On 2K, Lutheran 2K, Anabaptists, Theonomy, and Germany

Proto-Protestant supplies perspective.

First, Anabaptists are out:

Westminster West’s Two Kingdom theology breaks at points with the Lutheran variety and is certainly somewhat hostile to Theonomy and yet its retention of Kuyperian Dominionism places it much closer to the Lutheran and Theonomist understandings of the Kingdom than it does to the Anabaptist. Westminster’s version of Two Kingdoms is still very much pro-culture formation and while not Transformationalist in a de jure sense, from the standpoint of ‘radical’ Two Kingdom theology it represents a de facto rejection of Two Kingdoms.

The Anabaptist position if we are to accept that unfortunate label would identify both the Lutheran and Westminster West (or Escondido) positions as being One Kingdom with different nuances and not genuine expressions of Biblical Two Kingdom theology. From my standpoint it’s just a diluted (and thus somewhat improved) One Kingdom or Sacralist understanding of the Kingdom.

Second, Lutherans are as 1k as Kuyperians and theonomists:

Cooper is to be commended in some aspects of his presentation and argument. He does a great job demonstrating the actual Sacralist (One Kingdom) nature of Lutheran so-called Two Kingdom theology, a point I’ve been trying to make for many years. He intimately weds it to the Magisterial Reformation. His proper explanation of Lutheran Two Kingdom theology demonstrates that the charges made by Theonomists regarding its equivalence with the Anabaptist version are completely false.

For example whenever the Theonomists wish to attack what they call Radical Two Kingdom theology they will pin the indifference and acquiescence of the German population in the 1930s on their embrace of Lutheran Two Kingdom theology. Two Kingdom theology led to separatism (it is argued) and passivity. And thus the German Church and people let the Nazis come to power.

And then when Westminster Two Kingdom advocates point to Lutheranism as an example of a Two Kingdom Reformation heritage, and that their view is not guilty of novelty, the Theonomists will suddenly argue that Lutheran Two Kingdoms is more akin to their own Sacralist and Established Church position. They will then argue the Escondido variety is actually a version of Radical Two Kingdom theology.

In other words, the fundamental difference between magisterial and Anabaptist Protestants is that the former do not reject the state or the sword as legitimate spheres for Christians. (Not to mention that magisterial Protestants don’t question Christendom until 1789.)

Third, theonomists lie:

As usual the Theonomists have little interest in the truth of the matter and wish instead to destroy their intra-denominational opponents. Their historical theology is politicised and that’s something that always needs to be recognised when dealing with the Christian Right.

The politicisation of theology can be frustrating but Cooper makes it exceedingly clear. The Lutheran view has a very positive attitude to the state and in reality its model can be described as One Kingdom in two spheres… very much like the Kuyperian model embraced by Westminster West.

Finally, what went wrong in Germany (it wasn’t 2k):

This further demonstrates a point I have often made that it was the Sacral Theology of German Lutheranism that taught moral complacency, compliance and social conformity. They lost their sense of antithesis and equated German Kultur with Christianity. Hitler’s nationalism and anti-communism were sentiments they readily identified with. The German Church didn’t embrace Nazism due to passivity. Rather they (speaking in general terms) actively embraced it, viewing nationalism and political anti-communism (not to mention anti-Semitism) as expressions of piety and Christian culture.

True advocates of Two Kingdom theology are governed by antithesis and would never be taken in by or support such agendas. This is not to blame or slander Lutherans for what happened under the Third Reich but it helps to understand why an ostensibly ‘Christian’ nation would embrace a figure like Hitler and the agenda of his regime.

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20 thoughts on “On 2K, Lutheran 2K, Anabaptists, Theonomy, and Germany

  1. Ok huh? I have listened to most of Coopers podcasts and these particular lectures. Who is this person and what is he talking about?

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  2. Robin was clearly referring to the Proto-Protestant blog you quoted from. He’s an ex-reformed Christian. Studied Kline a lot. Has great reservations about sola fide being scholastic “speculative” theology. Has a lot of thought provoking things to say, but ultimately is disappointing and to be avoided because of his rejection of systematic theology and the reformed (biblical) faith.
    https://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2011/05/hyper-solafideism-and-meta-system-part.html
    https://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2012/01/answering-questions-14-law-of-non.html

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  3. Robin C., Proto-Protestant used to comment here if I recall. I don’t know him. From what I read, he is a serious Protestant. He might even qualify for membership in the OPC. Low standards for members, not so much for clergy.

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  4. so Old Life is not to be avoided?

    Kind of a strange question. I didn’t mean there was anything wrong with quoting him. I just meant that he’s not a reliable source for the average person to go digging around reading. No, I don’t think your blog should be avoided, though I tend to find much of the content unedifying so I don’t regularly read it.

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  5. So, what was the main point of the post? Were you agreeing with Proto’s argument that Lutheran 2k was not an influence on the German people’s acceptance of Hitler as the leader of their government? It was more of a German acceptance of the “Sacral Theology of German Lutheranism?” It was that teaching that led to “moral complacency, compliance and social conformity? And it was that and not Lutheran 2K that led to the acceptance of the Nazi agenda?

    I’m still not clear on how the “Sacral Theology of German Lutheranism” got separated from the anti-thesis. I’m assuming he is talking about the Church/State anti-thesis and not the Law/Gospel anti-thesis. I’m also assuming they go hand in hand. I still find it difficult to develop any kind of coherent social theology with the biblical reality of those who are “in Adam” and those who are “in Christ” floating around in my cluttered mind. Is there not a completely different governing structure involved for both those differing groups?- or, maybe there is not. Is it New Covenant Law that governs New Covenant Christians, or is there still some unity with the Old Covenant Law? Why natural law? These social theology concepts get very confusing very quickly. I don’t really even try that hard to understand it all anymore. It all just seems like a chaotic nightmare to me. I have much more of an attraction to Gospel issues than social issues. However, they have to be tied together somehow. That is what I get confused about easily. I think I am speaking for lots of people in this regard, i.e., those whose main vocations are not involved with trying to make sense of this complicated issue.

    Proto-protestant is an anabaptist in his social thought. He does not believe there really is a secular realm. And he believes that Christians should not be involved in trying to govern those who are still “in Adam.” (that includes an involvement in the major secular institutions like politics, the military or the police). All is governed by the Providence of God. Another reason the anabaptists got put to death was because their social and political beliefs differed from those of the magisterial reformers. Much of their history is not even considered seriously by many of the contemporary heirs of the magisterial reformers. Proto has spent lots of time reading the literature of the radical reformers.

    It seems to me and others that I have talked with that Proto’s soteriology is similar to that of John McArthur’s Lordship Salvation. It is not reformed but some reformed have an affinity and connection with it. In other words, some reformed believe that John McArthur’s Gospel is close enough to be called a biblical Gospel and not a false Gospel. McArthur is heavy handed in regards to moral conduct being proof that one is a true Christian and so is Proto-protestant.

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  6. Here is how Proto defines Sacralism:

    Sacralism

    or Constantinianism as it is known in its Christian context.

    This error is an often overlooked, but key historical and theological concept defined as:

    1.The confluence of church and state wherein one is called upon to change the other.

    2.The sanctification of culture. A theological monism viewing Church, State, and Culture as the Kingdom of God on earth.

    3.The Body of Christ defined by a combining of Ecclesial, Political, and Cultural Forms.

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  7. JohnnY: So, what was the main point of the post? Were you agreeing with Proto’s argument that Lutheran 2k was not an influence on the German people’s acceptance of Hitler as the leader of their government? It was more of a German acceptance of the “Sacral Theology of German Lutheranism?” It was that teaching that led to “moral complacency, compliance and social conformity? And it was that and not Lutheran 2K that led to the acceptance of the Nazi agenda?

    John Y: I don’t think that was the only point you were making. However, like others, I find it difficult to try to decipher what other points you might be making. Some of the other regulars who agree with the 2K social theology seem to catch on to your points more quickly than those of us who still have reservations about it. There are many assumptions that the regulars have bought into that others are still not so sure about. So, when the 2K assumptions are not assumed by others reading the posts then the posts become somewhat incomprehensible.

    And I am still miffed as to how the anti-thesis that Proto speaks of was missed by many German Lutherans who had bought into the Sacral Theology of German Lutheranism. I think there was never that anti-thesis distinction in Lutheran 2K like there was in what developed in the Calvinist Reformed churches. Proto’s arguments seems to be that this distinction often gets missed by those critiquing 2K. It was the Sacralists and not the 2Kers who got duped by Hitler. I don’t think Proto explained that whole scenario very clearly. That is, in regards to the differences between Sacralism and 2K. My question is how do 2kers prevent Sacralism from creeping into their social theology when Christians can pay homage and loyalty to both the Church and the State. That is what gets confusing to me.

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  8. Some very useful info above. I agree with the comments on Lutheran 2KT. However, I believe that the German embracing of Nazism developed over time and thus followed stages. There was a passivity problem along with the identity of German culture with Christianity. But such is not unique to Germany. The embracing of Nazism followed their promises to bring back traditional values and to make Germany great again. The penchant for self-exaltation and view one’s own group as being exceptional played a role in Germany’s acceptance at first and then embracing later on Hitler and the Nazis. But what also played a role was the desire to be relieved from the hardships brought by Wall Street’s economic collapse as well as Versailles Treaty. And what we should also note is that Germany’s self-perception of be exceptional did not distinguish it from its neighbors who, at various times including that time period, thought they were exceptional too.

    The above comments about Lutheran 2KT fit my blog experiences with Lutherans.

    Now out of sincere curiosity, how the institutional Church challenge Nazism from a 2KT perspective? Could it only disassociate the Christianity from Hitler’s New Germany or it challenge Nazi policies themselves?

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  9. JohnnY, I agree with Proto’s critique of Christendom and that for all of Lutheranism’s 2k, or Calvinism’s spirituality of the church, the working model for western Christianity until the glorious revolution of 1789 was a Christian society that inherently blurs the realms of Christ’s and the state’s lordship. Just watch The Crown. You have English monarchs who don’t believe in the Trinity who still believe in sacral monarchy — and they’re the head of the church no less.

    America was always great.

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  10. You’re playing mind games with me again, DGH. Just like you did with that comment about Blacks and Mennonites (or the ones that ride around in horse and buggy in Pennsylvania and some other midwestern states- their group name is just not coming to me right now) a while back. I responded sarcastically back with Tru-dat. I don’t know if you thought I was being sarcastic or thought I really believed your comment. There was nothing else said so I left it as is. Such is often the case with blog commenting.

    Can you explain the history of why Reformed types often revert to playing mind games with those who might not agree with them about many doctrinal issues? It is a ploy often used here along with the Calvinist ignore tactic. However, I might be totally wrong about all this. I still kind of like you and all the regulars here and do learn a lot of stuff when checking in here. I don’t know if I would go the not edifying route like Brandon did. I kind of like the fact that you allow open dialog with dissenting voices and due to that the commenting does often get unedifying- such is life is my take on that one.

    America was always great- huh? You are being sarcastic, right? You have a round about way of answering questions that still miffs me. I think it has to do with the history of Reformed types playing mind games with their antagonists. It is just deeply ingrained in your mental makeup.

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  11. Curt, I am not exactly clear on what you are saying. There was a lot to digest in that Proto post. Some of his post was not real clear to me. I think my comment about the Proto post could have been a lot more clearly written too but this is the internet and my responses are often quick and not thoroughly thought through. This is off the cuff commenting that needs to get deciphered and filtered before true communication takes place. That is often a laborious undertaking that most don’t have much patience for. Sometimes it can be rewarding if you are motivated enough to endure the weaknesses of this means of communication. Often comments get misinterpreted. And often comments are not clearly written.

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  12. JohnnY, I do mean America was “great” at the founding. You look at the history of divine-right monarchy and trying something different took courage and imagination. But now with the imperial presidency, not so great.

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  13. I guess I will accept your comment as you not playing mind games. It’s the Christmas holiday and I get paranoid and defensive quickly. Probably from years of dealing with relatives who do play lots of mind games with me. That is deeply ingrained in my mental makeup.

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  14. Johny Y,
    If much of what I wrote is confusing to you, I think it would best for me to try to explain one point at a time. Let me know the first points that seemed confusing to you. Thank you

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