I understand Dr. K. is trying to give 2k theology another try and for this Matthew Tuininga deserves much of the credit. I would have thought this an instance of “if you’re not Dutch you’re not much.” But since VanDrunen is a Dutch name — at least — and since Dr. K. has not begun to take back his 13-part take down of Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms, factors other than ethnicity are at play.
But before anti-2k aggreessors lie down with 2k innocents, we need to keep our wits and check the fine print. In a recent post Dr. K., again in a mood of generosity toward Tuininga’s 2k, wondered if 2kers and neo-Calvinists might have more in common than he thought. The occasion for the piece was the recent decision of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs not to serve communion to Vice President Biden because of the latter’s support for abortion rights. This controversy led to considerations about when Roman Catholic politicians violate church teaching and are guilty of sin, as well as whether Roman Catholic church members are also guilty of sin for voting for candidates that don’t follow church teaching. Since Tuininga applauded Rome’s consistent opposition to an “evil so grave,” Dr. K. thought he saw an opening for further 2k and neo-Calvinist agreement.
This encouragement should be applauded because eliminating this evil is also required by “the principle of moral obedience binding on a disciple of Christ that simply cannot be compromised.” We would be troubled if our applause for the church-as-institute were permitted by our NL2K friends to be one-sided—applauding the church’s opposition toward intolerable evil, but not the church’s promotion of the good over against that evil.
Dr. K.’s point about the church as institute supporting opposition to evil seems to break down in Tuininga’s case since he is hardly the church as institute — he was merely one Christian opining about the Roman Catholic Church.
My concern is not with the Kuyperian distinction between church as institute or as organism but with the Calvinistic notion of evil. Dr. K. used the phrase “eliminating evil” or “eliminate evil” at least three times in his piece.
Can any good Calvinist, who takes Total Depravity seriously, ever entertain the idea that evil will be eradicated this side of the new heavens and new earth? Is not the notion of eradicating evil utopian and radical, sort of like the breathless idealism of Charles Finney’s perfectionism? For instance, in strictly legal terms, we have laws against murder. Have those laws stopped murder? So does Dr. K. actually believe that the criminalization of abortion will actually eliminate this evil?
But outside the ephemeral and fleeting world of law and the courts, does Dr. K. actually think that people who don’t murder are not guilty of murder? Has he not heard what Christ said about hate being an instance of murder? The reason evil cannot be eliminated this side of glory is that wickedness pervades the human heart — even the hearts of the regenerate.
And if Dr. K. followed the teachings of historic Calvinism (not to mention if he were a political conservative) he would never use the words “eliminate” and “evil” together. Of course, his word choice could be simply a slip of the word processor. But my suspicion is that Dr. K.’s mistake is actually an expression of the postmillennial tranformationalism that generally follows from taking “every square” inch captive. And this difference — whether the kingdom comes here and now in affairs outside the church or whether the renewal of all things awaits the return of Christ — is what keeps 2k lambs on the watch for anti-2k lions.