Congregationalism as Constantinianism

Peter Leithart wants to add to my work as clerk of session. First, he’s reading a lot of sociologists of religion (would John Milbank approve?) on the capacity of congregations to function like families and provide for members in similar ways:

This social capital is not merely intangible. Congregations offer material support to needy members: “When people in congregations talk about building relationships and creating community, they are talking about more than warm, fuzzy feelings. These relationships often take on a depth of mutual obligation that involves pain and sacrifice, as well as joy and celebration. Once having entered these communities, participants are challenged to care for each other, in good times and in bad, and most of this caring takes place informally, rather than through organized programs” (65). Tangible support is particularly beneficial to immigrants: “In Chicago we encountered a congregation whose religious roots are in Nigeria—the Holy Order of Cherubim and Seraphim. There we heard, ‘Our church has a lot of immigrants that are coming to this country. Some of them are very young families. . . . So, you have the church trying to be like a family structure. To be able to mend all of this together so they can have a life.’ Mending together a life often requires informal assistance, rituals of healing and mourning, and the timely visit of a pastor”

Next, he thinks congregations can contribute to a number of the policy questions before the nation:

The US faces policy challenges of gargantuan proportions. Immigration, social security, drugs, race, crime and prison reform, health care, Islamicism and other international challenges. I’d put same-sex marriage, the ethical issues surrounding biotechnology, and abortion high on that list, and some would add environmental issues to the short list.

For ordinary Americans, that list poses two challenges. First, each is a hugely complex, apparently insoluble problem. A health care reform bill has been passed, but many doubt whether it will improve health care or lower costs. The difficulty of formulating a policy on immigration that answers to all American interests and values is evident in the fact that no such policy has been formulated and legislated. There are limits on what a war-weary America can do about ISIS.

Second, ordinary citizens don’t have the capacity to do much about any of them. We can vote, but few have the ability or opportunity to do much else. At best, we respond by bitching about the state of the world or engaging in Facebook polemics; at worst, we throw up our hands and find some way to avoid thinking about it.

For Christians, there is an alternative approach that disaggregates the problems and opens the possibility of constructive action. Instead of treating these issues as questions of national or state policy, we can examine them as ecclesial questions, questions about the ministry and mission of the church.

I don’t mean that we stop debating the merits of policy proposals. Institutional and legal patterns are critical, and there are definitely healthy and unhealthy, good and bad ways to organize our life together. But public policy isn’t the only way to address social needs, and for the church, legislated policy isn’t the primary way to address social needs.

No group of citizens can build a wall along the Mexican border, and few contribute in any meaningful way to formulating immigration policy. But nearly everyone lives in a town with a Hispanic minority. In addition to (or before) asking, “How can America control immigration?” Christians should ask, “What obligations do churches have toward immigrants? What can we do to proclaim the gospel to them in word and deed?” We shouldn’t merely ask how Federal or State governments can make health insurance available, but how churches can provide affordable basic medical care to the poor in a local area. We may not have the policy answers to the drug trade, but many churches support or provide help for addicts and some have effectively intervened to reduce gang violence. We can’t stop ISIS, but churches can send and support missionaries in Islamic countries, and churches can mount targeted evangelistic campaigns to Muslims in our neighborhoods. We can think of Muslim immigration to the US as a threat to our Christian heritage; we can also recognize it as one of the greatest opportunities for Muslim evangelism since the sixth century.

Well, one relief is that the economy is so bad in this part of Michigan that we don’t have that many Hispanics, so that round of meetings is not needed (even if it means finding a good Mexican-restaurant is a challenge). But how in the world if congregations barely agree on the order of service are we now supposed to find consensus on drug treatment procedures?

Plus, I’m not going near Islam (except when having drinks with our Muslim neighbor). Hasn’t Peter seen any of those ISIL videos?

Just this morning I was reading an almost twenty-year old verdict on the effects of modernity on Dutch Reformed churches:

Whereas once (and still in some isolationist communities) there was considerable homogeneity of perspective on virtually all matters of faith — that is, the Reformed message was uniformly accepted throughout the Reformed community — that is no longer the case. Among respondents in each of the countries under consideration, there is immense variation in matters of belief. Whether considering new understandings of Scripture or new formulations of divinity or new attitudes about the fate of nonbelievers, consensus is rare. On matters of political and moral concern, Christians of the Reformed churches have significant differences of opinion. (Rethinking Secularization: Reformed Reactions to Modernity, 281)

So do members of most communions (Roman Catholics included where they put the “it” in unity). But now Peter wants us to take on social policy? How much free time does he have in his new position?

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475 thoughts on “Congregationalism as Constantinianism

  1. Here’s the problem I see, we, as Americans and not just those who are Reformed Christians, have been trained into the habit of voting for people whom we think we can ignore until the next election. And by voting for people whom we think we can ignore what I mean is that those elected officials were voted in to handle problems for which we have neither the time nor interest to think about ourselves because we are too busy controlling our own small world and pursuing our treasures on earth. Unfortunately, just like young children who are left without a babysitter, we risk disaster as we leave these politicians alone. And please note how we are leaving them alone with a lot of dangerous toys to play with and a lot of personal effects that can be easily damaged.

    The above is the American problem. The Church’s problem is that it shows preference to the sins of those with wealth and power by turning a blind eye to them and distract us voters from those sins. It’s not that we don’t have enough sins to pay attention to ourselves; it is that many of the sins of those with wealth and power become the corporate sins of our society and the nation with our silence and passivity making us complicit.

    And yes, we don’t have the time to pay enough attention so that we could even identify those problems let alone solve them. But that is how the game is rigged in the first place.

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  2. Curt, some people are just more civic minded than others. Some like to mix it up in the public arena.

    We each have our gifts and talents and interests and hopefully all bases are covered. And we shift our focus as life moves on and things that used to really matter don’t anymore.

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  3. Kent,
    Though what you wrote is true, an inadequate participation in the public arena both by individual Americans and by the Church carries with it real possible consequences. After all, freedom is the ability to live apart from the consequences of one’s actions or inactivity.

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  4. Kent,
    Missed a word in my last sentence. It should read:


    After all, freedom is NOT the ability to live apart from the consequences of one’s actions or inactivity.

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  5. “But now Peter wants us to take on social policy? How much free time does he have in his new position?”

    Enough to hand out tracts to the Muslims in his neighborhood. All two of them. That’s one more than in Moscow, Idaho. Perhaps ISIS will come around with a gift subscription to Credenda Agenda? I’m in.

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  6. I respect the Amish and Darryl Hart-style “Two Kingdoms” theology.

    But they’re freeloaders. At least the Amish admit it. Other people argued and fought and died for your religious freedom.

    That you think God approves of you and disapproves of the rest of those poor heroic fools, I can’t wrap my mind around that, Darryl.

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  7. DGHart: vd, t, that you thing God approves of you, a person who doesn’t go to church, and disapproves of me, I can’t wrap my mind around that.

    God approves of a person because they go to church?

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  8. Al, if it’s all about a personal relationship with diety (involving 7-day all-of-life worship) and/or social and moral issues (evangelicalism), then what difference does the church make? Attendance is optional after you get your ticket punched, especially if you move on to some higher spiritual level.

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  9. Tom,

    To my knowledge none of us here are vetrans, nor have any of us fought and died for our freedoms. 2k places no restrictions on serving in the military, or on full participation in our Republic. All it asserts is that whatever our political motives are, we ought to keep this distinct from our ecclesial ones – we think that separation between church and state are, like a good thing man.

    Some 2kers question the validity of the American Revolution on the grounds of Romans 13, that’s fine, I just think they are wrong on this issue. I am personally a big supporter of the war for independence, and if I found myself in the colonies 1770’s, I would likely have given the revolution my full support. The early Republic was grounded in NL reasoning that I wish we could recover, but in the current political and intellectual climate NL, along with Natural Theology is basically still verboten in all but the smallest Protestant and Catholic circles.

    You consistently confuse 2k concepts with the conscientious conclusions of some of its adherents. 2k is not going to answer questions of political activity outside what NL dictates, all it asserts is that there is a stark distinction between the spiritual and temporal kingdoms, and that this distinction should be upheld as much for the good of the church as for the state. All one needs to do is observe how lost in the weeds Constantinians such as Leithart are on the role of the church to see that 2k is a corrective to Constantinian excess. Your issue is more with the politics of some of the OL interlocutors than anything else, i.e anyone not on-board with your brand of conservatism. The problem is that political conservatism and Christian orthodoxy are not one in the same, and I would argue they have no genetic relation at all – one is concerned with the affairs and destiny of this world, the other with that of the world to come.

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  10. Curt,

    The problem with your stance is it assumes that getting the church politically and socially active as you would envision has historically always lead to downgrades in Orthodoxy in the church. You want to argue how I should be politically and socially active? Fine, convince me along political, social, and ethical lines, no need to spiritualize your arguments.

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  11. D. G. Hart :”Ali, have you heard of Roman Catholicism?”

    First: sdb says: “Scripture is clear that keeping the sabbath is very big deal embedded in the creation – we neglect it at our peril”.
    Then second Kevin says: I believe he means peril of going to Hell, Ali, and I think he’s right.

    Deez Chorts 2016:” Al, if it’s all about a personal relationship with diety (involving 7-day all-of-life worship) and/or social and moral issues (evangelicalism), then what difference does the church make? Attendance is optional after you get your ticket punched, especially if you move on to some higher spiritual level.”

    reductio ad absurdum ,CW? As Mrs W. said, do we argue Jesus against Jesus?

    1) Those will be confused who don’t accept the whole counsel of God, I mean who wants to have to listen to ALL the Lord says
    2) It’s not all about a personal relationship with the Lord?
    3) It’s not all about 7 day worship?
    4) Did someone say ‘church’ doesn’t make a difference? How could that be: church=ekklésia = the body of believers
    5)’Going to church’ on a Sunday seems to be what many think is the extent of ‘church’, much more manageable, I guess.
    6) Who said gathering together as a community of believers is not important?
    7) Seems like many want to be just ‘ticket punchers’; ticket punchers = those who think they are heaven-bound yet think what they do now doesn’t matter
    9) Move on to higher spiritual level – yeah, that tired retort is heard a lot ,usually when one mentions God the Spirit and the Lord’s ‘spiritual’ verses, especially, the especially disliked Romans 12:1, which can only be disliked by those ‘ not in the Spirit’

    Ps. Might be difficult to find a ‘deez chorts 2016’ apropos song, but I might think about sending you one

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  12. Ali,

    1) Those will be confused who don’t accept the whole counsel of God – Agreed. But many of us here disagree on what God’s counsel is.

    2) It’s not all about a personal relationship with the Lord? – I think that is absolutely fundamental – a personal relationship with Christ.

    3) It’s not all about 7 day worship? – Not sure what that means – worship is a more defined term, isn’t it? I believe we should pray every day throughout the day and commend our actions to Christ, and try always to look at life sub specie aeternitatis – in light of our eternal destiny.

    5)’Going to church’ on a Sunday seems to be what many think is the extent of ‘church’, much more manageable, I guess. – I doubt many of them would be reading this blog.

    7) Seems like many want to be just ‘ticket punchers’; ticket punchers = those who think they are heaven-bound yet think what they do now doesn’t matter – Reminds me of something I heard once – there are only two moments that are of crucial importance when it comes to human action – now, and at the hour of our death.

    9) Move on to higher spiritual level – yeah, that tired retort is heard a lot ,usually when one mentions God the Spirit and the Lord’s ‘spiritual’ verses, especially, the especially disliked Romans 12:1 – Was anything we have recorded of what the Lord said not spiritual? That is indeed a beautiful passage, which we should take seriously. I’ll admit I’m not sure how the use of “worship” there relates to “worship” in the sense of what I believe God commands us to do on Sundays, although I believe the two are distinct.

    Don’t miss my belated reply to your earlier question regarding the laity at https://oldlife.org/2015/08/whats-in-your-kitchen/comment-page-1/#comment-345202

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  13. Jed,
    When we are silent about significant sins, isn’t that a downgrading of something significant?

    My position is that as individual Christians, we pick sides and policies and parties. But the Church should only point out the problems and sins involved with the status quo.

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  14. Curt,

    I don’t doubt the sincerity of your motives here, but I think you are really mistaken about what the church has the (divinely authorized) power to do. Can the church address public sins and social evils in the due course of its ministry? Yes, but in a limited way – when admonishing her members to be separate from the world and not tainted by it, or to accept it as the arbiter on how we should live our lives, as it teaches us to live lives obedient to the Word of God. However, as Reformed Christians (not sure where you land on this spectrum), we are bound as the church to constrain ourselves to the strictures of Scripture, and there is not an ordinary mechanism for addressing these issues.

    In extraordinary matters the church may petition the magistrate – but we need to have a pretty high bar for what “extraordinary” entails, otherwise the church ends up being yet another voice demanding influence in a passing culture. Our purposes are not oriented toward this world, and frankly, the church isn’t equipped or able to bring any meaningful resolution to the worlds problems. If we were, don’t you think that Christ would have clarified this before his ascension? To my knowledge Jesus only commissions the church to a) evangelize (‘go make disciples’) b) proclaim the Word for the edification of the church (‘teaching them to obey…”, and c) administer the sacraments. We get some very basic instruction on church leadership and offices in the Epistles, but beyond this I see absolutely no instruction on whether the church should or can speak to worldly institutions. Where do you see any evidence that the church must insert itself into worldly matters? I am honestly curious.

    I am not saying that we cannot speak truth to power in the present age, but I am saying that we should not expect the church to be the source of such rhetoric. If there is good to be done – and I think every Christian has a duty to do good in the world as a byproduct of neighborly love, it is our responsibilities as citizens of our particular nations, and local communities, and as world citizens to seek out and do that good. Let the church do what it is supposed to do, and what it does best when it is being faithful to her call – proclaim the gospel to the lost and shepherd the people of God on their earthly pilgrimage while we patiently await the return of Christ. Rest assured, whatever has not been set right upon his return will be when he judges the world in righteousness.

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  15. Jed,

    This is at least the second time I’ve found myself in agreement with the general principles of Church-State relations you’ve laid out (potentially we disagree in a way you’d see as fundamental on what the entailments are, but I don’t immediately assume it). You’d call this 2k?

    Not sure whether you saw my exchange with Zrim the other day, but is it consistent with your view for someone to seek, for example, to ban all abortion through just legal processes? (I admit I failed to understand the scope of what he meant by toleration).

    Or (hypothetically- a totally unrealistic case in the US, of course) for members of a religious group as individual citizens (e.g. NAPARC or the Scottish Covenanters) to seek, through constitutional processes, to prohibit the JWs or Mormons from evangelization, permitting only private association and worship?

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  16. Kevin,

    Sorry for the delayed response, things are a bit hectic on my end. I’ll first say that I am not an official spokesman for 2k, or an authority on the matter, as much as I am interested in engaging the issue. If you want to read something more definitive on 2k, I’d really encourage you to read David Van Drunen’s works – I can point you to some journal articles for a starter if you’d like. I could be wrong on this since I am less familiar with Natural Law theorists on the Catholic side, but some of the Thomists like Thomas Weinandy might talk about some of these issues as well.

    2k as I understand it is first and foremost an ecclesiological stance, namely addressing what the church is and does in the world. The church catholic is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth in the present age, and its fundamental role is for the “gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world” (WCF 25.3). So salvation and Christian discipleship through the use of the ordained means is what the church does. It is not set up as a social or political institution to address the pressing issues of the world outside – tending to it’s own, and bringing in new believers is work enough for the church. So, the more the church becomes embroiled in worldly matters the further it strays from its own mission.

    The WCF allows for the church to make appeals to the magistrate in extraordinary issues (31.4), and like I said earlier, we need to have clarity on what extraordinary entails, otherwise every matter of political conscience might be a matter which the church might try to take on as a magistrate. From my lay perspective, the only time the church could make petition to the magistrate, keeping in mind that even then it might elect not to, is when it’s most vital interests are at stake. For instance:
    1) When the magistrate is blocking the church’s ability to gather freely for worship.
    2) When Christians are being singled out for persecution or political suppression by the state.
    Beyond these two guidelines, I think the church should remain silent on political matters, unless the magistrate were to seek the guidance of the church – which is becoming less common in the pluralistic West.

    I think part of the problem is that we have a 1500 year heritage where the church was frequently sought out my the magistrate when the church and state were more tightly bound. We became accustomed to political and cultural influence, and it has been jarring for the church and Christian community to now be on the outside looking in. As the culture has shifted to a more pluralistic setting the church in some senses is trying to stem the flow of history and go back to a place of more cultural and political prominence. However, it is highly doubtful that this is going to happen, and this isn’t necessarily bad for the church, which in small pockets, has already begun to recover its spiritual, other-worldly mission of pursuing the Kingdom of God’s interests. The salvation of souls and the nurture of saints is God’s primary mission in the present age, and this is far more important than even the most important matters of political policy.

    but is it consistent with your view for someone to seek, for example, to ban all abortion through just legal processes?

    Yes. As horrific as abortion is, it is not the church’s job to stop it. However thoughtful Christian citizens can, and I would argue should when they are able, seek all legal means to bring abortion to an end. But, I don’t think the church needs to involve itself in this political process, or in the culture wars that rage over it. Where some churches have been most effective in preventing abortions, aside from urging members towards godliness, is in lending appropriate diaconal support to alternative pregnancy centers. Beyond this it is up to citizens of the US (or any other nation) to engage the legal process to see abortion done away with.

    Or (hypothetically- a totally unrealistic case in the US, of course) for members of a religious group as individual citizens (e.g. NAPARC or the Scottish Covenanters) to seek, through constitutional processes, to prohibit the JWs or Mormons from evangelization, permitting only private association and worship?

    Oh, you mean in far-far away Catholicistan or Protestantia, yeah theoretically I don’t have a huge issue with more closed societies keeping themselves that way, but that isn’t our society, and it isn’t our legal heritage, so I don’t spend too much time dreaming of a world that kind of existed in the past, and isn’t likely to re-emerge at least for a long time. Right now the church is in a cultural moment far more similar to that of ancient pluralistic Rome, which offers many opportunities to us, and will present probably as many challenges. And 2k reasoning gives us a sensible way to navigate those opportunities and challenges.

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  17. Jed-

    There isn’t a phrase of what you’ve written I don’t find to be sensible. Thanks, and I hope you won’t mind if I ask a few more questions.

    I’d really encourage you to read David Van Drunen’s works – I can point you to some journal articles for a starter if you’d like.

    I would appreciate that and read with interest.

    I could be wrong on this since I am less familiar with Natural Law theorists on the Catholic side, but some of the Thomists like Thomas Weinandy might talk about some of these issues as well.

    Not familiar with him, but my theology professor friends (Thomists all) surely are; I’ll look into it.

    The church catholic is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth in the present age

    Is this identical with the visible (aspect of the) Church? Or is it just the subset of the visible which is also invisible?

    Oh, you mean in far-far away Catholicistan or Protestantia, yeah theoretically I don’t have a huge issue with more closed societies keeping themselves that way, but that isn’t our society, and it isn’t our legal heritage

    My limited knowledge of 20th c Spain tells me that into the 1970s it was formally such a Catholicistan, although the current state of religion there at the mass level is abysmal (and so obviously all was not as it ought to have been earlier in the hearts of the people).

    For sake of reference, and ackowledging this would be a good entirely secondary to the primary mission you’ve laid out, and the work of layman as citizens rather than clergy speaking as such, is there a society of the Reformed you could point to where you think things functioned rather well in terms of Church-State relations? Calvin’s Geneva (or in succeeding generations)? Scotland? The Netherlands? Massachusetts at any point?

    Finally, how does what you’ve outlined differ from what has been referred to here as “radical 2k” -?

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  18. Kevin,

    Is this identical with the visible (aspect of the) Church? Or is it just the subset of the visible which is also invisible?

    I understand WCF 25 to be teaching that the visible and invisible church are not identical, but closely linked, so that there is room for some in the visible church who are not among the invisible elect who are sure to inherit the promises of salvation, having never possessed true saving faith in Christ. Beyond acknowledging this distinction I don’t play God’s part in guessing who might be in or out in the church – I treat them as Christians inasmuch as they belong to the visible church and let God sort out who is his.

    I will be honest in saying that I don’t know where that places non-Protestant churches in God’s economy of salvation, because I think our confession teaches that the visible church is more or less pure and some churches can become so corrupt as to loose their light, becoming synagogues of Satan. For charity’s sake, and the fact that I am not God, I am willing to extend some benefit of the doubt here and assume that those who hold to the Apostles and Nicene creeds or could assent to them after examining them are part of the visible church. This with the caveats that I am a layman, and I have no formal communion with those outside Protestant circles. I wouldn’t presume to take communion in their churches, and as a layman I would encourage them to seriously consider abstaining from our open communion – and would encourage them to speak with one of our elders if they were visiting my church

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  19. Kevin,

    is there a society of the Reformed you could point to where you think things functioned rather well in terms of Church-State relations? Calvin’s Geneva (or in succeeding generations)? Scotland? The Netherlands? Massachusetts at any point?

    That’s a tough question for me to answer because I am so much a product of the times I live in. I would agree with Darryl who has said that if you are looking for a golden age in the Reformed church, you’ll have to look very hard, and be open for disappointment. I would argue that Beza’s understanding of church-state relations is more reasonably nuanced than Calvin’s was, because his Natural Law reasoning did not absolutize submission to the chief magistrate (in his case usually a king or emperor), but left open the possibility of organized resistance if a lesser magistrate could be summoned for the cause. Calvin died before the persecution of the French Huguenots became extremely dire, and boiled over into outright massacre. France looked at one point to be on the razor’s edge of going Reformed, but political maneuvers kept that from happening. One could wonder if the horrors of the French Revolution could have been abated in a Protestant France, but Providence did not move that way. But, this might be a better question to ask Darryl, he has written and lectured on the history of Calvinism.

    I am more concerned that the church begin to do a better job of understanding its role in the present plural society, carrying out its spiritual mission, and not pining for the influence of bygone eras. Providence has lead us here, and the more we can come to peace with that, the better we can get on with our mission. Like I said earlier a pluralist society will present new opportunities and challenges just like it did for the early church, and the lack of entanglement in worldly affairs can be very freeing for the church to simply be the church, not a political institution. Part of my rejection of Rome is that it seems to me that at an official level, the Vatican is still a very politically active institution, to the detriment of Catholics I believe – the vast energies and resources of the Vatican would be better served when invested into her own people.

    That’s about all of the Prot/Catholic polemics you’ll get out of me for now.

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  20. Kevin,

    Finally, how does what you’ve outlined differ from what has been referred to here as “radical 2k” -?

    At its most base level it is simply a pejorative term for people with political views that rub up against political conservative orthodoxy. It is usually used within non-2k Reformed circles to dismiss substantive arguments against neo-Calvinistic transformationalism (Kuyperianism), Reformed theonomists, and conservative Reformed (or loosely Reformed) political agitators.

    I know some here, myself included have been given this label, but it’s more of a straw-man tactic than a substantive engagement of the issues we raise. While I am politically probably most aligned with the Libertarian party, I would say I am actually more of a pragmatic eclectic, utilizing ideas that are NL defensible whether they fall on the left, right, or in the center of the political spectrum. I am even distancing myself somewhat from my earlier Libertarian sensibilities for a few key reasons. First off, I am committed to Christian Orthodoxy above all other commitments and my Christian convictions are much more important to me than my political ones. Second, I think it is foolish and politically untenable to be beholden to any particular political ideology or orthodoxy. Third, the cozy association of evangelicals especially, but also some Catholics with the Republican party has done real damage to the church’s ability to reach out to people who are not of this political persuasion, and I want no part of it.

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  21. Kevin,

    Posted that last response a little too quickly. I think that the “Radical” moniker attached to some 2kers is more of a rhetorical device to shut down conversation with Christians who hold different political views that the conservative mainstream. Inasmuch as this is the case the term is categorically unhelpful, and I don’t take seriously anyone who uses the term.

    Since when does asking the church to take it’s spiritual mission seriously ‘radical’? Why is the elevation of issues pertaining to this world considered a litmus test for orthodoxy? I would contend that some of the Constantinian arrangements in the past, and the socio-political transformational aims of some Christians is actually more radically divergent from New Testament Christianity and the pre-Constantinian church than any 2ker is.

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  22. But did we have modern toilet paper between 1790 and 1860? Any talk of a golden era starts with good toilet paper.

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  23. Jed, thanks for the delightfully illustrative piece from Van Drunen. Especially enjoyed this part:

    “.. am I being assailed as just another citizen of the civil kingdom or as a disciple of Jesus and hence as a member of the church? If an individual Christian is threatened by a burglar who breaks into his home to steal his property, this is an ordinary civil matter, and the Christian (who, in this setting, just happens to be a Christian) is free (and perhaps even obligated?) to defend himself or seek coercive legal remedy. But if an individual Christian is threatened because of her Christian faith, because she is identified with Christ as a member of his church, then is non-retaliation perhaps the appropriate response? The context of Matt 5:38–42 suggests an affirmative answer.”

    Mr. Thug, are you assaulting me as just another citizen of the civil kingdom? If so, I need to get my gun. If not, then have at it.

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  24. Mark, so Jesus had his fingers crossed when talking about cheeks, cloaks, and extra miles? What is it with your type? When do Jesus’ words ever have any meaningful bearing on the Christian lives you all lead?

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  25. Jed – Sincere thanks for the thoughts. I’ll have a look at the article tomorrow (today’s a beach and travel day).

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  26. What is it with your type?

    I know, I know, the Reformed type can be confusing to the R2k anabaptist/pacifist type.

    When do Jesus’ words ever have any meaningful bearing on the Christian lives you all lead?

    I thought you R2k types always mock the Neo-cals for believing that God’s Word has a bearing on all of life. Good to see you changing.

    Imagine the condundrum if the thug assaults you because he wants your money AND he hates your faith. I’m guessing half-hearted resistance with an unloaded gun.

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  27. Mark, only when your all-of-lifery serves up redemptive versions of creational tasks. But when it comes to Jesus’ own actual words about how to live the redeemed life, our type do our level best to honestly engage it. Your type might begin to see that if you didn’t baptize vocation so much. Does it ever bother you that you explain away or even ignore Jesus’ words in the name of kingdom building?

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  28. all-of-lifery serves up redemptive versions of creational tasks.

    Resisting an assault without first determining the attacker’s motivation is “redemptive” in your book. LOL…

    Does it ever bother you that you explain away or even ignore Jesus’ words in the name of kingdom building?

    Or you could ask if I stopped beating my wife.

    I might be mistaken, but weren’t you the one who ignored Jesus’ ethical instructions when leaking confidences to Stellman?

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  29. Mark likes to think he’s being naughty when he shows up here.

    Actually, I save the naughty stuff for the golf course.

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  30. Mark, “might”? You are quite mistaken (in more ways than one). But stepping on all those rakes lets you avoid the question: In what scenario would you ever heed Jesus’ words and turn your other cheek for, give up your coat to, or walk an extra mile for your persecutor?

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  31. Zrim, I think Jesus is the ‘all of life’ type; and I don’t think Jed’s good explanation above is opposed to ‘all of life’, do you?

    Bible verses for this am:
    Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
    Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col 3: 17
    Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Col 3: 23
    Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt 5: 16
    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2: 10
    so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; Col 1: 10

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  32. Ali, as in Jesus alone is Lord of every square inch? Agreed. But would Mark and the Resisters be willing to take it in the teeth for uttering those words or would he first get a lawyer (or gun) to protect him, then confess?

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  33. Mark,

    I second Zrim here. I get your conundrum (motives aren’t pure, people don’t disclose motives, etc).

    But what’s your own solution to the conundrum? From what you’ve said so far, it sounds like your answer is “get the gun” in all circumstances. Does that ever leave room for cheek-turning? If so, when?

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  34. Zrim: Mark, so Jesus had his fingers crossed when talking about cheeks, cloaks, and extra miles?
    Zrim:Mark, only when your all-of-lifery serves up redemptive versions of creational tasks. But when it comes to Jesus’ own actual words about how to live the redeemed life, our type do our level best to honestly engage it.
    Zrim: Ali: But would Mark and the Resisters be willing to take it in the teeth for uttering those words or would he first get a lawyer (or gun) to protect him, then confess?

    How about considering less dramatic circumstances than guns and lawyers first, Zrim; like: “Zrim: In what scenario would you ever heed Jesus’ words and turn your other cheek for, give up your coat to, or walk an extra mile for your persecutor?”…here at this website of name-calling-persecution-etc for faith thoughts

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  35. From what you’ve said so far, it sounds like your answer is “get the gun” in all circumstances.

    Zrim, I understand. But I expect better from you, Jeff. The single scenario I’ve commented on is the “dual ethic” attacker/burglar scenario given by Van Drunen. If you leap from that example to thinking I would *never* “turn the other cheek”, then a broader discussion of different scenarios is fruitless.

    But to make it concrete for you, feel free to interpret my refraining from responding in kind to Sean’s personal little drive-by nasties as turning the other cheek.

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  36. Ali, I’m just following Mark’s antagonistic lead in taunting DVD’s scenario about burglars and assaults, etc. But what are you asking exactly?

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  37. Mark, right, because making the point from Matt 6 means 2kers are anabaptist/pacifist types who would *never* raise a hand to defend life and limb. I’m going to buy some stock in Rake Makers of America.

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  38. @ Mark:

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. I’m not assuming that you would never turn the other cheek, but that you *would* — but you haven’t yet articulated when. And I’m asking you to do so.

    Van Drunen makes some sense: you turn the other cheek when being persecuted. You don’t like that answer, so … Replace it. Please.

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  39. Jeff, you import “persecution” in DVD’s scenario. Which leads you to again make the same mistake, assuming I never envision a scenario where one would turn the other cheek in the face of persecution. Yet, even in the face of persecution, resistance may be in order– unlike Dr. Dual Ethic.

    If you’re interested in discussing the point, examine DVD’s burglar/assault hypothetical. Please.

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  40. Mark, what’s so hard? Assaulted for your wallet, hit back. Assaulted for Christ, don’t resist an evil man. Why do you keep telling Jesus it’s not that simple?

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  41. Ali, But what are you asking exactly?

    Zrim: But when it comes to Jesus’ own actual words about how to live the redeemed life, our type do our level best to honestly engage it.

    “Honestly engage the redeemed life” ? You’re saying you’re the ‘better men’ (a Muddyism) but have you noticed some aren’t treated too well here by some (times of actual just teasing aside)

    And re: the other post on confession – if you can speak for ‘your type’ as a group, maybe you can repent for your group for mistreatment?

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  42. Ali, you’re trying too hard. It’s not a crass comment on “who’s better,” it’s a natural vie for a side. But if you’re trying to cast some of us in uncharitable light, physician, heal thyself. And speaking for one’s type is a far distance from repenting on another’s behalf. One is possible, the other isn’t.

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  43. Darryl, that’s good. In that case, it’s just par.- People think this is easy, and it is for me, but not everyone can be this good.

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  44. Mark,

    You have absolutized Van Drunen’s illustration and ended up in the reductio ad absurdum corner that isn’t very defensible, and I’d be more willing to cut some slack here, but you definitely know better hence the frankness. It is not as if there are many ponderable scenarios where a man breaks into your house to rob you and persecute you for your faith. Maybe somewhere that has happened, but I can’t think of any instance where this is the case. You are pretty clear on the violent trespassor’s intentions right away – it’s either “give me your wallet and watch and jewlery”, or It’s off to the Gulag unless you renounce Christ”. The context of the situation determines one’s ethical obligations here – if the guy after your stuff is also threatening the livliehoods of you or your loved ones or other innocents, then ready, aim, fire. However, if the guy is threatening to march you off to prision or worse for the express purpose of suppression or persecution of your Christian faith, then it is your Christian obligation to submit to God’s providence, and be a faithful witness to Christ.

    This isn’t hard, and you are simply playing games to score points – I’ve read the substantive critiques of Van Drunen and I think they are both wrong and fundamentally flawed, but I doubt you have much interest in that conversation.

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  45. @ Jed:

    Actually, Mark has a point. The persecution of the Templars and of the Jews definitely had an element of avarice cloaked in “concern for heresy.”

    I would venture to say that very few instances of persecution are purely driven by theology; most involve land, gold, honor, or power.

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  46. Well, I think we can start by distinguishing whether or not its an enforcement arm of the state or a non jackbooted thug who is breaking into the house.

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  47. Jeff, you’re more charitable than I would be here. I am thinking more in the modern context, where you cannot typically despoil a whole group of people without some kind of ideological motivation as pretext. That is very different than the average home break in or burglary. That is what Van Drunen is getting at. Mark already knows the difference, if he were not obviously predisposed against 2k that would have been rather obvious. Attacking a peripheral illustration instead of a main argument, stretching it beyond all absurdity, and feeling vindicated in rhetorical victory is bad form, and with Mark I’ll call it as I see it. If I thought for a second he was interested in actual discussion, I’d approach it quite differently. Mark’s just leveraging his lawyer skills, and I hold his motives in high suspicion based on past interaction.

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  48. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
    Attacking a peripheral illustration instead of a main argument, stretching it beyond all absurdity, and feeling vindicated in rhetorical victory is bad form

    Heh heh. This one’s too easy.

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  49. Mark: Jeff, you import “persecution” in DVD’s scenario.

    Nope. He explictly identifies this scenario as “persecution” in the sentences that follow.

    So, what is your principle for deciding whether to resist or turn the other cheek?

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  50. Jeff, I take a day off golfing and return here to find I’m running out of cheeks to turn! Undoubtedly the obvious hypocrisy of defending Van Drunen by use of mocking insults and imputation of ill motive is lost on most here.

    Nonetheless, you asked about the principle being taught. I’d commend Calvin’s commentary on the Sermon, wherein he explains that Christ is not teaching passivity, but rather forbidding hateful retaliation by personal revenge:

    Matthew 5:38.An eye for an eye. Here another error is corrected. God had enjoined, by his law, (Leviticus 24:20,) that judges and magistrates should punish those who had done injuries, by making them endure as much as they had inflicted. The consequence was, that every one seized on this as a pretext for taking private revenge. They thought that they did no wrong, provided they were not the first to make the attack, but only, when injured, returned like for like.

    Calvin further explains that even as the Christian is being taught patience, we may defend against unjust attack:

    Whoever shall inflict a blow. Julian, (415) and others of the same description, have foolishly slandered this doctrine of Christ, as if it entirely overturned the laws of a country, and its civil courts. Augustine, in his fifth epistle, employs much skill and judgment in showing, that the design of Christ was merely to train the minds of believers to moderation and justice, that they might not, on receiving one or two offenses, fail or lose courage. The observation of Augustine, “that this does not lay down a rule for outward actions,” is true, if it be properly understood. I admit that Christ restrains our hands, as well as our minds, from revenge: but when any one has it in his power to protect himself and his property from injury, without exercising revenge, the words of Christ do not prevent him from turning aside gently and inoffensively to avoid the threatened attack.

    Unquestionably, Christ did not intend to exhort his people to whet the malice of those, whose propensity to injure others is sufficiently strong: and if they were to turn to them the other cheek, what would it be but holding out such an encouragement? It is not the business of a good and judicious commentator to seize eagerly on syllables, but to attend to the design of the speaker: and nothing is more unbecoming the disciples of Christ, than to spend time in cavilling about words, where it is easy to see what the Master means. But in the present instance, the object which Christ has in view is perfectly obvious. He tells us, that the end of one contest will be the beginning of another, and that, through the whole course of their life, believers must lay their account with sustaining many injuries in uninterrupted succession.

    Interestingly, Calvin turns to the issue of “turning the other cheek” in his commentary on Jesus before the Sanhedrin:

    “But Christ appears not to observe, in the present instance [i.e., John 18], the rule which he elsewhere lays down to his followers; for he does not hold out the right cheek to him who had struck him on the left. I answer, in Christian patience it is not always the duty of him who has been struck to brook [permit] the injury done him, without saying a word…. It is a foolish exposition of Christ’s words, therefore, that is given by those who view them in such a light as if we were commanded to hold out fresh inducements to those who already are too much disposed to do mischief…”.

    Now, I trust you noted that Van Drunen himself admits he departs from this common Reformed understanding of the Sermon. This arises from his dualistic divisions (not merely distinctions) of redemption from creation, Old from New, law from gospel, Moses from Christ. Hence, life in the redemptive realm, Christian operate according to a Christian ethic of forgiveness, mercy, etc. Life in the “common realm” operates according to lex talionis justice which he claims is not distinctively Christian. I think this is the kind of foolishness Calvin had in mind. (As an aside, this why Van Drunen has difficulty denominating anything outside the visible church as “Christian”, eg. family, education, governing, etc.)

    I’d suggest that the Reformed understanding is that we operate “as Christians” according to Christian ethics wherever we are. This entails forgiveness and mercy, but also can involve proportionate justice. So, whether an attack is explicitly due to our faith or not (contra DVD), we are guided by defense of self, by patience, seeking proportionate justice, even as we avoid personal vengence and offer forgiveness and mercy to the offender.

    Christ the Lawgiver is not divided, but in His Sermon provides a more intense “cut to the heart” application of the Law which He Himself gave to Moses.

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  51. Mark, thanks.

    MvdM: I’d suggest that the Reformed understanding is that we operate “as Christians” according to Christian ethics wherever we are.

    I would agree with this. I don’t know that DvD is disagreeing with this, but he seems to be saying that operating as a Christian in the civil domain may mean taking on a different mode of interaction.

    He may be wrong, but he at least is trying to resolve the tension created by the command to turn the other cheek on the one hand and the notion of just defense on the other.

    So for example, there is more to be said by Calvin on Matt 5 than you have presented here. Check out the commentary on the meek inheriting the earth, and the peacemakers being called the children of God.

    It seems as if the locus of disagreement here is mode v. occasion.

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  52. vdm, m, “the obvious hypocrisy of defending Van Drunen by use of mocking insults and imputation of ill motive is lost on most here.”

    The obvious hypocrisy of attacking VanDrunen by use of mocking insults and imputation of ill motive is lost on you.

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  53. Jeff, it strikes me that Calvin’s comments on 1 Cor 6 and the distinction the apostle draws between believers going to secular and ecclesiastical courts bear on this discussion:

    I acknowledge, then, that a Christian man is altogether prohibited from revenge, so that he must not exercise it, either by himself, or by means of the magistrate, nor even desire it. If, therefore, a Christian man wishes to prosecute his rights at law, so as not to offend God, he must, above all things, take heed that he does not bring into court any desire of revenge, any corrupt affection of the mind, or anger, or, in fine, any other poison. In this matter love will be the best regulator. 337

    If it is objected, that it very rarely happens that any one carries on a law-suit entirely free and exempt from every corrupt affection, I acknowledge that it is so, and I say farther, that it is rare to find a single instance of an upright litigant; but it is useful for many reasons to show that the thing is not evil in itself, but is rendered corrupt by abuse: First, that it may not seem as if God had to no purpose appointed courts of justice; Secondly, that the pious may know how far their liberties extend, that they may not take anything in hand against the dictates of conscience. For it is owing to this that many rush on to open contempt of God, when they have once begun to transgress those limits; 338 Thirdly, that they may be admonished, that they must always keep within bounds, so as not to pollute by their own misconduct the remedy which the Lord has permitted them to employ; Lastly, that the audacity of the wicked may be repressed by a pure and uncorrupted zeal, which could not be effected, if we were not allowed to subject them to legal punishments.

    By vdm, m’s logic, he would be out of a job if he insisted that a Christian be a Christian all the time. Going before secular courts of law, and being accompanied by attorneys licensed by the secular state, runs contrary to Paul’s teaching.

    But in a 2k world, vdm,m still has a job.

    Oh the irony.

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  54. @ DGH, MvdM:

    Funny thing, I was thinking about 1 Cor 6 while in the car attempting to remedy a professional installation gone bad.

    Note to self: Once again, “do it yourself.”

    Anyways, it does seem to me that 1 Cor 6 enjoins two different modes within two different kingdoms with respect to lawsuits. Don’t take a brother to court, but rather be wronged if necessary BECAUSE you do not want to seek a judgment of another brother from the ungodly.

    Interesting passage. On the one hand, it supports DvD’s notion of two modes for two kingdoms. On the other hand, Paul’s reasoning does not comport so well with the idea of a secular common grace legal reasoning that is good for believer and non-believer alike.

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  55. he would be out of a job if he insisted that a Christian be a Christian all the time.

    Jeff, yet again, note the dual ethic: areas of life in which Christ insists we not be Christian.

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  56. Mark,

    DGH and I had this out about seven years ago. At the time, I questioned him closely as to whether 2k was heteronomic, teaching “another law” to use in civil society.

    The explanation at the time, from both DGH and Zrim, is that natural law is the content of the decalogue, written on the heart rather than on tablets of stone. The difference between the two is form, not content.

    And further, that Christians may not sin in any area of life, but must obey Scripture at all times.

    DGH, does that still represent your position? Mark, does that satisfy your objection?

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  57. Jeff, I will wait to see if he confirms. If he were to be consistent, I highly doubt that is the position.

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  58. Jeff, notice that vdm, m evades the question. He does have to practice law on the basis of Indiana and U.S. law. That law is different from the Bible — or did I miss something?

    So vdm, m has more splain’ to do than I. I sit on a court of the church. We have our laws. Those courts are different from the courts of Michigan and the U.S.

    Yet, vdm, m is someone who practices secular law and insists that Christians should not follow two sets of laws. This is meshuga.

    As for the basis of secular law, I do come around to some notion of natural law and moral conscience. I am no legal theorist and I think NL has lots of limitations at a theoretical level. At a practical level, we all observe and practice it all the time — and vdm,m is even licensed to practice it (even if he can’t admit it).

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  59. Jeff, you might also note Calvin’s comment about lawsuits from the Sermon on the Mount. We see again that is the Christian’s heart attitude and goal to be achieved in the action would differ from the unbeliever:

    And to him who wishes to enter into a law-suit with thee. Christ now glances at another kind of annoyance, and that is, when wicked men torment us with law-suits. He commands us, even on such an occasion, to be so patient and submissive that, when our coat has been taken away, we shall be prepared to give up our cloak also. None but a fool will stand upon the words, so as to maintain, that we must yield to our opponents what they demand, before coming into a court of law: for such compliance would more strongly inflame the minds of wicked men to robbery and extortion; and we know, that nothing was farther from the design of Christ. What then is meant by giving the cloak to him who endeavors, on the ground of a legal claim, (416) to take away our coat? If a man, oppressed by an unjust decision, loses what is his own, and yet is prepared, when it shall be found necessary, to part with the remainder, he deserves not less to be commended for patience than the man who allows himself to be twice robbed before coming into court. In short, when Christians meet with one who endeavors to wrench from them a part of their property, they ought to be prepared to lose the whole.

    Hence we conclude, that Christians are not entirely prohibited from engaging in law-suits, provided they have a just defense to offer. Though they do not surrender their goods as a prey, yet they do not depart from this doctrine of Christ, which exhorts us to bear patiently “the spoiling of our goods,” (Hebrews 10:34.) It is, no doubt, rare to find a man who proceeds, with mild and proper feelings, to plead in a court: but, as it is possible for a man to defend a just cause with a view to the public advantage, we have no right to condemn the thing in itself, because it appears to be directed by improper feelings.

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  60. vdm, m you are the one with the consistency problem. You take vows to secular laws and I presume you support yourself and your family by practicing law that is not Christian.

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  61. Going before secular courts of law, and being accompanied by attorneys licensed by the secular state, runs contrary to Paul’s teaching.

    Darryl, decipher that for me: are you saying I run contrary to Paul’s teaching merely by being a lawyer, or because I seek to be a Christian lawyer?

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  62. DGH, do you affirm that a Christian must abide by Scripture at all times, while of course free where Scripture is silent?

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  63. Mark, kudos for having a conversation. Really.

    Here’s a ripple for someone. Is there a basis for shooting someone who is merely stealing? Take his life rather than allow him to to take a possession? I wouldn’t do it and I question is there is a biblical case for it.

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  64. Mark, patience is a 2k virtue, but how does “defending against unjust attack” stand up to the teaching to emulate Christ in picking up our own crosses and willingly laying down our lives? In other words, if Christ, who had means and opportunity to defend himself against unjust attack and instead willingly laid down his life, and if we are instructed to emulate him in enduring our own crosses, then what is the biblical justification for defending against unjust attack? If Christ followed this line of reasoning, wouldn’t we still be dead in our sins?

    But you may also forget how some here have zigged when Anabaptists have zagged. When a gunman mows down our kids’ classroom, we don’t plead with the judge to suspend judgment on him–judges doling out grace makes as much sense as pastors doling out judgment. At the same time, how toting firearms to church takes Christ’s teaching not to resist an evil man seriously is equally puzzling. Seems like the mirror error of asking a judge to suspend judgment.

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  65. vdm, m, Paul tells Christians not to take their disputes before courts where you work. So a Christian shouldn’t go to court. That makes you like European Jews who could charge interest because Christians couldn’t.

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  66. Darryl, so you think being a lawyer who goes to court is incompatible with Christianity. (I guess that puts my practice on par with the oldest profession). Not the first time I’ve heard something like that, but I must admit, it’s a first hearing it from one who professes to be a Reformed Christian.

    Given you are church court officer, would you think it proper for my consistory to place me under ecclesiastical discipline for being a lawyer who is no different than a Jew doing things a Christian can’t?

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  67. vdm, m, if your consistory shares your views, yes.

    But I’m 2k. I’m fine with you as a lawyer (though I’m not sure how you calculate God’s law revealed in Scripture and Indiana law).

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  68. My view is Christians can be lawyers. If my consistory shares my view, why should they discipline me?

    So it’s your 2k that let’s you be fine with me being like a Jew doing things a Christian can’t. That about sum it up?

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  69. vdm, m See if you can follow the logic.

    You complain that 2k operates with two laws

    You think that Christians should be Christians all the time.

    Paul tells Christians to stay out of court.

    Calvin thinks that courts aren’t inherently wrong but that Christians should avoid going to court.

    You claim to follow the Bible.

    You quote Calvin approvingly.

    You make a living in a profession that Paul and Calvin question.

    You think you are following the Bible in all areas of your life.

    I think Indiana should revoke your license.

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  70. Mark, you’re missing the point, which is that the following argument is flawed.

    (1) A Christian should not take another Christian to court
    (2) Presumably, a Christian attorney should not facilitate one Christian taking another to court.
    (3) If “operating according to Christian ethics” means applying the standards to all people that Christians must uphold, then you should not facilitate taking anyone taking anyone to court.

    If that conclusion is wrong — and we all three agree that it is — then one of the three statements above is incorrect. The obvious weak link is (3), in that it seems clear that we may very well not have to apply to all people the standards that Christians must particularly uphold, such as turning the other cheek or not taking each other to court.

    And at that point, it becomes clear that in being a lawyer, you are doing so not as a Christian enforcing particularly Christian ethics in your law practice. Rather, in your law practice you are acting as a human being who happens to be a Christian. The source of norms that informs your legal arguments is NOT 1 Cor 6 but rather the laws of the state of Indiana and of the United States.

    Sure, you will refrain from sinning. Your Christianity is never “on hold” as a lawyer.

    But you will not be seeking to conform your clients to the obligations of Scripture. You are meeting them in a common space.

    Likewise, you would never dream of walking into court and telling the judge that your client’s opponent has no standing to bring suit because he is a Christian and is therefore forbidden by Scripture to bring suit. You understand that Scripture is not a source of legal argument in the state of Indiana.

    This is 2k.

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  71. You claim to follow the Bible.

    You quote Calvin approvingly.

    You make a living in a profession that Paul and Calvin question.

    You think you are following the Bible in all areas of your life.

    I think Indiana should revoke your license.

    Calvin the Lawyer

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1863624

    John Witte Jr.
    Emory University School of Law

    2010

    TRIBUTES TO JOHN CALVIN ON HIS 500TH BIRTHDAY, David Hall, Martin Padgett, eds., pp. 1-23, 2010

    Abstract:
    For all his fame as a theologian and biblical commentator, John Calvin was first and foremost a jurist. Calvin’s attention to both theology and law would become a trademark of early Calvinism. Early modern Calvinists believed in law, as a deterrent against sin, an inducement to grace, a teacher of Christian virtue. It is this legal side of Calvin’s Reformation that this chapter probes. This chapter focuses on two main dialects at work in Calvin’s though – the first balancing liberty and law, the second balancing church and state. These two dialects intersected. For Calvin it was the responsibility of the church and state, separately and together, to protect and promote the law and liberty of Geneva. And, in turn, it was Geneva’s commitment to the rule of law and regime of liberty that allowed church and state to separate yet cooperate in the governance of a Christian republic.

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  72. It is rare for all parties to be claiming explicit Christian cause in their search for justice at the court level .

    Enforcement of contractual obligations between members in business has occurred.

    The more frequent problem is an unsecured creditor and brother in the Lord demanding payment beyond what the receiver has arranged in corporate recovery matters.

    A few years ago my church was relentlessly and crudely picketed by a former member demanding payment for his funding in the business of a member of the church. The church went to court to obtain an injunction against this behaviour. The picketer contacted the large liberal newspaper and got an article published about how un-Christian it was to sue for the injunction. The paper delighted in mocking Christianity and asking if the multiple lawsuits he had filed over the years against other Christians would seem hypocritical.

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  73. Yes. This is quite a can of worms. In the end, it’s mob rule; orthodoxy is impossible.

    Mainline Presbyterian members win lawsuit over control of Overland Park church

    A congregational split at the Presbyterian Church of Stanley, 14895 Antioch Road in Overland Park, led to a lawsuit over control of the building and other property. A Johnson County district judge has ruled in favor of the mainline Presbyterian Church USA faction.

    The Kansas City Star
    BY ERIC ADLER

    Being an arrogant winner is hardly Christian.

    That’s why a small group of members of the Presbyterian Church of Stanley, part of the mainline Presbyterian Church USA, insisted this week that their job now (at least for the time being) is to be as gracious as possible to the former members of their congregation who last year voted to break away. In so doing, they had also sought to wrest away control of the congregation’s $4.4 million building in Overland Park and its contents.

    “We wish them grace and peace,” said member Ellen Crain.

    In 2014, the 1,200-member congregation at 148th Street and Antioch Road went through a painful schism that split the church and friendships, and led to a lawsuit.

    At root were issues of both theology and property. The congregation’s more conservative, evangelical members, including the congregation’s senior pastor, Eric Laverentz, voted in October to disaffiliate themselves from the Presbyterian Church USA because they believed the mainline church had long been veering from what conservative members deemed to be the faith’s Bible-based mandates. The bulk of the congregation joined in, choosing to affiliate with a different denomination, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.

    Such schisms have become increasingly common in the Presbyterian Church, especially since 2011, when the mainline Presbyterian Church USA changed its rules to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

    Heartland Presbytery, the regional body that represents the national Presbyterian Church USA, filed the lawsuit in Johnson County District Court. Heartland held that the mainline members owned the church, its pews, its Bibles and all other property. If the ECO members wanted to leave, fine, but they shouldn’t get the building.

    The ECO faction argued that the church and its contents belonged to the congregation, the entity that holds title to the building, other property and has long paid all its bills.

    Judge Kevin Moriarty this month ruled in favor of Heartland Presbytery, supporting the mainline members of Presbyterian Church USA.

    “It’s a tremendous victory that we affirm 100 years of Kansas law. … We’re very pleased,” said the Rev. Mark Braden, who was named to a commission by Heartland Presbytery to investigate the schism.

    State laws differ regarding disputes over church property. In some states, including Missouri, state courts apply what is known as the “neutral principles of law” approach to settling disputes over church ownership. The approach remains neutral on matters of theology and church law and relies on secular laws of civil contracts and trusts to guide their decisions. It bases decisions on who holds titles, mortgages and bank accounts, deeds and other papers.

    In Missouri in 2012, the neutral principles approach allowed two Kansas City area churches — Gashland Presbyterian and Colonial Presbyterian — to break away from Heartland Presbytery and take hold of buildings and assets. Both joined the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Churches in Indiana and Pennsylvania took control of their churches by the same approach.

    Kansas has long adhered to what is known as the “hierarchical deference” or “polity” approach, which defers to denominational rules, which in this case supported Heartland’s assertion that it was true owner of Presbyterian Church of Stanley, the judge found.

    Brett Milbourn, the Kansas City attorney representing the ECO faction, said his clients are considering whether to appeal the court’s July 15 decision. They have 30 days from the ruling to do so.

    “We want to stay in the building until we make a decision on appeal,” Milbourn said.

    Laverentz, the senior pastor of the ECO faction, said that about 450 parishioners met at the church Sunday to discuss future plans.

    “We’ve been talking with a Realtor,” he said, about finding a new home. “We are more excited for the future today, for this congregation, than we ever have been.”

    For a year, the ECO group and the members of the Presbyterian Church USA have co-existed ill at ease, with both factions holding overlapping services in the same building, across the narthex from one another. The ECO faction commonly drew hundreds, the Presbyterian Church USA faction often drew just a few dozen.

    Braden said Heartland Presbytery is willing to work with the ECO faction, allowing its members to worship at the church in the short term until it finds a new church home. Heartland has offered one of its own empty churches for lease or sale.

    Mainline member Katherine Milligan of Olathe, who has been attending the church for 33 years, said any former members who want to return to the church are welcome. Some, she said, have already told her they plan to do so.

    Meanwhile, she said, some tension still exists.

    “We are more than willing to allow them to worship in the church for the time it will take to have them move on,” she said. “We think, graciously, they ought to be leaving.”

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/religion/article29105911.html#storylink=cpy

    Like

  74. Certain mainline denominations hold as their practical sole asset the land and building. Donation levels and any reasonable attempt to argue a going concern are pitiful.

    Many conservative splinter groups have simply walked from this value to preserve conscience.

    Like

  75. As the Congregationalists said after the unitarians cleverly manipulated taking over their churches, “The Trinitarians kept the faith, the unitarians kept the furniture.”

    I feel for you guys.

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  76. Tom, what do you do when linked with people who have over time totally lost any honest grounds for religious existence?

    Having a few drinks to forget it for a day or going ho-ho-hee-hee and pretending there is a binding unity isn’t a solution.

    Like

  77. If it gets to be too much, they can have the land and buildings, which have turned out to be worth 10 cents on the dollar when sold.

    Like

  78. kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink
    Tom, what do you do when linked with people who have over time totally lost any honest grounds for religious existence?

    Having a few drinks to forget it for a day or going ho-ho-hee-hee and pretending there is a binding unity isn’t a solution.

    kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 12:12 am | Permalink
    If it gets to be too much, they can have the land and buildings, which have turned out to be worth 10 cents on the dollar when sold.

    I understand. I am not gleeful about the PCUSA’s [or the unitarians’] loss–prohibition!–of orthodoxy. I bring up “Lesbyterianism” and the like to try to shake Darryl Hart out of his supercilious stupor about Catholicism’s own problem with maintaining orthodoxy.

    As Wilberforce said of unitarianism, it’s a “halfway house” to infidelity. This I believe is true of theological liberalism in general, that in the end, it’s not reformative, it’s inevitably destructive.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/03/the-unhappy-fate-of-optional-orthodoxy

    “I’ll presume to call it Neuhaus’s Law, or at least one of his several laws: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed. Some otherwise bright people have indicated their puzzlement with that axiom but it seems to me, well, axiomatic. Orthodoxy, no matter how politely expressed, suggests that there is a right and a wrong, a true and a false, about things. When orthodoxy is optional, it is admitted under a rule of liberal tolerance that cannot help but be intolerant of talk about right and wrong, true and false. It is therefore a conditional admission, depending upon orthodoxy’s good behavior. The orthodox may be permitted to believe this or that and to do this or that as a matter of sufferance, allowing them to indulge their inclination, preference, or personal taste. But it is an intolerable violation of the etiquette by which one is tolerated if one has the effrontery to propose that this or that is normative for others.

    A well-mannered church can put up with a few orthodox eccentrics, and can even take pride in being so very inclusive. “Oh, poor Johnson thinks we’re all heretics,” says the bishop, chuckling between sips of his sherry. The bishop is manifestly pleased that there is somebody, even if it is only poor old Johnson, who thinks he is so adventuresome as to be a heretic. And he is pleased with himself for keeping Johnson around to make him pleased with himself. If, however, Johnson’s views had the slightest chance of prevailing and thereby threatening the bishop’s general sense of security and well-being, well, then it would be an entirely different matter.

    So it was that some church bodies muddled through for a long time with leaderships that trimmed doctrine to the dictates of academic fashion and popular prejudice (the two, more often than not, being the same) while permitting the orthodox option as a kindness to those so inclined, and as testimony to the “balance” so cherished by placeholders radically devoted to the middle way. It was not always an entirely unattractive accommodation. In religion, too, sensible people prefer to be neither fanatic nor wimp. Considering the alternatives, and if one has the choice, it is nice to try to be nice…

    Like

  79. Tom, every system sets up its own grounds for failure and disaster. Just like weaknesses in accounting controls will come back to haunt those who ignore them, and the exploiter of those weaknesses will one day take advantage of them.

    The power of the individual to boycott, and to refuse to pay for the budget of a voluntary commitment, then to leave is vital as a safeguard.

    The denomination you mention is doing very well compared to a few I see crumbling each year but refusing to pack it in.

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  80. There are doctors who are Christians.

    Some people feel more comfortable in seeing a doctor that is a believer.

    It doesn’t necessarily follow that one is more competent or ethical just because they are a professing Christian.

    Certain services and needs may be better served by a Christian where it is suitable.

    If one valued religious faith as important to their view of receiving medical services, then It would be grounds for disappointment to find out that a professing Christian is doing something in their practice that is illegal or unethical or in violation of what they confess.

    Like

  81. kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink
    There are doctors who are Christians.

    Some people feel more comfortable in seeing a doctor that is a believer.

    It doesn’t necessarily follow that one is more competent or ethical just because they are a professing Christian.

    Certain services and needs may be better served by a Christian where it is suitable.

    If one valued religious faith as important to their view of receiving medical services, then It would be grounds for disappointment to find out that a professing Christian is doing something in their practice that is illegal or unethical or in violation of what they confess.>>>>>

    Yes. Why can’t a Christian be a Christian attorney? I don’t know if you agree or disagree with what Dr. Hart seems to be saying. I don’t see that either the Apostle Paul or Calvin can be used to say that a Christian cannot be a Christian attorney.

    Calvin cautioned against seeking revenge, but he did leave open the possibility of a Christian going to court to defend his rights. I wonder if he had Paul’s appeal to his Roman citizenship in mind.

    Besides, there are all kinds of situation where a Christian would fine himself or herself in court. I am not following Dr. Hart’s train of thought, here, or what argument he has with Mark Van Der Molen.

    Anyway, I agree with your statement, kent. Thanks. I think what you said could have an application to a Christian in any profession.

    Interesting topic.

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

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  82. There isn’t an actual problem with being a Christian attorney. There is only a problem if one insists that specifically Christian norms are the only norms all the time.

    DGH is arguing ad absurdum.

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  83. Mermaid and Jeff, DGH is arguing ad absurdum because vdm, m is arguing ad absurdum to gotcha 2k. Funny — all those rakes — how the argument comes back to bite him in his own professional responsibilities.

    Like

  84. And a legal career inherently provides far more opportunity to bend truth and behave in a manner un-Christian than most paths….

    Like

  85. Jeff Cagle: “But you will not be seeking to conform your clients to the obligations of Scripture. You are meeting them in a common space”… “Likewise, you would never dream of walking into court and telling the judge that your client’s opponent has no standing to bring suit because he is a Christian and is therefore forbidden by Scripture to bring suit.”

    still though, whatever one’s ‘2k’ .. Jesus: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

    “It is said, that the will of God is done, when he executes the secret counsels of his providence, however obstinately men may strive to oppose him. But here we are commanded to pray that, in another sense, his will may be done, — that all creatures may obey him, without opposition, and without reluctance. This appears more clearly from the comparison, as in heaven For, as He has the angels constantly ready to execute his commands, (and hence they are said to do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, Psalms 103:20,) so we desire that all men may have their will formed to such harmony with the righteousness of God, that they may freely bend in whatever direction he shall appoint. It is, no doubt, a holy desire, when we bow to the will of God, and acquiesce in his appointments. But this prayer implies something more. It is a prayer, that God may remove all the obstinacy of men, which rises in unceasing rebellion against him, and may render them gentle and submissive, that they may not wish or desire any thing but what pleases him, and meets his approbation.”

    “But it may be objected: Ought we to ask from God what, he declares, will never exist to the end of the world? I reply: When we pray that the earth may become obedient to the will of God, it is not necessary that we should look particularly at every individual. It is enough for us to declare, by such a prayer as this, that we hate and regret whatever we perceive to be contrary to the will of God, and long for its utter destruction, not only that it may be the rule of all our affections, but that we may yield ourselves without reserve, and with all cheerfulness, to its fulfillment.”
    Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible

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  86. I for one am very interested in a response from Mr. VDM. Have you ever argued for something in court that you did not find appealing to your Christian sensibilities, yet nevertheless found a tact that was open to you through the workings, or loopholes, of the legal apparatus? Or do your Christian sensibilities allow you appreciate the workings of civil law, even if not in full rapport with Christian Law?

    Like

  87. @ Ali:

    Good catch. Now add one more point: That which does not procede from faith is sin (Rom 14.23).

    This makes it clear that asking non-Christians to obey God’s law might well bring temporal benefits, but never brings about God’s kingdom, which is not about eating and drinking (or other temporal matters), but about righteousness in the Spirit (14.15)

    In other words, believing the gospel is the only avenue into having one’s will conformed to God’s righteousness. Imposition of the Law by Christians on nonChristians accomplishes not one iota of genuine righteousness.

    Like

  88. BJohnson, I’ll leave your central question untouched but perhaps add a little context. First, “facts” are often seen by the common person as bedrock certainty but a lawyer may see them differently. Yes, something happened, but witnesses may seem like they’re living in different universes altogether. Memory is flawed, motives skew events, and subsequent narratives can be read back into the initial incident. For these reasons it is often the case that arguing a version of the facts that benefits your client is not as much of a stretch as it may seem.

    The other point is that lawyers engage in the adversarial system. The idea is that each side presents a version of the facts and law that favors their side without going so far as to lose credibility by denying the obvious or affirming the ridiculous. Both sides having been presented, the judge and/or jury decide on the result. So the system itself allows for advocacy that may seem to an outsider as ethically problematic. The system has problems but it’s worked pretty well for the most part.

    This is “big picture” obviously – there are certainly ethical conundrums that may come up, but in the end I really wonder if they are any more frequent than those encountered by a businessman.

    Like

  89. MG, thanks. I guess I am interested in what justification for that mode of engagement looks like from a non 2k perspective. Can one make full use of the judicial toolbox, or is one limited, even more so than by the constraints of the legal system itself, because one is a non- 2k style Christian? I think I do see the conundrum DGH has insinuated for that position, and I certainly would like to hear what Mr.VDM thinks about it.

    Like

  90. kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 1:56 am | Permalink
    Tom, every system sets up its own grounds for failure and disaster. Just like weaknesses in accounting controls will come back to haunt those who ignore them, and the exploiter of those weaknesses will one day take advantage of them.

    Well, you’re speaking of Protestantism here, as if that’s a feature not a flaw.

    The power of the individual to boycott, and to refuse to pay for the budget of a voluntary commitment, then to leave is vital as a safeguard.

    Like Servetus. 😉 Sorry, couldn’t resist. But per Neuhaus’s Law, if you resist, first they hang you, like Machen. Only then do you leave.

    The denomination you mention is doing very well compared to a few I see crumbling each year but refusing to pack it in.

    If you mean the Lesbyterians, we’ll see, it’s early yet. The Episcopalians are circling the bowl. They have no reason to exist except habit, and since the Lesbyterians have abandoned Calvinism, they don’t either.

    Like

  91. DG: Ali, so vdm, m is supposed to pray the Lord’s Prayer in court? Brilliant.

    I realize that wouldn’t be on ‘Sunday’ or ‘in church’, but anyway, I think you must be trying to get in good with the Boss with saying ‘brilliant’, since you already knew it was His idea!
    Pray without ceasing 1 Thess 5: 17

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  92. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
    Ali, so vdm, m is supposed to pray the Lord’s Prayer in court?

    Brilliant.

    As long as you continue to misunderstand what natural law is, Dr. Hart, you’ll keep making snide and irrelevant arguments that junk up the discussion. The Christian lawyer [or doctor or plumber] is bound by the natural law.

    What is legal is not necessarily right and therefore compatible with being a Christian.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/08/thy-will-be-done

    For instance, a Christian lawyer will not thwart justice to get his client off; a Christian plumber will not use inferior materials; a Christian doctor will not perform sex change surgery.

    Like

  93. Mark,

    I think Muddy’s comment here is important Pretty sure blog-Mark is different than consistory-Mark.

    My earlier bold remarks were limited to the broader 2k-NeoCalvinist debate, if I came off impugning your character that was not my intent, and inasmuch as it could be interpreted that way I do apologize. I wouldn’t have used that kind of rhetoric if I didn’t see you as a strong, worthy adversary in these debates, or if I thought you were so sensitive that you couldn’t handle a sharp remark. I could imagine that for a lawyer your style of debate comes quite naturally in and out of your profession. However, at least to me, I saw you engaging in what was tanamount to a reductio, maybe you disagree and I am open to see why.

    I get that the 2k-NeoCal debate is a tough one, first off because it cuts to the heart of what it means to be a Reformed Christian, and what our Reformed communions should look like in our worldly commission. There are probably excesses on either side of the debate that we only perceive as opponents, not as committed insiders. Just because someone is a theological opponent on a particular issue does not make one an enemy, and I certainly do not regard you as an enemy.

    One of my biggest concerns is how quickly 2k has been vilified and dismissed both in Kuyperian circles, as well as Theonomist ones. The former is more understandable, as it is can be considered as a hard-line quasi-Kuyperian stance. While 2k is prone to some excess and misuse along with any ideology, I am very much convinced that it has some very important contributions to make to the church as our culture continues to make a more pluralistic and at times adversarial stance to Orthodox Christianity. Because of this, I think the debate needs to move beyond absurd reductions and slippery slopes to the substance of the two positions to that the church can move forward with strength of conviction in the days to come. Maybe these blog discussions only move the discussion forward in inches where the academy and the professional ministry moves it forward in yards, but I will contend for those inches where they are legitimately there to be had. It is possible that 2k and Kuyperianism are ultimately incompatible and one is orthodox and the other heterodox, it is also possible that the two can find some reasonable reconciliation, but the only way that can happen is if we have substantive, vigorous debate on the matter, coupled with the humility to receive the truth when it becomes apparent. Whether there is a peaceable parting of the ways in the future or the more preferable synthesis I would hope we can achieve this without damaging the more important bonds of catholicity that should exist between Protestant Christian groups.

    This leads to a broader point that I think is an important feature of online discussions in our Reformed community. For a good deal of time theological discourse and debate was the provenance of professionals either in the academy or in church office, and the information flowed down to the church and the laity from there. I don’t suppose there is anything wrong with this model, but it has inherent weaknesses and limitations. For good or for ill the internet has opened up theological discourse and debate into a two-way discussion, where the laity (at least those so inclined) can engage these important issues and some of this info can also flow back up to the academy and the ministry.

    Anyway, it is good to see you and some of the others continuing the discussion here, but I’ll duck out of that and let others have at it. If Kevin responds to my responses or some other issues are raised I might jump in. Hope the discussion goes well.

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  94. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
    For instance, a Christian lawyer journalist will not thwart justice rules of the profession
    to get his client off to make his source look bad.

    A Christian scholar will not twist every word put before him.

    Like

  95. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Maybe all DG is saying is how you fight a war might be as important as winning it.

    Or trying to disguise his lack of depth on this subject under a hill of BS. All he’s doing is defacing the issue. We need to treat the serious things seriously.

    Justice and natural law are not the same as rules and legislations, which are man’s attempts to echo them [at best] and man’s deformation of them [at worst].

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_iniusta_non_est_lex

    Like

  96. kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
    Thanks to Tom for again reminding us that DGH isn’t omniscient and omnipresent.

    I don’t want to argue ad hom, I’m arguing against crap like distorting my words, and by distorting the issue. Dr. Hart has a duty to the truth, especially as a leading proponent of radical 2k, and one who attacks those who as Christians do see and perform a duty to the natural law.

    To the substance, natural law is the key obstacle to “radical” Two Kingdoms theology not just being a form of fideism or Amish self-separation/freeloading.

    The Christian lawyer [or doctor or plumber] is bound by the natural law.

    What is legal is not necessarily right and therefore compatible with being a Christian.

    For instance, a Christian lawyer will not thwart justice to get his client off; a Christian plumber will not use inferior materials; a Christian doctor will not perform sex change surgery.

    Justice and natural law are not the same as rules and legislations, which are man’s attempts to echo them [at best] and man’s deformation of them [at worst].

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_iniusta_non_est_lex

    Like

  97. Yes, Tom, but the level of concern you have over things said on the Internet may be presupposing a level of outside interest that is never going to be reached, not even 1%.

    You have established yourself on here to anyone who cares to get to know you, which I think is a positive endeavour, and the give and take that is natural in this type of forum is also taken into consideration.

    And some of us enjoy low level snarkiness and irony, which does sometimes go a bit too far. And the weed out process has been disheartening at times.

    But carry on..

    Like

  98. Tom, the 2K view affirms that a Christian should seek to apply a higher standard of piety and truth and justice at work. It gets difficult in certain tasks and situations in almost every field of vocation.

    It’s just that we don’t try to “Jesus juke” as a full time recreational pursuit.

    We don’t grind out a law-restrictive Miss Grundy rain -on-everyone’s-parade of the enjoyment of culture and life. We accept that believers can discern for themselves what is right and not have to harp on and on and on to make sure nobody is unaware of Law requirements.

    I’m sure most of us grew up with some spinster aunt who would chide us for darng to sleep in on a day off when the Lord Jesus suffered on the cross in agony for your sin. Yes Ma’am.

    We hated that and don’t inflict it on others unless it a serious problem, which it NEVER is on Old Life.

    Like

  99. vd, t, face it. If you applied the same moral standard to David Daleiden as you do to vdm, m, then you’d be opposed to lying and willing to question the videos.

    Why is that b.s.? Maybe you just are a little too quick to try to correct everything I say. Your bias shows.

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  100. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, face it. If you applied the same moral standard to David Daleiden as you do to vdm, m, then you’d be opposed to lying and willing to question the videos.

    Why is that b.s.? Maybe you just are a little too quick to try to correct everything I say. Your bias shows.

    No bias. I see no evidence your flock learns anything substantive from you, that’s the thing, Dr. Hart. Not about Calvin, not about natural law, not about the Bible. They get worse. You do not educate. You ignorize. I don’t know why you do this. I keep trying to leave you and your karass to wallow in your election and psalters and sermons about your election and the psalms and why don’t you leave the rest of Christianity alone like the Amish have the decency to do instead of getting in everyone’s face about your radical Two Kingdoms theology?

    Something like that, Butch. I defend Mormons and Amish and fundies. I’d defend you if your brand of Calvinism just stuck to your own back yard, but you shit in everybody else’s, and that’s the name of this tune.

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  101. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, face it. If you applied the same moral standard to David Daleiden as you do to vdm, m, then you’d be opposed to lying and willing to question the videos.

    You still don’t understand how Thomas Aquinas and Edward Feser apply to the Planned Parenthood thing? The lying” is not a moral question, it’s a metaphysical one, and the metaphysical concern applies only to the “liar.” If you were a cooperative interlocutor you’d have found out long ago, but your adversarial stance make sincere discussion impossible.

    Socratic dialogue is only when possible when everybody’s a good sport. The object is to get to the truth, not winning. Sophists are all about winning. They are unconcerned with truth.

    If you applied the same moral standard to David Daleiden as you do to vdm, m, then you’d be opposed to lying and willing to question the videos.

    You still don’t get the argument against lying. State the argument fairly and I’ll give you a dollar, Butch. I gave up on you long ago on that one. In fact, it has zero to do with the current topic, so pick one, plant your feet and tell the truth.

    To the substance, natural law is the key obstacle to “radical” Two Kingdoms theology not just being a form of fideism or Amish self-separation/freeloading.

    The Christian lawyer [or doctor or plumber] is bound by the natural law.

    What is legal is not necessarily right and therefore compatible with being a Christian.

    For instance, a Christian lawyer will not thwart justice to get his client off; a Christian plumber will not use inferior materials; a Christian doctor will not perform sex change surgery.

    Justice and natural law are not the same as rules and legislations, which are man’s attempts to echo them [at best] and man’s deformation of them [at worst].

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_iniusta_non_est_lex

    Like

  102. Tom,

    You also shilled for Driscoll for the better part of a year on Throckmorton’s blog. You were on the wrong side of that issue, and some here as well. You play the role of agitator well, and it does push discussion forward, but don’t be shocked if some don’t take your beef with DGH seriously.

    Like

  103. kent
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
    Tom, the 2K view affirms that a Christian should seek to apply a higher standard of piety and truth and justice at work. It gets difficult in certain tasks and situations in almost every field of vocation.

    It’s just that we don’t try to “Jesus juke” as a full time recreational pursuit.

    We don’t grind out a law-restrictive Miss Grundy rain -on-everyone’s-parade of the enjoyment of culture and life. We accept that believers can discern for themselves what is right and not have to harp on and on and on to make sure nobody is unaware of Law requirements.

    I’m sure most of us grew up with some spinster aunt who would chide us for darng to sleep in on a day off when the Lord Jesus suffered on the cross in agony for your sin. Yes Ma’am.

    We hated that and don’t inflict it on others unless it a serious problem, which it NEVER is on Old Life.

    Kent, thx for what I think is a sincere comment, and a witty one, thx God, but it’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think Old Lifers are Miss Grundys atall. She’s nicer, for one thing, and I picture her with a scotch and cigar immediately after school hours. Perhaps in her car.

    Sorry, from what I’ve seen, Old Lifers tend to be ingrates. Brahmans. The whole deal. The first shall be first and last shall be last.

    Kent, this can’t be the way.

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  104. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    You also shilled for Driscoll for the better part of a year on Throckmorton’s blog.

    Jed Paschall
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    You also shilled for Driscoll for the better part of a year on Throckmorton’s blog. You were on the wrong side of that issue, and some here as well. You play the role of agitator well, and it does push discussion forward, but don’t be shocked if some don’t take your beef with DGH seriously.

    Jed, don’t you dare pull that ad hom dirty trick.

    You were on the wrong side of that issue, and some here as well.

    I defended Driscoll only on a formal level, against unproven allegations. Most of the time I argue here formally as well. You’re a smart fellow. You know what “formal” means.

    You play the role of agitator well, and it does push discussion forward

    I play that role all over the internet, Jed, defending the unfairly attacked. I’m all about clarity. This is why Dr. Hart and Dr. Throckmorton found me at their doorsteps. They have much in common.

    Now that’s the interesting part, if you ever want to psychoanalyze/delegitimize me, and do the full-on personal attack thing.

    When Dr. Hart talks absurd-sounding stuff against the Catholic Church, I look it up. It’s almost always absurd, like when he “quoted” some 15th century prayer as part of the Rosary. You were really bogus on that, real amateur hour stuff, Dr. Hart.

    but don’t be shocked if some don’t take your beef with DGH seriously.

    I don’t know who “some” are, Jed. You? You take me quie seriously, as do Drs. Hart and Throckmorton. I’m the only one who gets them.

    I admire your loyalty to Dr. Hart and I won’t attack you back, Jed. Let’s return to the topic.

    To the substance, natural law is the key obstacle to “radical” Two Kingdoms theology not just being a form of fideism or Amish self-separation/freeloading.

    The Christian lawyer [or doctor or plumber] is bound by the natural law.

    What is legal is not necessarily right and therefore compatible with being a Christian.

    For instance, a Christian lawyer will not thwart justice to get his client off; a Christian plumber will not use inferior materials; a Christian doctor will not perform sex change surgery.

    Justice and natural law are not the same as rules and legislations, which are man’s attempts to echo them [at best] and man’s deformation of them [at worst].

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_iniusta_non_est_lex

    Like

  105. Tom,

    Driscoll was beyond defense, the guy was at the helm of a slow moving train wreck. There are no dirty tricks here. I typically enjoy your comments, and there’s a lot that’s commendable. But like I said, it’s real hard to take your charge to DG to clean up his act seriously. Maybe if you adjusted your tactics with him you’d get a different result – try it on for size…or not. Your exchanges with him are entertaining, so its kind of a win-win either way.

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  106. Tom,

    When Dr. Hart talks absurd-sounding stuff against the Catholic Church, I look it up.

    You are underselling the overt proselytizing that CtC was doing here and elsewhere on Reformed sites, convincing even one of our pastors to swim the Tiber. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to us, especially Stellman’s congregation. There’s a reason why we are Reformed, and DG did his job in reinforcing that.

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  107. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Driscoll was beyond defense, the guy was at the helm of a slow moving train wreck.

    Don’t even. You didn’t actually read a godamm thing I wrote then, Jed. All I said was that Warren Throckmorton and his internet mob should hang Driscoll fair and square, the bastards.

    There are no dirty tricks here.

    Now you’re the one blowing your credibility. Dirty tricks abound hereabouts. You just played one on me, man. Driscoll? Go make love to yourself.

    I typically enjoy your comments, and there’s a lot that’s commendable. But like I said, it’s real hard to take your charge to DG to clean up his act seriously. Maybe if you adjusted your tactics with him you’d get a different result – try it on for size…or not.

    Of course you enjoy my commnts 😉 but surely you realize I know that reforming Darryl Hart is the Impossible Dream. He’s a Professional Protestant, and “radical 2K” is his brand. He doubles down, will never fold. He’s always all-in.

    Darryl’s not free to discuss stuff honestly, Socratically. Professional scholars are imprisoned by their early ideas. They’re no longer free to seek truth. It doesn’t make Darryl a bad person, it’s the nature of his beast. Attack, counterattack, attack attack attack.

    I have nothing to do with this. I’m an “irritant,” a “catalyst” charitably. There are no “tactics” better than any others at Old Life. All are in turn treated like shit and mocked, be they Protestants, Catholic converts, nice Catholic ladies or Decline To State.

    All are treated like shit if they don’t go dingding. In the end, the bear has no friends, no allies, and if necessary will eat its own children.
    __________________

    Your exchanges with him are entertaining, so its kind of a win-win either way.

    Thx, but I’m the one free to be funny. To be funny you have to be free tell the truth. Professionals have to defend their brand. If Elder Dr. Mr. Hart ever got up the guts to start snarking on the “Lesbyterianism” that has just perverted whatever’s left of his Reformed ecclesiology, I’d be at your back in a minute, Brother Darryl.

    I don’t think you have me and my eros for orthodoxy figgered out yet, Jed.

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  108. vd, t, you’re the guy who comes HERE and responds to every single conversation I have. I don’t know where your backyard is or if you even have one.

    The shit here is on you.

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  109. vd, t, listen to your Holy Father:

    “We all know in our communities, in our parishes, in our neighborhoods how much hurt they do the church, and give scandal, those persons that call themselves ‘Very Catholic,'” the pontiff said Sunday.

    “They go often to church, but after, in their daily life, ignore the family, speak ill of others, and so on,” he continued. “This is that which Jesus condemns because this is a Christian ‘counter-witness.'”

    And you don’t even go to church.

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  110. if I came off impugning your character that was not my intent, and inasmuch as it could be interpreted that way I do apologize.

    Apology accepted, Jed.

    I saw you engaging in what was tanamount to a reductio,

    I went back over the comments and I honestly don’t see how my stated position –that I seek to be a Christian *in my lawyering* –is reductio. It is a general proposition that seeks to follow Colossians 3:23,24. Certainly one can discuss the *application* of that principle, and I hope to do so in a further comment to answer Mr. Johnson’s question. If you have some particular comment/argument of mine in mind, point it out and I’ll try to address it.

    Also, I need to say that neither do I think Darryl is arguing reductio for his position. Cutting past the personal insults, I truly think he believes the substance of his argument, i.e., that I am violating both Scripture and my oath as an attorney if seek to practice law *as a Christian*.

    how quickly 2k has been vilified and dismissed both in Kuyperian circles,

    This gets to the question of “who started this war anyway”? While the roots of this go back further (eg. Kline vs. Bahnsen), Van Drunen declared war against Kuyperians back in 2002, before he lauched his project on the churches. If Van Drunen did not expect pushback, he was naive. I don’t think he has addressed the substance of the critique yet. I see no modification from him, and as far as I can tell, he still holds to his vilification of Kuyperian thought as a threat to the gospel.

    It is possible that 2k and Kuyperianism are ultimately incompatible and one is orthodox and the other heterodox, it is also possible that the two can find some reasonable reconciliation,

    Based on what I just said above, there will be no peace if is “2k” continues to cast this in terms of threats to the gospel. And why should there be peace? If they believe that, then they should fight to eradicate us. This is the stage we are in.

    Maybe these blog discussions only move the discussion forward in inches where the academy and the professional ministry moves it forward in yards, but I will contend for those inches where they are legitimately there to be had.

    I’ll commend your contending for it, but have you seen an inch of progress in this thread?

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  111. Mark, I’m not sure about threats to the gospel (though some have suggested neo-Calvinism is a cultural variant of law-gospel confusion), but an underminer of the church certainly. From Van Drunen’s chapter in “Always Reformed”:

    Another common characteristic of neo-Calvinism, amidst its diversity, is its dedication to putting the church in its place. That may seem unnecessarily pejorative, but I believe it is not unfair. What I mean is that neo- Calvinism, if it is united by anything, is united by a desire to promote Christian cultural engagement, the goodness of all lawful vocations, and a “kingdom vision” that includes but by no means is limited to the church. Conceptions of Christianity that are overly church-focused—and hence restricted in their kingdom vision—come in for special critique. Neo-Calvinism aims to convince believers that Christianity is about all of life and that their common occupations are just as holy and redeemable as their pastor’s work and their own worship on Sunday.33 Of course none of its proponents are anti-church and many of them are dedicated servants of the church. It seeks to elevate other institutions and activities rather than lower the church’s status, but the effect is still to ensure that the church does not have too prominent a place in the Christian life, for the sake of a holistic kingdom vision.

    This holistic kingdom vision—notably different from Calvin’s kingdom theology—is undergirded by many of the features of neo-Calvinism mentioned above: the emphasis upon worldview, the creation-fall-redemption paradigm, and the drive for cultural transformation. One of its chief theological distinctives is the conviction that redemption consists in enabling Christians to take up again the original cultural task of Adam, that is, the task of developing the potentialities of creation and perhaps even building the stuff of the world-to-come, the new heavens and new earth.34 If this is what redemption is, it is quite logical to conclude that the church is important for the Christian life but not precisely where the main action lies. The main action is in fulfilling the original creation mandate in the various spheres of human culture.

    The neo-Calvinist vision is compelling in many ways, and it is not difficult to understand why it has proven so attractive to a great number of Reformed Christians in the past century. This vision has inspired the formation of numerous institutions—in North America particularly educational institutions—and has offered a plausible framework for ordinary Christians to ascribe meaning to their various vocations.

    Reformed churches, nevertheless, have not flourished under the watch of neo-Calvinism…

    In the long run, therefore, neo-Calvinism, despite its admirable commitment to education, has not been able to sustain vibrant, growing, and doctrinally sound Reformed churches over many generations. Its vision of Christian culture has been realized, in partial measure, only in relatively small pockets of rather isolated communities. Even many of these communities have suffered significantly in recent years. Some of them have been overwhelmed by the influx of outsiders and been forced to retreat (in smaller numbers) to other places where they can again be more isolated from the larger world. (The ongoing story of Dutch Reformed Christianity in southern Chicagoland, where my own ancestors settled in the mid-nineteenth century, is a good example.)35 Others have been declining along with other small, rural, agricultural towns in middle America, as family farms decline in number and the next generation moves off to suburbia.

    Obviously neo-Calvinism did not set out to decimate the church, but to raise other institutions to a level of (equal) importance—all with very good intentions to protect against cultural indifference and to give meaning to all areas of life. The church, unfortunately for neo-Calvinism, is not the sort of institution designed by Christ to be one among equals for Christians. Neo-Calvinism has not only made little noticeable progress in transforming Western civilization (or even Holland, or South Holland), but it has to an alarming degree lost the importance and uniqueness of the church along the way as well. It certainly has done no better than earlier Reformed Christianity in resisting the temptation of theological liberalism and other contemporary religious fads.

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  112. I for one am very interested in a response from Mr. VDM. Have you ever argued for something in court that you did not find appealing to your Christian sensibilities, yet nevertheless found a tact that was open to you through the workings, or loopholes, of the legal apparatus? Or do your Christian sensibilities allow you appreciate the workings of civil law, even if not in full rapport with Christian Law?

    If I understand your question correctly, the short answer is no, I would not knowingly argue a position or use a legal tactic that violated my Christian faith. As Muddy G. pointed out, there is a broad range of arguments in an adversarial system that allow for contestants in applying precedent to the facts. Rules of ethics (most of which mirror Christian ethics!) govern lawyer conduct in making these arguments, such that the system will discipline lawyers who make factually or legally unsupportable arguments.

    On the flip side, there are a range of decisions–within the broad discretion afforded by the law–that a Christian lawyer can make that would distinguish one from a non-Christian lawyer. For example, a client may have an ungodly motive/goal in the case, and even though he may be permitted to pursue it and have his day in court, I can and have declined such. The non-Christian lawyer down the road is often happy to take the case. I have counseled clients to seek alternative dispute resolution law to good effect, saving them years of exhausting litigation and costly attorney fees. I have used strategies in litigation that rather than scoring scorched earth victory (which rarely is true “victory”) have brought a recalcitrant party to see the need for reconciliation. I have appealed to client’s moral sensibilities and counseled them find true spiritual peace even as they seek justice.

    And yes, I have had the joy reminding judges of the Ultimate Judge’s testimony on moral issues that arise in a particular case as it will have connection to the legal precedent at hand. Without exception, it has been well-received and put to good effect. I could go on with boring “war stories” of particular case examples from my career, but I trust this answered your question .

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  113. I play that role all over the internet, Jed, defending the unfairly attacked.

    O thou noble troll, Sir Tom! And don’t forget damsels in distress, as in Ms. Webfoot. Oh, wait — she came to your defense. Forget it.

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  114. vdm, m, you are functionally 2k but won’t admit it. You have to observe secular law for your vocation. But when 2kers point this out, this is somehow starting a war.

    Kuyperianism has long been great on inspiration but lean on application. The war, as you call it, was simply the effort by some of us to suggest that Kuyperianism was not the original Calvinism nor the position of American Presbyterians. The response was, “how dare you.”

    Along with that “how dare you,” was Misty Irons and fear mongering. That’s when the war began. Deal with it.

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  115. Darryl, if arguing the authority of the Bible in court, counseling clients per Scriptural ethics, and explicitly striving to do my work as “unto the Lord” is “functionally 2k”, then what’s your beef with me or Kuyper? You won’t admit your suggestion that I should be under church discipline or have my license revoked was one of your reductios.

    And with your post-Obergefell comment (not to mention Horton’s earlier countenancing gay civil unions) that we must uphold the right of “gay parents”, any prior comparison to Misty Irons’ theology was hardly fear mongering. Prophetic would be a better term.

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  116. vdm, m, gay parents are legal. I’m not defending them as a Christian but as a citizen.

    If you can’t work with U.S. law, don’t you think you have a problem professionally speaking?

    Of course, I don’t think you should be disciplined as a secular attorney. Haven’t you heard? Belgic Art. 36 has been revised.

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  117. Mark,

    And with your post-Obergefell comment (not to mention Horton’s earlier countenancing gay civil unions) that we must uphold the right of “gay parents”, any prior comparison to Misty Irons’ theology was hardly fear mongering. Prophetic would be a better term.

    And herein lies the rub. The problem sure as heck looks like a political one far more than a theological one. None of those in the Reformed camp who would make rooms for gay civil unions, or gays having their marriages recognized by the state are in favor of gay marriage. None of them would allow it in their churches, and all of them are squarely in line with the confessions on the matter. The only area where the church has authority on the matter of marriage is over her own members. If for instance, a NAPARC minister performed a gay marriage in his church he should be brought up on charges before his presbytery.

    Historically being Reformed did entail political positions at the time of the Reformation. The question is whether or not this is an essential feature of Reformed theology or orthodoxy. Times change, and our historical situation has shifted since the Enlightenment from Constantinian to liberal democracy that countenances a wide range of human rights, including the right to engage in certain sinful behavior without being deemed a criminal. Kuyperians have functionally tried to un-ring that bell, especially in the culture wars arising with the emergence of the Religious Right. Maybe if Kuyperians could make peace with the undeniable fact of pluralism things could be different.

    I am not saying making peace means accepting all of the tenants of pluralism, especially moral relativism. I am saying it is here and not likely to change any time soon, and the days where the church had broader cultural and political influence is diminishing not increasing. 2k does an admiral job in preserving orthodoxy in this setting because it does not insist that the church take an active role in the political process, rather it rightly focuses the church on ecclesial matters, and frees individual Christians to pursue social and political issues as a byproduct of their vocations and avocations.

    The biggest issue I see looming down the road is the Christian presence in the culture wars might be used (unjustly) as pretext for more aggressive opposition to the church in our society since they are perceived as having oppressed minority groups such as gays. To me, while gay marriage seems like an absurd contradiction to the LBGT movement that started off so conter-cultural, whether or not they perform state-sanctioned marriages in their communities is basically a non-issue that has no effect on my church or life as a Christian in the world. Some of this may be generational, since I am an older millenial, and we have lived with this diversity since I was a child and many friends and acquaintances are gay, whereas conservative boomers grew up in an entirely different situation and gay marriage is far more novel and threatening. But in the Misty Irons issue and others, it seems like many well meaning Reformed officers were willing to die on a political hill, rather than on matters of the gospel or orthodoxy in our churches.

    It will be important for the Reformed community to come up with a meaningful response to the diversification of our society, while remaining appropriately engaged in the world. 2k has sought to bridge that gap, even if neo-Calvinists and others don’t like this. I’d rather give political ground than ecclesiastical ground, and we can preserve orthodoxy and find a way to live peaceably (as possible) in the world. I realize that if the day comes where Reformed churches are mandated to perform gay marriages in our congregations our obligation is to defy these political statutes and remain faithful. However, I’d be far more in favor of averting that eventuality by making peace now, because we lack the authority, even in our own confessions to do much of anything about the matter of how the state handles marriage.

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  118. .. gay parents are legal. I’m not defending them as a Christian but as a citizen.

    But I oppose it as a Christian citizen. This reveals the heart of the divide from your worldview, where our identity in Christ (and acting as a Christian) can somehow be separated from our citizenship.

    If you can’t work with U.S. law, don’t you think you have a problem professionally speaking?

    No, because unjust or ungodly laws can be opposed, modified, or repealed. Christian lawyers, driven by their Christian identity, are working to do just that with Obergefell. If you would have us just accept any ungodly ruling as the “law of the land”, I’m thinking we’d still be under Dred Scot.

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  119. Mark,

    But I oppose it as a Christian citizen. This reveals the heart of the divide from your worldview, where our identity in Christ (and acting as a Christian) can somehow be separated from our citizenship.

    This simply isn’t the case. 2k doesn’t cordon off Christian identity from temporal citizenship. It does however recognize and important distinction between the two – our Christian citizenship is in the Kingdom of God with eternal aims and spiritual purposes, and our earthly citizenship is to our country which has temporal aims which often run at odds with our spiritual citizenship. 2k recognizes the inherent tension in this reality instead of either glossing over it or obliterating it entirely.

    If Peter and Paul could insist that Christians submit to these temporal authorities that allowed for far worse than gay marriage in our day, might it be possible for us to submit to the government in this regard and still remain faithful as Christians?

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  120. MVDM, did you take this vow?

    __________
    “I do solemnly swear or affirm that: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana; I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers; I will not counsel or maintain any action, proceeding, or defense which shall appear to me to be unjust, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with crime in any case; I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me, such means only as are consistent with truth, and never seek to mislead the court or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law; I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my client at every peril to myself; I will abstain from offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged; I will not encourage either the commencement or the continuance of any action or proceeding from any motive of passion or interest; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance; so help me God.” http://www.lawyeredu.org/indiana.html
    ______

    Please don’t tell me you can have your private interpretation of what the constitution says.

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  121. 2k doesn’t cordon off Christian identity from temporal citizenship.

    Have you not been reading Darryl here? If I act as a “secular” lawyer, I’m fine with him. But if I act as a Christian lawyer, he wants my licensed revoked and my consistory to discipline me.

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  122. …unjust or ungodly laws can be opposed, modified, or repealed. Christian lawyers, driven by their Christian identity, are working to do just that with Obergefell. If you would have us just accept any ungodly ruling as the “law of the land”, I’m thinking we’d still be under Dred Scot.

    And where is the work on repealing no-fault divorces and getting fornication and adultery back on the criminal list? Where is the work on getting idolaters punished? Idolatry is ungodly, Mark, so who’s working on getting its legal protection reversed?

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  123. Mark, if you have vowed to uphold the constitution you have vowed to uphold the right to gay marriage and the right to abortion while practicing as a lawyer. So as a churchman you would presumably oppose them but have vowed to support them as a practicing lawyer. Isn’t that practical 2k? That’s Darryl’s point as I understand it – you are practicing 2k but if you and your consistory are the thorough theoretical Kuyperians you seem to be, that should be a big problem to them. It’s a hypothetical to make a point, and I’m not seeing how you escape it.

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  124. if you have vowed to uphold the constitution you have vowed to uphold the right to gay marriage and the right to abortion while practicing as a lawyer.

    Your false premise (common today) is equating any decision of the Supreme Court, no matter how heinous, with the Constitution itself. Dred Scot demonstrates the point well. I am within the bounds of the Constitution to argue for repeal or overturn of a decision. This has happened repeatedly in history in our system. Peruse that county clerk’s petition currently pending before the Supreme Court to see an example.

    So as a churchman you would presumably oppose them but have vowed to support them as a practicing lawyer. Isn’t that practical 2k? That’s Darryl’s point as I understand it –

    I am agreed that is Darryl’s point. I disagree, and am opposed to it. As a Christian lawyer.

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  125. Mark,

    I would say you are a lawyer in your secular profession who is a Christian. There is probably a lot in your career that aligns nicely with your Christian convictions, but there are also inescapable tensions that arise (e.g defending a criminal). It’s not easy to figure out how to be a faithful Christian and a competent attorney, but I am sure you navigate this quite ably. How does this change on the issue of state sanctioned sins such as gay marriage, or faultles divorce?

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  126. Mark, as an advocate you may make a good-faith argument for the reversal of a SCOTUS decision, all the while recognizing that the SCOTUS position is the law of the land. But your approach here is very close to the “private interpretation” loophole and you’ve only traded your problem from Kuyperian tension to a very problematic approach to vow-keeping.

    Can the atheist attorney decide he disagrees with the “interpretation” that there is religious liberty in the 1st amendment? If everyone can have their own private interpretation of a vow, the vow means nothing.

    Marbury v. Madison says that the SCOTUS – not MVDM – gets to interpret the Constitution.

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  127. Mark,

    As a side note, under 2k you are absolutely free to oppose gay marriage politically and even professionally where it does not violate your professional vows. To my knowledge 2kers such as Scott Clark opposes gay marriage politically and is more or less aligned with conservative political causes. While I would question the political wisdom of opposing gay marriage, I certainly support the freedom for Christians to hold these political convictions.

    However, when it comes to the church inserting itself into the politics of gay marriage, as they did in the Irons case, I am very much against this. There needs to be liberty in the church to hold to different political positions in this and other matters. Now, I do also understand that there will be times when gay marriage can become a ministerial issue that the church must make judgement calls on, like if a gay couple were to seek to have a wedding officiated in a NAPARC church – the obvious answer being we cannot do that due to our own confessional commitments. But, this wasn’t the case in the Irons ordeal. There may also be ministerial concerns if a member struggles with homosexuality, and we need to give thoughtful and compassionate spiritual care and guidance in these matters.

    I really don’t see how this is difficult. Nor do I see how Kuyperians couldn’t also benefit from a 2k approach on these ecclesial matters as Christian individuals attempt to see a measure of cultural transformation and renewal. Of course, this should not be required as a matter of orthodoxy, but be a byproduct of the freedom of conscience that we all should have as Reformed Christians. Maybe this could be the path toward some kind of reconciliation between Kuyperian and 2k-Confessionalists, who obviously do not share certain foundational assumptions of what the Christian’s role in society is – but at least we could come to some peaceful arrangement when it comes to ecclesiastical matters.

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  128. vdm, m, but we still operate under laws that allow blasphemy and idolatry in violation of old Belgic 36.

    Are you a Christian citizen when it comes to your Mormon and Jewish clients and neighbors?

    You’re still functionally 2k. And that’s okay.

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  129. vdm, m, for the 3rd time, if you act as a secular lawyer, as the vows you take require in some sense (REPUBLICATION ALERT!!!!!), then you need to discipline yourself. I don’t want to discipline you. I want you to discipline you.

    I’m okay with secular lawyers. I’m 2k, remember?

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  130. Muddy, and this is how the war starts — you explain to a neo-Calvinist the compromise they make each and every day.

    “Shoot the messenger, affirm w-w, rinse, repeat.”

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  131. but we still operate under laws that allow blasphemy and idolatry in violation of old Belgic 36.

    Kudos, this is the first time I’ve seen you get this right. Operative word: Old. We operate under revised,/b> Belgic 36, removing suppression of heresy from the magistrate.

    <You’re still functionally 2k.

    ..while I’m citing Scripture and applying Christian ethics in law. You’ve functionally abandoned your 2k.

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  132. <

    Checkmate, Mark.

    You’re one of us, you’re one of us, 2K-folk.

    We won’t blurt out your secret…

    If that were the case, then I concede I should be under discipline. 🙂

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  133. I don’t see any grounds to put you under discipline, and I don’t expect you to voluntarily place yourself under discipline.

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  134. Deez,

    Heyguyz, heyguyz, heyguyz! — but gay marriage is much more offensive to most than idolatry or blasphemy. Ickier. Culture, etc.

    Get back on message man, you have lots of unificating to do in this election season.

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  135. Mark, if you’re not sympathetic to getting Muslims and Mormons legally punished for their idolatry then you’re 2k-ish. But now you’re saying that because 2kers agree with WCF 23 and the revised Belgic 36 they should be disciplined? Rakes, rakes, everywhere.

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  136. vdm, m, okay, I’m wrong. You’re functionally Islamist.

    Finally, the honest representation of your view of Christian lawyering. Took awhile, but I knew it would bubble out.

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  137. If you’re not sympathetic to getting Muslims and Mormons legally punished for their idolatry then you’re 2k-ish.

    Uh, that would make me Kuyperian. It was Kuyper who argued for the revision. Doh!

    But now you’re saying that because 2kers agree with WCF 23 and the revised Belgic 36 they should be disciplined?

    No, R2k-ers can’t grasp the amendments retain Christian lawyering.

    Rakes, rakes, everywhere.

    Transference syndrome is contagious from mentor to disciple.

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  138. Mark, I thought you said you can’t abide ungodliness as a Christian lawyer (in America)? Why do you tolerate idolatry in the civil arena then? You mean to say that you happily go along with a polity that lets Muslims and Mormons freely practice their idolatry daily without molestation or hindrance? That takes some nuance, or what you impugn as dualistic thinking. Why is it when you do it it’s kosher but when others do it it’s from the bowels of hell?

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  139. Mark, please consider a question from a non-reformed Baptist. Thirty years ago, I attended a multi-day seminar that was aimed at reminding some of us tax lawyers of some of the non-tax aspects of estate planning that we should be mindful of. In connection with his discussion of revocable trusts, one of the presenters mentioned that a lifetime funded revocable living trust that became irrevocable on death was an excellent planning tool for gay partners concerned about will contests. He said that the cases would say that such arrangements were subject to being attacked by all the traditional arguments, such as undue influence, that could be used in a will contest, but that, natíonwide, he was able to find less than a half dozen cases where such attacks had been successfull against a lifetime funded arrangement.

    Within about six months, I had occasion to use this technique in two cases, both being referrals to me by other lawyers in my firm. One did involve some significant degree of tax planning, the other didn’t. Now, in the 80’s and 90’s there were successful will contests resolved in favor of disgruntled family members that prevented property passing as desired by a gay decedent. It never crossed my mind that this was not a real issue, nor did it ever cross my mind not to do the best I could to make sure that the issue was addressed.. (In my state, I could not find a single example of a successful attack on a funded revocable trust as of 1985.) BTW, as far as I know, these are the only gay clients I ever represented.

    What would you have done?

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  140. in the 80’s and 90’s there were successful will contests resolved in favor of disgruntled family members that prevented property passing as desired by a gay decedent. It never crossed my mind that this was not a real issue, nor did it ever cross my mind not to do the best I could to make sure that the issue was addressed..

    Could you elaborate a bit? What was the winning legal ground for those successful will contests? Also, not sure what you mean by your doing “the best to make sure the issue was addressed”. What specifically did you do? And did you know the clients were homosexuals setting this up for purposes of solidying/rewarding their relationship?

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  141. Here we go. Pretty sure some of my lesbian insurance clients occasionally make out in their cars or drive to gay bars. Should I decline to insure them so they can’t drive their cars? By what civil or religious standard can I justify being a bad neighbor? I mean, their no Hittites and this not BC.

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  142. C-dubs, and more specifically Foresters. But does the fact that mine is silver at least make me butch?

    Mark, “homosexuals”? I thought the PC term was “Sodomites”?

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  143. Mark, I mentíoned undue influence, I suppose that was the most likely ground to have been used in a traditional will conrest involving a bequest by a gay decedent that bypassed family members. I have heard of cases that center around lack of testamentary capacity as well. I set up revocable living trusts that were funded while the clients were still living. This is not a technique I used much in other cases, as I viewed lifetime funding of a revocable trust to be a needless expense and trouble for the client to maintain down the road. (Probate isn’t that expensive around here). I knew the clients were gay, they were estranged from at least some (most?) of their family members, and they wanted their property to pass, for the most part, to each other. Whether it solidified or rewarded their relationship I never asked, but I guess it did. I later moved my practice to a firm in another state, so I have no idea how all this ultimately turned out (I wasn’t these folks primary lawyer anyway), though I did have an issue in transferring some stock that one of them had inherited in the family business to the trust, but the company attorney told the rest of the shareholders they didn’t have any grounds to object.

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  144. Z is one of your lesbian clients?

    Are the neck and calf tattoos and the closely cropped hairdo not enough evidence? The Pontiac Aztec with NPR and COEXIST bumper stickers is only further reinforcement.

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  145. I’m trying to imagine my dogs encountering a goldendoodle in a black fleece…….Whatever it would be, would be obscene.

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  146. Thanks, Dan. Of course, you will understand the standard disclaimer: my response is provisional since I would have had to meet the folks in person to come to a final opinion. (By the way, I agree with you that funding lifetime revocable trusts is typically a waste of time)

    If I knew of their gay relationship and the trust’s purpose is to further or reward the same, I could 1. decline the representation, or 2. represent them if it is was agreeable to change the beneficiary to a worthy Christian cause. For example, a Kuyperian Christian Day School or Christian Law Society 🙂

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  147. If God governs both spheres, and I’m under authority in both, one voluntary, one not, how is it NOT part of sanctification to conform my behavior and conscience to the lawful prescriptions prescribed by each? How is it NOT second guessing God’s sovereignty to bring into dock every lawful mandate in the common sphere to make sure it checks up with my application of biblical principles(under the guise of faith or religious conscience), which the very attempt to do, potentially involves a misuse of SR(unique theocratic state-Israel) to define my GR existence(practice of citizenship)?

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  148. Mark, as I mentioned, these clients were referred by other lawyers I practiced with, so I never got to know them very well. I could have declined the representation, it just never crossed my mind to do so (even though sodomy was against state law at the time.). I held myself out as a tax lawyer who did estate planning, and the only thing unusual about these clients was that they were gay

    I guess my opinion is that you are making this more complicated than it has to be. We had a required course in legal ethics when I was in law school, so I knew what the Code of Professional Responsibility required before I took the oath. I didnt– and still don’t- see anyhing in the rules that prohibited me, as a Christian, from entering the profession.

    I can see that bakers, florists and photographers can reasonably say they didn’t sign up to do gay weddings before they went into business, but at least in my reading of the CPR at that early stage of my life, there seemed to be a strong presumption that the public was entitled to competent representation. Unless I had a conflict or felt that I was not competent,I thought long and hard before I turned down an engagement. Actually, deep down I was flattered that someone would think highly enough of me to entrust me with their business. I don’t think I felt any different about planing these two estates.

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  149. Thank you Mr.VDM, that is helpful. If I understood correctly, you avoid the sticky judicial cases that might conflict with your Christian morals, even if you might be fully able to mange the case successfully and well within the boundaries of the law ( and make a little bit of cash to boot).
    May I ask another?
    Would you decline to represent a homosexual that had been unfairly abused, even if you were offended by the injustice and saw a clear opportunity for redress? if so, what reasons would you give, to the homosexual, and if different, to a fellow churchman who wondered if Christian lawyers can ever serve justly if it means that a non Christian cause may be supported or even expanded as a direct, even indirect result of the lawful administration of justice? I understand a private practice can just ‘decline, decline, decline’, but what of civil service positions?

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  150. Leithart quotes Walls—-“The encouragements or successes of early missions may have been more baffling to the understanding of evangelical missionaries and their supporters than the more frequent episodes of failure, heartbreak, and disaster. There were events that missionaries could ascribe only to the hand of God. How else could one interpret a whole island people rejecting their traditional worship and acknowledging Christ? And yet this could take place without any sign of the long-established patterns of evangelical conversion. When the missionaries on Tahiti—Congregationalists at that—ceased to record the names of converts on the ground of ‘the profession becoming national,’ it was a sign of the extension of the meaning of the word ‘conversion.’ It might now denote a wholehearted recognition of a change of religious allegiance; conviction of sin and longing for holiness might follow later. Time after time missionaries noted apparently sincere professions of faith that lacked these features” .

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2015/08/converting-conversion

    Marriage, then perhaps love.

    Water, “the promise”, then perhaps the effectual call

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  151. I’m looking forward to hearing if “Christian” lawyering differs from Pharisaical lawyering.

    Said Mr. “Kudos on having a conversation”. Rrrriiiighhttt…………

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  152. I didnt– and still don’t- see anyhing in the rules that prohibited me, as a Christian, from entering the profession.

    I’ve not said that they do prohibit a Christian from entering the profession. It’s once you get there is the issue we are talking about.

    you avoid the sticky judicial cases that might conflict with your Christian morals,

    Partially correct, in that it is not based on them being “sticky”, but rather after assessing them, whether they conflict with Christian morals. I trust you are not suggesting the alternative, that a Christian should pursue a case that conflicts with his morals.

    Would you decline to represent a homosexual that had been unfairly abused, even if you were offended by the injustice and saw a clear opportunity for redress?

    On what you present here, no, I would not decline.

    if so, what reasons would you give, to the homosexual, and if different, to a fellow churchman who wondered if Christian lawyers can ever serve justly if it means that a non Christian cause may be supported or even expanded as a direct, even indirect result of the lawful administration of justice?

    I find this wording unclear. Not sure what you mean by a “non-Christian cause” that may be supported or advanced. You mean an “immoral cause”?

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  153. Wow, it seems some of these guys have Reformed themselves out of the Reformed faith. D. G., you should be proud of your Anabaptists heritage. Really…. name calling. MVDM is an Islamic Idolater now? Nothing new (except the doctrinal heritage) here on this site. Just the downward spiral into this strange Radical New Two Kingdom Theology. This isn’t our forefathers two Kingdom or two sphere Theology under Messiah the Prince.

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  154. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:42 am | Permalink
    vd, t, you’re the guy who comes HERE and responds to every single conversation I have. I don’t know where your backyard is or if you even have one.

    The shit here is on you.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:45 am | Permalink
    vd, t, “Old Lifers tend to be ingrates. Brahmans.”

    Do you want me to bring up your checkered blogging history again?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 5:49 am | Permalink
    vd, t, listen to your Holy Father:

    “We all know in our communities, in our parishes, in our neighborhoods how much hurt they do the church, and give scandal, those persons that call themselves ‘Very Catholic,’” the pontiff said Sunday.

    “They go often to church, but after, in their daily life, ignore the family, speak ill of others, and so on,” he continued. “This is that which Jesus condemns because this is a Christian ‘counter-witness.’”

    And you don’t even go to church.

    I missed the part where you responded to a single thing I wrote, Dr. Hart. You like to flatter yourself that you “hit a nerve” when one of your victims replies.

    Heh heh, tough guy.

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  155. And I meant it, Mark. And there was/is a conversation, which I appreciate. I think you can well-imagine that some people would rather not serve certain types of sinners in a Pharisaical way, confusing separation with acting Christianly.

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  156. Not quite, Mark. Just twenty five years of the same guy, different name, in the reformed world. Maybe it’s a dutch thang.

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  157. Hey, Snyder is astonished with the name calling and then rolls right in with the R2k. I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.

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  158. Mark builds the pillory, he announces it will be filled all weekend, he brings the tomatoes and garbage to throw at the one to shame.

    Then he puts himself into the stocks and cries victim.

    Well, he gets Randy and Tom to weep for him..

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  159. Coming on the heels of being called a functional Islamist, you can imagine that I would not think the reference to “Pharisaical” was conducive to constructive discussion.

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  160. Huh, Kent thinks I’m throwing tomatoes and playing victim and Muddy thinks I’m having a conversation. You guys need to get on the same page.

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  161. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    When Dr. Hart talks absurd-sounding stuff against the Catholic Church, I look it up.

    You are underselling the overt proselytizing that CtC was doing here and elsewhere on Reformed sites, convincing even one of our pastors to swim the Tiber. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to us, especially Stellman’s congregation. There’s a reason why we are Reformed, and DG did his job in reinforcing that.

    Oh, I saw the Old Life crowd splat itself attacking the comment-box shores of Called to Communion too. I don’t know how much they came here to proselytize, but Dr Darryl Hart has attacked them endlessly on the Old Life Front Page.

    I don’t think you have the true story down. The ex-Calvinists who “swam the Tiber” started a website to explain why they joined the Catholic Church.

    [“Converted to Catholicism” is not quite an accurate term, since all licit Christian baptisms are recognized, even if they’re “Protestant,” You do not “convert” from Christianity to Christianity.”]

    Jason Stellman is quite an example of what I was talking about. Professional Protestants such as Mark Driscoll and Darryl Hart [heh heh] become a “brand.” They make their living off it.

    Jason Stellman went from Professional Protestant to amateur Catholic. Now THAT took balls. And it changed his life–not for the better by any measure on this world.

    Feel the pain. Feel the glory. Can we feel one without the other in this life?

    On September 23rd, 2012 (two years ago today), I was received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Humanly speaking, it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made.
    The last two years have brought me almost nothing but loss. Most of my fellow alumni and former professors at Westminster Seminary no longer speak to me, I am denied entrance into the church I planted (where my family still attends on Sundays) — I wasn’t even allowed to attend the Christmas Eve service last year and just sit and sing the hymns. To most of my old Calvinistic friends I am simply a traitor to the gospel.

    Each job I have gotten since resigning from the ministry has paid less than half of the one before it. I now have the earning potential on the open market to make one tenth of what I earned as a pastor (in fact, my latest job pays me less than half of what I was getting from unemployment, which benefits were due to dry up soon). There’s no other way to say it: I am officially poor.
    As readers of Creed Code Cult will have noticed, I have taken measures to step out of the spotlight and extricate myself from any kind of role as an official spokesperson for Catholicism. Part of the reason for this is that I simply don’t have the stomach for it anymore. The way many so-called Christians interact online sickens me: the smugness, the hatred, the vitriol and spite, it all makes me want to have nothing to do with any of it. Couple with that the pressure of being a public example of Jesus — pressure that I began to feel at around age 16 — and it serves to make a quiet, civilian life look pretty appealing when considering the alternative.
    With exceptions that I could count on one hand, I have attended my last 150 or so masses alone.
    To be honest, I don’t really know why I am posting this. I know for a fact that much of the information I am divulging will be received with glee from many in the Calvinistic world. But I’m in a reflective mood, sue me…

    [read the whole thing…]

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/two-years-a-catholic/

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  162. Mark, it’s that 2k diversity that when taken together gives the whole picture. It takes a while to adjust to after the FB 1k monolith of outrage and cat videos.

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  163. Mark, we’re not attached at the hip here. There are different personalities here. Then there’s a mix of substantive comments, snark, humor, hyperbole, etc. There are disagreements among regulars. Etc.

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  164. We have the sadistic edge to satisfy the masochists who keep coming back for more punishment. I dinna understand why they keep doing this to themselves.

    Some people live to get hoisted on their own petard, fifty feet in the air.

    Who loves ya baby?

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  165. R. Martin Snyder
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
    Wow, it seems some of these guys have Reformed themselves out of the Reformed faith. D. G., you should be proud of your Anabaptists heritage. Really…. name calling. MVDM is an Islamic Idolater now? Nothing new (except the doctrinal heritage) here on this site. Just the downward spiral into this strange Radical New Two Kingdom Theology.

    Whoa. The Anabaptist thing. exacto. Freeloaders, parasites. Somebody else’s magistrate fights for your religious freedom. Not yours.

    Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
    RMS complains about name-calling, calls people names, and contributes nothing. OK then.

    Doing Darryl’s dirty work, Mr. Mud? What are you his new bouncer? The man has a point.

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  166. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
    I’m looking forward to hearing if “Christian” lawyering differs from Pharisaical lawyering.

    Said Mr. “Kudos on having a conversation”. Rrrriiiighhttt…………

    Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
    I didnt– and still don’t- see anyhing in the rules that prohibited me, as a Christian, from entering the profession.

    I’ve not said that they do prohibit a Christian from entering the profession. It’s once you get there is the issue we are talking about.

    “you avoid the sticky judicial cases that might conflict with your Christian morals,”

    Partially correct, in that it is not based on them being “sticky”, but rather after assessing them, whether they conflict with Christian morals. I trust you are not suggesting the alternative, that a Christian should pursue a case that conflicts with his morals.

    “Would you decline to represent a homosexual that had been unfairly abused, even if you were offended by the injustice and saw a clear opportunity for redress?”

    On what you present here, no, I would not decline.

    “if so, what reasons would you give, to the homosexual, and if different, to a fellow churchman who wondered if Christian lawyers can ever serve justly if it means that a non Christian cause may be supported or even expanded as a direct, even indirect result of the lawful administration of justice?”

    I find this wording unclear. Not sure what you mean by a “non-Christian cause” that may be supported or advanced. You mean an “immoral cause”?

    I’ll get this guy’s back against the abuse 5-against-one. You defend the “homosexual” person as a child of God. You don’t defend homosexuality.

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  167. Tom,

    Maybe Stellman’s conversion was ballsy as you say. But, from a Reformed Protestant perspective one can be ballsy and dead wrong about some of the most grave matters that come down to us in Scripture. From where we sit Stellman was deceived, bought a bill of goods in Rome that will never deliver, especially not the way CtC is pitching it.

    Darryl’s beef with Catholics has been far more over CtC’s misguided at best and disingenuine at worst representation of what Rome actually is. Their version of Catholicism exists only in their minds – and there are far more intellectually and spiritually honest representations of Rome. I don’t see Darryl harping on Vatican II liberals, or hardline SSPX’ers, or cradle Catholics, or even run of the mill conservatives, because these groups aren’t out there making Rome out to be something it clearly isn’t now, or hasn’t been for quite some time.

    Talking with the typical CtCer is like the classic heads I win, tails you loose proposition.

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  168. Jed Paschall:
    Their version of Catholicism exists only in their minds – and there are far more intellectually and spiritually honest representations of Rome.>>>>

    Jed, what if the version of Catholicism that Brother Hart presents exists only in his mind? His version of 2K theology seems to have been demolished quite handily by Mark Van Der Molen.

    What if Brother Hart is also wrong about Catholicism? What if he is wrong about Presbyterianism, even? I mean, how can the OPC make a claim to being the real or the best judges of what Presbyterianism really is? The largest Presbyterian denomination – the PCUSA – would say otherwise. Tim Keller seems to think he is a real Presbyterian as well, as good as any.

    Even Donald Trump is a Presbyterian and takes communion, as I am sure you’ve heard.

    It’s easy to criticize the Catholic Church. She is too large to miss. It is harder to be honest about one’s own failings and weaknesses.

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  169. vdm, m, you should not be bothered by the comparison with Islam. They have as much a problem with the post-French Revolution West as Kuyperians. You should study them. You might learn something.

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  170. Jed, and try to wrap your mind aroud vd, t’s Roman Catholicism. He doesn’t have Stellman’s balls or Bryan’s piety. He disdains Michael Sean Winters and loves David Barton and Mark Driscoll.

    At a certain point, you get lift off.

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  171. Serious question: How can Christians with a proper view of the church believe and act as if what’s going on in the city/nation/culture/down the street is in any way as important as what’s going on in the church? It’s like you’re in a five-star restaurant, someone else is paying the bill, you can order anything you want…and you are looking out the window worried about a crooked lamp post or the way some idiot has parked his car. And you’re pissed that everyone else in the joint is not as concerned about these problems as you are.

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  172. Deez, fundamentalism put all kinds of people in my life who would “flip a switch” in their brain and they’d get all zealous and angry and finger-pointing, and it was such a crock.

    Just like a labor union leader who becomes outraged when the red light comes on the news camera.

    There has to be a more honest way of discussing the reality of living in this world without being of it. 2K is the best I have seen, it sure isn’t neo-Calvinism.

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  173. Sean: If God governs both spheres, and I’m under authority in both, one voluntary, one not, how is it NOT part of sanctification to conform my behavior and conscience to the lawful prescriptions prescribed by each? How is it NOT second guessing God’s sovereignty to bring into dock every lawful mandate in the common sphere to make sure it checks up with my application of biblical principles

    Mark:I trust you are not suggesting the alternative, that a Christian should pursue a case that conflicts with his morals.

    A county clerk in Kentucky who is continuing to deny marriage licenses to gay couples says she’s doing so “under God’s authority.” http://news.yahoo.com/latest-no-marriage-licenses-kentucky-clerks-office-121500253.html

    “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials” Dan 1: 8 -9

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  174. CW: Serious question: How can Christians with a proper view of the church believe and act as if what’s going on in the city/nation/culture/down the street is in any way as important as what’s going on in the church?

    “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Gal 6:10

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  175. Bad choice, Ali, as Daniel worked in the Nebuchadnezzar administration, one considerably “less Christian” than anything we’ve had in our country. So Daniel is a 2k poster boy. And that particular issue – diet – was a personal religious issue, not an outworking of civil law.

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  176. Ali, your idea of “doing good to all people” seems to be 1) tell them what to do, and 2) disobey the law to deprive them or what is theirs under the law.

    Sorry for being so Midwestern, but how about being “nice” to them?

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  177. His version of 2K theology seems to have been demolished quite handily by Mark Van Der Molen.

    Translation: I don’t like OL Protestantism very much at all; in fact I hate it for various reasons but mostly because it’s useless against one of my favorite things to wax moralist–abortion. I like the push back MVDM provides, even if mainly second rate, but I’ll say it “handily demolished” the 2k promoted here because it’s very useful against my favorite thing to wax moralist–abortion. Did I mention I really don’t like abortion? But all Protestant and Catholic differences can be laid aside as secondary because the quest to eliminate abortion from planet earth trumps those differences. Oh, and gays, MVDM’s anti-2k helps with the gay thing, too, which is about to swallow up our first borns and western civ.

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  178. Careful zrim. Did you get approval from Darryl before posting? I haven’t gotten today’s talking points or been told what I should think yet.

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  179. Ali, who said anything about not doing good? And is it good of you to assume the worst of my actions and motives? And your verse {“especially”) proves my point: there is a clear difference between the church and the world and the former is the priority.

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  180. @mwf
    “What if Brother Hart is also wrong about Catholicism? ”
    Asked and answered:
    My world will end. Darryl is my only source of information about presbyterianism, ecclesiology, catholicism, calvinism or (__)2k. I’ll have no idea what to think about anything if Darryl is ever proven wrong about anything.

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  181. Ali, I’ll take being subject to civil law over someone’s quiet time convictions and FB outrage. At least I know the former has been ordained by God.

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  182. sdb: I haven’t gotten today’s talking points or been told what I should think yet.

    I knew it, sdb !! … us- against-them attitude; rules of silence, loyalty questioned if disagree; pride of the group…

    CW assume the worst of my actions and motives?

    conclusion made from ad absurdum ,CW (CW:worried about a crooked lamp post or the way some idiot has parked his car.)

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  183. Ali, well since you put it that way, holocaust and 2 Chron 7:14, right? But does Ariel know she’s got a biblicist on her side?

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  184. Mark, in the few times you’ve been here I can’t really say I’ve found anything objectionable about your decision-making in private practice. But, in theory, what is Christian law practice?

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  185. @Ali
    Don’t for get the second half of that verse where the teacher explains what he has in mind:
    “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
    It is shocking to me how many OL critics around here are willing to defend pride. Not sure what this verse has to do with Zrim’s critique of those who compromise theological commitments to win political battles.

    Think back to Israel’s willingness to make common cause with the Egyptians to fight the evil of the Assyrians. It didn’t go so well – God demands fidelity as expressed by right worship (both pure of heart and practiced rightly). Compromising on this – even to right a grave injustice – is not OK. The history of 19th century protestantism in the US is largely compromise to pursue moral ends. Those moralistic crusades ultimately went no where and the gospel was lost in the process. By demanding ecclesial fidelity first and foremost and demanding that the church attend to its calling as church, no one is saying that the individual believer should embrace evil behavior. On the other hand, it is clear that we should not compromise the gospel by adding to its demands (in the case of folks like the Baylys) by disciplining those who are insufficiently politically active on the one hand or those who compromise ecclesial fidelity by making common cause with non-believers (think moral majority) on the other. Make the church be the church and get those spiritual concerns right, then let individual believers follow their conscience as they judge how best to navigate a hostile culture in their situation. Hate evil to be sure. But how that expresses itself in terms of working as a lawyer, doctor, professor, etc… is not dictated in scripture.

    Therefore, there is no unique Christian way to be a lawyer, doctor, professor, etc… any more than there is a unique Christian perspective on whether or not to buy meat sacrificed to idols. We should all follow our conscience as we love our neighbors, seek to ensure we don’t cause fellow christians to stumble, work with our hands, mind our business, and seek to be at peace with everyone (insofar as it depends on us). This is 2k.

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  186. vdm, m, you should not be bothered by the comparison with Islam. They have as much a problem with the post-French Revolution West as Kuyperians.

    But then you’d have to finally deal with Machen waxing eloquent in praise of Kuyperians. Your next project should be titled “Machen:The Functional Islamist.”

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  187. Culturalists seek affirmation from men (Feel as I do! Adopt my program!) and may even lack faith (God can’t do X if we/you don’t do Y!). And they can be arrogant, believing that they have found the way to fix everything. I used to work with a sociopath who one day, in a revealing moment of clarity, said “If everyone would just do as I say!!!” without a hint of irony or self awareness. If the descriptor fits, wear it.

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  188. DC-16, “a” passed the punctuation baton to Ali. In fact, that transition was virtually seamless, so no one even noticed that “a” was gone.

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  189. Sdb: no one is saying that the individual believer should embrace evil behavior.

    Zrim: wax moralist–abortion; the gay thing, too, which is about to swallow up our first borns and western civ.

    But are ones actually saying hate evil ,as the Lord does. Don’t really hear that here unequivocally, do you?.

    Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thess 5:21-22

    CW: But ctrl-v bible verses, I know.

    Hypocrisy: Saying our war is spiritual Acting: as if His word is not a primary weapon, even mocking bible-quoters

    CW: Punctuation
    did you read sdb above …… punctuation….is not dictated in scripture!

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  190. A Christian lawyer may have a certain manner of dealing with people in his office. He’s not profane, perhaps he promotes positive results over full-tilt aggression and scorched earth tactics. But I’ve seen that out of irreligious left-wing lawyers. Is there something about the cases or clients that makes a law practice “Christian”? But remember the adversarial system – how often can it be considered a breach of Christian ethics to provide competent representation for one side of a civil dispute?

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  191. Ali, do you actually think before you quote?

    Daniel asked for permission?

    Did the county clerk? Do the critics of 2k ever aspire to sticking it in the other guys eye? I’m surprised you’d fall in with that crowd, you’re so gentle and kind, you.

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  192. Mark, in the few times you’ve been here I can’t really say I’ve found anything objectionable about your decision-making in private practice.

    Glad to hear no objection to my functional Islamism. 🙂

    But, in theory, what is Christian law practice?

    This could get expansive, but thinking it best to keep it limited. For now, I think I’ve already laid some premises down, the foundation being Psalm 2 (Christ’s Lordship over the nations) and Colossians 3 (as Christians, consecrating our labors to Christ the King). From there, it becomes application of Christ’s moral law and Scripture’s exposition of it to the case at hand. The “structure/direction” distinction has been helpful to discern how to apply those principles when evaluating a given statute, tactic, or goal within a particular case.

    In the meantime, I highly commend to you the recently published work of Franciscus Junius, “The Mosaic Polity”. I found it immensely enlightening (and mind stretching) in tracing the relationship of the eternal law, divine law, natural law, and the Decalogue. Still working through the implications of that work for my practice– and probably will for some time.

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  193. vdm, m, your problem is that Machen and Kuyper were both advocates of a secular government. You’re not even Kuyperian, or a Machen warrior child who only reads Dutch.

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  194. vdm, m, you still haven’t answered how your Christian lawyering which involves a vow to uphold a set of laws that protect idolaters and blasphemers fits with being Mosaic.

    You can keep avoiding it since it is impossible for you to answer having painting yourself into a theonomic-secularist corner.

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  195. Muddy, they are more righteous because they say they are more righteous.

    And they surround themselves with people who obediently bleat assent when they say how more righteous they are.

    And then they come out from under their rock and post on here how they are more righteous and find we don’t agree.

    Our consent must be important for them to try out their little act.

    Still not sure how a Christian architect is superior inherently to a non-Christian one. Same goes for a doctor or plumber or lawyer or crossing guard.

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  196. Mark, the Islam thing is obviously bothering you. In the past I’ve seen it used to say “there is an analogy between the way you see the relationship between religion and the civil sphere and the way radical Islam does.” I know some people (reconstructionists) who would not be offended by that analogy.

    I see the principles you have articulated, but I would really like to know if you think it looks different in terms of which clients are served, which cases are taken up, and what tactics are employed. Maybe later on we can deal with professional ethics as opposed to biblical ethics.

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  197. Ali, do you actually think before you quote?

    DG, remember I’m illiterate and unintelligent, so that is not a fair nor kind question

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  198. One time I had to interview a person accused of fraud, he insisted he couldn’t have done this because he was a Christian.

    He was so holy that he had a shrine of Christian things on a little table beside his desk. It was impressive. When he asked for coffee to be brought in for the four of us, his assistant automatically carried the tray right to the little table and stopped a foot above the shrine, almost crushing it.

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  199. The Islam comment was a little out of line, but not totally uncalled for in the context of the discussion or people coming on here just to start a skunk spray contest.

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  200. Kent, no doubt you have noticed that if a guy mentions his religiosity or high ethics in the first conversation he’s sure to be dirty.

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  201. As Mud noted, I’m interested in how the Christian Lawyer thing bears upon the ethics of a vigorous advocacy in a purposely structured adversarial system( In order to best insure a fair judicial process-not perfect mind you). It’s akin to wanting the best surgeon. I care little for his quiet time or lack thereof. In fact, at this point, if you’re hanging the ichthus on your sign, I’m likely to pass you up. And why would a lawyer rethinking his entire profession and how to bring mosaic norms to bear upon it, inspire confidence? Focus on my case, how best to advocate for me and keep your pipe dreams and woulda/shoulda/couldas away from me.

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  202. Muddy, a man gets cynical about people saying they are a Christian and that means their work life is righteous…

    And then you meet a soul with a simple and childlike faith in true sincerity and it opens up one’s heart to the possibility that it can happen.

    But not with lawyers, real estate sharks car salesmen, not to say that all are forbidden from having a strong and honest life of righteousness.

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  203. “But not with lawyers, real estate sharks car salesmen…”

    Pretty sure that’s a quote from The New Living Translation of the Bible.

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  204. Sean, a lawyer can often get involved in a deal where one party is taken to the cleaners unfairly due to the other side:

    1. Having better negotiating skills
    2. Hiring better Counsel due to wealth
    3. Holding back key info by not fully telling the truth
    4. Hiring experts who are great at keel hauling weaker adversaries
    5. Aiding and abetting the police to reach their barrier for a rush to judgment and pushing for more leverage than is just; often the accused is a poor and desperate person who will now be ruined for life over something trivial

    And it’s legal and the process isn’t meant to be fair, and it’s part of the job, but it has to have some bearing on those claiming pure holiness in their work, doesn’t it?

    I’d like to see it proclamated.

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  205. Muddy, when one’s vocation is steeped with people skills and the other party is basically helpless and ignorant in negotiation, it can lead to the temptation to take advantage, even in a fully legal and ethical way.

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  206. Kent, aside from paying for better advocacy(quite an aside), I’m not sure how rethinking the judicial process by bringing in an overtly religious concern does anything more than muddy the waters and give a professional another rock to hide his incompetency behind, ‘ but I prayed about it hard.’ How do Christians own the corner on doing what is ‘right’? It’s a cultic refinement, even separation, we vow and profess competency and guidance about.

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  207. Scripture tells me time and time again not to take advantage of the poor or meek or defenceless in the sphere of religion or the other sphere of life.

    It is very very hard to carry this out in both worlds.

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  208. Sean, I may just be stating things that aren’t being said in order to get a neo to craft a better answer in order to convince me that 2K is wrong and impractical.

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  209. I would imagine an every square inch real estate agent would tell a brother in the Lord about every possible flaw in rhe house to be purchased, those known and those probable, and be willing to reduce the price accordingly.

    At the very least he wouldn’t forge the brothers signature on a document and put the person in debt for half a million.

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  210. Kent,

    I know Christians who have common fraud, and the crazy thing is that they are so blind to their own motivations and actions that they were blind to the fact that they committed fraud in the first place. It’s disheartening to see how sociopathic some Christians behavior can be while being totally naïve to how they are affecting others.

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  211. vdm, m, your problem is that Machen and Kuyper were both advocates of a secular government.

    You must mean “secular” in the sense of their praising the consecration of all vocations to the Lord and bringing “all things in relation to the gospel”. Remember, that led to Christian schools and Christian lawyering.

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  212. Jed, I know. I grew up in a church with the officers all seen in their fields as the scummiest real estate and car sales and legal sharks in town. Didn’t bother them at all.

    It’s hard to live in full godly truth and scruples in the workplace.

    Thankfully we have a Saviour who intercedes and leads us to repentance and restitution when it goes haywire.

    It’s a lot easier turning down my clients gray area wishes when I work for the D.A. Compared to the wishes of my defence clients.

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  213. Mark, the Islam thing is obviously bothering you.

    Actually, on a personal level, I’m not bothered. I’m glad folks could see the comparison made publicly.

    I see the principles you have articulated, but I would really like to know if you think it looks different in terms of which clients are served, which cases are taken up, and what tactics are employed. Maybe later on we can deal with professional ethics as opposed to biblical ethics.

    You asked me for “theory”, so I supplied a sketch. Now you’re back to application (which is entering the field of ethics). Haven’t I already provided examples that give a window into my approach to your questions?

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  214. dm, m, you still haven’t answered how your Christian lawyering which involves a vow to uphold a set of laws that protect idolaters and blasphemers fits with being Mosaic.

    That you reject the answer (think revised Belgic) doesn’t mean I haven’t answered.

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  215. Mark, you seem quite convinced that there is a uniquely Christian way of lawyering. You’ve thought about it and you’ve tried to put it into practice, probably for decades. I know of no one in a better position to describe a Christian lawyer than you. I’m sure you can do more than drop a couple hints and abstract principles.

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  216. Mark, I have given you a dozen real and vital areas of thought for actual application.

    Please pull your head out of the clouds(or wherever else you seem to lodge it) and try to give us some useful wisdom on daily life?

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  217. Jed/Kent, I’ve related this story before but it’s been a while. Consider two auto garages I have used. The first had tracts all over the place and was recommended to me by an evangelical. I had them work on my air conditioning, which worked when I started it in their parking lot. Within a block it no longer worked. So I brought the car back and their response was “it worked when it left our lot and that’s all we do.”

    The second guy makes no religious show and I doubt he is deeply religious. But he’s a guy who was bothered by the hard-sell routines and pricing of dealer garages so he went out on his own. Numerous times he’s told me that certain work didn’t need to be done and he gives me advice on how to save money on repairs in general. And he knows his Hondas.

    Which one was a Christian auto repair shop? Neither, but one did his job with integrity and skill.

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  218. Kent, as you know, that’s the whole game. It’s all rhetoric, it never had any feet. Turns out for all the kvetching, they have little idea besides pep rallys of god and ‘merica. The best they manage on the xian way front, is some theologian in residence in a house in Burbank, comes up with the ahistorical, aredemptive history idea of bring forward mosaic case law. Awesome.

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  219. Ali, there’s nothing against hating evil in these parts, but what’s not coming through from your side of the table is the idea of not judging only those inside the church and leaving judgment of those outside to God (1 Cor 6) and living quiet and peaceable lives (1 Thess 4).

    You like the Bible a lot but do you understand it?

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  220. As a Christian, a lawyer, and Reformed 2K, I don’t see a distinctively Christian way to practice law. There may be certain client or matters I would not take on, but I’m bound by the same ethical rules as the pagan in the office next door. And some of the best lawyers I have worked for and admire are not Christians, yet operate by the highest ethical standards of the profession versus “Christian” lawyers I know who have stolen money from clients and lied in pleadings.

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  221. iPhone typing sucks – committed fraud, not common fraud.

    Kent, Mud,

    So maybe putting the morning moniker “Christian” doesn’t actually mean anything when it comes to secular dealings? Maybe focussing on a job well done and basic ethics carries more weight in the common sphere.

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  222. Muddy G, I’ve discussed concrete examples:

    https://oldlife.org/2015/08/congregationalism-as-constantinianism/comment-page-3/#comment-346756

    https://oldlife.org/2015/08/congregationalism-as-constantinianism/comment-page-4/#comment-346875

    If you have a concrete example, pose it and I’ll consider it. But not interested in offering endless hypotheticals here when it’s clear to me hypos are desired as fodder for more ad-hom game playing, rather than gaining any life wisdom on this particular question.

    Cue the next round of ’em.

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  223. MG, so what to do when your neo-Cal mechanic and HVAC guys–like mine–are indeed superior to unbelieving ones? The explanation isn’t their faith, nor their theorizing, but does there need to even be an explanation? The neo-Cal thinks so, but wouldn’t that be an attempt to explain providence, contra Belgic 13? Do neo’s even read the confessions much anymore?

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  224. Or, Z how about the wisdom of a paying customer disassociating religion from competence and integrity? There goes the Christian Yellow Pages.

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  225. vdm, m, you mean this revised Belgic 36:

    The revised Belgic 36 confesses and identifies the higher law authority to which the magistrate is subject: “the civil rulers have the task, subject to the law of God,..” While it is stating the obvious, this plain language identifies the Law of God as norming the magistrate duties. Let’s also note what this language does not say. No division is made anywhere in Article 36 between the First table of the Law and the Second Table of Law. The article does not read that the magistrate performs his tasks “subject only to the Second Table of God’s law”. Rather, we have a positive and broad normative authority that encompasses both tables of the Law. . . .

    The Belgic confesses that the magistrate has a divine ordination to protect the church’s ministry with the divine goal that the kingdom of Christ may advance. Yes, we live in a religiously pluralistic society. The U.S. constitution protects the individual freedom of religion. However, we Reformed Christians do not (yet) confess that the Triune God has ordained earthly magistrates to specially protect and cultivate all anti-­‐Christian, Satanist, Buddhist, or Muslim religions with the goal that the anti-­‐Christ kingdoms of Buddha, Satan, or Islam’s Allah may advance.

    That Belgic 36?

    All the more reason you need to explain your oath to uphold a Constitution that provides liberty for Allah and Buddha to advance in these United States. Beware the rakes.

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  226. Mboss, sounds good to me. But we do feel a need for a higher standard, right? It’s just that you can’t declare it exhaustively, and have to laugh when someone claims they’ve solved it 100% but won’t lift a finger to tell us how.

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  227. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    All the more reason you need to explain your oath to uphold a Constitution that provides liberty for Allah and Buddha to advance in these United States. Beware the rakes.

    Not really. It was the Calvinists who came up with religious freedom as a natural right. But you already knew that, Dr. Calvinism: A History.

    http://tinyurl.com/q6nvm32

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  228. kent,

    Sure, there are situations where I may not adopt a certain tactic or give certain advice even if it would be ethical. Or, like I said, there may be certain matters or clients I would decline to be involved with. But I don’t have a great, overarching, unified theory of “Christian lawyering.” And I don’t see that it’s my purpose to bring Reconciliation or Justice or Shalom (or whatever vague term you want to insert) to the world. Rather, to paraphrase Luther, I want to provide clients good legal service at a fair price.

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  229. Zrim: Ali, You like the Bible a lot but do you understand it?

    I’m understanding it more (by the grace of God) – haven’t been at it all that long, relatively, yet . How about you? Even still, after it be many years, if I get so many, I understand this to be the case: 1 Cor 13:9,12

    Zrim: but what’s not coming through from your side of the table is the idea of not judging only those inside the church and leaving judgment of those outside to God (1 Cor 6) and living quiet and peaceable lives (1 Thess 4).

    I thought the discussion today was mostly: Mark: I trust you are not suggesting the alternative, that a Christian should pursue a case that conflicts with his morals

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  230. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, too bad the Dutch Calvinists of New Netherland didn’t know that.

    Yeah, and too bad for Michael Servetus too.

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  231. Always trust content from Dr. Calvinism: A History

    New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty

    Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, ISBN: 9780812244083; 384pp.; Price: £29.50
    Reviewer:
    Mr Steven Jaffe

    Mr Steven Jaffe, review of New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty, (review no. 1363)
    http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1363
    Date accessed: 27 August, 2015

    Evan Haefeli’s excellent new book, New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty, does nothing less than expand and transform our understanding of religious diversity and toleration in colonial Dutch North America. It will become required reading for anyone seriously interested in the early history of the mid-Atlantic colonies, the genesis of religious pluralism in America, or the history of religious toleration in the Dutch world. It will also be of use to scholars and students interested in seeing how a transatlantic approach to colonial American history can freshly illuminate sources already examined by generations of historians.

    New Netherland—the 17th-century colony of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) in what is today New York, New Jersey, and the Delaware Valley—occupies a distinctive place in historiography. American historians have long considered the Dutch colonial experience as a template for the emergence of cultures of diversity and competition that would ultimately shape American political and religious development. In the work of the popular writer Russell Shorto, Dutch New Netherland has even been posited as the cradle of modern American liberalism, with its live-and-let-live acceptance of social and cultural difference. The trope lives on in current political culture, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg invoking New York City’s tolerant Dutch origins to defend the building of an Islamic Cultural Center near the World Trade Center site. On the other hand, European historians have largely viewed New Netherland as something of a footnote. Rather than being the ‘island at the center of the world’ celebrated by Shorto, Manhattan and its environs are usually seen as a backwater neglected by Dutch sponsors who were far more interested in investing their resources in the fight with Portugal over Brazil and with Spain over various Caribbean islands.

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  232. vd, t, since you seem to prefer advertising copy to book’s contents, let me help you out:

    As scattered and as impoverished as the Dutch churches were, they maintained a monopoly on religious life in the colony. In the mother country religious toleration prevailed but colonial governments were free to determine most aspects of their societies. After 1650, when the West India Company tried to encourage additional settlers to join the enterprise, New Netherland began to attract Protestants from outside Reformed churches. In 1653 Lutherans in the colony planned to call their own minister. Quakers and Anabaptists presented another dilemma since neither group had professional clergy and each member of the group could potentially conduct services. Megapolensis and Drisius repeatedly petitioned the Classis of Amsterdam to pressure the directors of the colony to forbid worship that was not Reformed. (They also actively opposed religious freedom for Roman Catholics and Jewish colonists.) Not only did the pastors in Amsterdam support the colonial ministers but Stuyvesant himself, the son of a minister, sided with his clergy. In 1656 he prohibited all “public or private conventicles and meetings, except the usual and authorized ones, where God’s Word, according to the Reformed and established custom, is preached and taught in meetings held for the religious service of the Reformed, comformably to the Synod Dort. . .” When a Lutheran pastor arrived in the colony in 1657 he could not conduct services. He eventually returned to Europe. Even so, the directors of the Company back in the Netherlands worried about the consequences of such strictness and persuaded the colonial pastors to accommodate Lutherans at least by revising the baptismal formula.

    The colonial clergy were also on the lookout for the moral failings of church members. In fact, the novel setting of colonial life prompted Dutch pastors to try to reform morals and manners in ways that the mother country would not abide. Settlers in New Amsterdam, many single males without the domesticating influences of marriage or home life, tended to behave the way young bachelors perennially have. Records indicate fines and warnings for stealing, fighting, drunkenness, and failure to pay debts. Megapolensis experienced the threat of a knife from one disgruntled colonist, and also lost a significant portion of his possessions to a thief. In response, pastors petitioned the Classis of Amsterdam in 1648 to persuade the Company’s directors to close New Amsterdam’s taverns. If this policy were implemented, “much evil and great offense would be removed.” One pastor described the difficulty of ministering to settlers:

    There are many hearers, but not much saving fruit. . . . The people are rather reckless . . . [and] the taverns and villainous houses have many visitors. . . . The Company says that the congregation must pay the preacher. But they prefer to gamble away, or lose in bets, a ton of beer at twenty-three or twenty-four guilders, or some other liquor. I will say nothing against the better class; but of these there are too few to make up the salary.

    With support from Stuyvesant, pastors tried to preserve the integrity of Sundays as a day of worship and rest. The governor regularly issued decrees, at the instigation of clergy, to prohibit ordinary farming, constructing, and hunting or fishing on Sundays. Playing games and dancing during worship or between the morning and evening services were illegal. (Calvinism: A History, 100-101)

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  233. Quoting yourself as an authority? What a joke.

    http://tinyurl.com/nvsu9xo

    Obviously Evan Haefeli knows something you don’t.

    New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty

    Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, ISBN: 9780812244083; 384pp.; Price: £29.50

    As for your attack on Mr. Van Der Molen, where does Jesus command or sanction religious persecution over religious freedom, Dr. Fundamentalis? I swear, you’ll say anything when cornered.

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  234. 1650’s: New Netherland
    1910-1958–Kuyperian-driven Belgic revisions
    2015: Citing New Netherland to mock Machen-praised Kuyperianism

    #non-sequiterhistoricalobscurantism

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  235. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, come on. Defend Keller and DeYoung too. You’re not keeping up.

    #LAmakesuaslacker

    I was going to say I was sorry for being so hard on you, but emissions like this make think I’m not hard enough. Your unconcern for truth is inexcusable.

    As for being a slacker, Dr. r2k Calvinism: A Distorted History, I live like a king and because I don’t have a “brand,” I’m not a careerist who has to defend his notions to the death even when they’re proved to be bogus. I’m free to tell the truth, and I do.

    Calvinists can claim credit for the idea of religious freedom. That you write sophistries like

    All the more reason you need to explain your oath to uphold a Constitution that provides liberty for Allah and Buddha to advance in these United States. Beware the rakes.

    proves truth has no concern for you. And that’s why I get on your ass.

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  236. Jed,

    I’ve read your several replies to me and the article you provided several times over the last few days. Most everything you are saying makes a great deal of sense to me (even that the RCC currently has issues in term of where it is devoting its attention).

    I would be interested in reading more Van Drunen if you could point to the best path to getting to know his thoughts.

    A few questions:

    Do you see NAPARC churches (for example) as having duties to Christians who aren’t in formal communion with them, either qua institutions or via individual members?

    Are NAPARC churches responsible to correct members who are engaged in immoral behavior in their private lives?

    What is it about Mark’s description of his professional behavior that disqualifies it from warranting the term “Christian lawyering” -?

    It seems to me he has raised a few examples of professional behavior (refusal to take cases in which potential clients have “ungodly” motives, promoting reconciliation and arbitration where possible, concern for the spiritual well-being of clients) which arise from Scriptural teachings.

    Perhaps alternate explanations could be offered for some of these (with reference to natural law), but I don’t think all. Is the charge then that his behavior is a problematic mix of sacred and secular? Surely we should be concerned with the spiritual welfare of others in every context, insofar as they are inquiring and receptive.

    Is it that he ceases to be a lawyer in the examples he lists? Some pertain to courtroom strategy, others are with reference to means of resolving disputes. A lawyer’s job goes beyond assembling a case and arguing it- all (at least most) of our jobs call for more than just the set of skills unique to or particularly characteristic of our profession.

    Just trying to understand the nature of the disagreement.

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  237. Kevin, growing up in a fundamentalist church meant I had to hear constantly how one has to put the Lord first in every decision and every thought, every second of the day. When asked how to do this the response was to repeat the phrase louder and angrier each time. People demanding I do something without teaching me how, showed they didn’t have a clue themselves.

    This is sort of the same thing, people telling me to claim every square inch of the world for Christmas without giving even a 2% effort to describe how to do this. The slogan is supposed to carry the day, no time for questions on how to accomplish this.

    They are free to do this on their own, how can you stop them? It sure sounds religious and godly to state they have perfected righteousness in their whole life. When they show up to attack us, they have no answer for how to do this. Their indignation arises that we would dare to question them.

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  238. Oops, Christ and not Christmas, silly spell chexk

    Come to think of it, the task of claiming every square inch for the Christmas season would be hard enough. And most of those people condemn the thought of a Christmas season in the first place…

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  239. Kevin, surely as a Roman Catholic you might understand the weight of taking an oath to uphold a set of laws that makes no reference to God and that allows false religion to flourish. Turning down a morally complicated case here and there seems like small beer compared to the larger structure of which you are part by taking the oath. Americanism? And vdm, m is a promoter of w-w, the idea that Christian religion affects everything we do. Might it keep you from taking an oath to a system that puts your faith in a box (on vdm, m’s theory)?

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  240. Kent –

    This is very helpful, thanks.

    Kevin, growing up in a fundamentalist church meant I had to hear constantly how one has to put the Lord first in every decision and every thought, every second of the day. When asked how to do this the response was to repeat the phrase louder and angrier each time. People demanding I do something without teaching me how, showed they didn’t have a clue themselves.

    Sounds to me like an appropriation of the name of “Christian” without knowledge of its content – demanding sympathy insofar as people are only harming themselves, but it makes me wince to consider that this is considered ‘training in Christianity’ for children. Even in ignorance it doesn’t appear quite honest – as demonstrated by your example of a curious child.

    I truly don’t wish to be judgmental, but I would think this sort of approach would give children a false understanding of who Christ is (i.e., interfere with developing a personal relationship with Him) and, given the pervasive influence of the non-theistic media, leave them open to adopting a blase indifference to Christianity or even unsophisticated anti-Christian polemics.

    This is sort of the same thing, people telling me to claim every square inch of the world for Christ[] without giving even a 2% effort to describe how to do this. The slogan is supposed to carry the day, no time for questions on how to accomplish this.

    Well, Mark did offer some practical examples, although perhaps what you’re looking for (and believe cannot exist) is a methodology applicable to all secular activity.

    I’d be interested to see someone (Mark?) address it- I’m initially sympathetic to “Christian lawyering” (following from the idea of Christ the King as Lord of the Universe), and skeptical of any implication that we should keep our religion to ourselves and just apply the law, correspondence with truth and consequences be damned – but I’d need to see the concept clarified and the case for it made.

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  241. Mark, to cut off any possible misunderstanding, I do not contend you aren’t within your rights to conduct your practice as you wish and don’t contend that you have practiced with anything but integrity and skill. Remember the issue: is it meaningful to speak of specifically “Christian” law practice.

    I have not seen you claim that legal analysis, the drafting of pleadings, or oral advocacy – most of the activities people associate with attorneys – can be performed in a uniquely Christian way. Here is what you contend for:
    ________________
    there are a range of decisions–within the broad discretion afforded by the law–that a Christian lawyer can make that would distinguish one from a non-Christian lawyer. For example, a client may have an ungodly motive/goal in the case, and even though he may be permitted to pursue it and have his day in court, I can and have declined such. The non-Christian lawyer down the road is often happy to take the case. I have counseled clients to seek alternative dispute resolution law to good effect, saving them years of exhausting litigation and costly attorney fees. I have used strategies in litigation that rather than scoring scorched earth victory (which rarely is true “victory”) have brought a recalcitrant party to see the need for reconciliation. I have appealed to client’s moral sensibilities and counseled them find true spiritual peace even as they seek justice.
    ___________

    So you sometimes urge a course that that keeps costs low, minimizes antagonism, and doesn’t leave the other side as a victim of a scorched earth approach. I like this this approach on the whole, recognizing its unselfishness from a billing approach and guessing that it will more likely lead to people getting along (or at least being less bitter) after litigation. But the question is whether this is uniquely Christian. You are well aware that there is a trend towards arbitration and approaches the minimize the damage caused by a “litigate first” / scorched earth approach. I have seen irreligious liberals taking this approach with great success. I would say that both you and the irreligious attorneys are acting in accordance with your judgment and conscience but that it is not a uniquely “Christian” approach.

    The other piece I see here is your rejection of certain clients because you disagree with their “unjust” goals. That’s not a lot of information for this kind of analysis but my first reaction is that unbelievers can have a keen sense of justice and they, too, refuse clients.

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  242. DG –

    Kevin, surely as a Roman Catholic you might understand the weight of taking an oath to uphold a set of laws that makes no reference to God and that allows false religion to flourish. […] Americanism?

    It seems to me that when we swear loyalty to the state, that loyalty is contingent on the state serving the well-being of society. We should work for better laws in statute and legal judgment, but not require perfection.

    An improvement in the legal structure is secondary to an improvement in the spiritual status of society (via private evangelization).

    Some states lose legitimacy – Communist Russia, Elizabethan England – when they become institutions whose end is to destroy the fundamental constitution (traditions) of the society. I don’t think it can be defended the U.S. has gotten quite to this point, although it may in my lifetime (I pray it won’t).

    In the meantime, while I would rather like to see the U.S. undergo a massive conversion to traditional Christianity and develop a receptivity to the Bavarian Wittelsbachs (heirs to the Jacobite claims) or other fine men as American monarchs, this is of course unlikely in the extreme.

    I take the 1790-1860 U.S. ideal to be classical republicanism – which would be a fine system as well. But it isn’t what we have, and it isn’t coming back. So even if we are or will soon be in, to state it strongly, a pseudo-socialist totalitarian capitalist leviathan (gov-sponsored dispensing of ostensible benefits to maintain a stability which financially and politically benefits a relatively small group of interests who prey upon the remainder of society – aka, state-sponsored usury), we’re called to rightly-understood loyalty and patriotism.

    And vdm, m is a promoter of w-w, the idea that Christian religion affects everything we do. Might it keep you from taking an oath to a system that puts your faith in a box (on vdm, m’s theory)?

    I think I could always take an oath to be loyal to the state “in all just matters” or something similar. But we’re a long way from the state requiring a formal renunciation of Christianity or openly persecuting Christians.

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  243. HEY OL ATTORNEYS! Mboss, ADD, Richard, Bobby – what say ye?
    __________

    Mark, we both practice in the Midwest. I’m guessing your experience is like mine – as a rule, opposing attorneys are trustworthy, cordial, and generally reasonable in their litigation approaches. There are exceptions, of course, but I would saying the most successful attorneys with a national practice actually tend to be among the most cordial and trustworthy. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no doubt whom they represent – but they aren’t sleazy & deceitful.
    ___________

    Last night I saw a most unfortunate local news story. A roofing contractor drew up an contract, had an elderly lady sign it when there was basically no financial commitment in it, then he added all kinds of numbers on it afterwards and now wants $8,000 from her for no work done. His company is “Roof One” and printed on his van is “Quality & Reliability” & “John 3:16.”

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  244. “I would rather like to see the U.S. undergo a massive conversion to traditional Christianity and develop a receptivity to the Bavarian Wittelsbachs (heirs to the Jacobite claims)”

    Some days are better than others, but OL is seldom boring. Carry on, Newark!

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  245. How do you discern whether a client has an “ungodly motive/goal” in a case? Do you reject all cases in which you discern such an “ungodly motive/goal”?

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  246. Muddy isn’t the distinctive of being a Christian lawyer or Christian-anything acknowledging the Lord in all one’s ways and as the source of any good work, decision, outcome etc. Non-Christians can and do make good decisions and do good things, they just don’t think the source of that grace is their Creator, but themselves,forsaking Him, hewing their own cisterns.

    In Him we live and move and exist, Acts 17: 28

    What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Cor 4: 7

    to each one grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Eph 4:7

    The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; Acts 17:24 -25

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  247. I am a Christian and I have a job, but I don’t advertise/promote myself a “Christian jobber” of that job.

    I try to do all things to the glory of God, but often fail.

    What am I doing wrong?

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  248. Ali, I am also vehemently opposed to men hewing their own cisterns. Let another hew your cistern, and not yourself. And attorneys should definitely “live and move and have our being” in God.

    John 3:16.

    Hey, guys, never mind: Ali has figured it all out.

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  249. jasitek : What am I doing wrong?

    comparing and judging jasitek?

    Muddy, Ha, I thought Bible-quoting might bring our your wrath but that couldn’t stop me, but it was a sincere comment meant to discuss but whatever, Muddy, ad hom away.

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  250. anyway, muddy, also since I have everything figured out,a suggest :since kent is lamenting never being provided useful application of ‘acting Christian’ in the world, maybe you could give him some ‘Christian-blog-commenting-tips’ and demonstrate those. Or if there aren’t any (because it’s not Sunday nor ‘in church’), you could confirm that for him.

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  251. Ali, Hallmark Card Theology can be cute and endearing from a new believer but for others it’s a way to feel/look pious while not really helping anyone or solving anything.

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  252. Wonder what ‘Hallmark Card Theology is’. Can you explain?

    And since I’m ‘pious’ I can say how exactly is it you are helping anyone or solving anything? by the work of your own hands? His word doesn’t help or solve anything?

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  253. Kevin, it could also be they were trying to put some scare into us youth, to avoid those blatant pitfalls to ruin one’s life before it got going. Didn’t make a diff though, they would scream at those like me who were never going to to that kind of stuff in the first place, because we didn’t fight back.

    It all boils down to the City of God and the City of man and how you divide the diffs and responsibilities for each when you have a stake in the City of God. It’s easy to flap one’s mouth off and demand a control of the City of man by Christians, 100% of it. Explaining it to those of us who would like this but don’t put any faith in it’s implementation is impossible for them.

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  254. Tell us how your Bible verses tell us which clients to take, which cases to take, and how to perform in litigation.

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  255. Muddy: Tell us how your Bible verses tell us which clients to take, which cases to take, and how to perform in litigation.

    Muddy, I was appreciating Mark and yours and others sincere discussion about that. I truly thought I was adding along with that by saying “a Christian-anything acknowledges the Lord in all one’s ways and as the source of any good work, decision, outcome etc. Non-Christians can and do make good decisions and do good things, they just don’t think the source of that grace is their Creator, but themselves”.

    I mention a brief story – A few years back, I had made a decision about a benevolence case, I felt the Lord essentially asking me how I came to that decision after the fact. It was convicting because:: 1) I hadn’t sought Him really for any wisdom but was relying on my own stuff and; 2) I felt it was a preview of discussions we will have with Him.

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  256. Ali, none of that determines whether to sign the deal with Iraq. Someone who acknowledges the Lord in everything supports the deal. The same goes for someone who opposes the deal. So what difference does acknowledging the Lord in everything make?

    Or does it simply make you think you are being pious when you are really being undiscerning?

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  257. DG:So what difference does acknowledging the Lord in everything make?

    aw DG, I hope you’re kidding.

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Prov 3:5 -7

    The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Prov 16:9

    each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 1 Cor 3:13

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  258. without giving even a 2% effort to describe how to do this. The slogan is supposed to carry the day, no time for questions on how to accomplish this.

    Kent, I was asked theory and concrete cases, and I answered. I offered to consider further examples. What qualifies to exceed the 2% and how would I measure that?

    And then they come out from under their rock and post on here how they are more righteous and find we don’t agree….

    …people saying they are a Christian and that means their work life is righteous
    It sure sounds religious and godly to state they have perfected righteousness in their whole life.

    …on those claiming pure holiness in their work

    Kent, this is a gross distortion of what I’ve argued. Nothing I’ve said claims perfect righteousness or holiness in my work. I fail at the ideal every day. I previously said I’m still learning in terms of consecrating my labor to the Lord, and undoubtedly will for the rest of my days. I trust that over time I wold be able to look back and see by His Spirit I’ve gained more understanding in how I may serve Christ’s kingdom.

    When they show up to attack us, they have no answer for how to do this. Their indignation arises that we would dare to question them….

    Not indignant being questioned. As I said, I’ve provided answers to questions in theory and in practice. I have offered to consider answering more questions. I’m pessimistic they will ever satisfy you if you really think that I am claiming to have this “100% figured out”.

    But false accusations of self-righteous holiness do not sit well. Nor do they do anything to encourage more participation on the topic.

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  259. mark, this just goes around in a circle endlessly and patience runs out in less and less time each time you do this here

    you win, you are 100% correct, sorry i ever doubted anything you had to say, hope i can become like you some day

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  260. I’m not a full-time litigator. It is a very small part of my practice. Litigation can be nasty and soul-crushing. It doesn’t require you to be unethical, but it can be all law, no grace, no pun intended. If your approach to practicing law is Bible-verse quoting, saccharine, Christian pietism, you will last about a New York minute.

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  261. Mark, this is very similar to the theonomists-Bahnsen, working on how exactly we want to apply mosaic case law to a modern nation state-‘it’s difficult’ and we’re still waiting. Or waiting on the pope for his inspired commentaries on sacred writ. Until then, you’ve got the rhetoric to fall back on.

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  262. this just goes around in a circle endlessly and patience runs out

    Agreed. Sincerely retract the false “self-righteous/perfect holiness” accusation and perhaps we can have a productive conversation.

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  263. Scalia writes:

    [I]n my view the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted, constitutional laws and sabotaging death penalty cases. He has, after all, taken an oath to apply the laws and has been given no power to supplant them with rules of his own. Of course if he feels strongly enough he can go beyond mere resignation and lead a political campaign to abolish the death penalty” and if that fails, lead a revolution. But rewrite the laws he cannot do.

    The author of the article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/02/justice-scalia-explains-why-kim-davis-should-issue-marriage-licenses-to-same-sex-couples-or-find-a-new-job/?postshare=9101441205047186) uses this as an analogy for why the Kentucky clerk should issue SSM licenses but it could have other applications. Note that Scalia does not even consider avoiding an obligation on the grounds of a private interpretation of an oath taken. Then he offers a choice: set aside your personal convictions while performing your job or quit the job.

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  264. per Muddy: Then he offers a choice: set aside your personal convictions while performing your job or quit the job. – author of the article

    It can be said in jest or an empty boast but unfortunately it comes down to where the rubber meets the road…

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  265. Kent, theory is easier than practice. But there’s a sense of this that is true in confessional churches, yes? If a man cannot in good conscience uphold his ordination vows he should leave his denomination rather than violate them?

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  266. As an aside, it’s interesting to me how often one’s comfort zone gets reinterpreted as ‘of faith’ or “what my religious conscience will allow’ or ‘peace of Christ’. Maybe God is putting you under pressure and tension to grow you, not to have you retreat from it.

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  267. Muddy, depends on what you have in mind for failing to uphold ordination vows. I am aware of a few officers who do not fit in harmony with their denomination.

    Certain denominations have a wide carriage of w-w views and definitions for living in piety, and they get to find out how wide it can be sometimes….

    I have always maintained that tension is required in order to run a board effectively, and that minority opinions are welcome to a point.

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  268. Kevin, a state that allows idolatry to flourish? That’s a big matter. Remember the first table of the Decalogue.

    It’s the only state we’ve got – the only one serving the people of the US, who form the society I belong to and whom I have responsibilities towards.

    I lament its errors, particularly its failure to truly cohere into a proper society (which I think correlates with addressing the errors of religion and morality), but as those take origin in the society it arises from, it is towards society – not the state – that I believe most of our efforts should be directed.

    Sure I could move to Malta or Lichtenstein and change one set of national concerns for another (less problematic) set, but in the process I would be abandoning my responsibilities to the society which gave me the language I speak, the necessities and comforts of life, a historical place in human history, my social relationships, a context in which to practice virtue.

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  269. D. G. Hart ali, rinse repeat.

    Amen DG. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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  270. Kevin, and part of my point is to get vdm, m (and other w-wists) that they too are not “abandoning [their] responsibilities to the society which gave [them] the language [they] speak, the necessities and comforts of life, a historical place in human history, [their] social relationships, a context in which to practice virtue” even while claiming that 2kers have abandoned their lord and their integrity.

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  271. Kevin,

    I’ll get to your the questions in your response as soon as possible, but to echo Kent, you have an very realistic sense of how we get along in this society. It’s nice to have Catholic conversants who a) aren’t selling a Rome that doesn’t exist (CtC), and b) aren’t hyperventilating over various Catholic-right or Catholic-left issues (the righties seem to gravitate here). It opens up the door for meaningful dialogue and understanding.

    The only other commenter here (I don’t get the chance to read all of CVD’s so I’ll suspend judgement there) that seems to have much of a sense of what being Catholic really means, good and bad, is our resident cradle turned Reformed sean. So kudos to you, and I’ll work through your questions as soon.

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  272. Kent –

    Thanks for the kind words; aren’t you in Canada? I think the Quebecois are more likely to report ethnicity as “canadien(ne)” than those from other Provinces (perhaps because they believe France betrayed them long ago; they were also great supporters of the UK monarchy, I think, until the 1960s). Do you think there is a genuine sense of cultural kinship between the anglophones and francophones?

    DG – I see what you’re saying, although that perhaps is often kept an unstated assumption. Perhaps understandable after stating opinions on a blog for so many years- you can’t reiterate everything to everyone, all at once, all the time.

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  273. I have not seen you claim that legal analysis, the drafting of pleadings, or oral advocacy – most of the activities people associate with attorneys – can be performed in a uniquely Christian way.

    Structure of research, pleadings, advocacy is different from their direction. So yes, I have claimed that as case circumstances dictate, the legal analysis, content of pleadings, examination of witnesses, presentation of evidence, and argument to the court can be done in a Christ honoring direction.

    Consider a pagan secular psychologist appointed by court to make recommendation on custody of a child. Father is agnostic, has no interest in religion, and wants the child in government schools. Mother is a Reformed Christian, stay at home mother, who wants to raise the child in the faith, attend church, and be taught in the Christian schools. Broad legal standard in determining custody is “best interest of the child”.

    Pagan psychologist recommends it is in child’s best interest to live with father. The pagan psychologist reasons that child has more opportunities in the government school, the mother’s faith is not a determining factor, but if considered, the court should know there are signs that “Reformed” is a fringe group that could be detrimental to the child’s long term social development as a citizen and may be evidence of the mother’s emotional instability. Pagan pysch further considers the stay- at home- mother irresponsible for not working enough to break free from dependence on the Christian community’s assistance in raising the child.

    Could a Christian lawyer’s approach to the cross-examination of the psychologist, presentation of witnesses, and argument to the court be distinctively shaped by his Christianity vis a vis a secular lawyer’s handling of the case?

    If so, would that violate both the attorney oath and our Reformed confession?

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  274. Kevin, militant Quebecois separatism is at a minimum now. My recent travels to Montreal for work and leisure have been with no incident at all. A little different at times during the last 45 or so years though…

    We are heading into a federal election in mid-October and I have no clue what will happen.

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  275. Jed –

    Thanks, although be warned as the dialogue continues I am bound to say some things you think are foolish.

    I’ve always liked this quote (Dominicans, abbreviated O.P. for Order of Preachers, are usually reliable, a few major mid-20th c heretics notably excepted):

    “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations” – Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

    I wonder if the fact most education and culture has traditionally come associated with religion (even today, most are introduced to philosophy through God-puzzles, I think) plays a role in, e.g., advocating that a legal system should be based upon Christian agape (just watched on Youtube Van Drunen get the better of a law professor on the topic) rather than justice based in natural law. The position seems like well-intentioned confusion to me.

    As I see it, yes, God created everything including the fundamentals of human nature which serve as the basis for (or perhaps better, generate) natural law; and I do think everything needs to exist in a proper relation to the divine plan for creation; but that doesn’t entail muddling categories, which can only lead to confusion, often dangerous (state-approved-ideology-as-truth-determiner; Christianity-is-xyz-because-I-say-so).

    A few more questions:
    -Would you say it is an accurate statement that Van Drunen believes civil law should take its origin in natural law alone?
    -Would he agree that natural law includes the existence of God?
    -The need to worship God (although presumably nothing regarding how to do so)?
    -The existence of the Church?
    -Can a civil code make any reference to God or His Church at all? Should it ever?

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  276. DG Hart Ali, now towel off.

    Oh.. wait… I thought we were talking about you.
    It’s only your feet though, so probably only need a towelette , unless …….” He knew the one(s) who were betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13: 11 !

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  277. Kevin,

    Thanks, although be warned as the dialogue continues I am bound to say some things you think are foolish.

    No worries there man. The only person I agree with 100% here is me.

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  278. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:01 am | Permalink
    vd, t, ” I live like a king and because I don’t have a “brand.”

    Using yourself to approve yourself?

    Anyone laughing?

    No.

    Your personal attacks are as unfunny as they are pitiful. Meanwhile, the adult in the discussion continues to leave radical 2k dumbfounded. [Except for their attacks on him.]

    Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
    I have not seen you claim that legal analysis, the drafting of pleadings, or oral advocacy – most of the activities people associate with attorneys – can be performed in a uniquely Christian way.

    Structure of research, pleadings, advocacy is different from their direction. So yes, I have claimed that as case circumstances dictate, the legal analysis, content of pleadings, examination of witnesses, presentation of evidence, and argument to the court can be done in a Christ honoring direction.

    Consider a pagan secular psychologist appointed by court to make recommendation on custody of a child. Father is agnostic, has no interest in religion, and wants the child in government schools. Mother is a Reformed Christian, stay at home mother, who wants to raise the child in the faith, attend church, and be taught in the Christian schools. Broad legal standard in determining custody is “best interest of the child”.

    Pagan psychologist recommends it is in child’s best interest to live with father. The pagan psychologist reasons that child has more opportunities in the government school, the mother’s faith is not a determining factor, but if considered, the court should know there are signs that “Reformed” is a fringe group that could be detrimental to the child’s long term social development as a citizen and may be evidence of the mother’s emotional instability. Pagan pysch further considers the stay- at home- mother irresponsible for not working enough to break free from dependence on the Christian community’s assistance in raising the child.

    Could a Christian lawyer’s approach to the cross-examination of the psychologist, presentation of witnesses, and argument to the court be distinctively shaped by his Christianity vis a vis a secular lawyer’s handling of the case?

    If so, would that violate both the attorney oath and our Reformed confession?

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  279. Jed, I need some more water. And can we get an egg white omelet with shallots sliced really fine for us all to pick on and go ahead and get strawberry frappes for everyone. MVD, needs two straws. Thanks.

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  280. “Could a Christian lawyer’s approach to the cross-examination of the psychologist, presentation of witnesses, and argument to the court be distinctively shaped by his Christianity vis a vis a secular lawyer’s handling of the case?

    If so, would that violate both the attorney oath and our Reformed confession?”

    The approach of any lawyer would be to cross-exam in the way that is best designed to convince the judge to rule for his client, including an attempt undermine the credibility of the expert if it seems likely to be fruitful. So if you take the judge to be anti-religious you subdue that part but if the Reformed religion would be a plus for the judge you give it more emphasis. This would be the same regardless of your religious/faith perspective.

    This being the case, I don’t understand your question.

    PS if the father was a nominal Catholic conservative with a history of alienating the readers of one blog after another I would make sure he was on the stand as long as possible until the judge is so annoyed he can’t wait to rule in favor of my client.

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  281. Kevin, don’t tell me what to do. I don’t ask permission and I don’t wait to be invited. And you have to keep it to a paragraph. I’m thoroughly internet trained at this point and my tolerance level for belaboring the obvious is nil.

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  282. vdm, m, Reformed mother vs. pagan secular psychologist. What are the odds?

    Let’s say it’s a Muslim mother vs. pagan secular HUMANIST psychologist.

    Do you take the case?

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  283. Or, let’s say you’re a URC deacon with objections to CO Article 14 about charging elders to promote a form of schooling without any biblical justification. You’re asked to provide the congregational prayer for the Christian school fund offering, then cut and provide the check.

    Do you do it?

    Yes, for reasons that have some similarity to why Christian bakers should bake the cake, pharmacists dispense the birth control, and judges grant the no-fault divorce–you’ve signed on to a role that serves the larger community despite whatever personal convictions that same community doesn’t recognize. Your other option is to resign.

    So are the resident worldviewers able to indulge the thought experiment: defending the religionist who wants special treatment afforded him in his secular vocation on the basis of religious liberty is a tad like defending the 2k deacon demanding that the church allow him to withhold day school funds so long as he is a deacon. Could you do it?

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  284. vdm, m, Reformed mother vs. pagan secular psychologist. What are the odds?

    Odds enough to make it a real case.

    Let’s say it’s a Muslim mother vs. pagan secular HUMANIST psychologist.

    Do you take the case?

    As my law professor said, don’t change the facts until you deal with the ones presented.

    Darryl Hart unwilling to give a straight answer to the questions on the facts presented–what are those odds?

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  285. Let’s say it’s a Muslim mother vs. pagan secular HUMANIST psychologist.
    Do you take the case?

    As my law professor said, don’t change the facts until you deal with the ones presented.”

    vdm, m takes the fifth…

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  286. Mark Van Der Molen
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, Reformed mother vs. pagan secular psychologist. What are the odds?

    —Odds enough to make it a real case.

    Let’s say it’s a Muslim mother vs. pagan secular HUMANIST psychologist.

    Do you take the case?

    —As my law professor said, don’t change the facts until you deal with the ones presented.

    Darryl Hart unwilling to give a straight answer to the questions on the facts presented–what are those odds?

    Heh heh, you nailed Himself yet again, as he’s always arguing the exception against the rule, reducing every discussion into meaninglessness.

    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’

    Blahblahblah, Jesus. But what about hermaphrodites??

    Rock on, Darryl G. Hart. Mr. Van Der Molen has your number.

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  287. TVD:
    Heh heh, you nailed Himself yet again, as he’s always arguing the exception against the rule, reducing every discussion into meaninglessness.

    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’

    Blahblahblah, Jesus. But what about hermaphrodites??

    Rock on, Darryl G. Hart. Mr. Van Der Molen has your number.>>>>>

    Radical 2K theology = Seinfeld theology. The theology about nothing.

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  288. Well done Mark, you have again sowed pointless dissent amongst believers with your only allies being Tom and that other one (who has shown his or her high intellectual and theological achievement after hundreds of posts with a lame Seinfeld reference.)

    The name of Christ has been blasphemed by these two as they jump into your game of mockery of a legitimate form of Calvinism.

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  289. vd, t, maybe, but Pew has yours:

    In all, 45 percent of Americans say they are either Catholic, or are connected to Catholicism. That larger percentage includes “Cultural Catholics” (making up nine percent of those surveyed) who are not practicing Catholics but who identify with the religion in some way; and “ex-Catholics” (also nine percent) who were formerly Catholic but no longer identify with Catholicism at all. And another eight percent said they had some other connection to Catholicism, for instance by having a Catholic partner or spouse. For the purposes of the survey, Pew kept each category mutually exclusive.

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  290. vd, t, speaking of numbers, save some of your invective for Pew:

    And most Catholics, no matter what their family structure, are comfortable with a wide variety of family arrangements that the church does not encourage. The survey asked which family structures are acceptable and as good as any other for rearing children. It found:

    94 percent say a married mother and father is acceptable, although 4 percent of those say it isn’t as good as some other arrangements.
    87 percent say a single parent is acceptable.
    84 percent say the same for unmarried parents living together.
    83 percent say the same for divorced parents (although Catholics have a significantly lower divorce rate than Protestants and people who claim no religious identity).
    And 66 percent of Catholics say gay or lesbian couples are acceptable for rearing children. That includes 43 percent who say this arrangement is as good as any other family structure. . . .

    Catholic doctrine teaches that artificial contraception interferes with true union in a marriage and that couples should always be open to God’s gift of children. However, in the survey:

    76 percent of Catholics — including 65 percent of Catholics who attend Mass once a week — say their church should allow them to use artificial birth control.
    41 percent say being open to having children is essential to what it means to them personally to be Catholic. Another 41 percent say it’s important but not essential.
    33 percent call opposing abortion “essential” and 34 percent call it important.
    No matter how far Catholics stray from the doctrinal path in their attitudes or actions, the pull of the family is strong.

    The Pew survey found 56 percent of Catholics — and 46 percent of ex-Catholics, too — say they sometimes participate in Catholic activities such as Mass or attending a family baptism or holiday observance, just because they are important to family or close friends, even if they don’t personally believe in them.

    Aren’t family values great? Where are yours?

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  291. DG-

    another eight percent said they had some other connection to Catholicism, for instance by having a Catholic partner or spouse.

    Sodomizing an apostate counts as a “connection to Catholicism” -?

    94 percent say a married mother and father is acceptable, although 4 percent of those say it isn’t as good as some other arrangements.

    I was puzzling over this last night, DG – nearly one in twenty “Catholics” report that being raised by a married mother and father is inferior to other arrangements? Who are these people?

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  292. what don’t you understand about the difference between question and answer?

    Understand enough that the winning odds were against you giving an answer.

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  293. Next: the “Christian” judge. Mark, does a Christian judge rule according to precedent or some other way? Is he bound by statute and constitution or not?

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  294. Mark, I fail to see how how the christian’s lawyer’s cross should necessarily be better than the non-christian’s. He should bring to light the fallacies in the pagan psych’s evaluation, unless it be true, such as in a Doug Phillip’s congregants situation(for one of numerous examples), and advocate for the fitness of the mother to raise her own child. I fail to see what’s so ‘xian’ about such a defense. If you have an erroneously antagonistic regard for religion and the religious, i.e. Bill Maher, shred his polemic with counter factual considerations. You don’t have to be a christian to mount such a defense.

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  295. Sean, the “pagan” or “secular” descriptor is a bit of a red herring. Whatever the expert is personally, influence will depend on credentials, credibility and persuasiveness in the eyes of the particular judge. The expressed evaluation will focus on what is in the best interests of the child; it won’t be a diatribe against religion in general. If it is, the expert has done a poor job. And, yes, the cross-exam of the expert is exactly the same for a Christian and non-Christian attorney.

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  296. vdm, m, the question was put to you. You answered. I found it not particularly compelling. Neo-Calvinism usually isn’t in the details. The inspiration evaporates.

    What answer am I supposed to give? Do you want a different grade? Should assign extra-credit work?

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  297. Muddy,

    Even if we admit the highly unlikely exception that a non-Christian lawyer would have seen all the same religious presuppositions, conducted the same cross-examination exposing antipathy to the Reformed faith, and then advanced a positive Reformed Christian argument in the case, it doesn’t answer the question.

    The case involved explicitly Christian arguments (citation to Scripture, explanation of the Reformed faith by minister’s testimony,, etc) advanced by a *Christian* lawyer.

    Sounds like you have no problem with a non-Christian lawyer advancing all those Christian arguments.

    But if the *Christian lawyer* advances those same Christian arguments, Darryl’s 2k has that lawyer “out of a job” and under church discipline.

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  298. Eh, it’s simply knowledge base, not an inherently Christian approach. If the case was product liability you’d study up on the product, engineering, etc.

    You said “But if the *Christian lawyer* advances those same Christian arguments, Darryl’s 2k has that lawyer “out of a job” and under church discipline.”

    I have a hard time believing that you don’t know this is misleading rhetoric. If you made an analogous construction of an opponent’s argument in court the judge would roll his eyes.

    I was hoping for a real conversation.

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  299. Muddy,

    Just exploring ideas, but how about this case:

    the mother is a practicing Christian and the father not, but from a secular standpoint there is relative parity in evaluative measures (income, apparent stability, family support, both would send the child to public school, etc.). The parents live many hours’ distance from one another, making weekly visits unlikely.

    I take it that a judge who is a Christian would see value in the child’s being raised to practice religion rather than not. Let’s say both sides argue well and he has adequate criteria to present as being the primary determiner of his decision (and in fact of law it would be seen as such), but he acknowledges to himself alone that the determiner for his decision is religiously-based.

    Would this not qualify as practicing civil law with reference to religion (albeit private and interior rather than public)? Would you see this as an appropriate course of action?

    If the judge were to make this habitual (always respectful of the necessity of following legal precedent where it is clear, only applying criteria taking explicit origin in religion privately and in “borderline” or “difficult” cases), would he not be in fact (perhaps Mark would want the term as well) a “Christian Judge” -?

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  300. it’s simply knowledge base, not an inherently Christian approach. If the case was product liability you’d study up on the product, engineering, etc.

    So a Christian lawyer making Christian arguments in court is “not inherently” Christian..

    Yet 2k still has a beef with a Christian lawyer making Christian arguments in court.

    Talk about eye rolling…….

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  301. Kevin,

    I’ve got some time, so I’ll start working through your questions.

    Do you see NAPARC churches (for example) as having duties to Christians who aren’t in formal communion with them, either qua institutions or via individual members?

    To communions that don’t have ecumenical ties to NAPARC, no I see no formal responsibilities church qua church. However, as individuals belonging to the holy catholic church (by that I am not saying Rome) we have responsibilities to any brother and sister in Christ to extend to them every Christian courtesy, and there is an open possibility for individual fellowship and mutual edification there. As somewhat of a side point, this is why I continue to be in favor of and open table at the Lord’s Supper – the meal is for all professing, baptized believers who are in fellowship with the church.

    Are NAPARC churches responsible to correct members who are engaged in immoral behavior in their private lives?

    Absolutely, this is part of true Christian discipleship.

    What is it about Mark’s description of his professional behavior that disqualifies it from warranting the term “Christian lawyering” -?

    Following the lead of Scripture, there is a distinction between sacred and common. Mark’s vocation is geared toward advancing the greater good in the common sphere, it is not sacred. Of course his Christian convictions will shape how he goes about his vocation, but this does not make common vocations ‘sacred’.

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  302. Mark, you have a good knowledge base to enable you to do an informed cross examination on that topic. So they stepped into your wheelhouse. But whatever issue your client has that may be a weakness in the eyes of the judge, you get informed on it and manage it as well as possible. Trade out issues – whatever weakness your client may have you minimize it, and you need a sufficient knowledge base to do that.

    A atheist attorney could study a religion enough to know its basics and employ a strategy to address negative perceptions about it. If he did what you did, would that be Christian lawyering?

    You love the adjective “Christian” but all I’ve seen so far is practicing with integrity and employing normal legal preparation & strategy.

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  303. Kevin (continued),

    -Would you say it is an accurate statement that Van Drunen believes civil law should take its origin in natural law alone?

    I am comfortable saying he would say NL should serve as the basis for civil law. However I would have to go back and review how he deals with the enfocability of NL, and the extent of NL’s influence. Personally I think NL needs to be considered in our civil laws, but it is unrealistic to think it could be enforced in full.

    Would he agree that natural law includes the existence of God?
    -The need to worship God (although presumably nothing regarding how to do so)?
    -The existence of the Church?

    Since I see these as pretty much related I’ll give one answer. Yes he would say that NL implies a law-giver – God, but we couldn’t infer the God of Scripture fully from this without going into the realm of special revelation. As to the next two questions, again, I’ll have to go back to read DVD. These come down to the question of the extent to which NL is enforced. No, we couldn’t infer the Church from NL though, we need Scripture for that.

    -Can a civil code make any reference to God or His Church at all? Should it ever?

    I can only speak to my reading of DVD here. The civil code should, and in the US rightly does allow liberty on the matter of worship. But I don’t see how we can codify God in our legal code without then turning to Scripture and enforcing it. NL must be balanced with the reality of human freedom. In practice, I think the US Constitution does an admirable job of this, but my bias as an American might play some part in that.

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  304. The only person who talked about discipline was you. Are you guilty of deception?

    Ms. Court Reporter, please read back the record:

    DGH: Paul tells Christians not to take their disputes before courts where you work. So a Christian shouldn’t go to court. That makes you like European Jews who could charge interest because Christians couldn’t.

    MVDM: would you think it proper for my consistory to place me under ecclesiastical discipline for being a lawyer who is no different than a Jew doing things a Christian can’t?

    DGH: vdm, m, if your consistory shares your views, yes.

    DGH: Paul tells Christians to stay out of court.

    DGH: You make a living in a profession that Paul and Calvin question.

    DGH: if you act as a secular lawyer, as the vows you take require in some sense (REPUBLICATION ALERT!!!!!), then you need to discipline yourself. I don’t want to discipline you. I want you to discipline you.

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  305. The ACLU has taken a case(s) that involves the religious liberty of Christians. Are they Christian lawyers?

    I don’t know, are they? An ACLU lawyer defending a Christian doesn’t make the ACLU lawyer a Christian any more than a Christian lawyer defending a homosexual defendant makes the Christian lawyer a homosexual.

    Of course, we were talking a Christian lawyer advancing Christian arguments. Your prior observation about the use of the adjective “Christian” actually gets at the nub of what I’ve said earlier: the 2k espoused here (and in DVD’s book LGTK) disdains the adjective “Christian” applied to activity/vocation outside the visible church. Hence, the DG quip about objecting to Christian lawyering. It seem to me that we are in agreement on at least that much.

    Unless you can think of an example of some other extra-ecclesiastical /vocational activity that could qualify as “Christian” under R2k.

    Like

  306. @Kevin

    “another eight percent said they had some other connection to Catholicism, for instance by having a Catholic partner or spouse.

    Sodomizing an apostate counts as a “connection to Catholicism” -?”

    That’s pretty funny!

    Like

  307. Yeah, Mark, you’re a Christian. You practice law. But you have been unable to establish that there is Christian lawyering. The professional ethics, tactics and recipes for success are the same for all lawyers. Exceptional integrity and codiality can be found apart from any faith. You experience 2k.

    Like

  308. you have been unable to establish that there is Christian lawyering.

    Actually, your worldview refuses to see it established.

    And yet, still no explanation on the R2k objection to a Christian lawyer citing Scripture and advancing Christian arguments in court (even if your schizophrenic worldview cannot call it “Christian lawyering”). The secular lawyer is permitted to do it since it’s just a “tactic” like in a product liability case.

    But R2k goes ballistic if the Christian lawyer says he, out of desire to consecrate his work to Christ, advances biblical, Christian arguments in court.

    Poor Machen taking another beating at Old Life.

    Like

  309. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink
    Mermaid, so why are you watching?>>>>

    Well, there is certainly some entertainment value, as others have noted.

    However, 2K theology – the theology about nothing – is not the only theology being argued here. That part is real theology about real stuff. The other is, well, what it is. Entertaining, but of no real substance.

    Like

  310. Correction: The Radical 2K theology being presented here by Brother Hart is entertaining, but of no real substance.

    It doesn’t mean those proposing it are not Christians. It is just a theology that does not hold up under scrutiny, close or otherwise.

    Like

  311. Actually, Mark, if you want cite Mosaic case law as just another example among many others from antiquity, knock yourself out. It’s when you want a sphere governed by God as creator not as redeemer to give particular regard to SR as if that common sphere had redemptive charter for that SR(think 1 cor 5) that you find yourself have to conflated the 2k. So, as with so many things, it’s not the utilizing of a resource but the misuse/abuse and misapplication of that resource that creates the problem. So, the category isn’t xian or non-xian but competency or incompetency.

    Like

  312. Mark, If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, rant about r2k .

    Or take refuge in circular reasoning as in “your worldview refuses to see it established.” You can never be falsified! That’s excellent.
    _____________

    Webster:

    Now I understand the name “Mermaid” – you’re always in over your head. Ba da bop.

    Like

  313. Muddy Gravel
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
    “Could a Christian lawyer’s approach to the cross-examination of the psychologist, presentation of witnesses, and argument to the court be distinctively shaped by his Christianity vis a vis a secular lawyer’s handling of the case?

    If so, would that violate both the attorney oath and our Reformed confession?”

    The approach of any lawyer would be to cross-exam in the way that is best designed to convince the judge to rule for his client, including an attempt undermine the credibility of the expert if it seems likely to be fruitful. So if you take the judge to be anti-religious you subdue that part but if the Reformed religion would be a plus for the judge you give it more emphasis. This would be the same regardless of your religious/faith perspective.

    This being the case, I don’t understand your question.

    PS if the father was a nominal Catholic conservative with a history of alienating the readers of one blog after another I would make sure he was on the stand as long as possible until the judge is so annoyed he can’t wait to rule in favor of my client.>>>>>

    I can see, Muddy Gravel, how you do – or would like to do – what the stereotypical lawyer does in court. So, it seems to me that you are saying since you are not entirely Christian in the way you proceed, no one can be. So, why fight it? Just admit that all lawyers have to do things that are not Christian.

    Is that what you are arguing? Therefore, anyone who says that they really do all they can to practice law as Christian lawyers are hypocrites. Did I understand you correctly, here?

    Like

  314. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 6:39 am | Permalink
    vd, t, speaking of numbers, save some of your invective for Pew:

    Asked and answered. You argue sociology, not theology. Categorical error. You’re not even in the same room as the actual discussion, Dr. Hart.

    Like

  315. vdm, m, no explanation because no objection. If you want to be ridiculed like William Jennings Bryan, have at it.

    Too bad for you that Machen refused to testify at the Scopes Trial.

    #resistcherrypicking

    Still no explanation on your end about federal and state laws that protect blasphemers and idolaters. If every square inch is Christ’s as you hold in your scheme, what are you doing compromising with unbelief?

    Like

  316. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, now Mermaid goes my Mermaid.

    Take back everything you said about my nickname for her. Do it./i>

    You’ll say anything to change the subject. I don’t blame you.

    By changing her name to the Little Mermaid, she offered the other cheek to your sneering, nasty self and showed you to be the fool, not her. She wears your insult as a badge of honor, carrying your pack the extra mile.

    The shame is yours.

    Like

  317. Muddy Gravel
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
    Webster, tell me about Christian oboe playing.

    She made you look pretty awful, too, Mud. Or rather, you just disgraced yourself, not her.

    Like

  318. Still no explanation on your end about federal and state laws that protect blasphemers and idolaters.

    The deaf spot kicks in when revised Belgic and sphere sovereignty has answered your question (for the umpteenth time). It’s all on record spanning 1910-1958. You might want to read it sometime.

    Like

  319. TVD
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, now Mermaid goes my Mermaid.

    Take back everything you said about my nickname for her. Do it./i>

    You’ll say anything to change the subject. I don’t blame you.

    By changing her name to the Little Mermaid, she offered the other cheek to your sneering, nasty self and showed you to be the fool, not her. She wears your insult as a badge of honor, carrying your pack the extra mile.

    The shame is yours.>>>>>

    Exactly right, TVD. Brother Hart insults me, and I call him Brother. The Little Mermaid is about sacrificing all you have and all you are for the sake of love. Of course, she did it to win the love of a human being, but there is something Christlike about what she did.

    Besides, I do like the Little Mermaid, even the Disney version.

    Like

  320. Muddy Gravel
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
    Webster, tell me about Christian oboe playing.>>>>

    So, I am correct, then. For you it impossible to be a Christian lawyer, so it must be impossible for everyone. Your “out” is radical 2K. You can be both. A lawyer in one sphere and a Christian in the other. Did I get you?

    Christian oboe playing generally does not involve any conflict of conscience. I mean, seriously? It’s an oboe, unless you believe that God finds the instrument repugnant and morally objectionable.

    I am glad that there are Christian lawyers and that they are participating in this conversation.

    Like

  321. vdm, m, you’re not a nice man. You complain early in the day that I don’t answer your question. But you call that bumper sticker an answer to this?

    Here’s what you wrote about revised Belgic 36:

    The revised Belgic 36 confesses and identifies the higher law authority to which the magistrate is subject: “the civil rulers have the task, subject to the law of God,..” While it is stating the obvious, this plain language identifies the Law of God as norming the magistrate duties. Let’s also note what this language does not say. No division is made anywhere in Article 36 between the First table of the Law and the Second Table of Law. The article does not read that the magistrate performs his tasks “subject only to the Second Table of God’s law”. Rather, we have a positive and broad normative authority that encompasses both tables of the Law. . . .

    The Belgic confesses that the magistrate has a divine ordination to protect the church’s ministry with the divine goal that the kingdom of Christ may advance. Yes, we live in a religiously pluralistic society. The U.S. constitution protects the individual freedom of religion. However, we Reformed Christians do not (yet) confess that the Triune God has ordained earthly magistrates to specially protect and cultivate all anti-­‐Christian, Satanist, Buddhist, or Muslim religions with the goal that the anti-­‐Christ kingdoms of Buddha, Satan, or Islam’s Allah may advance.

    My question was, how can you swear allegiance to defend and maintain laws that have actually allowed false religions (think Mormonism) to advance? You really want to console yourself that idolatry and blasphemy do not advance in these United States, the one that gives you a license to practice law?

    And your answer?

    1650’s: New Netherland
    1910-1958–Kuyperian-driven Belgic revisions
    2015: Citing New Netherland to mock Machen-praised Kuyperianism

    #non-sequiterhistoricalobscurantism

    You’ve got a platform here and all you do is try to be clever (in a gibberish way). Kuyper would be embarrassed.

    It’s a serious question and all you’ve got are blanks.

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  322. So, Webster, all oboists have to submit to the oboe and the same techniques for getting beautiful sound of out of it. Likewise, all attorneys submit to the same rules of pleading, argumentation, citing cases, etc. Attorneys all attorneys are obliged to submit to existing law not only because pleading actual law is the way to win, but because they have taken vows to submit to the constitution.

    There’s a products liability trial underway. You’re watching. Quick! Which attorney is the Christian?

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  323. Muddy Gravel
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
    So, Webster, all oboists have to submit to the oboe and the same techniques for getting beautiful sound of out of it.

    Obviously you don’t play, Mud. Playing beautifully is not just about technique. That’s rather the whole point. And your pointed disrespect to Ms. Mermaid is noted. What’s wrong with you people? You need Christian lessons or something.

    Like

  324. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, you’re not a nice man. You complain early in the day that I don’t answer your question. But you call that bumper sticker an answer to this?

    Here’s what you wrote about revised Belgic 36:

    The revised Belgic 36 confesses and identifies the higher law authority to which the magistrate is subject: “the civil rulers have the task, subject to the law of God,..” While it is stating the obvious, this plain language identifies the Law of God as norming the magistrate duties. Let’s also note what this language does not say. No division is made anywhere in Article 36 between the First table of the Law and the Second Table of Law. The article does not read that the magistrate performs his tasks “subject only to the Second Table of God’s law”. Rather, we have a positive and broad normative authority that encompasses both tables of the Law. . . .

    The Belgic confesses that the magistrate has a divine ordination to protect the church’s ministry with the divine goal that the kingdom of Christ may advance. Yes, we live in a religiously pluralistic society. The U.S. constitution protects the individual freedom of religion. However, we Reformed Christians do not (yet) confess that the Triune God has ordained earthly magistrates to specially protect and cultivate all anti-­‐Christian, Satanist, Buddhist, or Muslim religions with the goal that the anti-­‐Christ kingdoms of Buddha, Satan, or Islam’s Allah may advance.

    My question was, how can you swear allegiance to defend and maintain laws that have actually allowed false religions (think Mormonism) to advance? You really want to console yourself that idolatry and blasphemy do not advance in these United States, the one that gives you a license to practice law?

    And your answer?

    1650’s: New Netherland
    1910-1958–Kuyperian-driven Belgic revisions
    2015: Citing New Netherland to mock Machen-praised Kuyperianism

    #non-sequiterhistoricalobscurantism

    Actually, you skipped the part in between where it was you who brought up the non sequitur of New Netherland. Very misleading.

    Like

  325. “Christian oboe playing generally does not involve any conflict of conscience. I mean, seriously? It’s an oboe, unless you believe that God finds the instrument repugnant and morally objectionable.”

    I drink water and I am a Christian. But I am not a “Christian water drinker”. I like to listen to the oboe, but I am not a “Christian oboe listener”. These are common activities for which my faith has no distinctive impact. Similarly one may be a musician, lawyer, boxer, journalist, or scientist but the bible does not give us specific instruction on how to relate our faith to these endeavors (yes we should glorify God in all we do, but that doesn’t imply a unique Christian approach to our activities), therefore, we are free to follow our conscience in ways that may look very different from one Christian to the next.

    One believer may find that playing bass in a band puffs up his pride and thus finds playing bass sinful while another has no problem jamming with his buddies and playing the occasional show. Neither bass player is acting sinful even though their behavior is 180deg opposite. There is no distinctively Christian way to be a bassist. Unfortunately some do try to bind the conscience of believers in ways that are illegitimate.

    This is the problem with labels like “Christian lawyer”. The implication is that there is a distinctively Christian way to be a lawyer -i.e., something that isn’t normative for nonbelievers but is sinful for a Christian to do. I haven’t seen an example of that here nor have I seen a better example of what it means to use “christian” as an adjective.

    Perhaps the church would be better off if we followed the unchristian option and simply identified as a lawyer or oboe player so that our inevitable shortcomings don’t reflect poorly on other Christians, we don’t find ourselves descending into an unfortunate legalism, and/or we don’t tempt to the church to lose sight of its gospel mission by distracting itself with common affairs.

    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christian principles that don’t always apply (e.g. lust is always wrong), but for virtually all common endeavors there is no unique Christian way to pursue them even if some professions are off limits to believers.

    Like

  326. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
    vd,t I’m flattered that you hand on my every word.

    Just as I’m flattered you stalk my every trace on the internet, D. My game show championship, my band. I won $50K and the band kicked ass.

    is.gd/thecookies

    What was really out of line when you went after me though my wife, you asshole. I would never try to use your wife as a weapon against you.

    This is all on you, Elder Hart. Your created this Old Life ugliness that even mocks The Little Mermaid, who clearly loves God and loves her neighbor, and lets you mock her and loves you back anyway. She’s the best Christian you or I have ever met.

    Like

  327. SDB, (& attorneys present),

    This is the problem with labels like “Christian lawyer”. The implication is that there is a distinctively Christian way to be a lawyer -i.e., something that isn’t normative for nonbelievers but is sinful for a Christian to do. […] for virtually all common endeavors there is no unique Christian way to pursue them.

    Sounds mostly right to me, but what about the example I raised:

    A judge hearing child custody cases who, all other things being equal, places children in households where they will be raised to practice Christianity;

    who from the secular standpoint (this is an essential condition to my example) follows precedent irreproachably such that no critic could credibly allege placing the child in a religious household played any role in his decision-making.

    Is the judge compelled to behave in this manner if this is the only apparent opportunity for the child to know Christianity? (The father is non-theistic, the mother is pious, they live many hours from one another, similar economic conditions, public school both, etc.).

    If so, then isn’t this a way in which a judge who is a Christian has different norms than one who is not? The norms would arise from Christianity rather than the profession, but nonetheless would essentially play a role in how he carries out his professional duties, at least in certain types of cases.

    Like

  328. (You might not like this one, Sean)

    Jed,

    Personally I think NL needs to be considered in our civil laws, but it is unrealistic to think it could be enforced in full. […]
    [kc:] -Can a civil code make any reference to God or His Church at all? Should it ever?

    [JP:] I can only speak to my reading of DVD here. The civil code should, and in the US rightly does allow liberty on the matter of worship. But I don’t see how we can codify God in our legal code without then turning to Scripture and enforcing it. NL must be balanced with the reality of human freedom.

    Thanks for your thoughts, and I have read several articles on your blog as well. I would be interested in reading more Van Drunen on the subject (enjoyed another Youtube lecture of his yesterday) if you could recommend the best place to start (he has a few similarly-titled books, although ideally I’d prefer articles online at the moment) – he is certainly intelligent.

    Regarding the above, it seems to me NL is only finally acknowledged as a part of a legal system when it is confirmed by judicial rulings – statutory law is in practice subject to the rulings of courts. So NL could be contained in a legal system insofar as cases arise which call for new NL principles to be introduced; but creating an explicit collection of laws which attempt to match NL is not an ultimate good, merely a way to not force every infraction to trial.

    That said, if an employer were to try to compel work at a time which interfered with revealed religious duties and which is non-essential to the survival of the business, if the court rules in favor of the employee/Christian, wouldn’t that generate in the legal system a right to worship, an object of worship, and a means of worship?

    In order to keep this from being diluted or abused (‘my religion says I get to stay home and play video games’), doesn’t the court have to observe whatever truths of theology arise from natural law independent of divine revelation?

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  329. Newark/Jed/Seanifitwasn’ttoolong:

    Well, natural law has infused all legal systems. It’s particularly evident in criminal law but it’s pretty obvious in civil law as well. That being the case, I don’t know why you talk about how NL should be part of the law. I also don’t “get” why you think NL only comes from judges and is not reflected in statutes.

    It comes through whether intended or not. But legislators aren’t bright enough to know it. Now if a lobbyist tells them to endorse NL I guess they would.

    Like

  330. Muddy,

    That being the case, I don’t know why you talk about how NL should be part of the law.

    I would say that NL simply is what “man-made” law in secular society makes reference to- insofar as our statutes and rulings depart from NL, they aren’t just. There is a range of certainty as to the correlation in areas both more and less significant (e.g., parking regulations), hence the legal profession.

    I also don’t “get” why you think NL only comes from judges and is not reflected in statutes.

    Whether a ruling or statute (or executive order or DMV waiting-room policy) corresponds to NL I take to be independent of any ruling on the matter or endorsement by any gov official. It is for legal thinkers and ethicists to debate.

    However, all of these are subject to revision in the courts- courts are in a privileged position. In theory, perhaps all legal determinations could be left to courts (although this would be rather silly and impractical). I think the judicial process is essential to human society, and more fundamental than any other institution- in a sense, “common law” is the only law.

    I’ll defer in my vocabulary to professionals and would welcome correction, but that’s how it seems to me.

    Like

  331. ‘I think the judicial process is essential to human society, and more fundamental than any other institution- in a sense, “common law” is the only law.”

    FYI, many statutes are the codification of pre-existing common law, so the two categories are not airtight.

    Here’s the interesting part: NL principles, but responsive to new times / new cultures. The same well, different expressions.

    Then hybrid laws: NL recognizes a zone of privacy (valid) but over-extends it.

    I wish I had more attention to give this today.

    Like

  332. And yet, still no explanation on the R2k objection to a Christian lawyer citing Scripture and advancing Christian arguments in court (even if your schizophrenic worldview cannot call it “Christian lawyering”). The secular lawyer is permitted to do it since it’s just a “tactic” like in a product liability case.

    But R2k goes ballistic if the Christian lawyer says he, out of desire to consecrate his work to Christ, advances biblical, Christian arguments in court.

    Rawls’ _Public Reason_ is a pretty good place to go for an explanation for why that’s a bad idea.

    Like

  333. @Kevin Just to clarify in case there is any confusion (as if) the extent of my legal training comes from watching reruns of Law and Order.

    Regarding your hypothetical, I think you would find it very hard to find examples of “all things being equal”. If there was no way to indicate that the religious identity of the parents played a role, then it is hard to see where the Christian identity made a difference. Surely there was something that tipped the scales? If they were Jewish instead of Christian, would the judge have simply flipped a coin?

    I think the real question is whether a judge rules against placing kids in the homes of say gay couples or irreligious couples, and places the child in a home that is objectively worse by secular standards (lower income, less parental time available for the child, worse school district, etc…). I’m not sure how family law works, but I would be very nervous about judges deciding which religious upbringings are better than others. But assuming that it is OK for a judge to take into account the religious upbringing of a child, it isn’t clear to me that a judge can be compelled by a church to do so. I can imagine two judges from the same congregation ruling on different criteria while neither is sinning.

    Further, I can imagine that a secular judge might think it is a good idea for a kid to be raised in a Christian family because of the social benefits it bestows (think Eisenhower’s quip about the need to be religious, whatever the religion). Being part of the privileged mainstream has its benefits.

    So even in this case, I think a lawyer (judge) should bracket her religious convictions and follow the law for placing a child in a home (or determining the fitness of the parents or however this would work in the real world), but I can see secular judges ending up in the same place your hypothetical christian judge would end up if he followed his religious convictions. So I’m left without any clear picture of what makes the behavior of the Judge who happens to be a Christian distinctively “Christian”. Thus I think the label “Christian-Judge” is inappropriate.

    Like

  334. Rawls’ _Public Reason_ is a pretty good place to go for an explanation for why that’s a bad idea.

    I’ve seen folks compare R2k to Rawlsian theory before. Typically, R2k folks deny the comparison.

    Like

  335. vdm, m, you’re not a nice man.

    You forgot “functional Islamist”.

    Here’s what you wrote about revised Belgic 36:

    Like the guy making the same mistake hoping for a different outcome, you think no one will check that you intentionally leave out parts that address your question:

    “…can see that Kuyper objected to the “Constantinian” notion that the magistrate could “kill heretics” or “suppress heresy and idolatry”, actions which the original Belgic 36 explicitly called upon the magistrate to perform. For our purposes, it is equally important to note what Kuyper did not say. Nowhere in this oft–quoted excerpt did Kuyper argue that the magistrate should be categorically excluded from performing any duties related to the entire the First table of Law in every way.

    In 1910, Synod considered that while civil rulers should not destroy false religion by means of the sword, yet “… the magistracy has a divine duty towards the first table of the Law as well as towards the second; and furthermore that both State and Church as institutions of God and Christ have mutual rights and duties appointed them from on high, and therefore have a very sacred reciprocal obligation to meet through the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and Son. They may not, however, encroach upon each other’s territory. The Church has rights of sovereignty in its own sphere as well as the State.”

    ….Finally, in 1958, the CRC Synod adopted the GKN’s proposed changes to Belgic 36, which removed the offending language regarding the coercive suppression of heresy and substituted language that contained a more fulsome description of the relationship of church and state. This same Synod also adopted the RES 4 point “Declaration on the Relationship of Church and State”.

    …For our purposes, it suffices to see that the magistrate’s duties are not prescribed by natural law alone, but that the Word of God does indeed provide authoritative direction and limits upon the magistrate’s duties.

    Lest one think this is simply my reading of the revised Belgic 36, listen again to the 1958 Synodical committee which recommended the revision:

    “This formulation expresses the Scriptural teaching that the civil rulers are bound by the authority of the Word and the Law of God. This precludes every form of totalitarianism which becomes a law unto itself. (Romans 13:4ff). ”

    …While “two kingdoms” proponents suggest it is inappropriate to seek a distinctively Christian society through the work of the magistrate, the Belgic says otherwise when describing the society the magistrate is called to cultivate:

    “..And being called in this manner to contribute to the advancement of a society that is pleasing to God,…”

    Here we explicitly confess the magistrate is to cultivate a society that is pleasing to God, i.e., at least outwardly conforming to His will as revealed in His Word. Certainly, we can all agree that this does not mean that the state is taking upon itself the spiritual keys of the kingdom that rightfully belong to the church. The revision to Article 36 itself makes it clear that even as the magistrate is to cultivate a Godly society, it must still operate “…in the sphere entrusted to them, with the means belonging them..”

    …Rather, the revised Belgic 36 states the magistrate is called upon:

    “… to remove every obstacle to the preaching of the gospel and to every aspect of divine worship, in order that the Word of God may have free course, the kingdom of Jesus Christ may make progress, and every anti-Christian power may be resisted..”

    In harmony with this confession, the RES “Declaration” goes on to declare that the magistrate’s protection of the church includes that :

    “B)… every anti-Christian power which would threaten the church in the exercise of its holy ministrations be resisted and prevented.”

    Undoubtedly, the manner of the magistrate accomplishing its God- ordained and God -honoring purpose in a pluralistic age leads to thorny questions of application. But difficulty in application does not abrogate the principles we confess. Let us hold fast our confession that God has ordained the civil magistrate to protect the church, resist anti-Christian forces, and cultivate a God pleasing society, all in service to the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

    It’s one thing for you to treat dead guys like Machen and Kuyper as your personal sock puppets.

    But making that kind of move on a guy conversing on your blog?

    Now that’s not very nice.

    Like

  336. sean,

    If we ever meet in person, the first order of business will be a 15-round Jack Johnson style bare-knuckled boxing match between you and I w/ no TKO’s or standing 8-counts. After that, we can figure it all out at the Waffle House.

    Like

  337. I’d rather fight all of you than be forced to read Mark’s copy and paste affair that took me

    Not one, not two, but three

    Three huge French fop finger swipes to bypass and forget about.

    Like

  338. “Rawls’ _Public Reason_ is a pretty good place to go for an explanation for why that’s a bad idea.”
    I’ve seen folks compare R2k to Rawlsian theory before. Typically, R2k folks deny the comparison.

    They shouldn’t. There are a lot of problems with his _Theory of Justice_ to be sure, but his paper, “Public Reason” (which is more about process), is really quite good. Perhaps I should write a book and coin my own abbreviation PR2k. It would make a snazzy bumper sticker anyway.

    Like

  339. Kent, that was discourteous. Undoubtedly dutchie expects an apology. If for no other reason than you ain’t and he is.

    Like

  340. Apparently the down-or upswipe can’t be called “like a gay French king” any more, so I tried the inoffensive euph.

    Like

  341. Sprat, ‘that’s a wound’. No singlets, gross. And when you dip that left shoulder I recommend keeping that right fist at jaw level and think about a cup.

    Like

  342. I’m working through Kuyper’s lectures on Calvinism, trying not to have a hemorrhage mentally over every paragraph at his wide sweeping claims.

    I don’t think i’ll be adopting this w-w angle, but it’s nice to know it’s out there an if I’m cornered by one I will smile a nod an head towards the EXIT sign ASAP

    Like

  343. Well we know sean can take, and might sadistically enjoy physical punishment and torture. If we ever need to extract info out of him, I would recommend taping his eyelids open, while tied to a chair in a room full of Precious Moments figurines while “Shine Jesus Shine” is piped in at an 11. Every man has a breaking point, the trick is finding it.

    NSA – If you are reading this, which I know you are since OldLife is such an awesome site, I hope you are taking notes.

    Like

  344. SDB,

    I think you would find it very hard to find examples of “all things being equal”. If there was no way to indicate that the religious identity of the parents played a role, then it is hard to see where the Christian identity made a difference.

    My legal training is in no way superior to yours, but just to be sure I’ve laid my example out clearly:

    a) It is a case in which both parents present acceptable situations and one is not clearly superior to the other. Both offer positives which could be viewed as sufficient for a ruling in the direction of either party (surely this must not be too terribly uncommon? But all I would need is that it exists);

    b) a judge who is a practicing Christian (PCA or OPC if you like);

    c) who in fact gave the religious practice of the household weight in his decision, although he did not refer to it when making his judgement.

    My question is whether he has an obligation to see a child placed in a Christian home in cases where precedent doesn’t dictate via other factors where the child ought to go.

    What interests me about the case is that it would involve both a complete respect for professional requirements as well as professional behavior entailed by Christianity.

    Agreed that in the 21st century USA judges’ making explicit reference to religion might not be for the best.

    I’m not attached to a label like “Christian judge” or “Christian lawyer.” But I think to the extent individual judges who are Christians have certain limited freedoms in decision-making not dictated by professional requirements, they have, as with all freedoms, a responsibility to use them rightly. This would be determined by the conscience of the judges rather than a church body.

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  345. vdm, m, so you say:

    For our purposes, it suffices to see that the magistrate’s duties are not prescribed by natural law alone, but that the Word of God does indeed provide authoritative direction and limits upon the magistrate’s duties.

    And you affirm:

    Here we explicitly confess the magistrate is to cultivate a society that is pleasing to God, i.e., at least outwardly conforming to His will as revealed in His Word.

    Then you hedge:

    Undoubtedly, the manner of the magistrate accomplishing its God- ordained and God -honoring purpose in a pluralistic age leads to thorny questions of application. But difficulty in application does not abrogate the principles we confess.

    All the while you’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States which plenty of Covenanters think doesn’t properly honor God and does not conform to God’s word, and you’ve also said that the magistrate is obligated to uphold both tables of the law.

    You fault 2kers for not doing so. But you are functionally the same as a 2ker. Ideologically you’re the Christian version of an Islamist.

    It’s not all adding up, except your huffy manner in response to questions about your own confusion.

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  346. b, sd, I’ve always thought that Rawl’s idea of public reason (though not reading many of the particulars) contrasts quite starkly with the w-w claims of neo-Cals. Neo-Cals, to their credit, are not ashamed of the privacy of their appeal — you only get the right w-w by the work of the Holy Spirit. But why they think a society can function on the basis of competing w-w’s or why they think it is so laughable to try to arrive at some kind of common method for reconciliation is beyond me.

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  347. Jed, that’s really inappropriate. I’m sure you’re remorseful even now and going to issue an apology to me and buy a book of water coupons to show forth fruit in keeping with true repentance. I’ll help you out, just email me your routing information and acct number. You will find I’m a fair and just king, if you will only kneel and kiss the ring.( Well, that and give me your bank information). So, to sum up, guard up, cup, apology, kneel, kiss ring, bank deets.

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  348. Almost forget, tighten it up. Precise and concise, precise and concise, precise and consice, …………………………………………..When in doubt, say less.

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  349. Muddy,

    “Yeah, Mark, you’re a Christian. You practice law. But you have been unable to establish that there is Christian lawyering. The professional ethics, tactics and recipes for success are the same for all lawyers. Exceptional integrity and codiality can be found apart from any faith. You experience 2k.”

    Is there such a thing as Christian historying? Or Christian philosophying? Or Christian teachering? Or Christian scienceing? Or Christian counseling/psychiatry? If so, should a Christian engaged in those fields try as much as they can to divorce themselves from and compartmentalize their Christian beliefs and presuppositions when practicing them?

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  350. Darryl, I must admit that was pretty funny.

    You had me “functionally Islamist”.

    Now you have me functionally 2k.

    The confusion is yours– but I get your adding a little light comedy to the ventriloquist act .

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  351. sdb:
    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christian principles that don’t always apply (e.g. lust is always wrong), but for virtually all common endeavors there is no unique Christian way to pursue them even if some professions are off limits to believers.>>>>>>

    Well, that is why I said that this radical form of 2K theology is really about nothing.

    The thing is, whether we advertise ourselves as Christian lawyers – which I do believe exist and do believe that there are some fine ones posting here on this blog – or Christian oboe players or Christian housewives – which is my real profession, BTW – or Christian doctors or whatever we are judged by everyone as such.

    I mean, we are not supposed to hide our light. We are supposed to shine as lights in a wicked and perverse generation. I think that a lot of advertising – or bragging – about our faith is not necessary and it may be prideful, even. However, we are a fragrance, like it or not.

    So, the Christian lawyer tries to be a sweet fragrance. The Christian oboe player tries to be a sweet fragrance. The Christian whatever tries to be a sweet fragrance.

    Sure, some stink, but some smell good. Maybe that’s dumb, underwater, Little Mermaid thinking, but I sure like it when I run into a Christian professional. One time crossing a difficult border, the young man attending me was a brother. Now, he didn’t give me a special break, and I didn’t need one. He examined the contents of my bags and asked the appropriate questions as he was required to do. However, it was sure pleasant to meet a brother in an otherwise dark place – a brother doing his job well and gaining the respect of his superiors.

    Then there was the Christian attorney who handled the affairs of my atheist aunt – and she thought the world of him.

    Dunno’ how that fits with the theme here, but it sits well with soggy ol’ me. 😉

    Thanks, sdb, for your kind response, and the oboe is a wonderful instrument. Lately I have been playing the oboe of love. It’s a real thing – the oboe d’amore. Bach scored for 2 of them in his Mass in b Minor. No, I don’t perform much outside church, but I like to hang out with the master.

    In fact, I like to hang out with people who are much smarter than I am. Maybe I’m a know it all, but I hope not. That would make life boring. So, you guys are kinda’ odd, but pretty smart. It can’t be bad for me, and I hope it’s not bad for you.

    Take care, Brother sdb

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  352. Muddy de Champ,

    No comment on my judge example? – https://oldlife.org/2015/08/congregationalism-as-constantinianism/comment-page-9/#comment-348134)

    If you think it’s conceptually flawed somehow, I don’t mind being corrected. I’m interested in a 2k attorney’s thoughts.

    many statutes are the codification of pre-existing common law, so the two categories are not airtight.

    Sure, but in the end it is the courts who determine what binds or not, isn’t it?

    Here’s the interesting part: NL principles, but responsive to new times / new cultures. The same well, different expressions.

    Sounds like why we have lawyers, judges, and legislators. May they earn their paychecks.

    Then hybrid laws: NL recognizes a zone of privacy (valid) but over-extends it.

    If I understand you rightly, you’re arguing against the view that statutory, administrative, etc. law should be limited only to what is clearly derivable from NL.

    Not sure I disagree- I think determining (arguing over) what constitutes the common good, seen in light of NL, and seeking to bring it about (carefully, with prudence) is the duty of rulers.

    I am having trouble finding what you mean by “hybrid law” through some searching, though.

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  353. vdm, m, keep laughing. You’re 2k all the way down. One side of you is functionally Islamist. The other side is functionally 2k.

    I didn’t do that. You did.

    I hope you can laugh at yourself.

    In the meantime, I still don’t understand how you take an oath to a secular system of law.

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  354. D.G. Hart:
    In the meantime, I still don’t understand how you take an oath to a secular system of law.>>>>

    Mark Van Der Molen seems to be a nice man.

    Should a Christian legal immigrant become a naturalized citizen of the US?

    Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
    Oath

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

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  355. Newark, but statutes and regulations create a course of conduct in the lives of businesses and individuals. They are valid I’m a struck down and not many of them are struck down.

    I missed a word or two in my description of the hybrid scenario. I think there is a zone of privacy under natural law – that’s the good part. But then that zone of privacy has been over extended into things like abortion. “Hybrid” is my ad hoc description of a valid category that has been applied in an invalid way.

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  356. An irreligious judge could decide that a little religion is good for stability. Think George Will or TVD. A Christian who is a judge could decide that the mere presence of religion in a household is not always a trump card. In any case, The law will dictate The extent to which that is a valid factor.

    ( using voice recognition)

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  357. One side of you is functionally Islamist. The other side is functionally 2k.

    LOL..Darryl, just as you hoped we wouldn’t notice your Edgar Bergen routine (hey, we can see your lips moving!), *you* constructed this solution to your contradictions: voila religious schizophrenia!

    I still don’t understand how you take an oath to a secular system of law”

    When the system of law demands that I subscribe to your radical secularism— Christianity banished from the courts and public realm–then you will win this temporal victory, Darryl. I will not be able to take an oath to that system. I hope you will be happy. You can then join the secularist pagans’ applause when my license is revoked.

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  358. My legal training is in no way superior to yours, but just to be sure I’ve laid my example out clearly:

    So does that mean you’ve watched more or less Law and Order than me (SVU and the other spin-offs don’t count).

    a) It is a case in which both parents present acceptable situations and one is not clearly superior to the other. Both offer positives which could be viewed as sufficient for a ruling in the direction of either party (surely this must not be too terribly uncommon? But all I would need is that it exists);

    OK. So there are no objective differences available to the judge indicating that one parent is better than the other.

    b) a judge who is a practicing Christian (PCA or OPC if you like);

    Is there any other kind?

    c) who in fact gave the religious practice of the household weight in his decision, although he did not refer to it when making his judgement.

    OK, so one parent is ostensibly religious and the other isn’t, but that hasn’t made objective differences available to the judge indicating that one parent is better than the other?

    My question is whether he has an obligation to see a child placed in a Christian home in cases where precedent doesn’t dictate via other factors where the child ought to go.

    I do not think he has an “obligation”. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think one option wouldn’t be better according to my convictions, but I don’t see that he is sinning if he goes with the mom every time if all things are equal because he thinks the one who carried the child for 9mos should get the nod. I might disagree, but I would put this into the category of whether you should buy meat sacrificed to idols.

    What interests me about the case is that it would involve both a complete respect for professional requirements as well as professional behavior entailed by Christianity.

    Agreed that in the 21st century USA judges’ making explicit reference to religion might not be for the best.

    I don’t think this hypothetical is all that realistic, but I think it is helpful for clarifying what we mean when we talk abstractly about what it would mean to be a “christian-judge”.

    I’m not attached to a label like “Christian judge” or “Christian lawyer.” But I think to the extent individual judges who are Christians have certain limited freedoms in decision-making not dictated by professional requirements, they have, as with all freedoms, a responsibility to use them rightly. This would be determined by the conscience of the judges rather than a church body.

    I wholeheartedly agree here. This is what I understand 2k to mean.

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  359. vdm, m, sorry, but your side of the law, the ones who uphold U.S. and state law, just put Kim Davis in jail. Come clean. You can’t be Kim Davis and an attorney. Unless you’re 2k.

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  360. Darryl,

    Are tools and methodologies used by historians not used by textual critics and archaeologists in their analysis? Ehrmans and Devers bio apparently think they have something to say about history – “Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity.”

    “Dr. Dever is an American archaeologist specializing in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times…. In retirement, Dever has become a frequent author on questions relating to the historicity of the Bible.”

    Regardless I will rephrase since your reply concerned scholarship in general across fields. Is Ehrman a poor textual critic scholar or a good one? What about Wallace? Is Dever a good ANE archaeological scholar or a poor one?

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  361. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 4, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
    vdm, m, sorry, but your side of the law, the ones who uphold U.S. and state law, just put Kim Davis in jail.

    Your side just did. Congratulations. Just like I’m sure your 2k forebears handed escaped slaves over to the authorities. Jesus is very proud of you.

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  362. James Young, I have some suspicions about Ehrman, but he is well regarded in his profession and in the world of academics, that regard matters.

    I don’t know why you’re asking.

    Why don’t you ask if I’m a good historian when I notice all sorts of historical details about western Christianity that prompt the apologists to stick their heads in the sand?

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