Without 2k, Thomas Sowell becomes an Orthodox Reformed Protestant

Celebrants of America’s Christian founding take note.

Our Protestant Rabbi interlocutor sometime back came to the defense of Bill Evans’ critique of 2k. I understand in part the frustration with 2k for folks like Rabbi Bret because it denies the certainty that supposedly comes with finding the solutions to social woes in Scripture, which in turn gives the Christian pastor leverage in the culture wars over skeptical citizens, policy makers, and Democrats. The problem (as if there is one) is that opponents of 2k never practice what they teach. They can’t. This isn’t a matter of hypocrisy. I’m tempted to wonder if it’s a question of intelligence but that is not a very charitable explanation either. It is a problem of thinking this antithetical w-w all the way through.

Observe the following. Rabbi B (why is B so prominent in the critics of 2k? The BBs William B. Evans) takes issue with (all about) me on the following grounds:

It is R2K that destroys the Gospel. R2K allows an alien theology to shape the zeitgeist so that all our thought categories are conditioned by that alien theology. Then Darryl expects that, despite that alien theology creating a culture hostile to Biblical Christianity, that the Church will remain unaffected by that hostility and false theology so that it can herald a clear Gospel message. Our contemporary setting screams that Darryl is wrong. Church Growth, Emergent, Pentecostal, Arminian, R2K,etc. churches all demonstrate that the zeitgeist pagan theology is shaping our Churches and so our Christianity. Pentecostalism is shaped by animistic theology. Emergent by cultural Marxist theology. And R2K by libertarian / Anabaptist theology. In point of fact the only Christian Churches which are swimming upstream in this miasma of lunacy are those Churches who understand the Biblical Christianity makes truth claims that impact every area of life.

Wow! Destroys the gospel. Pretty strong stuff. Pass the Rabbi some Paxil (which he must take when he goes to meetings of Classis).

But notice how the good Rabbi destroys the very same gospel he professes to defend when he offers a seminary (SEMINARY!) course on economics:

The purpose of this course is to allow Reformed presuppositions and a Reformed Christian Worldview to mold how we think about money and economics. The emphasis will fall on some of the various paradigms that have been offered concerning Economics focusing especially on the Austrian School, the Ropke Third way and the Distributionist schools. Keynesianism will not be considered except to critique it, as Keynesianism is to Economics what Rap is to Music. The Student will be learning the Macro approach to Economics.

Note — This is a course to familiarize the Seminary Student in Basic Economic theory. It is not intended as a Masters level course for one who is receiving their Masters in Economics.

Main Texts

1.) Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy – Thomas Sowell
2.) Economics In One Lesson — Henry Hazlitt

Required Reading

1.) Applied Economics; Thinking Beyond Stage One — Thomas Sowell
2.) The Social Crisis of Our Time — Wlhelm Ropke
3.) The Law — Frederic Bastiat
4.) What Has Government Done to Our Money? — Murray N. Rothbard
5.) Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis — Ludwig Von Mises
6.) Cliches of Socialism — Anonymous
7.) The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve — Em Griffin
8.) Road To Serfdom — F. A. Hayek
9.) Baptized Inflation — Ian Hodge
10.) Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators: A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider
David Chilton

11.) Three Works on Distributism — G. K. Chesterton
12.) The Servile State — Hilaire Belloc
13.) A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market — Wilhelm Ropke

In Rabbi B’s manichean world where the kingdom of Satan vies with God’s kingdom, where exactly do the likes of Sowell and Von Mises reside? If they are on the side of truth, they must be in God’s kingdom since the kingdom of Satan only produces falsehood and deceit. But I missed the press release about Sowell and Von Mises joining a NAPARC communion. In fact, both economists proceed in their craft and analysis not by referring to God’s law or divinely revealed truths but by relying on — in the anti-2k w-w — their autonomous reason. Remember, their economics do not proceed from a regenerate heart or from reading Scripture.

Now, a 2ker can account for Rabbi B’s attraction to free market economists by chatting up the common realm and general revelation and the image of God even in fallen creatures. But how can Rabbi B account for the truths that non-believers, people who belong to Satan’s kingdom, see? And how can he conceivably promote instruction in anti-Christian ideas — remember, Sowell and Von Mises for all we know are citizens of Satan’s kingdom — for seminarians? Without some recognition of a common realm somewhere between the City of God and the City of man, he can’t, especially when he construes the kingdoms this way:

First, you have Christ’s Kingdom where all the believers are (Church). Then you have every place else that is “not Christ’s Kingdom” (i.e. — “The World”) However, unlike the Anabaptist paradigm in the “Not Christ’s Kingdom” you have both believers and unbelievers cheek by jowl. Let’s call that the mixed or common Kingdom.

Now, here’s the question? Where is Satan’s Kingdom in this two Kingdom model? Darryl and R2K tell us specifically that the World (presumably planet earth outside the Church) is neither Christ’s Kingdom nor Satan’s Kingdom but a common (neutral?) Kingdom. What we need to ask here then is ‘Where is Satan’s Kingdom?’ You know… the Kingdom of Darkness that Colossians 1 talks about Christians having been translated from? It can’t be the case that when men are translated from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, that they have been translated from the R2K common Kingdom since believers and unbelievers exist together in the common Kingdom.

Rabbi B suffers from invoking the antithesis when he wants to beat up 2k, but then fails to apply it to himself when he reads in economic and political commentators. He should know that 2kers affirm the antithesis and that they also believe this side of the eschaton the antithesis is not a category that believers use meaningfully to make sense of the world except when it comes to church membership. In other words, Christians enjoy fellowship only with Christians within the confines of the visible church. But outside the church, Christians enjoy a host of friendships and relations with non-believers thanks to the life they share outside the Christ’s kingdom. Without that context for understanding of the antithesis, Rabbi B is left with an arbitrary notion of common grace where the insights of unbelievers remarkably coincides with whatever Rabbi B approves. Say hello to the new Protestant pope.

Postscript: Rabbi B also thinks he gets mileage out of 2k’s flawed understanding of the kingdom. He has yet, however, to consider (again, an issue of intelligence?) that God’s kingdom is not the same as Christ’s kingdom. I do not understand what is so hard to understand about the notion that God’s providential rule over all things (even over Saddam Hussein) is different from the rule that Christ extends over his people. Again, if he wants to simplify the kingdoms and extend Christ’s redemptive rule to figures like Saddam Hussein, he has some ‘splainin’ to do with affirmations like the following:

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel. (Larger Catechism)

If that leads to an expansive view of God’s kingdom outside the church, then I wonder about Rabbi B’s reading comprehension. But extending Christ’s rule as described here to non-believers would make sense of regarding Thomas Sowell as an orthodox Reformed Protestant.

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108 thoughts on “Without 2k, Thomas Sowell becomes an Orthodox Reformed Protestant

  1. “powerfully ordering all things for his own glory and their good”

    Makes me wonder about DH’s reading comprehension. SNAFU here as always.

    Wish I had time to engage but it seem hopeless. No one really wants to–shouting mantras seems to be the order of the day. I don’t think R2K invented common grace. True Kuyperians hold antithesis and common grace in tension as did CVT.

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  2. “I do not understand what is so hard to understand about the notion that God’s providential rule over all things (even over Saddam Hussein) is different from the rule that Christ extends over his people.”

    ” I understand in part the frustration with 2k for folks like Rabbi Bret because it denies the certainty that supposedly comes with finding the solutions to social woes in Scripture, which in turn gives the Christian pastor leverage in the culture wars over skeptical citizens, policy makers, and Democrats.”

    “He has yet, however, to consider (again, an issue of intelligence?)”

    “the good Rabbi destroys the very same gospel he professes to defend when he offers a seminary (SEMINARY!) course on economics:”

    There is an order to these things that afflict. I don’t pretend to know which came first, but in some form or fashion or degree it afflicts them all.

    Need for certainty-CtC. Illicit employment of antithesis-forgot their Augustine. Nature of the kingdom-forgot the gospels. Failed to occur to them-intelligence, drugs, lack of training, sophmoric, showing off for girls, overcompensating. Teaching at a seminary and poping/pastoring-CREC?

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  3. For the record, in my ordination interview, they grilled me. “how long are the day’s of genesis.”

    I told them “i don’t know.”

    It’s true, and I hear RC Sproul (my entrance into reformed-dom via “chosen” in 2002, is with me on this.)

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..

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  4. “Let us then know, that the sons of Cain, though deprived of the Spirit of regeneration, were yet endued with gifts of no despicable kind; just as the experience of all ages teaches us how widely the rays of divine light have shone on unbelieving nations, for the benefit of the present life; and we see, at the present time, that the excellent gifts of the Spirit are diffused through the whole human race.   Moreover, the liberal arts and sciences have descended to us from the heathen. We are, indeed, compelled to acknowledge that we have received astronomy, and the other parts of philosophy, medicines and the order of civil government, from them. Nor is it to be doubted, that God has thus liberally enriched them with excellent favors that their impiety might have the less excuse. But, while we admire the riches of his favor which he has bestowed on them, let us still value far more highly   that grace of regeneration with which he peculiarly sanctifies his elect unto himself.”
    – [Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis]

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  5. Jack, thanks.

    I am prepared to talk for allowance of old earth views.

    R. Scott knows of this too.

    Happy to talk of it, as I have time. I’m biased. My wife was an environmental engineer/scientists before hanging up her beakers for diapers.

    Nice hearing from you always, brother.

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  6. Terry, you’re saying Saddam Hussein is a “thing”? I’ve heard of American exceptionalism and all, but really. And you’re saying that Saddam Hussein is part of “their”?

    Read again.

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  7. The spam bots that pull up threads from five years ago have more theological content than Terry and his ilk.

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  8. Saddam Hussein is not part of “all things”? Huh? It’s not for me to say how Christ’s ordering of Saddam resulted in God’s glory or the good of the church, but my catechism (following the lead of scripture) says that he did.

    I don’t really see what you’re getting at.

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  9. Darryl, surely you know the historical OPC view that the work of the seminary is not the work of the church. Hence, the continued independency of WTS. Sphere sovereignty in action. Good for the OPC and those neo-Calvinists who helped found her and set her course. So, if they teach Greek at the seminary why not economics. It’s part of the culture, not the church.

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  10. I nominate the following for the most perceptive analysts to date of the transformationalist/pietist project:

    “I’m tempted to wonder if it’s a question of intelligence but that is not a very charitable explanation either.” -DGH

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been engaging some of the young, restless, and Reformed crowd (YRRs) over their objections to an article that appeared in First Things. I’ve never had any cause to engage with this crowd in the past. But they’re far from impressive. One of these guys, Matthew Anderson, has been touted as the brightest evangelical mind under 35.

    My experiences led me to one conclusion: Evangelical pietism is a vast sea of mediocrity, where being in the 60th percentile is enough to make you a superstar. It was awful. These guys couldn’t argue their way out of a bag. They’d die of starvation if they operated in any profession, such as law, where your ability to proffer tight arguments makes the difference between eating or not.

    The guy who taught legal philosophy at my law school was a Calvin grad from the mid-70s. I had a schedule conflict my 2L and 3L years, and could never take his class. I once asked him about meeting to talk about Kuyperianism. He wrote back something along the lines of: “We probably don’t need to meet. Kuyper’s popularity is almost accidental. If his philosophy didn’t provide some intellectual cover for the Culture War, no one would give it any mind. If you want to discuss Thomas Reid, however, let me know.”

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  11. Bobby, good stuff. I’ll have you know that my 5 year old’s daughter has a lot of dutch folk on them. I told them we are planting a church in town, it came up, because there are dutch in our mission work that has formed (just in the last day or so, http://morganhillreformed.com).

    What was striking was to hear them analyze what has happened in the Netherlands. They said it is because of the separation of church and state.

    I started to have flashes of Erik’s avatar, and Darryl’s smoking man. When I realized, I was talking to real humans who live and breathe and have kids on my daughter’s soccer teams.

    It was quite a moment. Then I went back to post something on this blog.

    Fun times.

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  12. Terry, a difference between “things” and “their”. Things are not persons, typically. Their refers to the saints. Even if you put Saddam in to “things” — not very sensitive in an age of worries about orientalism — he’s not part of “their”, god’s people. So the clincher for you only makes my point — God rules all things but not in the way that Christ rules the church. That’s the point and I don’t think it is theology 501 to understand it.

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  13. Terry, why no chapters on language or economics in the Standards? Because paleo-Calvinists were not as gullible as neo-Calvinist to think that “all things” meant Christ’s kingly rule.

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  14. Darryl, I knew why this image came to mind. Your post, “easypeasy” was all about the dear Rabbi as well. You’ve indoctrinated us, subliminally and all, your following, quite well.

    Warm and filled in Cali,
    AB

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  15. The fact that Kuyper was a journalist, politician, churchman, and intellectual all wrapped into one should tell us something. Our best intellectuals are rarely journalists and/or politicians, Mencken perhaps excepted.

    The best intellectuals are by the nature of the task splitters. Journalists and politicians are by the nature of their tasks lumpers. If they want to sell any newspapers or get any votes, anyway.

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  16. What the Rabbi needs is a dose of triadalism.

    “Religious fundamentalism tends to see the world simply divided up into believers and unbelievers. The former are blessed, loved by God, holy, and doers of the right, while the latter are cursed, hated by God, unholy, and doers of evil. Sometimes this is taken to quite an extreme: believers are good people, and their moral, political, and doctrinal causes are always right, always justified, and can never be questioned. Unless the culture is controlled by their agenda, it is simply godless and unworthy of the believers’ support. This perspective ignores the fact that according to Scripture, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are simultaneously under a common curse and common grace.

    Religious liberalism tends to see the world simply as one blessed community. Ignoring biblical distinctions between those inside and those outside of the covenant community, this approach cannot take the common curse seriously because it cannot take sin seriously…everything is holy.

    …[But] the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy but simply common.”

    Why is this so hard?

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  17. Darryl, I’ve never once said that Christ’s rule over the church isn’t different from his rule over the rest. I simply want to affirm that his kingly rules extends to the rest. Hard to see how he can restrain our (the church’s) enemies if it doesn’t. Please read all the words carefully.

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  18. @AB

    Or maybe the lesson of the Motherland is that things can go bad when the church meddles too much in the government. After all, that’s pretty much what the transformationalist project amounts to: It’s trying to make evangelicalism (with some accommodations for socially conservative Catholicism) the official religion of the GOP.

    I live in a district in the western suburbs of Chicago where social conservatives attempted to oust a GOP representative because he voted in favor of permitting same-sex marriage. They put forth a strong “family values” candidate. It turned out that Mr. Family Values had a criminal record, which included public indecency and breaking into a women’s dormitory long after he’d graduated from college. I couldn’t help but think of Ken Gentry. Yet he still got about 49.5% of the vote behind strong support from local evangelical churches. Something’s wrong with Christianity in America when people think that it’s better to be represented by a sex criminal than by a stand-up guy who thinks that the lesbian couple down the street ought to be able to get a marriage license.

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  19. Psalm 73

    4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
    5 They are not in trouble as others are;

    18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.

    On what basis would God bless the ungodly, who are outside the elect in Christ by God’s own decree of election and non-election? The explanation must be that in some cases God’s grace ignores His redemptive righteousness and switches over to His “creation” righteousness….

    If God can bless guilty sinners apart from the cross of Christ in earthly things, why cannot God also extend even justification to guilty sinners apart from the righteousness of the death of Christ?”

    God does not and will not.

    But if we can forget (at the present secular time) about Christ’s redemptive example, it will then be practical to see ourselves as agents of the vengeance of the Creator, the generic deity we all have in common. On earth, there remain some other sacrifices for sin, and we are going to join the other creatures in making those other sacrifices happen….

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  20. Terry, and who said that 2k denies Christ’s kingly rule outside the church? The problem is that your phrase “kingly rule” doesn’t do justice to what Scripture teaches on the difference between Christ’s rule of you and me and his rule of Saddam Hussein. And when you don’t assert that difference between providential and redemptive rule, Thomas Sowell is as much a Christian as you are.

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  21. So my problem, is I don’t know what people represent (Terry as Neo-cal this round), and I’msure it’s my own lack of reading comprehension. That and my deacon training teaches me to come with words of mercy. The idea is I free up the elders who are charged with the Word.

    But this ain’t a church, with elders Hart, Mann, and Charter, with deacon Andrew dispensing McDonald’s dollars.

    No, it can’t be that. Not possible.

    Emoticon.

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  22. Darryl, please don’t confuse me with Rabbi Bret. My complaints don’t imply endorsement of all he says nor a repudiation of all that you say. I’m glad to hear you say that the kingship of Christ extends beyond the church. It appears that we agree (which I’ve pleaded many times for you to admit). I’m with you as to your aversion to pastors meddling in politics and economics. However, Christians in those areas of culture acknowledge the rule of Christ over them (something the unbeliever doesn’t do). Does it help them find the right answers. I doubt it. But nonetheless as recently reported in the Heidelblog, there’s no neutrality even in the 2K world. One acknowledges Christ as King even in the laboratory if one is a believer. Additionally, Creation and Providence have their divine roots. Seeking and implementing the truth of Creation is to pursue Christ’s rule over all things. (And yes, even unbelievers do it, although to their judgment unless they repent of their idolatry in not acknowledging God.)

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

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  23. Terry, you still haven’t mentioned the difference between redemption and creation/providence. Blurring that one leads to theonomy and the social gospel.

    No neutrality? What about commonality?

    2kers have always said Christ’s kingship extends beyond the church, but in a creational/providential way. And it is that qualification that either makes 2k suspicious to you or merits ridicule from the Rabbi.

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  24. Terry, if Christians in areas of culture don’t get any help from acknowledging the rule of Christ over them in finding the right answers (as you suggest), then what’s your beef with 2k? The point is that general revelation is a common reservoir to believer and unbeliever alike, with no regard for eternal status. But the push back seems to suggest that maybe you DO think eternal status plays a part in discerning the right answer.

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  25. However, Christians in those areas of culture acknowledge the rule of Christ over them (something the unbeliever doesn’t do). Does it help them find the right answers. I doubt it.

    Terry, I like this. As an accountant, for sure being a Xtian not only doesn’t help me find the “right” answer, sometimes, I’m bound to do what’s right because I serve a higher boss, and since my “right” answer flows out of serving him, I’m at odds with what the superiors say. I have to leave it to God to sort out who has the right motives, I simply pray about such things if I find myself vexed.

    In other words, I agree the Xtian doesn’t have special insight into the Laboratory results, and is just as prone to human error in interpretation of the data (perhaps more so, the parable of the shrewd manager comes to mind).

    Interesting discussion, and I have little to add. Zrim, nice summary for those of us at home taking notes.

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  26. Darryl, in my mind confessions summarize the Bible; they are not encyclopedic with respect to creation (even if the Lordship of Christ extends over all Creation). This also impacts our epistemological certainty as well. We know what is revealed in scripture in ways we cannot know truths about creation. I’m okay with commonness as well, as in the Kuyperian notion of common grace. But, as CVT says, an unbeliever who doesn’t acknowledge the Creator in the common is an idolator. The believer receives the good gifts of God and gives thanks.

    Zrim, I have no problem distinguishing between Creation and Redemption. The common is Creational and is accessible to believer and unbeliever alike. But it is God’s world nonetheless. It’s not outside of his realm. He graciously allows rebels to inhabit and participate and even experience some degree of blessedness. However, I reject wholeheartedly your distinction between Creation and eternal. That’s the move that some 2k’s (not all) take that I reject. Notice I said Creation and eternal–your proof text “not of this world” does not apply. World does not equal creation. Thus, the new heavens and the new earth are not a re-creation as you all seem to say, but a renewal of creation (with the eschatological improvements–full confirmation in righteousness–life as it was meant to be had Adam not fallen and had been confirmed in his obedience the way Christ is now). Redemption is creation regained and confirmed. We’ve gone over this before. For what it’s worth, although you constantly call upon it as a self-evident basis of 2k, your belief in the temporariness of Creation is not a mandatory foundation. The common, the distinction between church and world (antithesis), limited task for the church (sphere sovereignty), natural law, etc. are all part of the Kuyperian perspective. Social gospelism and theonomy ARE NOT. To suggest otherwise is a straw man argument.

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  27. Terry, so if my physician is an idolater, do I distrust him? Do I only seek the services of Christian bakers?

    What about sinner Christian bakers?

    You keep painting yourself into a corner in which you don’t live.

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  28. Methinks it’s your problem. I never said you shouldn’t trust your doctor or that you should only patronize Christian establishments.

    The corner is in your brain, man. You’re right. I don’t live where you seem to think I’m supposed to live if I’m a neo-Calvinist. Your idea of what a neo-Calvinist is doesn’t match mine.

    Perhaps you’re confusing Wheaton, IL evangelicalism with Christian Yellow Pages with neo-Calvinism.

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  29. Terry, your essential disagreements are noted (and not forgotten). The question is given your consistent rejection of the temporal and eternal distinctions, how you can explain your going about provisional life as if you actually affirm them. I presume that you’re like any 2ker who trusts perfectly unbelieving doctors and cashiers with his health and change. That sounds like a guy who makes temporal and eternal distinctions and understands that religious faith has no direct or obvious bearing on creational tasks.

    But maybe I presume too much; maybe you are consistent with your rejection and require the physicians of your body to possess the same eternal knowledge (i.e. faith) that you require of the pastors of your soul? Or maybe a neo-Calvinist in theory, 2ker in practice?

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  30. Zrim, scroll up just one post.

    If my unbelieving doctor has common grace knowledge of medicine then it’s just a relevant to the age to come as the knowledge of my believing doctor. You guys seem to forget that common grace is part of neo- Calvinism. Common grace is not a 2k “innovation”. Creational knowledge is revelation but God allows unbelievers to know it after a fashion. Since the unbeliever denies the God-createdness of creational knowledge he/she doesn’t really know the Truth about that thing. He/she gets along fine in the world and can practice medicine/engineering/plumbing just fine.

    There are cases in Creational living where the unbeliever is significantly off track, but the scriptures speak fairly clearly here. Questions of anthropology/psychology/sociology probably need to be informed by Biblical anthropology and a doctrine of sin. A philosophy that doesn’t incorporate biblical theology is likely to be suspect. This isn’t to say that Freud or Skinner or Marx have nothing to offer.

    Have any of you ever read what Kuyper thinks of theonomists or that value he places on statistical data?

    Perhaps you are thinking of David Nobel rather than Abraham Kuyper?

    For what it’s worth, while I appreciate having a pastor who is a believer, my soul would benefit greatly from an unregenerate preacher who faithfully proclaims the gospel from the pulpit each week. I’m more Old Life than any of you imagined.

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  31. Terry, where neo-Calvinism speaks of common grace, paleo-Calvinism speaks of providence. But I’m not so sure the latter ever spoke of unbelieving physicians not really knowing the truth about medicine. It seemed more inclined to say there are believing and unbelieving physicians, which is to say believing in God has nothing to do with knowing the truth about medicine. This is why on top of confusing neo-Calvinism comes off as arrogant–unbelievers can do medicine well, but they don’t really know the truth about it. Huh?

    Re Kuyper’s take on theonomy, sure (I think he detested it) and the sufficiency of general revelation to norm civil society (I think he was satisfied):

    “Does it follow, therefore, that the sooner we stop our observation of life the better, so that we can seek the rules of state polity outside life in Holy Scripture? This is how some mistakenly think that we reason…However, the opposite is true. Calvinism has never supported this untenable position but has always opposed it with might and main. A state polity that dismisses and scorns the observation of life and simply wishes to duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state, would, according to the spiritual fathers of Calvinism, be the epitome of absurdity. Accordingly, in their opposition to Anabaptism as well as the Quakers, they expressed unreservedly their repugnance for this extremely dangerous and impractical theory.

    If we considered the political life of the nations as something unholy, unclean and wrong in itself, it would lie outside of human nature. Then the state would have to be seen as a purely external means of compulsion, and every attempt to discover even a trace of God’s ordinances in our own nature would be absurd. Only special revelation would then be capable of imparting to us the standards for that external means of discipline. Wherever, thus, this special revelation is absent, as in the heathen worlds, nothing but sin and distortion would prevail, which would therefore not even be worth the trouble of our observation…However, if we open the works of Calvin, Bullinger, Beza and Marnix van St. Aldegonde, it becomes obvious that Calvinism consciously chooses sides against this viewpoint. The experience of the states of antiquity, the practical wisdom of their laws, and the deep insight of their statesmen and philosophers is held in esteem by these men, and these are cited in support of their own affirmations and consciously related to the ordinances of God. The earnest intent of the political life of many nations can be explained in terms of the principles of justice and morality that spoke in their consciences. They cannot be explained simply as blindness brought on by the Evil One; on the contrary, in the excellence of their political efforts we encounter a divine ray of light…

    …with proper rights we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow. The supporters of this potion talk as though after the Fall nature, human life, and history have ceased being a revelation of God and As though, with the closing of this book, another book, called Holy Scriptures, as opened for us. Calvinism has never defended this untenable position and will never acknowledge it as its own…We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts, and we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.”

    And I’m sure you’re no Donatist. That’s not the point. The point is that you use different rules when choosing different kinds of physicians. You require the physician of your body to have creational knowledge, the physician of your soul redemptive. You don’t care of the former has redemptive knowledge, just as you don’t care if the latter has creational knowledge. Neither do 2kers, so why are you pushing back on 2k theory when we’re giving the right theory for how you and we actually live as believers?

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  32. Terry, your understanding of the non-Christian physician sounds grudging. It also sounds like you don’t really trust him or her because they “don’t really know” what they’re talking about.

    I’d hate to see your physician’s reaction to your endorsement.

    These are your words, not a theonomists. You live in distrust of non-Christians because you apply the antithesis to the common realm, not as much as a theonomist. But it’s there. Accept it.

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  33. Zrim, Darryl, thanks for the Kuyper quote. I hope you’re willing to say he is a Kuyperian. Yes. I stand with CVT with respect to the necessity of the knowledge of God in order to have true knowledge. Otherwise, the common life becomes neutral. I seem to remember that CVT has quasi-confessional status in the OPC with the explicit inclusion of “Van Tilian presuppositionalism” in the recommended curriculum for the training of ministers.

    You mistake my claim about true knowledge with distrust. There’s no necessary distrust–just the facts, of course, no brute facts. My unbelieving doctor does not know the most basic truth about the myriad of facts that he does know: the knowledge of God the Creator. This is just a basic Epistemological claim and one that CVT says is crucial for the apologetic project. (And, of course, as CVT, Calvin, Augustine, and Paul all claim–he actually does know God, but suppresses it in his rebellion–there’s our interesting neo-Cal apparent contradiction).

    In the interest of full-disclosure, i and my wife have always insisted on having a pro-life family GP. Haven’t really pushed that issue with specialists whose services we have used. Of course, one can make a case against abortion without an appeal to the Bible.

    Arrogance? No more so than the Christian claim in general. There is one true God Creator of all that is and the exclusive way of salvation is through Jesus Christ.

    You may be surprised to know that some of my favorite Sci-tech folks are Steve Jobs, Steve Gould, Carl Sagan, and Richard Dawkins. Very smart people and great communicators. They got a lot right in this life and I’m happy to receive their contributions (properly filtered through the Christian worldview lens) as gifts from God. Unless I am gravely mistaken about the way of salvation, I don’t really expect to see any of them in glory. I don’t see this as being the least bit inconsistent with my neo-Cal perspective.

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  34. Terry, this is the way it goes with you. First you come on and take issue with 2k and call it radical. Then as the conversation progresses, you concede lots of points and actually see that 2k is not radical, though you don’t drop the r from 2k. I don’t get it. What is your beef with 2k? Is it the beef that so many neo-Calvinists have — we don’t talk this way, this is novel, this isn’t Dutch (as if Kuyper and Van Til are merely repeating what Calvin said)?

    I am truly interested in trying to figure out the kvetching that 2k regularly gets even though 2k is also thoroughly within the confessional mainstream. You only may have some idea of the suspicion that surrounds 2k given your early brushes with Gen 2:7. So why do you dish out what outed you — suspicion that fails to acknowledge what the other side actually says?

    You wrote earlier:

    Christians in those areas of culture acknowledge the rule of Christ over them (something the unbeliever doesn’t do). Does it help them find the right answers. I doubt it. But nonetheless as recently reported in the Heidelblog, there’s no neutrality even in the 2K world. One acknowledges Christ as King even in the laboratory if one is a believer. Additionally, Creation and Providence have their divine roots. Seeking and implementing the truth of Creation is to pursue Christ’s rule over all things. (And yes, even unbelievers do it, although to their judgment unless they repent of their idolatry in not acknowledging God.)

    “Does it help them find the right answers?” you answer “I doubt it.” But that is equivocal, and the larger quote holds out the notion that Christians are different in the common activities and not only different but superior — knowledge and worship.

    2k denies this. I answer your question, “no, Christians don’t have special knowledge (gnosticism) when it comes to the common realm,” and in fact in many areas of human endeavor non-Christians are far superior to Christians. Why? I’ll see your antithesis and raise it — because Christians have a higher allegiance that non-Christians don’t have, and that higher allegiance restricts in many cases their interests and study of the common realm. If you read the Bible as much as Christians do, you have less time to study biology. That may seem simplistic. But at least I can say that Christians are different and their difference accounts for their inferiority. Van Tillians and neo-Cals, though, want to turn difference into superiority.

    Death to triumphalism (and it is writ large over Kuyper, btw, even if his achievements are remarkable).

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  35. “the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy but simply common.”

    saints in church but not in creation?

    Zrim: where neo-Calvinism speaks of common grace, paleo-Calvinism speaks of providence.

    mark: Interesting sound bite. So you are willing to concede “common grace” to the Kuyperians? I certainly agree that leaving the grace off of the ‘common” would be a good place to start, and maybe that means I am “paleo Calvinist” (but not Reformed of course). But how many other 2 k folks would agree to this sound bite of yours, besides dgh?

    I know Scott Clark is a big advocate of the “common grace” phrase, but he may be a bad example, since he seems shaky sometimes (to me) on the 2 k thing. But most 2 kers would use the “common grace” phrase, would they not? Any instruction you can give me on this would be helpful.

    IF we believe in the separation of church and business when it comes to killing for capitalism, it becomes difficult to argue for the “religious freedom” of corporations.

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  36. The liberals who have made democratic pluralism their church like to scapegoat those who scapegoat. These liberals feel superior to the sectarians who think they are on the outside because the liberals know and believe for sure that the fundamentalists are also on the inside with them included with all in common and it’s not the liberals’ fault if the fundamentalists are so sectarian that they don’t know yet that in some things they too have been put on the inside with those on the inside who know that there is no outside yet in this age…

    We must NOT confuse providence with blessing.

    On what basis would God bless the ungodly, who are outside the elect in Christ by God’s own decree of election and non-election? The explanation must be that in some cases God’s grace ignores His redemptive righteousness and switches over to His “creation” righteousness….

    Shall we forget (at the present secular time) about Christ’s redemptive example? It will then be practical to see ourselves as agents of the vengeance of the Creator, the generic deity we all have in common. On earth, other sacrifices for sin remain , and we must all get together in making those other sacrifices happen….

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  37. Terry, how your epistemological claims don’t translate into distrust is a mystery. But when it came to that common arena called education, at least CVT wasn’t so disjointed. From Foundations of Christian Education (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1990): :

    “Non-Christians believe that the personality of the child can develop best if it is not placed face to face with God. Christian believe that the child’s personality cannot develop at all unless it is placed face to face with God. Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum. In this vacuum the child is expected to grow. The result is that the child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food.”

    “Non-Christians believe that authority hurts the growth of the child. Christians believe that without authority a child cannot live at all.”

    “No educational content that cannot be set into a definitely Christian-theistic pattern and be conducive to the development of covenant personality has any right to appear in our schools.”

    “No teaching of any sort is possible except in Christian schools.”

    “…if you cannot teach arithmetic to the glory of God, you cannot do it any other way because it cannot be done any other way by anybody.”

    While I don’t get either the presuppositions or the conclusions, I get these conclusions flowing from certain presuppositions. What I don’t get is having certain presuppositions but denying their obvious conclusions. Why do you get to claim that unbelieving scientists, doctors, and teachers don’t really understand “The Truth” of their craft (worldviewist) but are entirely trustworthy in carrying it out (2ker)?

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  38. Mark, the confessional language is of providence, not common grace. So it’s more than a sound bite, and so whoever subscribes the forms uses it.

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  39. Darryl, the flip-side of your, “Xtians read their bible to their detriment,” is not a triumphalism as I would espouse, but rather, we are the ones as Xtians fed with the true and living Word. This gives us a distinct advantage in life, if even in this life we are persecuted or even put to death for our confession of faith. I’m not disagreeing with you that there should be an end to Xtian triumphalism proper. But what I am saying is as possessors of a greater hope and assurance, we are not swayed or affected by the winds of doctrine that can assail others in times of trouble.

    I wouldn’t trade what I have in my faith for anything.

    Grace and peace.

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  40. D, I’m done posting on your site today, but as Orthodox Presbys, let’s hope we can continue to grow our small band of Xtians in the church founded by Machen, and encourage the same. The last thing we need is an OOPC (playing on your Orthodox Reformed Protestant idea).

    Take care and God Bless.

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  41. Darryl, as you have pointed out, I’m comfortable with most of what you say and FWIW I don’t put the R in front of the 2K. However, as you know, I can get to where you want to be in terms of a properly formulated neo-Calvinism. EXCEPT for the eschatology that denies continuing relevance to the original creation. Frankly, I view that as a significant departure from Reformed orthodoxy. All of my Fathers in the Reformed faith spoke of a renewed heavens and a renewed earth. You all seem to see God’s creation as temporary.

    Zrim, No offense to any doctors out there, but medicine is to biology what engineering is to science. Mostly technique. Indeed they are plumbing that requires more comprehensive knowledge. Getting along in the world “after a fashion” is quite possible. Please notice that my claim about their knowledge could be labeled meta-knowledge, but neither CVT nor I want to make that move to reduce knowledge in that way.

    I am fully ready to admit that low level stuff (math, physics, chemistry, biology) is less impacted by presuppositions than high level stuff (psychology, sociology, education, history, economics, politics, philosophy). I don’t think this anti neo-Calvinism. In other words, a neo-Calvinist position can explain why this is so.

    Zrim, I’m with CVT on education. Perhaps there is some hyperbole with respect to arithmetic, but it is the case that one can give glory to God and invite children to do so, or one can leave that piece out with the implicit claim that God has nothing to do with. A few generations of that an you have Christians claiming that. Hmm…

    Darryl, yes to the distractions our faith brings to our work in culture. I feel that all the time and early in my career felt that I probably had to choose between knowing God and His Word, service in the church, etc. and a Nobel prize for solving the protein folding problem. Perhaps that’s an excuse for professional mediocrity at a certain level. I think it’s more related to seeking first the kingdom. While there no doubt were many factors leading to my not getting tenure at Calvin, pursuing the faith-science interface and the consequences I faced in the OPC and my engagement of those consequences were certainly a distraction I would not have had were I not a Christian. No triumphalism for this neo-Calvinist. Just attempted faithfulness while the Lord tarries.

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  42. Terry, but the mantra is “all of life.” How can low-level stuff be exempt from presupps in ways that high level stuff isn’t? Is it all of life or only some of life? 2kers affirm all of life, such that what is true for the baker is also true for the psychiatrist. The difference is that 2k denies the believing baker has anything on the unbelieving baker about baking. He’s got him up one side and down the other on eternity though.

    On education, who’s leaving anything out? Covenant children are taught by the one institution ordained for the task–the family along with the church–that God has everything to do with the 3Rs (and more). The early church knew this when they sent their kids to not merely secularized but thoroughly pagan schools.

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  43. Why in thee heck is a pastor teaching courses on economics?!!?!!

    Doesn’t Bret know that both Keynesian and Austrian schools are based on philosophical subjectivism, and the question of how economic utility is maximized from either the standpoint of either the individual or the society as a whole? I have many Austrian School sympathies, but much of its underlying assumptions stand squarely against the notions of Natural Law that the older reformers or (gasp!) Aquinas taught at the nexus of middle ages into the early modern period. IF there were a NL based system of economics, it would certainly start with justice, and maximizing both individual and social notions of what is good (i.e. that what adheres to NL), rather than with maximizing utility.

    The whole notion that Rothbard, Hayek, North, et. al. can be baptized as an orthodox “Reformed” school of economics is historically, philosophically, and theologically naive. The sole measure of Reformed orthodoxy is the Reformed confessions. Bret still has not demonstrated in a any conclusive manner that the teachings of the Austrian School, or any other economic school of thought is in any way biblical. Unless we are willing to import the whole of the OT civic law, there is simply no way to construct a meaningful “Reformed” school of economics – wait, isn’t that exactly what the Reconstructionists/theonomists want?

    Once again, they’re big on rhetoric, and skinny on compelling evidence.

    For the record: I would pull my kid out of Bret’s Econ class – he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Just because it is wrapped in the garb of *Christian Worldview* doesn’t mean the content is worth the price of admission. There are better ways for my kid to maximize his utility.

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  44. Terry, in this thread you did use R2k. Just sayin’.

    Also, since marriage and procreation were crucial to the original creation — not to mention the cultural mandate that neo-Cals love to invoke — what kind of continuity are you claiming for the new heavens and new earth? Are you so earthly minded, or do you read what Jesus said? Just askin’.

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  45. I don’t have time to go back and read this whole thread, and figure out who is this Terry that everyone is piling on to, but I thought it was interesting to read this piece about Africans & Money. Is this economic system something sinful that our OPC missionaries in Uganda (David Okken etc) need to call for repentance of, along with polygamy and syncretistic animism? (and possibly blood-eating?)

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  46. Darryl, apologies for the “R”–I really do tend not to use it (mainly because I don’t really understand what it intends to communicate). Because, yes, even neo-Cals believe in 2k’s if they believe in sphere sovereignty. Of course, we could quibble. Even if Christ rules the church differently than he rules the world at large, it is still his kingdom (so in that sense, it’s one). But even you guys admit that. So I tend to minimize our differences, except when you want to maximize them, which is what sucks me into this operation. (BTW, thanks for giving so much blog space and time to the engagement–it is your blog after all.)

    Never claimed that there won’t be discontinuities between now and then. Certainly, no sin, no rebellion. That’s a major discontinuity. Seems that there will be a change in the works with regard to marriage. Not sure there will be new souls created. But if there are bodies, there are proteins, molecules, atoms, elements, electrons…

    But for continuities I’ll take Wolters’ line that God remains faithful to the work of his hands. Or the goodness of creation. Or the prophetic vision in both the old and and new testaments. Or the implications of the doctrine of the resurrection. Those are deep scriptural (and Reformed) themes that point to continuities. The salvation/redemption is an undoing of the ravages of sin and death, a restoration (and beyond–consummation) of what should have been had our father Adam not fallen. Can I give you a proof-text? Probably not. But then, we neither one of us would be paedobaptists if we needed proof-texts.

    Earthly mindedness simply means thinking that this earthly life is all there is. You’ve got neo-Calvinists all wrong if that’s what you think about us. (Again, you seem to confuse neo-Calvinism with social gospelism.)

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  47. @TG This is a curious statement:
    “Not sure there will be new souls created. But if there are bodies, there are proteins, molecules, atoms, elements, electrons…”
    In light of what the Apostle Paul says about the resurrection: “…it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…” Cor 15:44 Maybe there are such things as spiritual proteins, etc.. but I don’t know what that is.

    “The salvation/redemption is an undoing of the ravages of sin and death, a restoration (and beyond–consummation) of what should have been had our father Adam not fallen.”
    But physical death preceded Adam. Is it a reformation of the existing Earth? The scriptures seem to point to a new heaven and a new Earth (after this one is destroyed). That suggests a new order doesn’t it? Perhaps the New Heaven and New Earth will be even better than the originals?

    “Even if Christ rules the church differently than he rules the world at large, it is still his kingdom (so in that sense, it’s one). But even you guys admit that.”

    I don’t think this is quite right. The WCF 25.2 says that the visible Church is the Kingdom of Christ. If Christ is currently king of all the Earth, why would we pray for his kingdom to come? The larger catechism answers that, “…acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world…” Christ has not taken possession of his kingdom yet, and it isn’t clear to me that we build this kingdom by doing our secular work Christianly. I’m still not even clear what it means to do so…

    I see how building the Church expands Christ’s kingdom, so perhaps being a good witness to my faith by being a conscientious worker could build the kingdom. But this is rather indirect isn’t it? I don’t see how being a great Christian astrophysicist means that I do astrophysics in a way that is different from a non-believer or somehow builds the kingdom of Christ. Sharing my faith and inviting colleagues to Church does, but then I’m not doing astrophysics when I do that.

    I worry that mission creep can undermine the church. Our passion for this or that cause can be a turnoff from what should be an universal institution. Some get distracted (or worn out) by all the stuff going on that has nothing to do with worship. That strikes me as a more serious problem. Sure political involvement, social activism, literary criticism, and filling out an NCAA bracket can be a good thing for someone to do, but I don’t think we should mix these things with church. But maybe I’m just being dense.

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  48. Terry M. Gray
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
    Darryl, apologies for the “R”–I really do tend not to use it (mainly because I don’t really understand what it intends to communicate). Because, yes, even neo-Cals believe in 2k’s if they believe in sphere sovereignty. Of course, we could quibble. Even if Christ rules the church differently than he rules the world at large, it is still his kingdom (so in that sense, it’s one). But even you guys admit that. So I tend to minimize our differences, except when you want to maximize them, which is what sucks me into this operation. (BTW, thanks for giving so much blog space and time to the engagement–it is your blog after all.)

    Never claimed that there won’t be discontinuities between now and then. Certainly, no sin, no rebellion. That’s a major discontinuity. Seems that there will be a change in the works with regard to marriage. Not sure there will be new souls created. But if there are bodies, there are proteins, molecules, atoms, elements, electrons…

    But for continuities I’ll take Wolters’ line that God remains faithful to the work of his hands. Or the goodness of creation. Or the prophetic vision in both the old and and new testaments. Or the implications of the doctrine of the resurrection. Those are deep scriptural (and Reformed) themes that point to continuities. The salvation/redemption is an undoing of the ravages of sin and death, a restoration (and beyond–consummation) of what should have been had our father Adam not fallen. Can I give you a proof-text? Probably not. But then, we neither one of us would be paedobaptists if we needed proof-texts.

    Earthly mindedness simply means thinking that this earthly life is all there is. You’ve got neo-Calvinists all wrong if that’s what you think about us. (Again, you seem to confuse neo-Calvinism with social gospelism.)

    Dr. Terry Gray, as I live and breathe, the Thomas Scopes of J. Gresham Gresham’s spawn, poor fellow. Now a neo-Calvinist by his own account. I have to update my scorecard.

    As for this post by “D. Gnostic Hart,” [mocking names seems to be de rigueur in this circle] Bill Evans’ challenge

    We will cheerfully admit that 2K advocates have some legitimate concerns, particularly that the mission and witness of the church not be hijacked by political and cultural agendas. But in this instance the cure is worse than the disease. While 2K theology may well scratch the itch of Christians who need a theological excuse to remain silent in current cultural conflicts, it is both less than biblical and less than faithful to the decided weight of the Reformed tradition.

    stands unmolested, let alone refudiated.

    Terry Gray also nails the [intentional?] weaseling of what the “Kingdom” is—God’s, Christ’s, here &/or now/not now, coming like a thief in the night, or on Judgment Day–the dodging is conspicuous, the debate permanently useless without defining The Kingdom, the party of the first part.

    Or perhaps the discussion is over, and the parties have agreed to talk past each other for the remainder of the Earth’s lifetime because they refuse to speak the same language, that is, what Jesus means by his/the Kingdom.

    You guys do define the debate, often by accident. What is the Kingdom? The rest follows.

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  49. sdb, what do YOU mean by a spiritual body? When Jesus, post-resurrection ate with his disciples, what happened to the food he ate? Was he nourished by what he ate? How did that all work?

    WRT, destruction by fire, think in terms of a refiner’s fire where the impurities are burned up and the the pure metal is now refined. You must admit that there are Biblical images of that effect. Thus the destruction described by Peter is not an anihilation but a purging of the old to bring about the (re) new (ed).

    I’ll let Darryl defend the Kingship of Christ over all things since he espouses it. Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth. King of kings and Lord of lords.

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  50. It seems that the debate between Lutherans and the Reformed over consubstantiation and the ubiquity of the body of Christ has a fair amount to say about the nature of the age to come. We Reformed took a lot of what we know about bodies from earthly experience and dragged it into heaven claiming to know a lot about the nature of spiritual bodies. Has our friendliness with Lutherans on various confessional and old life issues made us forget about that particular debate?

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  51. Dear Terry,

    Lutherans do not believe or hold to consubstantiation. The term is used by others and by a minority of American Lutherans in the 19th century. But Luther never employed the term and the Lutherans Confessions do not employ the term. The term would be the “definitive presence” (in contrast to the circumscriptive and repletive presence of the Son of God). Consubstantiation is a philosophical term whereas for Luther, the Lord’s Supper which is the Gospel is anti-speculative, anti-philosophical, anti-worldly wisdom in nature just as the Incarnation and the Cross. Consubstantiation focuses on the “substance” as the mode of presence but the definitive presence speaks of time and space as simultaneously present to Christ Who is “in, with and under” the bread and wine.

    It is based on the patristic maxim that wherever the Word is, there the Flesh is also.

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  52. Terry, “Even if Christ rules the church differently than he rules the church at large. . .”

    Why so grudging? You think Christ rules the church the same has he rules the USA?

    “No sin, no rebellion.”

    Marriage and the lack thereof point to a major discontinuity between creation before the fall, have lots of kids — and glory, not even marriage. Why so grudging and why go to sin as the index of discontinuity?

    “I’ll take Wolters . . . . Those are deep scriptural (and Reformed) themes.”

    Wolters isn’t in the canon.

    Earthly-mindedness means letting creational patterns inform our imagination of what glory will be. Remember what the Israelites expected of Jesus and how disappointed they were in a spiritual kingdom. Now think about yourself.

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  53. sdb, no, you’re just being non-Dutch neo-Calvinist. Didn’t you get the memo? Kuyper the third Moses (and I like Kuyper, just not the Kuyper triumpalism)?

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  54. “sdb, what do YOU mean by a spiritual body? When Jesus, post-resurrection ate with his disciples, what happened to the food he ate? Was he nourished by what he ate? How did that all work?”

    I’m not sure what a spiritual body is, why his glorified body still bore scars, how he walked through walls, or what happened to the bread he ate. But I am pretty sure that it isn’t just like our bodies. This approach to exegesis is similar to the folks who try to find a correspondence between the cosmology of Genesis and modern science. It is a fool’s errand in my estimation.

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  55. This approach to exegesis is similar to the folks who try to find a correspondence between the cosmology of Genesis and modern science.

    On the nitty gritty, I agree. But on the whole, modern science and genesis 1 cosmology, properly understood, do cohere.

    I would point people reading here to Google “opc creation report” for more info. It’s rad.

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  56. Thanks for Van Dyke for tipping me off to “The Dukes of September” (Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs) concert on PBS. My local affiliate played it over the weekend.

    Boz Scaggs voice has held up quite well.

    Boomer music from The Beatles forward kicks the butt of everything that comes after.

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  57. Darryl, I’m not sure you have a clue what I think. You just lump us all together in the most singularly unhelpful way–I guess it’s all good if your just interested in scoring points. To me it might seem fruitful to acknowledge the common ground you have with neo-Cals who haven’t slipped into theonomy or social gospelism. Only a few details (and possibly mere semantics) separate us. Interesting that you focused on Wolters when I had a whole list of Biblical theological themes (that are in the canon). I will be amused in the Age to Come when the Lord asks you to do some history of American presybyterianism research for us. We’ll touch base then and have a good laugh over all this.

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  58. Jason, okay, I repent of using the term and will try not to ever again, now having been rebuked by two Lutherans in the past two years.

    But, you said nothing of the ubiquity debate (and my other Lutheran sparring partner defended it agains the Reformed critique). Non-ubiquitous bodily existence is part of human nature, it appears even for resurrected bodies.

    So please re-read and strike the mention of “consubstantiation”.

    Darryl, okay, add walking through walls to the list of discontinuities. Think Flatland perhaps. Think Kline’s upper register. Think of Elisha’s servant seeing (after not seeing) the heavenly charioteers. We’re in the the land of speculation. However, your list of discontinuities does not negate the arguments for continuity. It just says that things will be different–which, by the way, I fully expect.

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  59. Terry, and none of your arguments for continuity — it must be! — are arguments. You’re also in the land of speculation and the Bible supplies plenty of evidence for discontinuity, unless you cite a cosmological passage and go woozy.

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  60. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink
    Today’s would be ally for vd, t? Terry Gray.

    Like clockwork.

    Disin Genuous Hart, you love the personal dramas. Or perhaps they’re just convenient cover for you dodging what’s actually said. Mr. Gray’s got your number here: Defining, redefining, undefining the “Kingdom” is the trick, and by the time you’re done with it, it’s no more than a psalter and a cigar.

    Which isn’t a bad start, mind you, but…

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  61. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink
    vd, t, a king in a republic?

    Come on, defend Gospel Coalition.

    Disingenuous Hart, as always terrorizing the minnows.

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  62. sean
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink
    vd, t, has all the acumen of Pepper on the Ocho, but without the funny-ha, ha.

    Poor Sean, whose departure from the Catholic Church for the OPC increased the IQ of each.

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  63. AB
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
    sean’s too cool for us, vd, t tom.

    Nice html!

    Thank you for the correct address, Andrew. If we’re to be friends or at least friendly acquaintances, the infantile “vd” stuff has got to go. To qualify as wit, insults should rise to at least the sophomore’s level.

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  64. vd,t, what would you know about either one? But, since you insist on loitering, no barking, begging or whining but do be a good pooch and bring me my house shoes.

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  65. (Tom, good grief on the “vd” thing already. Didn’t mother ever tell you to ignore slights? If you think it’s such a big deal, and it’s pretty clear you do, then why do you even bother? Plus, a guy who can’t do much more than nag calling foul on a name? Talk about all about thee. Oy vey.)

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  66. D. G. Hart
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, love me.

    Not when you call me names. Jesus doesn’t even love you when you do it.

    And I only called you Dr. Fart once, to try to snap you out of it, to show what a jerk you’re being. My heart wasn’t in it and it didn’t work anyway, so just cut it out and go back to losing fair and square.

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  67. Zrim
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
    (Tom, good grief on the “vd” thing already. Didn’t mother ever tell you to ignore slights? If you think it’s such a big deal, and it’s pretty clear you do, then why do you even bother? Plus, a guy who can’t do much more than nag calling foul on a name? Talk about all about thee. Oy vey.)

    Why not tell people to cut it out instead of lecturing me? Odd it doesn’t embarrass you. You guys circle the wagons at the strangest times. [I do appreciate you don’t do it, though.]

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  68. Tom, I could understand if Darryl wad being crude.

    It’s playfulness with our names.

    If you can’t see your absurdity (as we all must see of ourselves) there’s little anyone can do to help.

    If you want to battle for “most mature,” and it bothers you, don’t return in kind. Consider our Lord, here.

    Peace.

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  69. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
    Tom, I could understand if Darryl was being crude.

    Of course Darryl is being crude, Andrew. “VD?” From which planet are you from?

    And worse, as Dr Johnson wrote

    “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”

    When Insults Had Class

    You paleo-Cals don’t seem to understand what a drag you are. You make the Puritans look fun. At least they had the sincerity thing going for them, which was nice.

    To bring humor to the humorless, wit to the witless, Dr. D. We all have our missionary calling. Thank me. Love me, Darryl. I can make you a better curmudgeon and turn your unlovableness into an asset for your religion. You got the Machen down but the Mencken needs work.

    Like

  70. Don’t be suckered, AB. You’re no Helen Foley regardless of how well Tom reprises the role of Anthony. Oh, LA, how you delude.

    Like

  71. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
    Tom, thanks for the link.

    I honestly hadn’t considered your initials that way.

    Please welcome me back to planet earth.

    Welcome back, Andrew. As it turns out you never left our planet. 😉

    I’m relieved to find out you didn’t realize quite what D was up to. Calling him “Dr. Fart” in return for calling me “venereal disease” was quite tame. Believe me, I thought of firing back with worse but that’s not the way I roll. In a “theological society” forum, I reckon we represent our theology, what we believe, who we “ally” with.

    I do love the story, the love affair, of JGMachen and HLMencken, the “fundamentalist” and the Modern Man. It’s what drew me here, the attraction of polar opposites.

    http://jgmachen.org/2011/03/17/h-l-menckens-obituary-of-machen/

    Didya know that Darryl & I are exactly the same age, from the same exact town? True story.

    I’m gathering material for your obituary, Darryl. If I manage to outlive you. Otherwise I’m giving you material for mine. I can think of nobody whom I’d rather write it. Now that’s funny. Rock on, bro.

    Like

  72. Golden oldies rule (me putting Machen on my website here, enjoy):

    childlike faith
    Andrew Buckingham / February 11, 2014
    Source:

    In the third place, we have so far really not gotten
    at what Jesus meant at all. When our Lord bade His
    disciples receive the kingdom of heaven as little children,
    was it really the ignorance of the little children to which
    He appealed? We think not. No, it was not the
    ignorance of children to which our Lord appealed, but
    their conscious helplessness, their willingness to receive
    a gift. What mars the simplicity of the childlike faith
    which Jesus commends is not an admixture of knowl-
    edge, but an admixture of self-trust. To receive the
    kingdom as a little child is to receive it as a free gift
    without seeking in slightest measure to earn it for one’s
    self. There is a rebuke here for any attempt to earn

    96 WHAT IS FAITH?

    salvation by one’s character, by one’s own obedience to
    God’s commands, by one’s own establishment in one’s
    life of “the principles of Jesus”; but there is no rebuke
    whatever for an intelligent faith that is founded upon
    the facts. The childlike simplicity of faith is marred
    sometimes by ignorance, but never by knowledge; it
    will never be marred and never has been marred in the
    lives of the great theologians by the blessed knowl-
    edge of God and of the Saviour Jesus Christ which is
    contained in the Word of God. Without that knowl-
    edge we might be tempted to trust partly in ourselves;
    but with it we trust wholly to God. The more we
    know of God, the more unreservedly we trust Him;
    the greater be our progress in theology, the simpler and
    more childlike will be our faith.

    TwitterFacebookGoogle

    February 11, 2014 in Uncategorized.

    Like

  73. (Tom, because that would be so TGC-ish or CtC-y. But don’t be too quick to thank me. I’m considering “Tom Petty.” At least it would an earned handle, you heart breaker, you.)

    Like

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