RCUS Classis Report on Neo-"two kingdoms" Theology

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mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
An ecclesiastical response seen in this report from classis west of the RCUS:

Link to classis document, with report beginning approx. page 66:

https://app.box.com/s/d6xv2db7601tvgi409op

Link to a site with the full report copied onto an easier-to-read, single page format:

RCUS Classis West Reports On R2K … Is The Noose Tightening On R2K? | Iron Ink

Summary concerns/objections from the report:

1. That the command to exercise dominion in Genesis 1:26-28 is missing
in Genesis 9, does not have to mean that God has cancelled the
Cultural Mandate. Its absence is explained by other reasons,
especially since the priority was for man to be fruitful and multiply
so as to repopulate an earth that was depopulated by the Flood.
Moreover, that God does not repeat a command does not mean that the
command has fallen by the wayside or been nullified.

2. If life outside the Church is to be governed by natural law under
the Noachian Covenant, then it would seem that the culture outside the
Church must appeal to the written laws of Genesis 8-9, where God
commands man to be fruitful, to multiply, and to execute murderers.

3. If the Noachian covenant alone preserves the world, then the State
would have to acknowledge the God of the Bible as the true God since
God made man “in his own image” (Genesis 9:6). Moreover, the God of
Genesis is Triune (Genesis 1:26-28; 3:22; 11:3; 18:1-3). It is not
clear whether Two Kingdom theologians believe that the Church has the
express duty to tell the State that it must read and implement the
Noachian laws of Genesis 8-9.

4. The expectation of verses like Psalm 2:10-12 is that kings as kings
and judges as judges would “Kiss the Son” and serve the Lord in their
respective callings. The thought that their service to Christ should
be private instead of public seems foreign to the text. Kline’s view
is that the State must not baptize or implement any cultic structure,
thus implying that stamping “In God we trust” on our coins, or making
a pledge to “one nation under God” is improper and “monstrous.”
Neo-Calvinists (as they are called) would quote Calvin who explained
Psalm 2:10-12 as God not ordering “…. them [kings and judges] to lay
aside their authority and return to private life, but to make the
power with which they are invested subject to Christ, that he may rule
over all” (Institutes of the Christian Religion , Book IV, Chapter
20:5).

5. The idea that the Bible does not address every moral concern is
contrary to the doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scripture.

6. The idea that only the Church or the kingdom of glory is holy seems
a severe limitation of holiness, since other things (such as food—Mark
7:19, Acts 10:15; 2 Timothy 4:5) have been cleansed and sanctified by
Christ. Plus, the civil magistrate in Romans 13:4 is called “the
minister of God” for us for good. He is the agent of God’s wrath to
mete out God’s justice. Although the word holy is not used in Romans
13, Paul’s assessment of the civil magistrate squares with John
Calvin’s view that the civil magistrate is “the most sacred, and by
far, the most honorable, of all stations in moral life” (Institutes of
the Christian Religion, Book IV, chapter 4). (See also Isaiah 45:1.)
Certainly God’s institution of marriage is “holy wedlock” for everyone
(Heidelberg Catechism 108). We could even argue that since all men are
in the image of God in the broad sense, that all men are holy (Genesis
9:6; James 3:9).

7. Another question concerns the impact of natural law upon the common
kingdom. Two Kingdoms theologians teach that natural law is sufficient
to govern human life outside the Church, but do so without
factoring-in the extent of man’s Fall and total depravity. They cite
Romans 2:14-15, but have not grappled with the problem that natural
law without God’s inscripturated law to enlighten it, is not an
infallible moral guide.

8. Our concern about the Two Kingdoms viewpoint is that it might turn
the Church into a ghetto in a world crying out for truth and justice.
Two Kingdoms theologians teach that our labors in the common kingdom
or city of man are unnecessary and wrong if we are trying to impose
the expired Cultural Mandate. If this assessment is correct, then all
work outside the body of Christ is unholy, common-kingdom work.
Although it is still claimed that our work is very important and that
God commands us to fulfill our secular callings, it would seem that
the quality of our vocations is impaired, if not adulterated if our
“secular” work is not in some sense holy.

9. Another ambiguity in the Two Kingdoms viewpoint concerns the reward
of Christian work, which will result in God’s “Well done, thou good
and faithful servant.” VanDrunen tells us that none of our “products”
will accompany us to heaven. Our resurrected body is all that we take
with us. But the issue is not “products,” the real issue is the good
works done in every sphere of our lives. The issue is not whether our
products follow us to heaven; the issue is whether all our good works
(in the cultural sphere, too) follow us (Revelation 14:13).

10. That Christ fulfilled the Cultural Mandate does not mean that we
who are “in Christ” by faith alone are exempt from its summons for
obedience. That He fulfilled it could mean that He filled it with new
meaning and enables us by His grace and Spirit to fulfill what Adam
failed to fulfill.
 
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