Read This and Think Holy Plumbing?

All the benefits of Christ lead plumbers to see their craft in this text?

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Eph. 1)

When you work with basin wrenches, everything looks like a mounting nut.


What’s a Plumber to Think?

In which category, flesh or Spirit, fall washers and gaskets?

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8)

Lay Plumbing

Since relocating to Michigan I have not only had to think about whether Christians plumb differently from non-Christians. I have also had to think and act plumbingly.

First, I had to purchase a toilet auger to unblock a clogged septic line.

Then, I had to figure out how to displace a large puddle that had emerged in our “Michigan basement” after several heavy rains. A wet-dry shop vacuum allowed the removal of 14 gallons of water fairly easily.

And then I needed to consider the various features of dehumidifiers in order to prevent such puddles in the basement from repeating and growing. And this has led to further consideration about installing a sump with its related pump in order to allow the dehumidifier to keep working without having to empty its water receptacle.

In which case, a sump pump might allow putting the washer and dryer in the basement, as well as the installation of a sink for the sorts of cleaning and rinsing that are less than desirable in the kitchen or bathroom.

If I did not know better, I would be tempted to think that God is mocking my repeated (and perhaps overused) point about Christian plumbing (or the lack thereof). But at least this much can be said in defense of 2k: so far the creational wisdom of the local hardware store staff has yet to steer wrong this mortgage payer who is not doctrinaire about water and its movement within and outside the home.

If Only Kuyperians Were As Reasonable as Godfrey

Over at Confessional Outhouse, RubeRad (what’s up with those names?) has a quotation from Bob Godfrey’s address at the Westminster California conference on Christ and culture. Here it is:

As is often true in the history of the church, we [Kuyperians and 2K-ers] may not all perfectly agree what the Bible says, but I think we’re all agreed with the principle…The Bible is authoritative in everything that it says, about everything that it talks about. But I think we are also all agreed that the Bible, while authoritative in everything that it talks about, is not exhaustive in everything it talks about. The Bible tells us some things about history, but it doesn’t tell us everything about history. I believe it tell us some things about geology, but I don’t think it tells us everything about geology. I would suggest that it’s really only in three areas that we can say … it also speaks comprehensively, or completely, or exhaustively; we as Reformed Christians are committed to the proposition that that everything we need to know about doctrine and salvation is told to us completely in the Bible. … Secondly, we would say that the Bible is exhaustive in what it teaches us about worship. … And thirdly, the Bible tells us all we need to know about the Church and its government. … But I think we can probably agree as well, whatever our approach to Christ and culture, that the Bible does not speak exhaustively about politics. It says a lot of things about politics, it says a lot of things that are relevant to politics, but I don’t think any of us would want to argue that the Bible tells us absolutely everything we need to know about politics. Does the Bible even indisputably teach us whether we ought to have a democracy, or an aristocracy, or a monarchy? John Calvin says it doesn’t. … I don’t think anybody … would want to argue that every aspect of a platform proposed for a civil election could be derived from the Bible; I don’t think anyone would argue that. … So the Bible is authoritative in all that it says, but it doesn’t say everything about anything except salvation, worship, and church government.

I for one do not know a single advocate of two kingdom theology who would not affirm this. And the good thing about this statement is that it keeps first things first — doctrine, worship, and polity — while allowing for differences on other matters because the Bible itself does not pin down those other areas of human endeavor.

What is odd about RubeRad’s post is that he follows up Godfrey’s quotation with one from John Frame, that RubeRad regards as compatible:

Christians sometimes say that Scripture is sufficient for religion, or preaching, or theology, but not for auto repairs, plumbing, animal husbandry, dentistry, and so forth. And of course many argue that it is not sufficient for science, philosophy, or even ethics. That is to miss an important point. Certainly Scripture contains more specific information relevant to theology than to dentistry. But sufficiency in the present context is not sufficiency of specific information but sufficiency of divine words. Scripture contains divine words sufficient for all of life. It has all the divine words that the plumber needs, and all the divine words that the theologian needs. So it is just as sufficient for plumbing as it is for theology. And in that sense it is sufficient for science and ethics as well.

This strikes me as the typical Frame theological method of taking an inch and turning it into a mile. So people will agree with the idea that divine words are sufficient, some divine words apply to plumbing, and — voila — the Bible becomes as sufficient for plumbing as for theology. Hello!??! Do plumbers really need to study the Bible to plumb the way that theologians do to understand God and his revelation? As Fred Willard’s character in Waiting for Guffman said, “I don’t think sooooo.”

Either way, if more Reformed folks would follow Godfrey’s counsel than Frame’s logic, we might actually find that two-kingdom theology is not radical and that Kuyperian rhetoric is often bloated. Can we get a little reason around here?