When It Was Unthinkable that the State Would Affirm God

Thanks to his typing skills, Mark Van Der Molen reproduces a remark that Alan Strange made in his discussion at Reformed Forum on the spirituality of the church:

The separation of church and state, the distinction of church and state is something entirely different from the separation of faith from politics, or even God from State. None of those men believed in the separation of God from State. Even in public ways, all of them believed….basically Thornwell argued and so did Robinson, that it is immoral. Any state that is atheistic is immoral. They both argued that. If you read Robinson and Thornwell, and particularly Hodge, I think you will see they have clear points of integration. They have them in any number of ways, they all believed that it was immoral and unthinkable that the State would deny God or Christ in a general way.

(Alan, if you’re reading, I’m not picking on you. I am using your remarks to clarify, in which case disagreement may be beneficial.)

First, I do wonder about the difference between an atheistic and an idolatrous state. If the false gods are no gods, isn’t then every state without the Triune God revealed in Holy Writ an atheistic state. Is Turkey any better than the Soviet Union if the former acknowledges Allah in some way but the Soviets denied God? What about a Jewish state like Israel? Or how about a Mormon state like Utah? If states become immoral by virtue of atheism, aren’t they also immoral by denying the true God?

That puts Alan and Van Der Molen, perhaps, closer to the Puritans and a confessional state than to Robinson and Hodge who seemingly welcomed a secular government like the United States but rejected an atheistic state.

But keep in mind the progression of states that include God in their operations:

Puritans — they admitted only Puritans and excluded Baptists, Quakers, and Lutherans (for starters)

1820s U.S. — was friendly primarily to Protestants though all faiths could worship, which was a decisive break from 1640 Boston and 1550 Geneva

1950s U.S. — American society recognized a tri-faith monotheism informally of Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews while also putting God on coins and in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was a break from 1820s Protestant dominated America

2010s U.S. — American society apparently has no religious standards and may even give sectarian faiths a hard time, which is a break from 1950s tri-faith America

The trend here is toward greater diversity and toleration. 2kers are trying to stop the bleeding by reconfiguring what God requires. The 2k conclusion, tentatively, is that God does not reveal a definite pattern for politics. The church is one thing, the state another. 2kers also try to learn lessons from the past and how earlier efforts to establish religious standards could not compete with the movement of peoples or the growing authority of the nation-state to regulate its citizens affairs in a way that achieved a measure of social unity.

What critics of 2k need to do is stop showing how 2k departs from the past. We get that. What critics need to do is not foment fear for disagreeing with Calvin or Winthrop — as if Protestants have post-canonical authorities whom we must follow. Critics need to propose an equation for God-and-state that is either required by God’s word (especially the part where Paul recommends submission to Nero) or that does justice to the lives that Christians now lead and somewhat enjoy.

2k is not novel in one sense. It advocates the spirituality of the church which is a part of the Western Christian tradition going back to Augustine, Paul, and Jesus. In another sense it is new — in the novos ordo seclorum way. 2k proposes a re-consideration of political theology in the light of modern social arrangements that is still true to Scripture and Reformed theology.

Is that any more scary than suggesting that the United States ban idolatry?

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48 thoughts on “When It Was Unthinkable that the State Would Affirm God

  1. The Reformed people belive in separation of church and their everyday living behaviour. I was born and raised in the Can Reformed organization. We left after 43 years and then went to URC, PCA, RPCNA and they are all the same. They are content with Grace and live pretty much like every other pagan.vTheir new life matches their old.

    Jack

    Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:43:09 +0000 To: jvhalteren@sympatico.ca

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  2. Darryl,

    The trend here is toward greater diversity and toleration.

    Maybe until the past twenty years or so. I’m not sure the culture has been all that tolerant of Brandon Eich or Louis Giglio.

    Just an observation.

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  3. DG Harts says: The trend here is toward greater diversity and toleration. ..
    …or that does justice to the lives that Christians now lead and somewhat enjoy.
    Robert says: Maybe until the past twenty years or so. I’m not sure the culture has been all that tolerant of Brandon Eich or Louis Giglio. Just an observation.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/2011/06/did-america-have-a-christian-founding Mark David Hall, Ph.D :
    “Although the Founders were profoundly influenced by Christianity, they did not design a constitutional order only for fellow believers. They explicitly prohibited religious tests for federal offices, and they were committed to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship God (or not) as their consciences dictate.

    Yet it does not follow from this openness that Americans should simply forget about their country’s Christian roots. Anyone interested in an accurate account of the nation’s past cannot afford to ignore the important influence of faith on many Americans, from the Puritans to the present day.

    Christian ideas underlie some key tenets of America’s constitutional order. For instance, the Founders believed that humans are created in the image of God, which led them to design institutions and laws meant to protect and promote human dignity. Because they were convinced that humans are sinful, they attempted to avoid the concentration of power by framing a national government with carefully enumerated powers. As well, the Founders were committed to liberty, but they never imagined that provisions of the Bill of Rights would be used to protect licentiousness. And they clearly thought moral considerations should inform legislation.

    America has drifted from these first principles. We would do well to reconsider the wisdom of these changes.

    The Founders believed it permissible for the national and state governments to encourage Christianity, but this may no longer be prudential in our increasingly pluralistic country. Yet the Constitution does not mandate a secular polity, and we should be wary of jurists, politicians, and academics who would strip religion from the public square. We should certainly reject arguments that America’s Founders intended the First Amendment to prohibit neutral programs that support faith-based social service agencies, religious schools, and the like.

    Finally, we ignore at our peril the Founders’ insight that democracy requires a moral people and that faith is an important, if not indispensable, support for morality. Such faith may well flourish best without government support, but it should not have to flourish in the face of government hostility.”

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  4. “In God We Trust”, due to the suggestion of a minister, was first placed on the 1864 2 Cent Piece, and then most coins thereafter in the 19th and early 20th century. So the concept had Federal Government sanction for nearly a century before a Law passed in 1955 required all U.S. coins and currency to have the motto… . https://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/fun_facts/?action=fun_facts5

    As to the extent Christianity is to frame the basis of our laws and our societal well-being, this little tidbit below captures the general scope of the issue back in Framers’ day:

    In 1818, Jesse Appleton. D.D., President of Bowdoin College, instructed his hearers in his Election Sermon to the incoming officers of Massachusetts. He states: “Would the happiness of families, would property or life be secure in a nation of Deists ? If Christianity is the most powerful guardian of morals, are you not, as Civilians, bound to give it your support and patronage ?”

    Now, if that all important political thesis is removed, just what will be the results in the resulting political vacuum?

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  5. Ali, “Yet the Constitution does not mandate a secular polity”

    If you don’t need to believe in God to hold federal office, how exactly is that not a secular polity?

    Also, if it wasn’t a secular polity, why did the Covenanters and Dabney want to add an amendment that affirmed the Lordship of Christ?

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  6. Finally, we ignore at our peril the Founders’ insight that democracy requires a moral people and that faith is an important, if not indispensable, support for morality. Such faith may well flourish best without government support, but it should not have to flourish in the face of government hostility.”

    Ali, three things:

    1. So like like Eisenhower said: “…our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply-felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” Which is to say generic civil religion. How is it that those vigorous Christians who want faith injected into the public square ironically end up promoting a neutered form of it? It’s those who want to preserve a vigorous Christianity that are leery of seeking secular affirmation.

    2. And for those tempted to think that our government is hostile to any religion, ask yourself when the last time it was that you had to attend public worship under cover or at the risk of harassment.

    3. It’s an old chestnut that faith is indispensable to morality. Morality corresponds to law which is graved on every human heart by virtue of creation, full stop.

    Ok, here’s where you bury all that under some irrelevant verses.

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  7. Zrim say And for those tempted to think that our government is hostile to any religion

    Dear zrim. Wake up. It’s very busy out there…
    http://www.persecution.org/category/countries/north-america/united-states/
    2016 sampling….

    -Georgia doctor fired after presenting sermons outside workplace on issues including evolution, sexuality
    -call for high school principal termination for allegedly promoting Christianity by publicly stating that he wishes to “allow God back in school” and supports public school prayer
    -MSU student kicked out of the counseling program/lost internship because of his religious convictions.
    -Colorado School of Mines alumnus prohibited from citing Scripture on a personalized donor nameplate- violation – any verse references that contained the words, “Lord,” “God,” or “Jesus” on the plates
    -town bus stop bench ads reading “Jesus is Lord,” and church name no longer permitted if they contained the name of Jesus.
    -Women’s counseling service found to include pro-life counseling, denied ad space on the city buses
    -newspaper decided Tennessee store ad too offensive to print for containing the word “Christian.”
    -NASA’s Johnson Space Center employee group, Praise and Worship club, banned from using the name of Jesus in company newsletter
    – complaint – US Air Force major displayed open Bible on his desk
    -complaint- a number of instances – long standing prayer
    -complaint -New Jersey school practice of saying “God Bless America” at the end of the Pledge of Allegiance
    – lawsuit -mayor/other city leaders attended Texas church ceremony of 230-foot tall cross completion; church’s preacher also sued for inviting them
    -lawsuit – Oklahoma water tower featuring local church name who dedicated the land
    youth minister banned from meeting with Illinois high school students
    – complaint -veterans memorial on public grounds displaying soldier kneeling in front of a cross grave marker
    -challenged – “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency
    -“God’s Not Dead 2” billboard ad cancelled from RNC display -media company says sign “too incendiary”
    -lawsuit – students must have a permit to engage others in religious discussions or invite them to faith-based events.
    -complaint – VA clinic display (that included a Bible) commemorating missing in action and prisoners military members
    -complaint- U.S. Army Colonel post on the Military Health System website calling for increased prayer to promote spiritual fitness .

    Also your comment: zrim says Ok, here’s where you bury all that under some irrelevant verses…..
    makes me think of this one:
    -7-year-old CA student scolded in front of his class after sharing Bible verses during his lunch period; police also dispatched to parents’ home to reinforce school’s sentiment

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  8. Ali, none of that has to do with the free exercise of religious faith which is still protected in ways American religionists fail to grasp in comparison to the wider world. It all has to do with the complexities of living in a pluralistic society. Sometimes religionists win, sometimes they lose. Losing doesn’t mean persecution. What’s your point, that religionists should be able to do whatever they want whenever they want however they want regardless of who shares their public space? Is whining a Christian virtue? I thought it was gratitude?

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  9. Zrim say And for those tempted to think that our government is hostile to any religion

    Zrim, as has been posted elsewhere – THINK – why is it that YOU are so hostile

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  10. Ali, probably because I’m a carnal, second class Christian. Sorry, I’ll try harder. How’s this: Consarnit that RNC! How dare they nix a billboard of a tacky Christian movie? Persecution, persecution! How long, O Lord?

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  11. statement: God is not dead
    too incendiary
    incendiary: one who creates or stirs up conflict; an agitator

    not that one shouldn’t ‘stir up conflict and agitation’ , it’s just that there are more important things to do that about than that God lives, right zrim?

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  12. Thinking about the 7yro who was barred from sharing bible verses, I wonder how you would respond if your second grader was at a school in Utah where virtually all of the kids were Mormons. Would you feel comfortable if one of her classmates were constantly sharing “encouraging words” from Joseph Smith every day at lunch? What if he were inviting your teen to school sanctioned after school Book of Mormon clubs and taking her to “Jesus” talks at lunch in the neighboring park where all the kids went to hear more about brotherhood of Satan and Lucifer? I wouldn’t be so happy about that. Given the way peer pressure works in schools, I suspect that as a parent I would be very eager to have the school adopt as neutral a stance as possible. If I pay taxes to support the school, I should be able to send my kid there without concern that she will be indoctrinated/proselytized by her classmates (or authority figures).

    Similarly, imagine that as an employee your boss was constantly passing out literature by “free thinkers” and inviting employees to afterwork meetings of the local humanist association. What if virtually all of your colleagues were eager to participate and you, being in the minority, feared for your position because of not being a “team player”? Imagine this in the context of a sports team or in the military where you are expected to follow orders. The implicit coercion involved could really be problematic. I can imagine you would be grateful if your boss’s boss told him to cut that sort of thing out.

    Now you might be thinking something along the lines of, “yeah, but what I believe is true and I have the responsibility to share it as widely as possible and use whatever influence I have to spread the gospel.” Perhaps, but it is helpful to think about Jesus’s parable of sowing the seed – not all sowing is created equally. Second, Paul reiterates over and over that he did not come with a silver tongue and it isn’t the influential that spread the gospel. We all agree that we shouldn’t share the gospel via explicit coercion (at least I hope so!). We should probably also think more carefully about implicit coercion. Perhaps we can be open about our faith, but save the explicit witnessing to times when there isn’t a power imbalance.

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  13. @Zrim
    “How dare they nix a billboard of a tacky Christian movie? ”
    Don’t let Greg catch you writing that. There is no way he would let you get away with calling GND a “Christian” movie! Something about it being a blasphemous mess from the pit of hell or some such as a recall. Maybe that was GND 1, not GND2.

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  14. Ali, right, because heaven knows we need a tacky, earnestly didactic film to convey the living God. But when did film become a sacrament?

    sdb, sort of like when workplaces restrict employees from soliciting their co-workers for the kid’s candy sale. Clearly anti-chocolate haters. But I use the word “Christian” loosely. I don’t think Greg understand loose language.

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  15. If parents can tell children born into the church what to think, why can’t Oliver Odonovan, Peter Leithart, and NT Wright tell those born in a nation state what to think?

    https://mereorthodoxy.com/odonovan-contra-liberalism/

    Oliver ODonovan—“Alarm about governments to an alarm about society. For it is society that makes outsiders. Government may wrong dissidents by repression but it does not make them dissidents by recognizing and affirming things upon which its society agrees and they disagree. Deep social disagreements unreflected in the government would merely delegitimise the government. We are left with the suspicion that this liberal view springs from a radical suspicion of society as such and of the agreements that constitute it—to be traced back, perhaps, to the contractarian myth which bound individuals directly together into political societies without any acknowledgment of the mediating social reality.”

    Oliver ODonovan–“it is not Christendom but Christianity that is attacked. If any social agreement is potentially coercive and to be justified only by the needs of the civil order, then the agreements which constitute the church are coercive and unjustifiedly so. If there is no religious test on the right to vote, or to have access to education or medical care, why should there be one on attending Mass and receiving communion, which is, after all, an important means of social participation? This conclusion, that the church should not be defined by belief, seems to me to follow from the general refusal of ideology, though I do not know of anyone who has yet drawn it, except for the incomparable Simone Weil, who proposed, in her wartime tract The Need for Roots, that it should be prohibited to publish any opinion on any subject in the name of a collective body. Any society defined by its belief was to be banned.”

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  16. @ Mark:

    Your argument, taken to its conclusion, entails that Abraham was wrong to circumcise Ishmael and Isaac, Esau.

    Parents have to raise their children, and both NT and OT tell parents to raise them in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. No such command is given to the state.

    That’s the difference.

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  17. DGH: you don’t need to believe in God to hold federal office, how exactly is that not a secular polity?

    Until the mid-20th century, American polity was inconsistently secular.

    No religious tests for office, but plenty of deference to the Decalogue as a source of law.

    That doesn’t change until the 14th Amendment begins to be seriously applied to the states.

    For better or worse, America has undergone a secular alignment that it did not have in the 19th century.

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  18. Jeff, is it secular for Roman Catholics and Mormons (idolaters by our standards) to engage in idolatry freely?

    So what changed? Parents are still guardians of children, murder is illegal, adultery laws are in place, stealing is wrong, and lying is illegal (under oath anyway).

    You can still see the second table. Some of the lines are blurry. But when weren’t they if you were going to allow people from different religions or even no religion?

    Do I think America more decadent today than 1840? Yes. But I bet most of the critics of 2k think today is more decadent than the 1950s. Do they also notice that the 1950s were more decadent than the 1840s, and that the 1840s were more decadent than Geneva 1550s.

    Is it all relative? Not my point. What is my point is that we have no abiding city here. First century Jerusalem was more decadent than 2010’s U.S. And Paul and Jesus weren’t going hysterical. And the major complaint about 2k is that it doesn’t breed hysteria.

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  19. DG Hart says And Paul and Jesus weren’t going hysterical. And the major complaint about 2k is that it doesn’t breed hysteria.

    who’s says hysteria? how about lament

    lament: to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something
    1. to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for often demonstratively
    2. to regret strongly

    Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Matt 23:37-38

    Jesus When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. Luke 19:41-44

    Paul: I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, Romans 9:1-3

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  20. It is not wrong for Abraham to circumcise his children. It is wrong to identify all promises to Abraham with the promise of the new covenant.

    Mark—If parents can tell children born into the church what to think, why can’t neo-Constantinians tell those born in a nation state what to think?

    I am all about taking arguments to conclusions, Jeff. Indeed, I am all about beginning by clearly stating the arguments. One version of covenant theology says all covenants are the same, because all covenants are adminstrations of the same covenant. The other version of covennt theology tachs that, even though the Mosaic covenant is an admisntration of “the covenant of grace” but that The Mosaic and the Abrahamic covnants are very much different, and therefore there are no conditional promises in the Abrahamic covenant, and therefore the Abrahamic covenant (in every important respect and we ignore the rest) is just the same as the new covenant.

    I reject that conclusion, because I have read the details of the Abrahamic covenant and I know that both Moses and Chrsit are sons of Abraham. A type of Christ is not the same thing as Christ. A type of the church is not the same thing as the church.

    This is not to say that circumcision or slavery were wrong during that covenant age.

    Genesis 17—“This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is NOT your offspring, 13 a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as an lasting covenant. 14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant”
    ,
    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/gal-318-generic-law-and-promise-or-sinai-and-messiah/

    Brandon Adams–The fact that an inheritance is given in covenant by promise does not mean that it is given as a gift by grace through faith. An inheritance given in covenant by promise can be given as debt for works of the law. WCF 19.1 “God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.” But if that is true, then how are we to understand Paul when he says “For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.” (Galatians 3:18

    Brandon Adams–The answer lies in reading v18 not as a generic statement about law inheritance vs promise inheritance, but rather a specific statement about inheritance through the Sinai law vs inheritance through the promised Messiah. ….Let’s back up all the way to 2:21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

    This leads into what Paul argues in chapter 3.“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” This justifying faith of Abraham is antithetical to justifying works because “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’” Therefore “the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’”….If righteousness came through the law of Sinai, then Christ died for no purpose. But God swore that Christ would come and die for a purpose. Therefore righteousness cannot come through the law of Sinai.

    “To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring.” Paul is REFERRING TO THE PROMISE MENTIONED IN VERSE 8 —In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

    This covenant promise was that in Christ all the nations would be justified. But if the nations could be justified through the law of Sinai, then Christ died for no purpose, which would make the promise void. Galatians 3:18 does NOT teach that inheritance by promise is synonymous with inheritance by gift/grace/faith in distinction from inheritance by due/works/law. Therefore Galatians 3:18 does NOT teach a distinction between a covenant of promise and a covenant of law. Galatians 3 does NOT establish the unity of the Abrahamic and New Covenants in distinction from the Sinai Covenant. Therefore the Abrahamic Covenant is also a covenant of law/works for the typical kingdom of Abraham’s carnal offspring….

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  21. No distinction between nation-state and family is idolatry. But no distinction between church and family is NOT idolatry? Therefore genetic succession to “the covenant” , where there is no difference between the family and new Israel, except for converts?

    Mark 10:29-30 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

    You do not receive back any fathers. Call no man father. Jeff, can you remain a Bachelor and still Keep “the Covenant”?

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

    https://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/the-christian-idols-of-sex-marriage-and-family/

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  22. D. G. Hart says: Ali, watch this — 2k laments neo-Calvinism.

    weelll, we should be cautious about any ‘neos’, but hyper and radically cautious about ‘hyper’ or ‘radical’ anythings, such as radical 2K or hypergrace, eg, etc.

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  23. …cause, a reminder from today’s , don’t forget to lament over the right things, DG.

    Ezekiel 9. 4 The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”

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  24. …and from note today on that passage:

    Note well: those who are spared are not those who simply sit on the sidelines, but those who actively grieve over the spiritual degradation of the city. They may not have the power to effect change, but they have not sunk into the lassitude of careless indifference. And God spares them.
    https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/loveofgod/

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  25. Ali, as long as we’re issuing cautions, careful of who’s doing the labeling. How about careful of 2k critics who slap the r-label on just because they don’t like the fact that there aren’t religious tests on American life, which implies they really do prefer non-Christians to stay out, which suggests they really aren’t as patriotic as all their Christian Americanism implies.

    So if it’s rrrrrrrrrrrradical to want to preserve common civil life for all regardless of religious persuasion, color me rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrradical. Boo!

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  26. why can’t we inherit grace?

    Romans 9: 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent,] came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever….BUT NOT ALL WHO ARE DESCENDED FROM ISRAEL ARE ISRAEL 7 Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants… It is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children….

    Many predestinationists have no problem with God having predestined themselves to an inheritance . But the idea of God’s election having already decided for whom Christ died and this death being the only difference (physical descent excluded) disturb many Augustinians. The Jews who tried to push Jesus Christ off the cliff in Luke 4 were not that angry about “opening up the covenant to more people” ( gentiles and females). What disturbed them was any idea that God was not going to accept their own status as covenant children and the covenant status of their own physical offspring. Sure, God can “open up” the covenant, but it’s unthinkable to the old life synagogue that God would “narrow the covenant” or even say that the new covenant is not the same as the old covenants.

    Matthew 23: 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Gehenna? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

    What do you have against both Cain and Abel inheriting salvation from Adam?

    I john 3: 12—Cain was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did Cain murder Abel? Because Cain’s works were evil, and Abel’’s were righteous.

    John 3—Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?…….you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases.

    19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light BECAUSE their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids the ight so that his deeds will not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light.

    John 1:11 He came to His own,
    and His own people did not receive Him.
    12 But to all who did receive Him,
    He gave them the right to be children of God,
    to those who believe in His name,
    13 who were born,
    not of blood,
    or of the will of the flesh,
    or of the will of man,
    but of God.

    To inherit based on family is the will of the flesh. But you can’t inherit salvation by birth. You can’t inherit salvation by marriage. You can’t inherit salvation by means of human adoption or slavery. To be a child of God is not a birthright.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/they-are-not-all-israel-who-are-of-israel/

    Acts 2: 18 I will even pour out My Spirit
    on My male and female slaves in those days,
    and they will prophesy….21 Then everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved….
    23 Though Jesus was handed over according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him…
    29 the father David is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
    30 David knew that God had sworn an oath to David to seat ONE of his descendants on his throne….
    39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, AS MANY AS the Lord our God will CALL

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  27. Mark: If parents can tell children born into the church what to think, why can’t Oliver Odonovan, Peter Leithart, and NT Wright tell those born in a nation state what to think?

    Mark again: It is not wrong for Abraham to circumcise his children. It is wrong to identify all promises to Abraham with the promise of the new covenant….

    The relationship between Abrahamic and New Covenant is a humongous conversation that I would like to have at some point. At this time, however, it is not necessary for us to agree on Galatians 3 or the relationship between covenants to agree to these points:

    (1) Abraham’s children were born into his family and into the covenant God made with Abraham,
    (2) And he presumably “told them what to think”, since he was obligated to teach them of the covenant, yet
    (3) Neither he nor his children nor his children’s children told any nation-state what to think.

    In other words, the slippery slope that you present turns out not to obtain.

    So even if it is right (as I hold) for Christians to view their children as born into the Church in some sense, it does not follow from that fact that Christian theologians can tell the state what to think.

    The answer to your question is that the first fact (parents telling children what to think) does not entail the second (theologians telling the state what to think).

    But as to whether it is right for parents to tell their children what to think, Eph 6.4 seems dispositive to me.

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  28. DGH: …but if we inherit Adam’s sin, why can’t we inherit grace?

    Mark: [Cites Rom 9.4]

    So we have some possible options:

    (1) Grace is never inherited,
    (2) Grace is sometimes inherited,
    (3) Grace is always inherited.

    Which of the above does your citation prove or disprove?

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  29. Jeff, grace is inherited but not automatically. I don’t know how you make sense of the Bible’s covenantal structure and not see that families are a favored way to pass on the faith.

    Heck, I don’t know how you look at the world and human beings in it and not see how crucial families are to socializing persons who — unlike cats — take almost 15 years (at least) to mature.

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  30. Aristotle (Politics) —“Now that it is clear what are the component parts of the state, we have first of
    all to discuss household management for every state is composed of households Household management falls into departments corresponding to the parts of which the household in its turn is composed; and the
    household in its perfect form consists of slaves and freemen. The investigation of everything should begin with its smallest parts, and the primary and smallest parts of the household are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children; we ought therefore to examine the proper constitution and character of each of these three relationships, I mean that of mastership, that of marriage, and thirdly the progenitive relationship>”

    I too wish that we had time to tease out the distinctions between the Abrahamic and the new covenants. I am thinking, Jeff, that you agree with me that the flattening of the covenants into one same covenant tends to law-grace confusion, but not that this law-grace confusion tends to Constantinian arrangements. You deny that the identification of church with family inherently “entails” the identification of state with family

    As you suggest, that’s a big argument, and we come with different presuppositions–me thinking that Christians can only be loyal to one kingdom and must leave the wrath to God, you thinking that there is a second kingdom in which Christians can administer God’s wrath (but without God’s standards). Yes, I know that’s not the way you would describe it. But for now let’s think about Ephesians.

    Jeff–But as to whether it is right for parents to tell their children what to think, Ephesians 6.4 seems dispositive to me.

    Mark asks—Does Paul regard these children as Christians (in the new covenant) because their parents profess to be Christians, or does Paul regard these children because these children profess to be Christians? Is it not right for those outside the new covenant to obey their parents? Does the Lord have no right to command those outside the new covenant? Do parents who are not Christians have any right to be obeyed by their children?

    Ephesians 6 Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord,because this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, 3 in order that it go well with you and that you have a long life IN THE LAND .4 Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, obey your masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.

    We are working with arguments from silence. The test does not say that the children are believers. The text does not say that the imperative depends on previous grace to those commanded. The text does not say that the children are in the new covenant. The text does not say that “water is something that God does” (and now threatens you with).

    Does parents telling their children what to do entail masters telling their slaves what to do? How could slaves have any right to disobey masters if children have no right to disobey parents? If the state has rights of obedience from parents and children, and from masters and slaves, why is that the new covenant has nothing to say about what the state should or should not do? (What is the distinction between “theologians telling the state what to do” and “theologians telling theologians they have no right to tell the state anything”?)

    Do these children, Jeff, receive an inheritance because of their parents or because of Christ? If stepping on a crack and your grandmother’s back breaking is “not automatic”, then what is the cause-effect relationship between having Christian parents and inheriting grace from Christ? If those without Christian parents inherit grace from Christ, what is the “not automatic” difference except the claim that “you had grace and then lost it”?

    Ephesians 1: 5 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ

    Ephesians 1: 11 We have also received an INHERITANCE in Christ, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ would bring praise to His glory.

    13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Christ, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Christ is the down payment of our INHERITANCE

    Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the perception of your mind be enlightened so you know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of HIS inheritance among the saints,

    If these children were born justified before God, is Ephesians addressed to them, given that Ephesians presumes converts who were born dead in sins?

    Ephesians 2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins ….3 We were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

    Is it possible that some of these children will lose their inheritance and forfeit the grace Christ has earned for them as members of the new covenant?

    Ephesians 4: You were sealed by God’s Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

    http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/48/48-2/48-2-pp317-330_JETS.pdf

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  31. Tom Chantry—What Mark Jones is attempting to do is to jump from federal holiness to regeneration, which are two very distinct and different categories. It is for exactly this reason that Rutherford and Goodwin had their debate over the nature of a covenant child’s holiness. The category of New Covenant child doesn’t exist in the Bible, and the category of Old Covenant child is distinctly unsatisfying. Mark Jones concedes near the end of his piece that perhaps one of his children might be non-elect, but what exactly does that mean if federal holiness means being a Christian? It is distressing to hear a New Covenant believer speaking of his children – or anyone – as being in that covenant, enjoying the benefits of that covenant, and yet still possibly being non-elect. He speaks of considering his children to be Christians, but again, we must ask why? Is it because they express their faith in Christ through prayer, or is it for some other reason?…..How do I deal with my children when they ask questions about their salvation? With this answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.

    https://chantrynotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/how-presbyterianism-solves-everything-or-not/

    Mark Jones—On what grounds do I ask my four-year old son to forgive his twin brother? “Can my children sing Psalm 23 (esp. v. 6) or Be Thou My Vision (as they do) with the assurance that God is indeed their shepherd or their breastplate and sword for the fight? Can they sing “‘Jesus loves me, this I know’ (‘…little ones to him belong…’)? “When my children pray during family worship to their heavenly Father, what are the grounds for them praying such a prayer? Do they have any right to call God their ‘heavenly Father’?”

    Tom Chantry—I’ve left out the answers. The short version on each is, “Yes, because I’m a Presbyterian, but if you’re a Baptist you have no answers.

    Mark McCulley—How can Christ indwell these children if the church does not give them the weekly sacrament? And how can the state govern its citizens without governing families?

    Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.

    If you are patient enough, you can make a nation Christian in the same way that you make a slave or a family member Christian. You baptize the person with water. And the great commission tells us to tell nations that they are Christian, and then we can talk to that nation like we do to Christians. If you do not agree that Americans are all already Christians, how could you teach them the Apostles Creed or tell them about what they should do?

    Anti-Constantinianism is anti-family. The liberal project which attempts to defend the secular state against theologians is destructive of the family. If the Augustinian church can’t tell the Donatists how to raise their family, then it’s no longer a private matter but a question of political sedition.

    Peter Leithart (Defending Constantine, IVP) —We must opposes the “John Locke Protestantism” in which separatists (individualist, isolationists) hold opinions that divide them from the general public…..If we won’t support killing non-Trinitarians, then we are left with “invisible churches”.

    Brandon Adams — historic Presbyterianism was very different than modern Presbyterianism. Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the “age of discretion” and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion but they were not required by law to profess saving faith. Therefore the covenanters did not see themselves as judging “the world” with these laws. They were judging the church.

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  32. Because of his lies about his sister wife, Abraham became a rich crony capitalist— Abraham was a lot more worried about losing his own life than about Isaac losing his life.

    Genesis 12 : 10 There was a famine in the PROMISED LAND , so Abram went elsewhere (to Egypt to live there) for a while because the famine in the PROMISED LAND was severe. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ THEY WILL KILL ME but let you live. 13 Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh, so the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s household. 16 He treated Abram well because of her, and Abram ACQUIRED flocks and herds, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels 17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Abram’s wife Sarah. 18 So Pharaoh sent for Abram and said, “What have you done to me? Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She’s my sister,’ so that I took her as my wife? Now, here is your wife. Take her and go!”20 Then Pharaoh gave his men orders about him, and they sent Abraham away with his wife and ALL HE HAD.

    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/rite-reasons/no-20-daddy-why-was-i-excommunicated/

    Unlike in the Great Commission, you won’t find the word “nation” in Genesis chapter 14

    In those days Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim 2 waged war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, as well as the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All of these came as allies to the Valley of Siddim. 4 They were subject to Chedorlaomer for 12 years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in the mountains of Seir, as far as El-paran by the wilderness. 7 Then they came back to invade En-mishpat and they defeated all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.

    8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela went out and lined up for battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim contained many asphalt pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them,but the rest fled to the mountains. 11 The four kings took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on. 12 They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.

    13 One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his HOUSEHOLD, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people…. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, but take the possessions for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand in an oath to Yahweh, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that belongs to you, so you can never say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except what the slaves have eaten. But as for the share of the men who came with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—they can take their share.”

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  33. Mark: I am thinking, Jeff, that you agree with me that the flattening of the covenants into one same covenant tends to law-grace confusion, but not that this law-grace confusion tends to Constantinian arrangements. You deny that the identification of church with family inherently “entails” the identification of state with family

    Very close. I think that the flattening of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace produces law-grace confusion for the simple reason that the first was by works and the second by grace. Flattening mushes the principles.

    But the covenant with Abraham was not by works, so there is not a confusion of principles inherent in identifying Abraham’s covenant with ours — even if one thinks that the identification is improper (as you do).

    Mark: You deny that the identification of church with family inherently “entails” the identification of state with family

    Well, yes, I do deny.

    The Bible calls the church the family of God. It’s a family.

    The state? Nothing about the state as family, regardless of what Aristotle may say. I was surprised to see you lead off with him.

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  34. Your posts above lead in 52 different directions, so to speak, and I can’t figure out where to start in response. Here’s what I gleaned from reading:

    * You believe that there is only one kingdom, not two.
    * You believe that Presbyterians believe that baptizing our children makes them Christians (we don’t).
    * You believe that to be anti-Constantinian is to be anti-family.

    That last one baffles me immensely, in that I’ve always understood you to be strongly anti-Constantinian. Do you self-identify as anti-family?

    * You think of Leithart and Jones as representative of my views (they aren’t).

    Help me out. In a few words, what is your argument against my three points:

    (1) Abraham’s children were born into his family and into the covenant God made with Abraham,
    (2) And he presumably “told them what to think”, since he was obligated to teach them of the covenant, yet
    (3) Neither he nor his children nor his children’s children told any nation-state what to think.

    Does this not demonstrate, pace Aristotle (!), that telling one’s children what to think does not entail telling the state what to think?

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  35. Gen 18:19 “For I have known him, in order that he command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, in order that the Lord bring to Abraham what He has spoken to ABRAHAM.

    Jeff—But the covenant with Abraham was not by works

    mark—Some aspects of the covenant with Abraham were by works. Individuals staying in the land covenant was by works. Christ kept all the conditions of the new covenant, but the new covenant is not the same as the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant was older than the old covenant, and promised Abraham (and some of his seed) other realities besides righteousness before God . Abraham was promised that his seed would be a great blessing to the nations. None of us are promised that our seed will be a blessing to the nations. Abraham was promised that he would be a great nation, but his children were punished by exile from the land.

    It’s important not to ignore the conditioned on the sinner (the not automatic, you can still be cut off) the works aspects of the Abrahamic covenant , and therefore important not to confuse the Abrahamic and the new covenants. If we don’t make the distinction, we will end up with an idea of the new covenant as not being governed by election to justification before God based on Christ the mediator alone.

    I understand that not all Presbyterians think of watered members of their households as Christians. I understand that Leithard thinks of these other Presbyterians as having no better view of “the covenant” than “anabaptists” since these presbyterians won’t welcome all household members to the weekly sacrament which gives indwelling grace. I understand that many Presbyterians think of water baptism as merely an objective but conditional promise that some watered members will become Christians. (And this does not deny that some not watered will also become Christians)

    DGH– “critics of 2k need to do is stop showing how 2k departs from the past. We get that…. Critics need to propose an equation for God-and-state that is required by God’s word (especially the part where Paul recommends submission to Nero)

    mark mcculley—It’s not enough to say that Calvin was wrong about the two kingdoms, without seeing the connection between Geneva trying to have church with old covenant polity and Geneva being a city-state with old covenant polity. Reformed two kingdom people want to have no Bible covenant govern nations, but they still use the Abrahamic covenant as a model for law and promise in the church. They confuse types and shadows with the new covenant fulfillments.

    We are not only talking about law, about all children being commanded to obey parents.
    We also are talking about children inheriting Christianity from their parents (with some not automatic assistance from Christ)

    Since forgiveness of sins before God belongs to God and not to parents. we need to make a distinction between children obeying parents and children inheriting justification before God.

    Children are commanded to obey parents who cannot give them justification. This means that inclusion in the covenant (or the sacraments) is not necessary for parents’ right to command children.

    DGH—Two kingdom advocates the spirituality of the church which is a part of the Western Christian tradition going back to Augustine and In another sense it is new —

    mark mcculley—Not new but new, this is the contradiction which I am trying to get at. The new project which attempts to defend the secular state against theologians is saying that the Augustinian church was wrong to kill Donatists who would not submit their household members to the church (and empire). How can two kingdom Reformed people say that infant initiation into the covenant is not a private matter but only about the authority of the church but nevertheless not a question of political sedition against the state (since the state depends on families, and churches) ?

    http://reformedlibertarian.com/articles/theology/the-half-way-covenant/ BA– “Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the “age of discretion” and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion but they were not required by law to profess saving faith. Therefore the covenanters did not see themselves as judging “the world” with these laws. They were judging the church.”

    mark mcculley–And why was it so important for these people to remain in the church and in the covenant, but without any need for a conversion narrative? First, how will they ever become Christians if they are without access to the “means of indwelling grace”. (And here the debates between those who charitably assume all in the covenant are Christians and give them the sacraments, and those who tell their children that they are not Christians yet but have been promised an inheritance that those outside have not been)

    Second, where there is a “confessional State”, you cannot be a citizen without also being a member of the church. In theory, I suppose, you could have a confessional state but more than one church, but if the confessional state requires its citizens to be Christians and makes part of the test for that being a member of one of the churches, you have not escaped idolatry. Is atheism a worse kind of idolatry than other kinds? The paedobaptists who killed the native Americans and took possession of the land in New England modeled their nation after the nation of Abraham and admitted only their own kind and cut off other Trinitarian paedobaptists ( Lutherans and Roman Catholics)

    DGH–If the false gods are no gods, isn’t then every state without the Triune God revealed in Holy Writ an atheistic state? Some Puritans are closer to a confessional state than to Robinson and Hodge who seemingly welcomed a secular government like the United States but rejected an atheistic state.

    mark mcculley–and now the modern two kingdom advocates are more consistent and welcome the atheist state and ask us what alternative can there be to Christians serving in a second kingdom which administers the wrath of God (but without appeal to any confessional identification of God or of God’s law). They suggest that the only other two alternatives are 1. a confessional state or 2. being loyal only to Christ’s kingdom and submitting to Nero but not participating in his kingdom. And people with a Reformed world view don’t withdraw into that second option.

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  36. How is the land promise distinctively Mosaic in contrast to Abrahamic? The typological land promise was something the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants shared in common. So how can anybody categorize Mosaic elements as temporary and thereby distinguish them from the Abrahamic types that are not “distinctively Mosaic”? , When Ephesians 6 promises “live long in the land”, do we cherry pick that out?

    Who gets to decides that all the Abrahamic types are not Mosaic? Aren’t all types temporary? We should see that Abraham had two sons. Not only Ishmael and Isaac, but also Christ and Moses..

    Jeff Johnson— “The Mosaic Covenant did not replace, alter, or add to the condition placed upon the physical seed of Abraham in Genesis 17. It merely gave clarity to what was already required by circumcision. The Mosaic Covenant grew out of and codified the conditional side of the Abrahamic Covenant.”

    John Murray “The obedience of Abraham is represented as the condition upon which the fulfillment of the promise given to him was contingent and the obedience of Abraham’s seed is represented as the means through which the promise given to Abraham would be accomplished. … The idea of conditional fulfillment is not something peculiar to the Mosaic covenant. We have been faced quite poignantly with this very question in connection with the Abrahamic covenant. And since this feature is there patent, it does not of itself provide us with any reason for construing the Mosaic covenant in terms different from those of the Abrahamic.”

    Brandon Adams—John Murray greatly erred in transferring this principle to the New Covenant, yet he was faithful to the Old Testament text about Abraham.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/clarification-on-the-mosaic-covenant-and-eternal-life/

    John Owen—Answerably unto this twofold end of the separation of Abraham, there was a double seed allotted unto him; — a seed according to the flesh, separated to the bringing forth of the Messiah according unto the flesh; and a seed according to the promise, that is, such as by faith should have interest in the promise, or all the elect of God…

    Owen–They were the children of Abraham according to the flesh: but on that account they can have no other privilege than Abraham had in the flesh himself; and this was, as we have showed, that he should he set apart as a special channel, through whose loins God would derive the promised Seed into the world. In like manner were they separated to be a peculiar people, as his posterity.. That this separation and privilege was to CEASE when the end of it was accomplished and the Messiah exhibited, the very nature of the thing declares…

    Owen—It is true, the former carnal privilege of Abraham and his posterity expiring, on the grounds before mentioned, the ordinances of worship which were suited thereunto did necessarily cease also. And this cast the Jews into great perplexities, and proved the last trial that God made of them; for whereas both these, — namely, the carnal and spiritual privileges of Abraham’s covenant, — had been carried on together in a mixed way for many generations, coming now to be separated, and a trial to be made (Malachi 3) who of the Jews had interest in both, who in one only, those who had only the carnal privilege, of being children of Abraham according to the flesh, contended for a share on that single account in the other also, — that is, in all the promises annexed unto the covenant. But the foundation of their plea was taken away, and the church, unto which the promises belong, remained with them that were heirs of Abraham’s faith only.

    Galatians 3:9: “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

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  37. John Calvin, Institutes 4—-Whoever knows how to distinguish between this fleeting life and that future spiritual life, will without difficulty know that Christ’s spiritual kingdom and the civil jurisdiction are things completely distinct. It is a Jewish vanity to seek and enclose Christ’s Kingdom within the elements of this world…..

    Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, p 68–“Great allegorizer that he was, Augustine managed to overpower Scripture to suit his purpose. Augustine found what he needed in the family situation of Abraham where there were two wives, one a free woman and the other a slave. By this Augustine justified the presence of two kinds of Christians in the church one kind by faith and the other kind without faith….If anyone does not of his own accord have himself regenerated by baptism, he shall be coerced to it by the king.”

    Verduin–The thing that needed to be done was to eliminate as much as possible the “Take, eat” of the original ritual. This “Take, eat” was far too reminiscent of voluntaryism.

    Charles Hodge—It is to be remembered that there were two covenants made with Abraham. By the one, his natural descendants through Isaac were constituted a commonwealth, an external, visible community. By the other, his spiritual descendants were constituted a church. The parties to the former covenant were God and the nation; to the other, God and His true people. The promises of the national covenant were national blessings; the promises of the spiritual covenant were reconciliation, holiness, and eternal life. The conditions of the national covenant were circumcision and obedience to the law … There cannot be a greater mistake than to confound the national covenant with the covenant of grace, and the commonwealth founded on the one with the church founded on the other.”
    (Church Polity, 1878,p 66) https://sovereignlogos.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/charles-hodge-and-the-two-covenants-with-abraham/

    Theonomist George Gillespie—If The analogy betwixt the Jewish & the Christian church faile, the argument of Baptisme from circumcision will faile also…

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  38. @ Mark:

    I feel that pull to jump into a discussion about the covenants. Must … resist …

    But could you just respond to my three points above? I would rather at this time find points where I see potential to agree.

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