how it’s done” about them that is annoying. It’s kind of like Stellman converting and the next day attempting to set everyone straight. Whoa, maybe take a decade to let everything settle down, fella.

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  237. “His main enemies, are the Politically Correct crowd, with there Marxist egalitarian leanings, so of course they hate him.”

    The chair of the history department at Wheaton College (and Civil War expert) seems to be an exception. From the link I offered you:

    Several years ago, when I forwarded a lengthy critique of SSAIW to Wilson through the elders of my church, Wilson noted in his lengthy reply to my elders, “When a homosexual couple move in next door to Dr. McKenzie, and they are just as married in the eyes of the state of Washington as he is, he should take note of the fact that we have been fighting this kind of thing for years.”

    As a Christian historian in a northwestern congregation much influenced by Doug Wilson’s teaching, I wrote privately to Pastor Wilson back in 1996, not long after the publication of Southern Slavery as It Was, to share my opinion that it was marred by numerous errors of fact and logic. In 1998 I wrote again to him privately, and then five years later, as attacks on the booklet from local critics were rising to a crescendo, I forwarded a 30+ page critique of SSAIW through the elders of my church. Finally, with the moral support of one of my elders, I flew to Moscow, Idaho and met personally with Wilson, trying one last time to convince him that his approach was wrongheaded.

    Wilson was gracious to me in all of these private interactions, but he made it clear that if I disagreed with him publicly I would be undermining his work for God’s kingdom. As he wrote in one e-mail, “either you remain out of the fracas,” referring to the tempest then swirling around the booklet, “or you fight alongside me, or you get co-opted by their side,” referring to the secular “intoleristas” who opposed his ministry. In sum, unless I was willing to endorse his views or remain silent, I would inevitably aid the cause of his enemies–and his enemies were God’s enemies.

    The problem with SSAIW was not primarily that a co-author messed up the references. The problem is that they saw their interpretation of history as infallible. Disagreement with their thesis is something that they (as pastors) demanded that Christians repent of. This is a huge problem. On the one hand you have the apostle Paul encouraging his followers to test his letters and sermons against scripture and forbidding anyone from binding the conscience of believers on anything not required in scripture. On the other, Wilson writes something else.

    As far as I know Prof. McKenzie is not a Marxist nor was he seeking to correct Wilson out of some PC agenda. He honestly believed that Wilson was making historical errors with his analysis. Wilson attacked him through his session and suggested that he is on the side of those seeking to mainstream gay rights. This is bullying.

    The issue isn’t whether Wilson’s thesis is correct or not or even worth considering. The central problem is how he uses historical analysis to bolster contemporary arguments and more seriously attempts to bind the consciences of believers who dissent from these claims. I’d encourage you to read McKenzie’s critiques of folks like Wilson, Schaeffer, and others who seek to use history. You may not ultimately agree with Prof. McKenzie (and that’s no sin even if you’re wrong!), but I think it will help you be a more discerning reader. After all, not every argument for a position you support is sound.

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  238. sdb, you’re behind the eight ball. You are still talking about the little track that he co-wrote. We are way past that. Read “Black And Tan” so you can discuss this with some intelligence. Wilson has the foremost expert of the Antebellum South Dr. Genovese in his corner.

    Who cares if some yahoo disagrees? There are always naysayers, so I suggest you read Wilson’s new work and then judge.

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  239. OP stated:
    “In the end, today’s Christians who are interested in understanding the relationship between Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 and the American Revolution must come to grips with the fact that many patriotic clergy may have been more influenced in their political positions by John Locke than the Bible.”

    This assumes the Locke’s writings are not from the Bible. Strange assumption considering that he quotes the Bible extensively in the First Treatise and a prominent theologian in the Second Treatise. Not to mention the numerous Bible commentaries that he wrote.

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  240. What I’m saying: “it can be argued that for all his personal conservatism, there were, in Calvin’s view of civil society, enough chinks and fissures through which a case for rebellion against civic injustice could be developed. Calvin himself was certainly not an advocate of rebellion. Far from it. But what of those who came after?”

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