Move Over Betsy De Vos

Is this another evangelical Plantinga about whom we need to know?

Adam Plantinga was interviewed recently in The Christian Century and addresses some tough issues. It’s worth reading the whole interview, but in case you don’t:

There’s a 90-10 rule in law enforcement: 90 percent of people are decent, 10 percent aren’t, and as a cop you deal with that 10 percent about 90 percent of the time.

All of this has a tendency to make you skeptical and disillusioned—to distort your worldview. It’s part of what’s known as compassion fatigue…. In its most damning strain, goodness starts to look something like weakness.

What the police must strive for is equality under the law. If that isn’t happening, attention must be paid. But in some people’s minds, every time a white police officer has a negative encounter with a black suspect, racism is clearly afoot. To be sure, racism is threaded through every institution in our country, from mortgage lending to how kids are disciplined in school.

But if a police controversy is about race only because some people arbitrarily decided to make it about race, the damage that can be done is much more than simply the Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome. Accusations of racism are incendiary.

Some of these recent cases generate such a visceral reaction that they demand a response. The Walter Scott case in North Charleston, where the officer shot Scott while Scott was running away, looked to me like a straight-up assassination. The shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa bears all the trappings of an officer tragically overreacting to a perceived threat.

The governor of Minnesota was quick to say that if Philandro Castile had been white, he wouldn’t have been shot by police. I’m not sure how fair that is, but it seemed to resonate with a lot of people as true. But if Michael Brown were a large white man going after Wilson’s gun after slugging him in the face, would Wilson have just brushed it off as the misguided antics of a fellow Caucasian? That doesn’t strike me as plausible.

So is this Plantinga any relation to THE evangelical Plantinga? Heck, yeah!

I came from a home that emphasized service. My father is a pastor and former president of Calvin Theological Seminary. My mother was a fourth-grade teacher in a Christian school. I was on the hunt for a real job—I wanted to kick down a door or two, protect folks who needed protecting, and go after violent felons. As an English major, I was also looking to do work where there would be some good stories. I believe I have found that.

Dutch and much (more than evangelical).

25 thoughts on “Move Over Betsy De Vos

  1. William Edgar quotes James Skillen :”If we understand the claims of Jesus about the kingdom of heaven in this way [as a threat to both Roman and Jewish authority], we can see how relevant those claims are to every kind of human responsibility on earth, including human government. Jesus did not teach that his shepherding was “spiritual” and unrelated to life in this world. He did not say that his authority to teach disciples touched only theological matters. He did not say teach that the brotherly, sisterly love he was urging his disciples to practice was sacred in contrast to their “secular” family relationships. To the contrary, the mission of Jesus in announcing the fulfillment of God’s purposes with creation was to reconcile and redeem all that is human. (The Good of Politics, 9–12)


  2. @ Mark: It’s hard to tell when you agree with your links and when not.

    But does the law increase sin or reveal it?

    How do you read Rom 4,7?


  3. Episcopalians? No alcohol? A fair amount of NPR? Shouldn’t he be hanging with some Grand Rapids Calvinists? Encouraging story and he sounds like a great cop/guy.


  4. Romans 4: 6 David also speaks of the blessing of the man God credits righteousness to apart from works:
    7 How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered!

    The good news is not a Reformed or a Constantinian worldview. Nor is loyalty to two kingdoms the gospel. When God counts Christ’s death to an ungodly sinner, this is not only apart from works but also means that both justice and grace demand the forgiveness of all that sinner’s sins. The sins of all the elect have all been expiated and God has been propitiated in regard to all sinners to whom Christ’s death has been imputed.

    Paul Helm–Justification is not a mere threshold blessing; something which applies to people at their conversion and not subsequently. It is operative at all times, an, objective, perfect, judicial righteousness. It is this righteousness, complete and unassailable, that is the ground of Christian assurance. So there is a sense in which for Calvin the believer never leaves the law-court in which the judge declares us righteous for Christ’s sake. He needs that declaration always to stand, and never to be relegated into something over and done with, or requiring to be supplemented by some righteousness of his own.

    Paul Helm–The primary question is, how can I face God’s judgment? This is vividly seen in the structure of Calvin’s discussion. Having set forth the main elements of justification by faith, after chapter 11 of Book III, with its polemic against Augustine, Osiander and the schoolmen, the reader is stopped short by the heading of chapter 12: ‘The Necessity of Contemplating the Judgment Seat of God in Order to Be Seriously Convinced of the Doctrine of Gratuitous Justification’. Justification is not a matter merely of academic debate nor is it basically an ecclesiological matter, but it has to do with the ‘judgment seat of God’.

    Paul Helm– Let us contemplate that Judge, not as our own unaided intellect conceives of him, but as he is portrayed to us in Scripture (see especially the book of Job), with a brightness which obscures the stars, a strength which melts the mountains, an anger which shakes the earth, a wisdom which takes the wise in their own craftiness, a purity before which all things become impure…..if our life is brought to the standard of the written law, we are lethargic indeed if we are not filled with dread at the many maledictions which God has employed : “Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this law to do them”. (Deuteronomy. 27.26) (Inst. III.12.1)

    Paul Helm–The one declaration of justification, grounded in Christ’s righteousness, must be sufficient to carry the believer to the final judgment and to vindicate him there. Once justified, always justified. A justification that requires the supplemenation of a faithful life, in order to secure our acceptance, makes no sense. It is ‘ungrammatical.”

    Mcmark–It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t look just. Justified elect sinners go free. Christ, who did not sin, died. This is why we are tempted to say that the whole thing is only about God’s sovereignty and then tell people to shut their mouths and ask no questions. But the Bible itself does not take that attitude.. Romans chapter 4-6 justifies God

    The Romans 6 answer is that grace is either grace or not. There is not more or less grace, but either grace or no grace. More sin does not get the elect more grace, because all those whom God justifies have all the grace any other justified sinner has. If you have grace, then you are justified from sin, and if you don’t have grace, you are a sinner “free from righteousness” (6:20). While unbelievers trust in their “God” to help them to sin less, those who
    have been delivered to the gospel know that there are only two kind of sinners —guilty sinners and justified sinners .

    Romans 6: 7 a person who has died is justified from sin’s claims. those who died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Christ.



    Romans 5: 20 The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through the righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord, , resulting in the lasting life of the age to come.

    When law increases sins, law does not merely increase our knowledge of sin. History is real, even though God predestines history. Sin is sin not only against natural intuition or even only against divine revelation. Sin is lawless rebellion against God, and the desire to find assurance in our law-keeping is lawless rebellion. When the gospel is proclaimed, not only the knowledge of sin increases but also there is an increase in sin against the gospel.

    Galatians 3: 19 Why then was the law added? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come.

    question one–what dos “because of transgressions” mean? Galatians 3: 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power….v 23 confined under the law, imprisoned until

    question two–what is “the Promise” and unto whom is the promise given? The Seed/ until Christ. until the object of faith was revealed

    “increase sins” vs “increase knowledge of sins”
    false alternatives

    does increasing knowledge of sin decrease sin?
    does increasing knowledge of sin increase sin?

    does increasing knowledge of the gospel increase sin?
    since those without knowledge of the gospel are already condemned?
    since those without knowledge of the gospel already have knowledge of the law?

    John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world in order to condemn the world…18 As many as who believe in Him are not condemned, but as many as who do not believe is already condemned, because they have not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. 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 light in order that his deeds not be exposed.


  6. Ack — formatting disaster. Second attempt:

    @ Mark: Not sure how the Tuninga article figures in here.

    Mark: When law increases sins, law does not merely increase our knowledge of sin.

    In some ways, I feel that we have happily stumbled upon a central point of exegesis that bears on your one-kingdom critique of 2K.

    Your thesis is an unsupported assertion, so far. Why is “merely increasing our knowledge of sin” not a reasonable interpretation or viable option? Consider:

    13. For until the law, etc. This parenthesis anticipates an objection: for as there seems to be no transgression without the law, it might have been doubted whether there were before the law any sin: that there was after the law admitted of no doubt. The question only refers to the time preceding the law. To this then he gives this answer, — that though God had not as yet denounced judgment by a written law, yet mankind were under a curse, and that from the womb; and hence that they who led a wicked and vicious life before the promulgation of the law, were by no means exempt from the condemnation of sin; for there had always been some notion of a God, to whom honor was due, and there had ever been some rule of righteousness. This view is so plain and so clear, that of itself it disproves every opposite notion.
    But sin is not imputed, etc. Without the law reproving us, we in a manner sleep in our sins; and though we are not ignorant that we do evil, we yet suppress as much as we can the knowledge of evil offered to us, at least we obliterate it by quickly forgetting it. While the law reproves and chides us, it awakens us as it were by its stimulating power, that we may return to the consideration of God’s judgment…

    That offense might abound, etc. It is well known how some, following Augustine, usually explain this passage, — that lust is irritated the more, while it is checked by the restraints of the law; for it is man’s nature to strive for what is forbidden. But I understand no other increase to be intended here than that of knowledge and of obstinacy; for sin is set by the law before the eyes of man, that he may be continually forced to see that condemnation is prepared for him. Thus sin disturbs the conscience, which, when cast behind them, men forget. And farther, he who before only passed over the bounds of justice, becomes now, when the law is introduced, a despiser of God’s authority, since the will of God is made known to him, which he now wantonly tramples under feet. It hence follows, that sin is increased by the law, since now the authority of the lawgiver is despised and his majesty degraded.

    — Calv Comm Rom 5

    and again

    Now, what is the import of the phrase, because of transgressions? It agrees with the saying of philosophers, that “The law was made for restraining evil-doers,” and with the old proverb, “From bad manners have sprung good laws.” But Paul’s meaning is more extensive than the words may seem to convey. He means that the law was published in order to make known transgressions, and in this way to compel men to acknowledge their guilt. As men naturally are too ready to excuse themselves, so, until they are roused by the law, their consciences are asleep.

    — Calv Comm Gal 3

    Now, Calvin doesn’t spend time on clarifying why the “knowledge” interpretation is to be preferred to the “irritation” interpretation.

    But the dots are not hard to connect by asking this question: Why would God wish to deliberately increase the amount of sin?

    It makes some sense if, for His greater glory, that God ordained a savior to come; whence it was necessary to decree that Adam would fall.

    It is hard to see the sense of introducing an element, the law, that would make those who are sinners into even greater sinners. To what end?

    And it is harder still to see how the law, if its end is to actually cause people to sin, is actually good.

    Now the tricky passage here is Romans 7, and I might have thought you would go there:

    7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.

    — Rom 7

    We see two thoughts: That through the law comes knowledge of sin; and that through the law, “sin comes alive and I died.” In what sense does sin come alive?

    Perhaps one natural reading is to think that this means that sin becomes more active, that sin actually increases in that person, thinking especially of v 8. But Paul stops short of saying this. If this were his meaning, then the sentence “For apart from law, sin lies dead” would have to mean that “without law, people do not sin.” And of course, this is false.

    Instead, we must connect the whole thread of reasoning:

    Law brings knowledge of sin =>
    Sin takes advantage through the command =>
    And brings death.

    What the law does, then, is to bring death by bringing knowledge of what sin is and what it entails. Thus, the coming of the law produces (e.g.) all kinds of covetousness, not because the law stimulates covetousness in the Paul, but because the law clarifies what covetousness is already present in the sin nature.

    The alternative reading, that law by itself produces sin, would make the law not holy and righteous and good.


  7. Jeff- In some ways, I feel that we have happily stumbled upon a central point of exegesis that bears on your one-kingdom critique of 2K.

    mcmark–Dear Jeff, I was hoping that we agree that Tuninga is wrong to think that more law is more justice.. I do credit you for knowing that “my one-kingdom” critique is not the same as that of the critique of those who presume to rule in Munster or in Geneva (or in Grand Rapids or the Netherlands). I know that there are two kingdoms, but I think Christians should refuse Satan’s offer to participate in the second. (Remind me, Jeff, you are two kingdom, correct? of the DVD persuasion if not DGH?)

    jeff–the thesis that law by itself produces sin,

    mcmark–NOT MY THESIS

    I should stop there. I am not going to modify my point in order for your response to make sense as a response to it. I do agree with you that the law given to Moses (or to Adam, for that matter) does not cause sin ALONE, merely law by itself. Without at all presuming to explain the mystery of iniquity, I would say law alone is not ever “the one thing” (different covenants, different laws) That’s why God ordained sin and sinners, and God in history now uses law (and gospel) as means of sin.

    I hope that you do not read Romans 9 as a simple explanation of why God “by default” hardens sinners by “reasonable response” . If that were so, the questions of Romans 9 would not be reasonable. But, Jeff, I will not suggest that you are “stumbling”, since you did not give us a thesis about Romans 9. Some need to explain the clay as “human creatures but not sinners”. (what is the connection if any between being infralapsarian and being 2 k?)

    But sin or no sin, God made two kinds of vessels, not merely one while leaving the other. Sinners are no different except by God’s sovereign difference. “Before they did good or evil” does not equal “before God decreed that Adam would sin on their behalf”. Before they did good or evil, Adam sinned that first sin that God imputed to them.

    Jonah to God–it would be a waste of my time to go. Because you probably won’t keep your threats, but instead might be gracious to them. But I am important and they are not in the covenant, so I do not know how I could even begin to command or teach them anything.

    God to Jonah–your time is not all that important

    Isaiah to God—here am I, send me

    God to Isaiah–I will send you, but they won’t hear you, because it’s not their hearing which causes the calling to work, but the calling which causes the hearing.

    Isaiah 6: 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
    Who should I send?
    Who will go for Us?
    I said:
    Here I am. Send me.
    9 And He replied:
    Go! Say to these people:
    Keep listening, but do not understand;
    keep looking, but do not perceive.
    10 Dull the minds of these people;
    deafen their ears and blind their eyes

    Ephesians 3: to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom will now be made known through the called out to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to the permanent purpose which God accomplished in Messiah Jesus our Lord

    Luke 4:5 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

    The covenant can be expanded but never narrowed. Disciple every square inch of all kingdoms and nations.

    Mark 4: 11 And Jesus said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that they see but do not…


  8. Jeff, as I remember, you are not a “Christ the person resurrected is the Spirit (redemptive history) is in FIRST PLACE over His forensic work” person (dgh shorthand—“union priority” ) You know, the folks who have no order but whose order is the correct order…

    Richard Gaffin—“It is not DEATH that is the ground of life in Christ. RATHER, it is the righteous life of Christ that is the ground of our life…The law-gospel antithesis enters NOT BY VIRTUE OF CREATION but as the consequence of sin..

    Mark Jones—God had an end for creating the world apart from the fall and redemption. Jonathan Edwards had this in mind when he wrote his work The End for Which God Created the World…… only the end of creation was revealed in creation, not the end of the fall and redemption. The end of redemption was not revealed in the person of Adam at that time .

    Mark Jones–I do not believe Adam could have gained for humanity what Christ was able to gain. Adam simply could not merit anything from God, much less could Adam merit the same blessings as Christ was able to merit as the God-man….The incarnation adds an incredible and immense dignity to our nature. Moreover, our adoption is on a higher level, for we are united to the God-man, not just a man.

    Mark Jones: Christ is not only God’s reaction to sin. Sin did not necessitate the incarnation. True, things were made more difficult for the Son and for us as a result of sin, but God’s basic telos has not been altered. So, however it would have happened, the Son would still have become incarnate, ruled over creation, and brought about the POSSIBILITY of full communion with the Father through the Spirit. As van Driel says in his book…: “The incarnation as it happened gives us so much, is so rich in gifts of divine friendship and intimacy, that it cannot be explained as only a divine countermeasure against sin…. I am so impressed with the Christ as he is that I argue that the category of redemption is not rich enough to explain the wonder of his presence”

    Jones quotes Goodwin —“Whereas to bring [Christ] into the world only upon occasion of man’s sin, and for the work of redemption, were to subject Christ to us…Whereas he is the end of us, and of all other things. This were also to have the person ordained for the benefits (such as redemption)…, which are all far inferior to the gift of his person unto us, and much more the glory of his person itself.”

    Mark Jones speculates–“To acknowledge the pre-eminence of the gift of Christ’s person over his work might be the first step to acknowledging that perhaps the Son would have become incarnate even if Adam did not sin.”


  9. @ Mark:

    Thanks. The wording of my last sentence “that the law by itself produces sin” was unfortunate, in that I was trying to say “that the law’s effect is to produce sin” (that is, in combination with the sin nature).

    The two theses I see up for debate are

    (1) The Law exposes sin by flagging sin as “transgression.”

    (2) The Law increases sin by provoking the sin nature to transgress.

    I see you as arguing for (2). Yes? No?


  10. what’s the difference between DVD 2k and DGH 2k? ?

    mcmark–if you don’t know, I am sure I don’t . I doubt if DVD makes your distinction between “providence” and ‘common grace”, but I don’t know anything about his politics (libertarian?) for “humans as humans”. My guess is that you are both infralapsarian when you think about why “natural law” is natural….but I could be wrong about that…

    DVD–Crucial for understanding Matthew 5:38–42 is Jesus’ programmatic statement in 5:17 that introduces his subsequent commands: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” A common reading of this verse in my own Reformed tradition is that Jesus is about to clarify the Mosaic law in response to Pharisaical corruption of Moses.9 While this reading has the virtue of guarding against denigration of the Mosaic law, it is NOT an adequate interpretation of Jesus’ words.

    DVD-This reading fails to reckon with the radical, eschatological newness of the coming of Jesus and his kingdom so emphasized in the preceding texts in Matthew considered above. Matthew 5:17 itself reinforces this sense of eschatological newness. The first use of the key Synoptic phrase, “I have come,” for example, hints at Jesus’ heavenly origin (and hence his authority to say what he is saying) and indicates that Jesus is about to reveal a central purpose of his ministry. In addition, Jesus’ denial that he has come to abolish the law or the prophets indirectly offers further evidence of the spectacular newness of the kingdom of heaven: apparently what has transpired thus far in Matthew’s story has given some people the impression that Jesus has come to abolish something in the OT.

    DVD–“The way in which Jesus’ commands unfold in 5:21–48 is ultimately incompatible with reading them as clarification of the Mosaic law over against corrupt Jewish interpretation. For one thing, all six of Jesus’ “You have heard” statements either quote or paraphrase the actual teaching of the Mosaic law, not contemporary Jewish interpretation of it. Jesus presents his exhortations in comparison with those of the Mosaic law itself. Second, however much the first two antitheses are amenable to the view that Jesus is purifying the interpretation of the law, the last four antitheses cannot reasonably bear such a reading. Jesus does show the inward demands of the prohibition of murder and adultery in the first two antitheses, but whereas the Mosaic law prescribed procedures for divorce, oath-taking, just retaliation, and destruction of enemies, Jesus proscribes these very actions. To say, for example, that what Moses really intended by writing “keep your oaths” was that the Israelites should not swear at all strains the imagination. Jesus’ statement about divorce in 5:31–32, furthermore, cannot be an elaboration of the OT law since it presumes that the death penalty is not applied against adulterers.

    DVD—A better reading of 5:17 is that Jesus fulfills the law and the prophets by accomplishing all of the things that the OT prophesied. To this point in his gospel Matthew has already labored to show that Jesus’ actions constitute a turning of the ages and bring to pass what the OT foretold and anticipated (1:22–23; 2:5–6, 15, 17, 23; 3:3, 15; 4:4, 6–7, 10, 14–16), and this theme continues in all sorts of ways subsequent to the Sermon on the Mount. The words of Jesus in 5:18 confirm an historical and eschatological interpretation of “fulfill” in 5:17 by saying “until heaven and earth disappear” and “until everything is accomplished” (or “comes to pass”). Jesus therefore indicates in 5:17 that he is neither abolishing the Hebrew Scriptures nor simply purifying them from corrupt interpretation.

    DVD–Thus, as the kingdom of heaven is something strikingly new, so the Sermon on the Mount, the ethic of this kingdom, proclaims a way of life that is eschatologically new. It is different from the way of life under Moses, though in a manner that accomplishes rather than thwarts God’s larger purposes in giving the law…


  11. mcmark, if you don’t know, then why are you spreading rumors – huff huff.

    I don’t see anything different in what you quote except that DVD is a pastor and he can do exegesis. He isn’t licensed to do history.


  12. DGH,

    Adam is a tough guy like you, DGH. I could not resist!! Being a Calvin alum I did enjoy reading those articles.


  13. In all seriousness now, I have been following these subtle arguments about 2k, 1K and the subtle differences between the Gospel of the Reformed confessional statements (and how the various Reformed and Presbyterians types interpret them) and those who object to some of the statements in these confessional standards, since about 2009. There are major differences and I think it does make a difference on where you stand on these issues. I don’t see that anyone has really changed anyone else’s mind on these matters that have been frequently argued and discussed on this site. Is the Gospel of the Reformed confessional statements the same Gospel as those who reject some of the statements in the Reformed confessional statements? Isn’t that the most critical question? I want to know what the true Gospel is and not be led astray by the numerous false Gospels you have to confront on a daily basis. Can we really come to know the true Gospel and how can we be assured that we really know it? I don’t know of any more important question we have to face in this life.


  14. Latent in Adam Plantinga’s social theology is the same type of thinking that the magisterial reformers used in order to justify the killing of the peasants and the Anabaptists. Crime and punishment is a very difficult social issue to come to clarity about. What do you use as your sources to come to the truth of the matter?


  15. They (John Murray and John Piper) dismiss any idea that the power of sin (and Satan) is the guilt of sin (1Cor. 15:56).”

    The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

    The Holy Spirit by means of water creates a “definitive breach with sin” so that we no longer love sin, or want to sin, even though we still on occasion do sin. So don’t worry about being forgiven for sins because of the cross alone, because “union” with Christ, Christ in us, and us in God now, means that we are now in a community with those who are not habitually sinners.


  16. JohnnY, so if you think redeeming culture is a big deal for a Reformed Protestant, don’t you think the gospel is involved? Redemption without the gospel? But what kind of salvation is it if you think you can redeem a city or a television show?

    You don’t think that might compromise the gospel? You don’t understand 2k as a major objection to the silly uses to which some people put the gospel?


  17. Dgh, I don’t think there is clear communication here. I don’t know if you are doing that on purpose or if your assumptions are so ingrained in your mind that you interpret my comments in ways that baffle me.

    First of all, I am unclear on the main point of the post. Are you saying that Adam Plantinga is seeking to redeem police work? I’m not sure if you are agreeing with Plantinga or giving another example of a Dutch “every square incher.” I thought he had some interesting things to say about police work and he does seem to be an interesting guy. The point I was trying to get across about him is that as a police officer you are going to face compromising situations in regards to the Sermon on the Mount. If one takes the Sermon on the Mount seriously can one really work for the State in Law Enforcement? The Magisterial Reformers said yes and the Anabaptists disagreed. That got many of them killed too. So, it seems to me, the question to answer is how did both groups come to the conclusions about the State that they came to? What were the groups thinking in regards to the Law? I know the Anabaptists were very much against the Magisterial Reformers strategy of getting the magisterial governing bodies on their side in their various struggles. That is the essence of 2K social theology. That turned out to be a very compromising strategy to take and it caused numerous problems during the Reformation. I’m sure you will point out that I am not an historian and therefore my thinking is naive.

    Secondly, in regards to the Gospel, my point was that perhaps the Gospel of the Reformed Confession is a compromised Gospel. In order to really communicate clearly on that point one has to wade through a whole bunch of theology regarding the continuities and discontinuities of the Old and New Covenants, how the various Reformed groups interpret the biblical covenants, the variety of views of the sacraments and whether election can be looked upon as the ordering concept of the ordo salutis.

    As an amillenialist I don’t have delusions that Christians will redeem culture. We can proclaim the Gospel and the Kingdom of God wherever we find ourselves functioning in the culture and you never know what might happen. If God sees fit that persecution takes place then so be it. If you have to go underground- then so be it too. Maybe God will see fit to gather in many of his elect in certain areas of the culture. That is just a broad overview that probably will be totally misinterpreted by those who have bought into the whole Magisterial Reformation point of view.


  18. JohnnY, you’re overreading. I offered almost no comment. I was frankly pleased to see a Plantinga in the police force. I also thought the quotes I pulled were sensible.

    But when you go to the transformers of culture, cops, even with philosopher’s names, don’t generally make the cut.

    As Tom Regan says in Millers Crossing, “let it dangle.”


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