Even Neo-Calvinists Get 2K Religion Once in a While

In her review of Philip Gorski‘s American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present, Susan Wise Bauer concludes with a distinction between the earthly and the spiritual that clearly out the arteries (spiritually, of course) of an Old School Presbyterian’s heart:

But I also think the prophets and the New Testament writers would agree with me that giving up earthly power (and make no mistake, language is power) is only possible if you believe that earthly power is not the end of existence, that the death of something worldly, whether that earthly thing is influence, recognition, or even life itself, will lead to a supernatural resurrection brought about by a transcendent reality much greater than yourself.

What in the world does this do to every square inch redemption of all things earthly, created, cultural, and urban? Does Bauer mean to suggest that these things, like the grass, fade? And that only the life resurrected abides?

How did Jamie K.A. Smith let this get through? Is this the Neo-Calvinist of the broken clock?

7 thoughts on “Even Neo-Calvinists Get 2K Religion Once in a While

  1. The “spiritual” is that which is of or by the Holy Spirit. The “spiritual” is not the same thing as spirit, which is invisible and non-physical. But how can you make that kind of distinction if all the promises to Abraham are really one promise and all the covenants with the fathers are really one promise about Christ?

    Meredith Kline—It is not proper, therefore, to set up a dichotomy whereby according to God’s secret will, election or justification cannot be lost, but according to our covenant perspective they may be lost. The statements cited show a tendency to use typically Calvinistic language with respect to the level of God’s secret will, but in the level of “covenant perspective” to use typically Arminian language (Christ died for you; the elect may become reprobate).December 4, 1980)

    A “federal visionist”— To participate in the covenant the people were baptized into the body of Moses (1 Cor 10). This is parallel to the Corinthians enjoying the privilege of being baptized (1 Cor 12 ). …Paul makes it clear that they themselves participated in Christ (at least) through the water that came from the Rock. Yes, they looked forward to a greater fulfillment, but they nevertheless communed with Christ himself. The Corinthians have done the same thing
    What is not said by Paul here is as important as what is said concerning the subject of this debate. Paul does not say, “Because you are now sanctified in Christ and in communion with him in the new covenant visible community, you have no worries like they did in the past.” Nor does Paul say, “If you fall into idolatry, we must wonder if you ever were really baptized into the body of Christ or had communion with Christ.” The point of the parallel is that the privileges they enjoy as members of the new covenant visible community makes them more responsible and liable to more severe judgment. The contrast between old and new covenants does not lie at the possibility of apostasy. The contrast lies at the point of the severity of the punishment for those who do not respond in faith to the promises and privileges granted to them

    Click to access infant-baptism-new-man-new-creation1.pdf

    Genesis 48: 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and crossing his hands, put his left on Manasseh’s head, although Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed Joseph and said:
    The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
    the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
    16 the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
    may He bless these boys.
    And may they be called by my name
    and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
    and may they grow to be numerous within the land.

    I Peter 1: 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers

    Galatians 4: 9 But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again


  2. Those in 2K can honestly live in the world they talk about, those who are the “other” keep having to jump back and forth into lecture mode and pretend they live that way.


  3. Kentos,
    so the 2k people can pray that they are thankful that they are not like that dishonest other.

    However, there are other factors than honesty that come into play here. And though I very much appreciate how 2kers, for the most part, do not seek Christian privilege in society, something that transformationalists need to learn from them, they are weak in preaching against all kinds of sin: individual and corporate.

    When we compare ourselves with others, we can never claim superiority.


  4. Curt,

    Once again you confuse discerning judgment with condemning judgment OR disagreement on a particular issue with the claiming of superiority over another’s human dignity. This kind of hypersensitivity is very common to social justice/ gospel folks. Here is your chance to pay attention, that’s not an attack on anyone personally or their human dignity that’s an observation in general. Similar to the one you just made above about 2Kers.

    Perhaps your daddy issues are deeply clouding your social and theological issues? Whatever the cause of your insecurities I can see why you are a professional protester.


  5. ……the difference is your observations are very often wrong. But here may lay the bigger question…. Why is it that when Curt makes observations and assessments on what group is right or wrong you are being discerning and wise, whereas when people who are on the opposing side of the argument make observations they are bigoted and displaying superiority complex or engaging in condemning judgment???

    Who’s really the one with the moral superiority complex in these discussions?


  6. “Few Protestants will have the stomach for forcing their own moral disciplines onto entire societies…. Where they do campaign for coercive legislation, they will do so on secular grounds.” But if Protestantism insists on separating our religious lives from our earthly ones, then does this mean the powerful will be held to account for their actions only in the afterlife? “Are Protestants, then, doomed simply to tag along behind social shifts, finding justifications for them after the fact?” Ryrie asks. “Very often, yes.”


    Lutherans and 2k Reformed agree—all of us are born depraved, but some of us are born Christians. All of us–both spirit and flesh–not only our physical bodies—are depraved, but we are only in bondage of will with regard to things below, because with regard to things below (secular) we can do whatever we want no matter what Jesus said. Because Jesus is not Moses. And neither Moses nor Jesus tell us what to do when it comes to democracy or killing for “our nation-state”….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.