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 weâ€™re all agreed with the principleâ€¦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 doesnâ€™t tell us everything about history. I believe it tell us some things about geology, but I donâ€™t think it tells us everything about geology. I would suggest that itâ€™s really only in three areas that we can say â€¦ 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. â€¦ Secondly, we would say that the Bible is exhaustive in what it teaches us about worship. â€¦ And thirdly, the Bible tells us all we need to know about the Church and its government. â€¦ 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 donâ€™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 doesnâ€™t. â€¦ I donâ€™t think anybody â€¦ would want to argue that every aspect of a platform proposed for a civil election could be derived from the Bible; I donâ€™t think anyone would argue that. â€¦ So the Bible is authoritative in all that it says, but it doesnâ€™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?