2 Kingdoms again. Again?!

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by discipulo, Mar 31, 2011.

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  1. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    I’m interested in the civil realm, since that’s the context of the question.

    You mention “general equity,” so is your (c) derived from Scripture, or is this a natural law argument? And are you saying that the civil magistrate may not impose some other punishment, e.g., capital punishment, in the case of adultery.

    This isn’t about theonomy per se, so I won’t address your characterizations.

    ---------- Post added at 06:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:05 PM ----------

    Every state is a theocracy of some form. Arguments to the contrary are fictions.

    Therefore, death may still be an appropriate form of civil punishment for the crime of adultery. Paul is not addressing that issue in 1 Corinthians, although he does seem to address it in Romans 1:28-32. The Church is not the state and does not bear the sword of civil justice. Church discipline is not appropriate for the civil magistrate. The two complement one another.
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    It is derived from Scripture in that there are indications in Scripture that where

    (a) The evidence wasn't strong enough for the death penalty

    (b) The offense wasn't gross or flagrant or presumptious enough

    (c) The offended party agreed

    (d) The offense wasn't murder

    the death penalty didn't need to be applied, the individual would pay a monetary payment and would have a sacrifice for their sin.

    E.g. Proverbs 6:30-35.

    In studying these penal laws for any general equity for the civil realm you have to look at how Christ fulfilled them in different ways to see what's going on:

    Old Testament Ethics for the People of God: Amazon.co.uk: Christopher J H Wright: Books

    Amazon.co.uk: Christopher J. H. Wright: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions
  3. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, "don't polish brass on a sinking ship" is a great way to put, yes, I believe we have to do much better than that, that's why the Kingdom for me is not entirely confined to the Church, altough in the New Covenant the Visible Church is the most important institutional expression of the Kingdom.

    Well, you could be right on Corinth, since it was a very immoral city where there was very likely no civil law against such sin.

    And, the questions you raise are important, I also don’t think the Covenant of Nature should have that central place on the issue but rather the Covenant of Works.
    I hope I can write a bit more about that later.

    Tom, if you mean by Theocracy of some sort that the Lord is King, yes He is! Amen. He rules all nations, He rules the 2 Kingdoms with both Hands, the right and the left (I think it is a good image although you may say it has a Californian accent, be it). We Reformed believe, and rightly so, in God’s Sovereign Providence.

    But like you say both complement each other, we certainly wouldn’t want the Civil authorities to start deciding the matters of the Church, guess what? The civil authorities in Holland started to favor the remonstrant cause, imagine how it would be today.

    Paul, actually makes the same point on 1 Corinthians 6 that the Church is competent to Judge on Ecclesiastical Matters – we remember immediately the Keys of the Kingdom, right?

    1When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you

    But if God rules as He does, doesn’t it make a difference what kind of Civil Authorities do we have?

    Why should we pray for the authorities that we may live in peace and free from persecution?

    1 Timothy 2
    1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

    Because it is not the same thing to have democracy, anarchy, tyranny, oligarchy or even an alleged theocracy *avant la lettre*, like the Vatican assumes itself to be.

    As to the death penalty for sexual sin I think Richard posted very good points about it.
  4. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    I must be missing something in Proverbs 6. Where exactly is restitution being held out as an option? I see just the opposite, that the offended husband’s fury cannot be assuaged by money.

    The principle in view is the severity of adultery, not that there are ways around a just punishment.

    Even Jesus did not abandon the applicability of the capital punishment in John 8. While He was not acting in the role of magistrate, nevertheless He was concerned with the Law being applied equitably, e.g., where was the other party in the alleged adultery?

    Even if capital punishment for adultery was not required in every circumstance, that does not mean that it is not appropriate in some circumstances. Thus the magistrate would be justified in imposing it under certain conditions. Nothing in Scripture precludes that view.
  5. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    Even Jesus did not abandon the applicability of the capital punishment in John 8. While He was not acting in the role of magistrate, nevertheless He was concerned with the Law being applied equitably, e.g., where was the other party in the alleged adultery?
    Even if capital punishment for adultery was not required in every circumstance, that does not mean that it is not appropriate in some circumstances. Thus the magistrate would be justified in imposing it under certain conditions. Nothing in Scripture precludes that view.[/QUOTE]

    Tom, although your debate with Richard may be profitable for all of us here, I certainly hope so, do you notice that we slowly but clearly moved away from the 1st Table of the Law and 2 first Commandments?

    So how would you Tom, anyone? would consistentently define and execute Civil Legislation based on God’s 1st and 2nd Commandments of His Holy Law?

    Btw I am not by any means subscribing your view that WTSC defends that -quote:
    To my best knowledge that is not accurate concerning the view of WTSC - see my quote of Van Drunen below

    The case is that the same Holy Law is written on men's hearts by the virtue of Natural Law and God is, in a certain sense, known by virtue of Natural Revelation.

    Romans 1:19-21 and 2:14-15

    For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God

    even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.

    This also concerns Idolatry of course, actually I often say that vs 22-24 are a Sword against evolutionism

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    But because we know the noetic consequences of the Fall we don’t have unreasonable expectations concerning unregenerate men’s approach to Religion, the natural man doesn’t understand the things of God.

    When Paul addressed Civil authorities he didn’t tell them they ought to change Civil Law to accommodate Christianity, he preached Law and Gospel, would God in His Grace change their hearts, and he prayed for them.

    Why? Because Paul understood very well the discontinuities, and continuities in Redemptive History.

    In the Theocratic Ethnical Territorial Kingdom, also a Typological Kingdom finding its antitype in the Kingdom of God, there was no Religious freedom! Of course not, as there is no Religious freedom in the Church, there shouldn’t be at least! And there surely won’t be No such impurity of religious nature, or any other, in the Consummation of the Kingdom of God. Finally God will be all in all!

    Does that mean that for now, in the Civil Society shouldn’t there be Religious freedom?

    If we approach this is a simplistic away we will become zealots trying to restore Israel in our days.

    Should we, never the less, make a difference in Society? Certainly! We should and we must!

    Look, Reformed Politicians in Holland have strived to keep the Sabbath separated by not allowing Shopping Malls, Commerce, Restaurants to open on Sundays, and that has been a blessing to the Nation.

    They do it wisely, not just saying that Holland, a secular nation, needs to keep the 4th commandment, that would sound odd at best.

    Soon the Muslims would want their Fridays free and the Jewish their Saturdays, and then the Buddhists would say they deserve a day too!

    They defend the 4th commandment stating that it is in the social fabric of the nation, that it is good for society at large, Sunday should be kept a free day.

    I think it is a good example of not confining things Ecclesiastically but not going to unsustainable extremes of Enforcing things unacceptably .
    Both ways wouldn’t do much good to Society, the first for the salt being too insipid and not leaving the salt shaker and the second for being rejected as impractical and sectarian.

    I will quote from Van Drunen here:

    In one of my previous books (A Biblical Case for Natural Law) I stated something to the effect that Scripture is the moral standard of the spiritual kingdom but not the common kingdom. But I think some people have taken that to mean something other than the particular sense in which I meant it.

    For the historic Reformed two kingdoms doctrine (and mine as well), Scripture certainly has significant things to say about the common kingdom and its moral obligations before God, and of course what it says is true. So in that very important sense Scripture is authoritative for the common kingdom (as Scripture is authoritative for every subject it addresses). This is reflected in my recent book, Living in God's Two Kingdoms, which explores Scripture extensively to identify many features of the common kingdom and their implications for how we should conduct ourselves within it. There is also no question for me (or for the historic two kingdoms doctrine) that as Christians appeal to the natural law in the common kingdom, either to appeal to unbelievers or to try to understand their own responsibilities in various areas of life, they should look to Scripture to correct and clarify their views on natural law.

    But there are also certain senses in which Scripture cannot be taken in a simplistic manner as the moral standard of the common kingdom. For one thing, Scripture has always been delivered to God's special covenant people, the Old Testament to Israel and the New Testament to the church. When Scripture gives its moral commands, it speaks to God's covenant people and does not give them bare commands, but instructs them how to live as his redeemed covenant people. Even the 10 commandments begin with the introduction, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt...." Thus I think we need to be careful that we don't simply take the commands meant as a response to God's redemptive love and try to enforce them as such upon the world at large. This doesn't mean that most of the commands of Scripture aren't relevant for unbelievers too.

    Westminster Seminary California
  6. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    But who gets to chose? THat's what's holding me up.
  7. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    I know Tim, it is complicated! It is really very complicated. I really don't know, it seems to me that if it is all or nothing we end up with nothing,

    but maybe less than all just may be too little. I don't know.

    Take Adultery for example, do we really think that we should defend before this depraved society that Adultery should be condemned with the Death Penalty?

    Let’s be realistic, Adultery is no longer even considered a crime for decades.

    Shouldn’t we instead promote in Society the Sanctity of Matrimony in a more relevant and eloquent way.

    That is the kind of sensitive pro-active approach that I think makes sense.

    There is the battle against abortion, we are loosing that one too.
    We need to press harder but we need to be wiser too or we will be simply side tracked by this over secularized society.

    But I am aware that here wise rhimes with compromise and we don't like it, we shouldn't really, but what do we do then?

    Those are my questions too.
  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Yes, we had a SUnday school lesson the other day where the pastor said we as Christians shouldn't try to ban two homosexual men from adopting little boys, unless we did it from a "natural law" point that it was harmful to society, but we shouldn't oppose it for reasons of Moses saying it is wrong.
  9. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    He does have the option but in this proverbial case he isn't taking it.

    Well you're just following the usual inconsistent specific equity view of theonomy that the Mosaic case law punishments bind the modern magistrate morally.

    If you were more consistent you'd insist on the Church - not the State - executing adulterers and idolaters as it was the congregation of Israel that carried this out under the supervision of the elders - and we, the Church, are the congregation of Israel. To be even more consistent with specific equity you might want to follow the mode of execution aswell.

    Such a simplistic and biblicistic hermeneutic also leads Pentecostalists to insist on speaking in tongues being for today and some to insist that all men grow their beards, just as you insist that the execution of Muslims, RCs and adulterers is for today.

    Regarding the OP, the magistrate is to recognise Christianity as the state religion. Therefore those who are not willing to sign a confession of faith would be excluded from public office. This would be something broader than the Establishment Principle as it used to be applied in England where for certain public offices you had to testify your commitment to the CofE.

    It has been suggested by Stephen Perks in his "A Defence of the Christian State", although he is otherwise a theonomist.

    The Kuyper Foundation ~ promoting a renaissance of Christian culture

    The magistrates might also want to consider the religion of people they are letting into the country.

    Quote from Rich
    He does not have an inherent right but should have a civil right which yet may be somewhat regulated, because it is not the magistrate's function to declare Holy War and interpose in God's work using His Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

    There's no problem with having laws regulating the Sabbath and public blasphemy, as these are not incompatible with the civil right of following one's religion.

    Quote from Tom
    CHAPTER I. Of the holy Scripture.
    VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:

    CHAPTER XIX. Of the Law of God.
    IV. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  10. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    You’re obviously misreading my comments. I’m not binding the magistrate at all. You read the Scripture to say that the magistrate shall not impose appropriate punishment including capital punishment in the case of adultery. I’m saying that the magistrate is permitted but not required to do that. I made no reference to Mosaic law per se. I believe what I’m saying is consistent with Calvin’s view of the magistrate, who gives the magistrate latitude the type of laws and appropriate punishments, not being tied to the details of the Mosaic penal code.

    Not at all. Maybe it is true in your system, but not in the Bible. It may be argued that the priests were generally the representatives of the church while the elders were the representatives of the state. Thus murderers were brought before the elders not the priests for justice. E.g., there is no mention of priests in Deut. 22 where numerous civil crimes are being discussed.
  11. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    But Israel was the Church, as the NT Church is mature Israel. Israel was also constituted as a body politic because she was the Church in minority and needed to be taught about the Kingdom of God in such a way.

    Hence we have elders in the Church today and all true believers are the Priesthood. The elders in the Church today are in the line of the elders of Israel of old; not the politicians of the modern State, who can only be paradigmatically and in a general sense compared to the elders and judges of Israel.

    If the case laws of Moses are made the laws of America or Great Britain without appropriate changes the nation state is modelled in shadowy, childhood, typological terms, inappropriate for mature Christian societies and nations.

    Establishmentarianism is not tied to specific equity like theonomy is. That is theonomy tends to say that equity entails having specifically the same penalties on the statute book of modern nations as were appropriately given to the childhood, shadowy, typological kingdom. If America adopted theonomy you'd have a partially rebuilt typological Kingdom of God.

    The Church is the Nation of Israel to whom all these laws of the childhood Church and Nation of Israel have most immediate reference.

    The case laws have only secondary reference - to the extent they do - to modern states, and must be applied in general and paradigmatic terms.

    Given the fact that it was a childhood, shadowy, typological kingdom, and given the relationship between the death penalty and the altar, general equity would say that there is no need for the case law death penalties that were added at the time of Moses. The offender who was excommunicated by death was paying a special and typological penalty to God in lieu of an animal sacrifice for sin that reflected the absolute justice of the Kingdom and taught the childhood Israel/the Church spiritual truths about sin, salvation and Heaven and Hell.

  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Even though many unbelievers reject aspects of righteousness, they still inherently know the inherent justice of the decalogue which is natural law. Consequently, in Western political systems, where individual voters get to periodically review the actions of the magistrate as well as organizing campaigns to press their views of issues, Christians can both petition and vote. They might even win their cases if they can present their cases in a way that even unbelievers will recognize as just. Case in point, Wilberforce and the abolishing of the slave trade in Britain.

    ---------- Post added at 04:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:32 PM ----------

    Please be careful not to overreact. The Westminster Divines carefully did not reject the Mosaic judicial laws in toto. While they recognized that the Mosaic judicial system expressed in "sundry judicial laws" had "expired together with the state of that people," the Divines also recognized that "the general equity" of somel of those laws "may require" in New Covenant era states outside of the context in which they were originally given. If a Mosaic law or punishment remains just today, applying it to our modern context is not always childish and typological. This is particularly true in the case of the death penalty for homicide which goes back to Noah not Moses and hence remains just in non-Sinai contexts. ​

    ---------- Post added at 04:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:42 PM ----------

    The family isn't the foundation of social order; God is. Remember "the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." (Rom. 1:18) Ungodliness is first. And idolotry against God was treason against both the overlord with whom Israel was in covenant and the rest of the nation who would suffer God's judgements for that sin.

    The Westminster Divines would answer your question in a way similar to this: Although the decalogue was publicly proclaimed by Moses, it had been written long before in men's hearts as the study of Genesis makes clear. In addition, any commands given by God to pre-Mosaic humanity, are still valid unless God has since repealed them. Westminster Divines Anthony Burgess and Samuel Rutherford justified capital punishment in New Covenant era states on the ground that God had commanded all humanity (Noah's family) to observe it when needed.​

    ---------- Post added at 02:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:31 PM ----------

  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I believe two kingdoms theology is Reformed, Confessional, and Biblical also. But for the record, the traditional reformed two kingdom view regarded church and state as existing and functioning in mutual co-operation while the modern revision of it has created an ethical dualism between church and state. It clarifies discussion to distinguish between "mutual 2K" and "dual 2K" views.

    On the mutual 2K view, one might look at how militant Islam is denied the power to practice its religion of holy war to see how it is inevitable that state legislation will impinge on religion. If Christians had any spiritual perception at all, they would see that their own radical fundamentalism (Jesus Christ the only way of salvation) is being socialised into submission. How many western Christians today would be willing to suffer the scorn of being arrested and put on trial by standing up for the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ? Not too many. The church is not overcoming because it is not proclaiming the word of testimony. The reality is that in a religiously tolerant society, where pluralism is the ideal, the socio-political values of every religion is legally prejudiced.

    Why stop at commandments 1 and 2? How about commandments 3 and 4? In a tolerant society how many Christians actually stand up and call their neighbours to account for taking the Lord's name in vain? When seven day trading is legalised it is obvious that those who believe in six day trading are losing some share of the market.

    The issue here is, Will Christians stand up for what they believe in the socio-political sphere, or is that left to be a sphere where Jesus does not rule?

    Honestly, are we really to think that the early church spilt all that blood in the belief that they could be silent for Christ when they were brought before rulers?

    Let's face the truth, Christianity does not advance today simply because its adherents will not stand up for what they profess to believe in.
  14. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    That has to be the most convoluted case for the abolition of the death penalty I've ever heard.
  15. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't believe in rejecting the Mosaic civil law in toto. There are underlying godly principles in it that will always apply. I believe that the Noahic revelation of the death penalty provides the model for its use today.

    It is always just for God to take the life of sinners as He sometimes did through their excommunication by execution under the typological Levitical Economy. Whether it is His will that mature Christian societies follow the specific equity of Moses' childhood and typological Kingdom of God in criminal and penal law - and squeeze modern Christian societies into old wineskins - is the Q.

    Under Establishmentarianism there are two co-ordinate spheres belonging to the Church and the State. Moses isn't necessarily hewed to in the way that theonomists desire; but the general equity of Moses is to be followed.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!
  17. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    Rev. Glaser, it’s encouraging to see your enthusiasm, indeed the Church, as Rev Winzer says, certainly needs to rise up to its responsibilities.

    I already told here of the Reformed Coalition who was part of the former Government in Holland.

    Actually our former Government leader, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is a committed Reformed Christian, quote

    Balkenende went to a Protestant primary school in Kapelle. He attended secondary school at the "Christian Lyceum for Zeeland" in Goes, graduating in 1974. He studied at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where he received an M.A. degree in history in 1980, an LL.M. degree in Dutch Law in 1982, and finally a PhD degree in Law in 1992.
    He is a devout member of the Calvinist Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

    Jan Peter Balkenende - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I mentioned how the 4th Commandment was honored and defended by his and other Governments against the pressures of the secularized multicultural, multi-ethnical, religiously diversified, highly commercial and business oriented present Dutch society.

    Reformed People have a high pedigree in Dutch Politics, and not only because of Abraham Kuyper, although he is the most renowned example.

    Let me just give you a quote from the founder of the Political Party and mentor of Kuyper, also a Reformed Christian:

    We are living in a condition of permanent revolution ... revolutions are here to stay and will grow much worse in scope and intensity unless men can be persuaded to return to Christianity, to practice its precepts and to obey the Gospel in its full implications for human life and civilized society. Barring such a revival, the future would belong to socialism and communism. emphasis mine

    Groen Van Pristerer

    Sounds prophetic, well it is, we are seeing it daily.

    My concern is that instead of radicalizing positions, we should rather unite efforts as Reformed people and find wise ways to make an influence in Society.

    In my humble opinion condemning Religious freedom or promoting death penalty for adultery are not wise positions, if we really want to be effective and relevant.

    But there is a lot to be done on many areas where Reformed Christians can and should make a difference.
  18. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Scott Clark recent post on his Heidelblog is in my opinion very relevant to this debate, (Link below) written with an important confessional foundation that has to be taken into account, like WCF I.6

    there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature

    My own conclusion from reading the article is basically that we, that know God’s Holy Law revealed and given to God’s Covenant people, the Church, may need to trust that the same Law was given to men in general, by being written in their hearts in the form of Natural Law.

    1st God's Natural Law written in the hearts of men, although not being enough to give men a moral behavior acceptable before God, alas men remain Covenant Breakers, it is never the less the means for men to tell right from wrong and ordain Society accordingly.

    2nd Natural Revelation, although not enough for men to have a saving knowledge of the Gospel, it is never the less enough for men to have sense of accountability, of consequences of their moral choices, of facing the judgment of their own acts. They may suppress this sensus divinitatis, but they cannot erase it all together. This has consequences on both their moral choices and the way they ordain Society.

    3rd I may add that by God’s Providence it is He Who rises men to have authority or takes them away from authority as He wills, a lesson Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way –see passage below. While God by His providence (in my opinion may also be called Common Grace) restrains men in their depravity and enables men with talents, opportunities, natural gifts and purposes of heart that will benefit society at large.

    Only by retaining these 3 points, we can continue to boldly affirm Total Depravity and God’s Absolute Sovereignty.

    And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

    Daniel 4:34-37

    Notice the word Kingdom and King in 2 different ways as the king is always under the authority of The KING.

    But please correct me if my conclusions stated above are wrong or inaccurate.

    Article by Dr. Scott Clark

    Natural Law and Light in the Reformed Confessions (Updated) « Heidelblog
  19. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    This difficulty here is that this particular section in WCF 1:6 is speaking of circumstances (See RPW distinction between elements and circumstances). In this context “light of nature” means those natural ideas and constructs that govern our everyday activities. E.g., setting the meeting time for a corporate worship service is a circumstance that is governed by the light of nature, just as it is in common societies. In other words,, the Bible does not map out all the details for our ecclesiastical activities.

    In this immediate context, it has nothing to do with moral/natural law as commonly understood by two kingdoms advocates.

    AA Hodge put it this way:

    Natural law as it is conceived in the two kingdoms theory does not give us such details. So, “light of nature” must be understood in the correct way. Dr. Clark fails to distinguish between these meanings, at least in regard to his use of WCF 1:6.
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Yes; this is borne out by the Scripture proofs appended to that proposition in the Confession.

    Also, the "dual 2K" view has set up a dichotomy in the interpretation of WCF 20.2, where there is in fact overlap. "Contrary" and "beside" were not intended to serve as specific hermeneutical controls with regard to the two kingdoms or spheres. The divines taught that the magistrate is equally forbidden from acting "beside" the Scripture when his authority pertained to matters of faith or worship. Likewise, the church may not act "contrary" to moral norms in its own sphere of discipline. The dual "2K" view is adept at taking classical distinctions and turning them into dichotomies.
  21. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    I mean the whole concept of natural law as it seems to be used by the dual 2 kingdom view, thank you for that title Rev. Winzer (R2K is a little over the top in my opinion), is very problimatic. I mean yes there is natural law but where can we humans go other than hearts to find this law written in enough detail to form a just society around? Nowhere, so you are left back with having to come up with some nuetral social theory to find the best way to govern people, inevitably some form of seculerism. I mean the dual 2 kingdom view in my mind must posit a theory of seculerism to justify their claims. How can we acheive a society of pluralism without seculerism? You can't, you must posit a religously nuetral ethic and a religously nuetral view of rationality, what is or isn't a rational claim in a certian society, just to decide what this fair society looks like. For me this seemingly, not absolute, logical conection between seculerism and the dual 2 kingdom view is the greatest obstacle to accepting its truth value in my opinion. I don't know what they say about seculerism but I know that you cannot claim to be Van Tillian and espouse a form of seculerism at all.

    I am not saying that there is no seculer realm, that is a common (not nuetral) place where we all balance our checkbooks and go groccery shopping. But that place is so infused with our culture and its antithetical beleifs and practices to christian beleifs and practices that you cannot fully seperate them. You know our culture is pushing a certian ethic and view of the good life that is antithetical to our christian view of these things. I just raise these questions with regard to the dual 2 kingdom view because if there is this much antithesis in everyday life how can we claim that there is this strong common realm that must be religously nuetral for their theory to work (but that is the problem everyday life is not religously nuetral).

    This view of seculerism must undergird their claim that the state is to only enforce the second table of the law. So a muslim will never be punished by God for being a muslim simply because the first table of the law is not part of natural law?
  22. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    To be fair, the proponents of the dual view deny neutrality. The secular is regarded as a common grace sphere, which I believe CVT left plenty of room for. With the help of Meredith Kline they have been able to develop a "biblical theology" of common grace replete with its own covenant provisions. The irony here is that the common grace covenant was started by the neo-Calvinist school, and it is now being used against them. I deny that the Scriptures actually teach this "biblical theology." We have a sad state of affairs today in which theology is not properly distinguished into exegetical and dogmatic, and so theologians can posit just about anything because they are not bound to the distinct rules of each discipline.
  23. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    I have no doubt that they disagree with nuetrality of this sort. But I do think the logical consequences of their ideas lead to this end inevitably. These are just questions and concerns at this point, not full blown criticisms. I would love to read one of these dual 2 kingdom guys wrestling with these larger sort of social and political philosophical problems. If anyone knows of any of their writings that are geared more towards these sort of considerations I would be happy to check them out. I for one regard this movement as both confessional and Reformed. Michael Horton seems to really get the ideas of postmodernism so I bet he would have written something on this.

    I just am a little skeptical of the idea of natural law being an objective basis of a civil society. Now there is no doubt that it should be but given our finite limitations and the many questions that have raised with regards to this being a foundation of society it isn't that easy to do. So to save face you must find someother way to get to natural law, that is somewhat objective, or posit a new basis for this pluralistic society, which is generaly what seculerism seeks to do. I think they might go to History to settle this question and argue that despite the limitations of natural law arguments of this sort you can still find natural law in Historic norms. But now you have placed yourself in the sights of postmodern critics who can accuse you of simply privliging one history over another. Many societies did tolerate homosexuality as well as human sacrifice, you cant just pick one history over another. Their arguments are that there is no History per se but many different histories and we just abritraraly pick one over another to suit our needs.

    So if the historical basis for natural law fails where can one logically go? It seems to me that now you must envision this "common good" from somewhere. Maybe the bible can become the reflective tool for interpreting natural law and so they would agree that in instituting their theories they are seeking to transform the culture into a christian one but for them the ideal christian state is a pluralistic one. If that is all they are arguing than fine they have avoided my questions but it seems that in their dualistic view the bible cannot be the basis for social ethics. Now you must logically find some common ground to agree espistomologically with unbeleivers in a nuetral fashion on what the common good is. That is nuetrality and it is some form of seculerism, which are both subject to the massive criticisms against them. So whether or not they agree with my logical bouncing ball link of ideas here is irelivant because it seems that I have made a solid logical link of the consequences of their ideas. I am very open to changing my mind on this if my questions are suitably answered.
  24. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    I will try to catch up with you guys later.

    In the mean time I recall how it is a bit ironic, but certainly not by chance, that Abraham Kuyper was writing some of his most important lines on the Antithesis, Common Grace and Calvinism applied to the whole of society, while his political, educational and ecclesiastical activities were so focused on the separation between the State and the Church.

    No wonder he produced food for thought for mostly every side of this question.

    Kevin DeYoung, writes about Two Kingdom Theology and Neo-Kuyperians, and he came up with something that was already on my mind thinking of Daniel,

    I posted above Daniel 4, well Daniel had a learship political role in a Pagan Nation, was Daniel compromising? We know he wasn't, he was ready to die for his faith.

    Anyway, think about it, I leave you with DeYoung, worth reading, quote and link below:

    The two kingdom theology has better biblical support in my opinion. It seems to me we are more like the Israelites in exile in Babylon than we are the Israelites in the promised land.

    Two Kingdom Theology and Neo-Kuyperians – Kevin DeYoung
  25. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

  26. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    Dr. Clark thank you so much for your post and your links they are very helpful. I found a lot of good information on your point of view from them. However I still felt that my concerns and questions were not dealt with until I got to this link that you posted Natural Law, the Two Kingdoms, and Homosexual Marriage « Heidelblog. I have not had the time to explore them all but this post in particuler settled some questions for me. In it you make good use of the bible to interpret natural law, which is good. I must say though what is the difference between the neo-Calvinist taking his scriptual worldview into the culture and changing things on that basis and a person claiming to interpret natural law on the basis of scripture and taking that "natural" interpretation of things and changing it? I would say nothing, unless I simply don't understand both sides (which very well could be the case).

    You also affirm that natural law includes the first table of the law O.K. good, but why than restrict the mageistrate to enforcing this? You also appeal to "natural relations" to argue against homosexuality, I will now play devil's advocate here, but in postmodernism you have privliged one meaning of "natural" and one set of "natural relations" over against another, on what basis do you do this? If it is a biblical basis than you return to my question of the difference between you and your opponats, neo-Calvinists. What other basis could you appeal to? If it is anyother basis than you will logically step into the seculerists trap. I admit that you and your fellow dual 2 kingdom proponants do not endorse nuetrality oughtright, but that in order for your criticism of neo-Calvinism to stand you must logically accept some form of nuetrality.
  27. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    We are both like Israelites in the wilderness and like Israelites in the Promised Land, because

    (a) The Church is travelling through this world to the Heavenly Eschatalogical Kingdom which will be this world transformed into the New Heavens and New Earth.

    (b) The future Heavenly Eschatalogical Kingdom has already been established in principle in this world, Christ has all power in Heaven and on Earth and this world is the kingdom that has been given to Him, there is overlap between this age and the age to come, and Christ is in the process of taking possession of this world through the progress of His Church. Christ is our Moses, but also our Joshua, David and Solomon.

    So particularly when the Church experiences ascendency, we are like Israel in the Promised Land - in measure.

    We're experiencing the "already..............not yet"; we're already in the Promised Land but we're not already there and we're still in the Wilderness.

    I think its better to talk of one kingdom of Christ with different spheres, notably ecclesiatical and societal/civil, rather than talk about two kingdoms.

    All sides would agree that Christ rules His Church in a different way to the way He rules the nations e.g. the nation-state of the USA or Great Britain. The Q at issue is the nature of the difference as Dr Clark just indicated.
  28. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    I agree with Kuyper. The old form of Belgic 36 was wrong. That's why the American (and Dutch) churches have revised art. 36.


    Anti-neutrality does not = civil enforcement of the 1st table. C Van Til was resolutely opposed to neutrality but he didn't advocate Constantinianism. Neither did ANY NT author or the early Christian apologists.

    Neutrality is an EPISTEMIC question, not a political/social/civil question.
  29. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    From the outset Christianity has recognised the right of civil magistrates to make legal judgements concerning true religion.

    John 19:7-11, "The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin."

    Acts 25:7-12, "And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

    Tertullian, Apology, chapter 1, “Rulers of the Roman Empire ... What harm can it do to the laws, supreme in their domain, to give her a hearing? ... The proof of their ignorance, at once condemning and excusing their injustice, is this, that those who once hated Christianity because they knew nothing about it, no sooner come to know it than they all lay down at once their enmity. From being its haters they become its disciples. By simply getting acquainted with it, they begin now to hate what they had formerly been, and to profess what they had formerly hated; and their numbers are as great as are laid to our charge. The outcry is that the State is filled with Christians — that they are in the fields, in the citadels, in the islands: they make lamentation, as for some calamity, that both sexes, every age and condition, even high rank, are passing over to the profession of the Christian faith; and yet for all, their minds are not awakened to the thought of some good they have failed to notice in it."
  30. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    I too have become uncomfortable with a Constantinianism. Since I am in no way qualified to argue over the first table of the law I will humbly back away from that line of questioning. But the epistemic element you spoke of is something in my sphere of relative compentancy, so I will comment on that. An antithesis in epistemic questions because of the nature of philosophy will always bleed over into the political/social/civil questions, hence why I was able to raise my original questions in the first place. That is why Van Til spoke of dealing the different theories of facts before looking at the facts themselves, be it social or epistemic facts.
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