This is Your Society on Antithesis

Damon Linker explains:

Slightly (but just slightly) below the level of national politics, reverberations from news of Harvey Weinstein’s allegedly atrocious behavior with women over a span of several decades continued to radiate outward from the movie producer. Instead of a united front of disgust at the details revealed by the story that brought him down, reaction (of course!) split along partisan lines, with leading liberal and conservative writers denouncing one another for hypocrisy and double-standards (the easiest and laziest forms of moral denunciation). So the right accused the left of going easier on Weinstein than they had on conservatives Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly after similar behavior was alleged against them, and the left accused the right of precisely the opposite sin.

Every single event in our public life is now instantly swept up into the centrifugal whirlwind of a political culture in which the center has completely failed to hold. Democrats are increasingly defined by their hatred of Republicans, just as Republicans manage to agree about little besides their loathing of Democrats.

Isn’t this precisely what happens when culture is an outworking of ground motives, and when policy is part of the plan of salvation? Living in God’s two kingdoms sure looks more attractive. But it is not nearly as fulfilling or energizing.

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Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong

In 1872 the Protestant churches in Scotland handed over all their schools to the State on the explicit condition that Scottish State Education should continue to be Christian. From that day on the Scottish Education system (unlike the American one) has officially been Christian. The Catholics, being wiser than the Protestants, didn’t trust the State and so they kept their own schools. Even within living memory most schools in Scotland would have had ‘religious’ worship, school chaplains and bible teaching. The ethos of the schools were largely Christian. But this is now virtually unrecognisable. Secular humanists/atheists have cuckoo like taken over the State education system and are now using Salami tactics (piece by piece) to dismantle the remaining parts of it – crying tolerance and equality in order not to tolerate Christianity and in order to prevent Christians from receiving the equal education that the UN Human Rights charter demands.

2k Protestants were not so gullible.

And that’s why 2kers give two cheers (sometimes three) for the separation of church and state. It is impossible for established churches to remain faithful. They will always need to do the magistrate’s bidding and reflect the attitudes of the citizenry.

Selah.

Why I Love the Modern State

It helps me keep straight the difference between the city of God and the city of man, at a time when so many Christians want Christianity to define “ALL of me.”

Mark Oppenheimer thinks it possible to distinguish Christian as a noun and adjective:

And Jews and Christians alike have internalized these different connotations. Most Jews, if asked about their religion, say not, “I’m a Jew” but the softer, more acceptable, “I’m Jewish.” With Christians, the answer will vary depending on the kind of Christian you’re talking to. Liberal Protestants may say, “I’m Christian,” using the adjective, but many evangelicals, born-again Christians, and other passionate believers will say, “I’m a Christian.” It sounds a little jarring to more secular or liberal types, but not in a bad way. It just sounds hard-core, like the person is planting a flag and standing by it.

For Christians, the difference between “Christian” the adjective and “Christian” the noun is one of both degree and kind. We are all described by many adjectives, but we select very few nouns to sum up who we are. The nouns require a bit more commitment. It’s the difference between “I’m liberal” and “I’m a liberal”—the man or woman willing to own the noun is more committed, for sure. The adjective is what you are like; the noun is who you are.

And what about James Bratt’s suggestion that politicized evangelicals should own the moniker, “Christianist“?

Whatever the label, believers have trouble (without the help of modern politics) sorting out their Christian and non-Christian aspects. Just consider the confusion in this response to yesterday’s bombings in Belgium:

I’ll leave it to people who know what they’re talking about to expound further on the radical nature of what Christ is demanding of us when he says this. Suffice it to say for now that it’s clear and direct and we don’t have any choice if we call ourselves Christians: we have to forgive our enemies.

And that includes the terrorists who killed 34 people in Brussels on Tuesday. We have to forgive them.

BUT…But…but it is also written, “thou shalt not kill.” And that means that we need to kill all the other terrorists who are still out there.

Why? Because justice and reason and the teaching of the Church. The Fifth Commandment (don’t kill) imparts on Christians a duty to protect and defend innocent human life. Sooooo…it is morally just to use lethal force to prevent the killing of innocent people. Self-defense, just war, etc. etc. etc.

So kill ISIS.

First, I thought God through the ministry of the church forgives sins. It’s not up to me to forgive people who have not wronged me. Do I even have authority as an elder to forgive sins that are crimes against humanity? The Book of Church Order doesn’t say so.

Second, I don’t have the power to kill anyone legally unless I become part of the executive branch of our constitutional order. As a policeman, executioner, or soldier I could legitimately kill someone. As a policeman, executioner, or soldier I am also carrying out orders of someone else. As a Christian policeman, executioner, or solder I am carrying out the duties of my vocation. But I am not acting “merely” as a Christian since non-Christian police and soldiers carry out similar orders.

So as a 2k Christian I don’t have to forgive or kill. I defer to those with higher pay grades, which includes — piety alert! — praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”

Inconsistency, Hypocrisy, and Clueless

Unless the Obedience Boys have figured out a way to make Wesleyan perfectionism a reality, all Christians struggle with the Lutheran paradox of being simultaneously a saint and a sinner (sorry to those professors of Christianity who need Vatican validation for sainthood). That paradox means that all Christians in their honest moments admit to struggling with and yield to sin. Which makes Christians inconsistent at least to outsiders. How can these people, the lament goes, who constantly prattle on about the moral law not see that they are immoral themselves? There’s a point in that somewhere, just as there is in stories about the guhzillions of pounds of CO2 that participants in the Climate Change Convention produced. But the impossibility of perfection in this life does not prevent either pastors or legislators from calling people to follow God’s law any more than the reality of political corruption prevents voters from voting for “good” candidates.

A measure of hypocrisy is part and parcel of the Christian life. Christians may be overly afflicted with temptations to promote sanctity all the while knowing that sanctification is a battle in which the believer always comes up short in a glass-completely-full-kind-of way.

But to go out of your way to oppose sinfulness in others while you yourself know you are guilty of the very sinfulness to which you object seems to be in a different category. 2k has regularly received opposition from those who think it leads to antinomianism, a disregard for God’s moral law. The reason runs something like this: if you can follow God’s law on Sunday but don’t need to the rest of the week, or if you strive to be holy as a Christian but not as a plumber, then you undermine the authority of God’s law in all areas of life.

But what happens if you are making that case against 2k at the very same time that you are knowingly violating God’s law? Is that hypocrisy? Or is it some other kind of disorder?

If, for instance, I were in the process of embezzling funds from an organization because finances on the home front were tight, wouldn’t it be foolish (aside from hypocritical) to become a champion of upholding the eighth commandment? Sure, I might still think others are sinful to steal, and if I’m an embezzling church officer I might would still vote to convict someone brought up on charges for stealing. But would I go out of my way in a public manner to identify stealing as a great form of wickedness? Would I write a series of blogposts about a sin I believe is responsible for destroying the church’s witness all the while I am guilty of that sin? Mightn’t I want instead to lay low? Wouldn’t I at least know that now — during this time of personal financial crisis — is not the occasion to stand atop the moral soapbox and point the finger?

We have a word for hypocrisy. What is the word for such lack of self-awareness? Clueless?

Why I Love (all about) Kuyper

From John Halsey Wood’s Going Dutch in the Modern Age:

Kuyper departed from Calvin and his Reformation forbears on one critical point, a deviation that imprinted his ecclesiology with a distinctively modern tint. The church had to be absolutely separated from the state. The Reformation was right to break up Rome’s worldchurch, wherein a single institution had been foisted on all Christians, but the Reformation had not gone far enough. It had stopped short at the settlement of cuius regio, eius religio, the state or societal church. “The Spirit of Christ yielded to an institution that wanted to twist the spiritual lines of humanity according to her geographical boundaries.” In practical terms, separation of church and state meant giving churches control over their own property; it meant that the state should stop subsidizing the salaries of the ministers (an ongoing reality even after the 1848 constitutional separation of church and state); and it meant that the state should relinquish its role in social welfare. Most importantly though, it meant abolishing Article 36 of the Belgic Confession. . . . Abolishing Article 36 as Kuyper proposed was the logical step in securing the doctrinal freedom of the church. (70-71)

But it also had an upside financially as Halsey Wood also explains:

Kuyper believed that the Netherlands Reformed Church (NHK) stood to benefit greatly from a shift from a state sponsored church to one arising from the voluntary participation of the members. Kuyper compared the Amsterdam congregation of the NHK with the Christian Reformed Church (CGK), the secession church of 1834. The Amsterdam congreagation of the NHK counted almost one hundred forty thousand members, while the whole CGK church totaled about one hundred thousand, which was forty thousand less than Kuyper’s own Amsterdam congregation. He estimated tha since 1834 (the year of the secession of the CGK from the NHK) his Amsterdam congregation had received almost eight million Guilders in state subsidy, yet the entire CGK had not gotten a cent. What did the NHK have to show for it? The Amsterdam congregation had fourteen buildings and twenty-seven pastors. The CGK, on the other hand, had two hundred buildings and two hundred and twenty pastors — with nothing but the free will gifts of its members! Kuyper went on for half a dozen pages with example after example of the deadening effects of state subsidy. (72)

So why is the separation of church and state with a 2k accent such a bogeyman to those who call themselves Kuyperian? Granted, Kuyper’s conception of a pluralistic society constructed along the lines of confessional or ideological pillars — Calvinists, Roman Catholics, and liberals each with their whole set of institutions, from labor unions to schools is not exactly what the United States turned out to be with its state consolidation and centralization to fight world wars and its suffocating two-party system. But what U.S. Kuyperians seem to have done is regard the U.S. as one big Christian pillar, even as they get in the tank for Christian nationalists of the GOP.

If New World Kuyperians were truly interested in a pluralistic society, one in which straights and gays lived together, 2kers and Kuyperians tolerated each other, I might be willing to tolerate the flawed rationale for Christian schools (read w-w). But what seems to have happened is that outside the confines of Netherlands’ pluralism, American Dutch Calvinists have determined that theirs is the only true Calvinism (why 2k is a threat) and have appropriated the logic of every-square-inch for national identity even while forgetting entirely the legacy of sphere sovereignty and pillarization.

Can We Talk About Prayer Meetings?

Paul Levy and I have, but the differences of our talk may be worth considering.

Like many evangelicals who seem to need to show their piety (despite our Lord’s warning about praying that others can see us at prayer), Levy provides a number of reasons for the week night “gathering” that seem to have less to do with prayer itself than with the fellowship that such meetings might encourage. For instance:

4. There is something that unites us together when we pray together – People ask sometimes what is encouraging you in Christian ministry? For me the big one is to hear someone pray for the first time. I am a Westminster Confession believing, card carrying Presbyterian and yet to hear someone pray for the first time makes me want to dance a jig of delight. As in marriage, those congregations who pray together stay together. You cannot hate your brother while praying with him and for him.

Is the point of prayer to encourage other believers or inspire a dance, or is it to offer up to God our desires “for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies” (SC 98)? If it is the latter, then Levy is closer to the mark when he writes:

6. Prayer is a means of grace – Hebrews 4:14-16 ”14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Prayer is us speaking with God, but, as we pray, we receive mercy and find grace. It is my experience that at prayer gatherings when the people of God together call on the name of God we are often more conscious of his blessing. As we draw near to him he draws near to us.

But is prayer more effective, more gracious, when people gather for it and it’s done corporately? If people stay home and pray, even at the same time, is the effect the same? With God maybe, but not for those for whom prayer becomes a means of bonding or becoming more personally acquainted. Fellowship is a valuable thing. But doesn’t it happen more over a meal than when either listing prayer requests of extemporaneously praying for them. In fact, sometimes prayer meetings can hurt fellowship when you find that saints (see what I did there?) request prayer for ephemeral matters or lack eloquence when praying publicly (myself included). In other words, prayer meetings can be very uncomfortable because of the performance component inherent in them. But Levy, like so many pietists, only sees the spiritual (up) side.

On the other hand, prayer meetings may be a very good marker of Christian devotion, as they reveal Christians who participate in the life of a congregation and are willing to make that a priority. Instead of being culture warriors, they are church members.

At the same time, if we limit serious church assemblies to the Lord’s Day and the regular administration of the means of grace, Christians may actually have time to serve on school boards or attend public events and show that they are active members of the earthly kingdom where they live while they await and pray for the coming of the kingdom of glory.

With Constantine No Walter White

I wonder if those who long for a stronger Christian presence in determining cultural standards and governing society are willing to give up some of their sideline interests. If, for example, you happened to hear a person who advocated family values and traditional marriage also write about the brilliance of The Wire in its depiction of urban life and politics, would you not think the message a tad mixed.

I have before wondered about those who like Doug Wilson or the BBs who advocate a return to Geneva of the 1550s or Boston of the 1650s if they are willing to give up some of the liberties that Americans now enjoy this side of 1776 (like blogging). But I am even more curious about the larger and less vocal set of critics of our current scene for its indifference to a higher range of human aspirations and who follow with great enjoyment the latest hit cable TV show — Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective. Do these folks who hope for higher standards in government and culture make any calculation about whether their favorite shows will still be on the air if they get their wishes (the Gypsy Curse?)?

Take for instance this passage from Theodore Dreiser’s novel, Genius (1915) — hide the women and children:

She leaned back against his shoulder stroking his hair, but finally ceased even that, for her own feeling was too intense to make movement possible. She thought of him as a young god, strong, virile, beautiful – a brilliant future before him. All these years she had waited for someone truly to love her and now this splendid youth had apparently cast himself at her feet. He stroked her hands, her neck, cheeks, then slowly gathered her close and buried his head against her bosom.

Angela was strong in convention, in the precepts of her parents, in the sense of her family and its attitude, but this situation was more than she could resist. She accepted first the pressures of his arm, then the slow subtlety with which he caressed her. Resistance seemed almost impossible now for he held her close – tight within the range of his magnetism. When finally she felt the pressure of his hand upon her quivering limbs, she threw herself back in a transport of agony and delight.

By the standards and laws of the day (remember Comstock was still on the books), this passage was pornographic. It kept Dreiser and his attorney tied up in courts and prevented the book from being widely distributed for eight years. By those same standards, The Wire would never have aired.

Could I live without HBO or Netflix? I’d like to think so but aside from the ordinary routines of family life or the genuine enjoyment of clever plots and transfixing characters, I’d also like to think that I would not have to choose. I do know enough history to think that if the Christian political and moral types get their way and rectify the errors of a secular society that lives by the antithesis of a Christian w-w, my private amusements are going to resemble what transpires among my fellow church members when we gather for worship or merriment than what I now enjoy in the other kingdom of a 2k universe.

Neutrality Beach

Anthony Esolen gives shelter and clothing to neo-Calvinists in his piece opposing neutrality in matters of public life. As we so often here, it’s impossible:

On the impossibility: consider the effects of a permission that radically alters the nature of the context in which the action is permitted. We might call this the Nude Beach Principle. Suppose that Surftown has one beautiful beach, where young and old, boys and girls, single people and whole families, have been used to relax, go swimming, and have picnics. Now suppose that a small group of nudists petitions the town council to allow for nude bathing. Their argument is simple—actually, it is no more than a fig leaf for the mere expression of desire. They say, “We want to do this, and we, tolerant as we are, do not wish to impose our standards on anyone else. No one will be required to bathe in the raw. Live and let live, that’s our motto.”

But you cannot have a Half-Nude Beach. A beach on which some people stroll without a stitch of clothing is a nude beach, period. A councilman cannot say, “I remain entirely neutral on whether clothing should be required on a beach,” because that is equivalent to saying that it is not opprobrious or not despicable to walk naked in front of other people, including children.

From this he goes on to comment on religion in the United States under a liberal secular government:

The virtue of religion, as our founders used the word, pertains to the duty that a person or a people owe to God. Now there either is a duty or there is not. You cannot say, “The People must remain absolutely neutral as to whether the People, as such, owe any allegiance to God, to acknowledge His benefits, and to pray for His protection.” To say it is to deny the debt. It is to take a position while trying to appear to take none. To decline to choose to pray, now and ever, is to choose not to pray. It is to choose irreligion. One should at least be honest about it.

The reader will no doubt know which side I take on these issues. My point here is that for certain questions, neutrality is an illusion. The nakedly secular state is not a neutral thing. It is something utterly different from, and irreconcilable with, every human polity that has existed until a few anthropological minutes ago. It is itself a set of choices which, like all such, forecloses others; a way of living that makes other ways of living unlikely, practically impossible, or inconceivable.

One odd aspect of this argument is that many Roman Catholics (Anthony Esolen’s religious tribe) would have appreciated a tad more neutrality from public officials for about a 170-year swath of U.S. history (1790-1960). Most American Protestants didn’t grasp the privilege they enjoyed by virtue of certain political ideas embodied in the Constitution and that the Vatican did not finally embrace until the Second Vatican Council. Protestants also enjoyed a semi-monopoly of public education, a situation that forced many bishops to sponsor parochial schools. In which case, I could well imagine that if Anthony placed himself at a different time in U.S. history he might be able to empathize with those Americans who take some comfort from a government that tries not to take a side among religions.

Related to this is empathy with state officials who are trying to decide about a nude beach. Maybe they cite chapter and verse from the Decalogue and enlist the support of Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Jews. But what if they also want the support of the large collection of journalists and engineers in town who work for National Public Radio. Maybe they use an argument against a nude-beach on the grounds supplied by a non-religious argument.

One of the problems the Religious Right has faced, in my view, is an inability to arrive at just such common rationales for what they believe. The logic of the Lordship of Christ or w-w says that all of me is religious so I need to make a religious argument. But lots of non-religious people would also favor a beach where bathers did not reveal their private parts. That this outcome seems far fetched in the case against neutrality may show how much the religion-is-all-of-me has prevailed. But why is it unlikely that many parents in the United States, even if they don’t attend a church or synagogue, would oppose a nude beach? And why is it necessarily a betrayal of my faith if I try to find a rationale for conventional Christian morality that also appeals to a non-Christian?

The bottom line I keep coming back to: if neutrality is not something we shoot for no matter how sloppy it will be, then do we need to return to the confessional state where only Protestants or Roman Catholics run things? That would certainly cut down on the pluralism of our societies and may bring a return of the ghettoization of religious dissenters. Do opponents of neutrality have a stomach for that? If not, maybe they should keep their clothes on.

Persuasion by Innuendo

Bill Evans is baaaaaaaaaack with another dismissive post about 2k. I am not sure why he grinds this ax, though I have ideas. Also, I detect another attempt to tarnish 2kers with unmentioned and unmentionable implications of their position — the guilt by association technique:

We will cheerfully admit that 2K advocates have some legitimate concerns, particularly that the mission and witness of the church not be hijacked by political and cultural agendas. But in this instance the cure is worse than the disease. While 2K theology may well scratch the itch of Christians who need a theological excuse to remain silent in current cultural conflicts, it is both less than biblical and less than faithful to the decided weight of the Reformed tradition.

Evans shows that he still does not understand 2k. Plenty of 2kers talk about law and politics. The point is for the church only to speak or declare what God has revealed, and in the case of gay marriage, for instance, the Bible does teach what marriage, and that Israel and the church are to enforce biblical norms. But Scripture does not say what a constitutional republic’s marriage policy is supposed to be.

And this gets to the heart of the disagreement — not to mention where Evans not only fails to understand 2k but also the Reformed tradition. If the entire world is Christ’s kingdom, then we would expect all lawful authorities to enforce God’s revealed will. But the Bible tells us quite clearly that the entire world is not Christ’s kingdom — the world consists of believers and unbelievers. The Bible also tells us — contrary to mid-twentieth-century western foreign policy — that Israel no longer exists as the covenant people. The church is now the new Israel, and the church does not have temporal jurisdiction. That means that the church transcends national borders and magistrates’ rule. In other words, what goes on in the church is different from what goes on in the state — the state of Russia, the state of Canada, the state of Japan. Christian’s should expect the church to practice God’s law. But whether Christians should expect non-Christian governments to enforce God’s law upon people who do not fear God is a very complicated question.

The problem is that Evans fudges this very question when he says — in direct contradiction of the Confession of Faith:

. . . the kingdom of God and the institutional church are wrongly equated by 2K advocates. There is a rough consensus among New Testament scholars that the kingdom of God is a much more comprehensive reality than the institutional church, and this misidentification of the church and the kingdom has all sorts of unfortunate results, such as confusion over the nature of “kingdom work” and the silencing of Christians from speaking to societal issues.

Well, how would Evans rewrite this if he considered what the Confession — pre-1788 revision — does say?

The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. (25.2)

That’s not exactly the same thing as the kingdom of God. But when the Confession goes on to say — again, pre-1788 revision, “Unto this catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto, (25.3), it is saying that the kingdom of Christ and the visible church are doing something distinct from what the state or magistrate does — “the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evildoers” (23.1). And this distinction between the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom (remember “my kingdom is not of this world” anyone?) and the temporal nature of the state’s rule, also explains why the Confession (pre-1788 revision again!) says the church should stay out of the state’s bee’s wax:

Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate. (31.4)

So the notion that 2k is outside the Reformed tradition on the nature of Christ’s kingdom is wrong.

In fact, those who expand the kingdom the way that Evans does under the influence of either Kuyper’s every-square-inchism or Finney’s millenialism are the ones who are outside the Reformed tradition and who threaten the gospel. And this goes to the heart of what animates 2k — a desire to preserve the integrity of the gospel and the church’s witness by not identifying the gospel or Christian witness with matters that are not Christian or redemptive but are common or related to general revelation. Once you begin to expand the kingdom as Evans so glibly does, you wind up doing what Protestant liberals did when they attributed to economics or agriculture or medicine on the mission field redemptive significance or what Social Gospelers did when they identified Progressive policies as signs of the coming of the kingdom. Only the church has the keys of the kingdom and all the Reformed confessions state explicitly that the magistrate may not hold them.

That means that the kingdom of Christ comes through the ministry of the church, not through the administration of the state or the advancement of Western Civilization or the building of the metropolis. Preaching and the sacraments establish the spiritual kingdom, not Broadway, the Tea Party, or a Supreme Court ruling.

Does this mean that 2kers agree with Calvin, Beza, or the Divines on the nature of the magistrate? No 2ker has said that they do. But we have it on good revised confessional authority that the Reformed churches no longer believe about the magistrate what the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Reformed pastors and theologians did. That change is not a minority position only held by 2kers. Proponents of 2k along with all the NAPARC churches, for instance, do not believe that the magistrate should enforce both tables of the law. Surprise!

But the question for the likes of Evans is whether (if he believes that the magistrate should shut down Mormon Temples and Roman Catholic basilicas) the state is actually establishing God’s kingdom. Calvin and the Divines did not believe that politics (or medicine or higher education or New York City) has “the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints.” Only the church has this power and ministry.

And that is why 2kers are so insistent on the dangers of transformationalism in whatever guise it comes. It attributes to human activities other than the church, no matter how good or legitimate they may be, transformative powers that Scripture gives only to the church and her ministry of word and sacrament.

So I wish Bill Evans in future comments on 2k would consider the weakness in his own understanding of Reformed Protestantism, not to mention the dangers that come from confusing the spiritual and temporal spheres.

Postscript: Evans also needs to give up the Lutheran-vs.-Calvinist mantra, at least when it comes to politics. One of the arresting parts of John Witte’s argument in The Reformation of Rights (a fairly whiggish and neo-Calvinist rendering of Calvinist resistance theory) is that Calvinists learned resistance from Lutherans: “It is significant that Beza cited the Magdeburg Confession (1550) as his ‘signal example’ of how to respond to political abuse and tyranny. For the Magdeburg Confession was a major distillation of the most advanced Lutheran resistance theories of the day, which the Calvinist tradition absorbed. (106)”

Not Papal but 2k Supremacy

I have to chuckle whenever I hear 2k critics assert that 2kers are silencing the church such as R C Sproul Jr. has (thanks to Erik C.):

At their worst, however, R2K theology can silence the prophetic voice of the church. While many R2K advocates would be comfortable with individual Christians speaking to the great moral issues of our day, the church is forbidden to do so. When the state punishes a landlord for refusing to rent to fornicators, the church cannot speak. When the state engages in empire building, waging unjust wars across the globe, the church cannot speak. Worst of all, when the state uses its God-given sword to protect those who murder the unborn, the church cannot speak.

What RC fails to mention is what the church is called to say. That is always the question that critics of 2k skirt with haste on their way to placing the doctrines and commandments of men ahead of God’s word.

But if he really fears being silenced, he should see how the young left does it. In point of fact, most 2kers are simply asking for the rank and file to have a listen while critics are using different tactics.