More letters to Theonomists....
*Addendum---to be fair, these two men have answered, and yet it would seem the exchange is done at this point. Like IronInk.....they won't answer the questions.
Here are a couple more letters I've posted to Theonomists. They won't even answer, they just run. Don't accept their paradigm, argue from the Biblical categories not their philosophical-based construct and their left speechless. They don't have an answer, and they know it.
These people are in the end, bullies. They function not like people of the Kingdom, but as political hacks. Once exposed to the light, they scurry. Their unbiblical system is completely bankrupt. They have been answered and refuted time and time again. But what they do? They just keep publishing books and articles, patting themselves on the back and ignore our arguments. So just like in politics unless we employ their tactics and tools, the truth is kept from the field.
We will not employ their carnal weapons of warfare, but we will not be silent and allow them to keep deceiving people. Challenge them, I say.
I think those in the Reformed world who know how dangerous and destructive Monistic Sacralism is, really made a mistake in not speaking in stronger terms. The impression I always had say, fifteen years ago was that, well, they're wrong, but still orthodox and we should all get along.
While some may get upset over the sacramental efficacy and conditional covenantalism taught here....I would ask why has the doctrine of the Kingdom become so unimportant that any view seems to be tolerable?
I just had this conversation with R---D---- on GreenBaggins on the First Ammedment thread. I guess we can do it here as well.
The law as understood in the OT was covenantal in nature, and thus was not binding on the surrounding nations. In fact for them to take it up, would have been a profaning of it. Even if I did grant the validity of the Theonomic thesis, I would say those laws could only apply to the church. They are holy laws picturing Christ the coming Redeemer and Judge. Assuming the WCF 3-fold division, which I don't, by removing the ceremonial and retaining the penal laws, you destroy the Messianic typology intergral to the Mosaic arrangement.
To posit that the unbelieving Amercian public can either understand or even keep those laws flies in the face of NT Scripture. And I continue to argue, those who suggest fallen man can keep God's law and please Him are teaching the theology of Finney and Pelagius. Fallen man is the enemy of God and his sacrifices are an abomination. To suppose that he can please God is to negate the work of Christ on the cross.
These questions of law and 'policy' are based on wrong assumptions. You're asking the wrong questions because you seem to have forgot that the Kingdom of God is only visible to those who have been born again. You profane it and remove the power of Christ's teaching by making it into a political entity. We end up having these discussions driven by questions that are wrong in the first place.
I see no Biblical data to support any notions of triumphalism but even if that were the case, do you not see? If our society were 'Christian' whatever-that-would-mean... we wouldn't have to pass laws to get the corner store to quit selling dirty magazines. The owner would either be Christian and quit selling them, or since everyone was Christian they wouldn't buy them and he would quit selling them. Since we are not under tutelage any longer, why would we want to go back the weak and beggarly elements? Why would we want shadows and types when we have the substance?
As far as laws concerning murder, theft, adultery, etc....you don't the Bible to know those things are wrong. Every society in history has more or less according to the dictates of Providence accepted and implemented those laws by the light of nature. For the right metaphysical reasons? Of course not.
Fallen man needs a saviour, not a lawgiver. For the law came by Moses but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. That's why it's called good news!
I have no expectation of that, but instead am just baffled at the drive and energy you folks put into law. Were the Pharisees right? Were we looking for a Kingdom that would supplant the Romans and a King who would sit on the throne of Caesar?
Please think about it.
Here's a part 2...in the same thread.
The kings of the earth in Psalm 2 desire to break free from Bonds…the governing authority of the Deity.
These in the Psalm seek like the Sons of the gods in Genesis 6, like Tower of Babel builders, like Pharaoh, like Rome to be a Kingdom unto themselves. They seek a Pseudo-Kingdom of God.
Satan also deceives Sacralists into embracing the same vision. We’re warned of it in the Apocalypse. It’s the story of Church history.
John the Baptist was bringing the Covenant Lawsuit to the Covenant People. Herod was in some sense, fulfilling that role. It’s within the Covenant.
To tell a pagan ruler to obey God’s Covenant Laws and believe he can honour God by keeping them, would be a profanation of those Laws and Covenant….which seems to be what you’re arguing for.???
Rather, I would say a pagan ruler needs the gospel before he will be able to ‘see’ the Kingdom of God.
Is the Christian life to you about keeping laws? Or is about being reconciled to God, honouring Him by a trusting and living faith, trusting in his Word given to us in all its forms? And then yes, obediently living our lives which in the NT social vision means learning to be quiet, minding our own business, working with our hands, being salt and light to those around us…praying for peace in the land. Our very presence….the Oracular Word in our assemblies is a proclamation of the Heavenly Kingdom. Let all Beware!
I don’t need to go and play marketing and politics with the fools of the City of Man. I walk on Mt. Zion. The City of Man cannot be transformed in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Satan TRIES to transform the City of Man into the Pseudo-kingdom. Don’t get caught in the trap!
What is the Kingdom imperative? What is it’s nature and purpose?
I really urge you to think through some of these questions. I don’t think you’ve wrestled with them enough. I’m not trying to be mean, but I find this to often be
the case with Theonomically minded people. I don’t think you’ve understood the main theme of the Bible.
JohnA, I invite you to answer that question as well. Your response to the Psalm seems to acknowledge (perhaps not fully) what the Psalm is saying:
“These in the Psalm seek like the Sons of the gods in Genesis 6, like Tower of Babel builders, like Pharaoh, like Rome to be a Kingdom unto themselves. They seek a Pseudo-Kingdom of God.”
The Psalm says:
The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.
“Let us break their chains,” they say,
“and throw off their fetters.”
Followed by: “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
and then: I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will rule them with an iron scepter [f] ;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
It seems that the victory of Christ includes recognition of His rule…He is the King.
So when you consider that the Father and Son demand recognition of the Anointed One by the nations, then the policy implications would be far-reaching. You can see why talking about one or two would be silly. Christ’s rule is all-encompassing. He is demanding recognition of that fact.
He has installed his King on Zion, the holy hill…….but there’s something called the already and the not yet. We all look forward to the day when all things shall be under his feet….we’re right with you on that!……but He has to come. That’s why we’re laying up our treasures in heaven and not on the earth…our hope of victory, of life, if there, not here.
Meanwhile we’re the suffering people, the weak overcoming the strong, slaughtered like sheep, we’re more than conquerors. Don’t you see?… His wisdom makes the wisdom of the world as nothing….fallen man would never even conceive of it. He is glorified by a bunch of losers like you and me persevering and overcoming everything and I mean everything the wicked one throws at us.
We all agree the Kingdom is established. Nobody here is arguing the premil position. But again, when the Kingdom is defined as not of this world and that you must be born again to see it……how does it manifest itself politically? Was the Pharisee’s hope of overcoming Rome, and a Messiah on the throne of Caesar the right vision of the Kingdom?
Major hermeneutical difference……even Psalm 2, awesome Psalm 2 has to be read in light of the NT. The New Testament hermeneutic tells us how to interpret the old. Look at Acts 15, where James appeals to Amos 9. The tabernacle of David being rebuilt is the gentile-inclusive Church. We need to read what Jesus and Peter say about the Kingship and Kingdom, Realm and Reign of the Messiah before we go back to Psalm 2.
Sacraments are simply the Word made visible for us. They are the way in which God administers the Visible Covenant……but there it is again, Covenant. The Law is a Covenant for the people of Israel…with many sacraments. But all of it pointed to and has been fulfilled in Christ. Where can you point to in the Bible that tells me the Covenant was for Edom or for Moab?
They were included in the ‘them that are far off’ re-iterated by Peter at Pentecost, but that was the Abrahamic Promise Post-Messiah….the New Covenant. Moses was but a parenthesis, an interlude, a tutor that was done away with.
Don’t worry, the kings of the earth will bow, when He comes again.
Craig, you are absolutely correct…the policy implications will be far reaching. Let me tell you how far reaching they will be……….a new heavens and a new earth!
Hello fellow 2kers….
Help me out here…..
I have been in arguing in person for years and on discussion threads as of late against Theonomy and Constantinianism. I keep interacting with these people, but 99% of the time, they won’t even answer my questions. I’m met by silence, or they just disappear.
Is there something wrong with what I’m saying? I realize not everyone here will agree with everything I say…but I can barely get these people to engage. Are my arguments and points I raise that bad?
It’s like they’re big bullies and when someone stands up to them and actually attacks their position as not just wrong, but guilty of the very things (dishonouring God and profaning His Word) they accuse us of…..what happens? Are they sneering at my lame arguments and walking away, I’m not worthy of an interaction? Or, are they just unable to answer….which is what I’ve always believed. I refuse to accept their terms and paradigm, and so when I change it and hit them with the firehouse so to speak….they seem to just take off.
I’m a little frustrated though, because when I go to their sites…they just won’t post what I write or they, like the guy over on GreenBaggins, try and say I’m making assertions not arguments…which to me is akin to saying I don’t know how to answer you, gotta go. Their work is full of endless assertion.
Not to step on anyone’s toes but I think for too long these people are answered, and then they just ignore it and talk louder and have largely taken over (at least in general thought) the Reformed and even Evangelical world. It’s almost like we’re saying, well, that’s okay we just disagree…..
To my mind, Constantinian/Sacralist/Triumphalist/Theonomic Reconstructionism isn’t just something we can disagree about…..this attacks the very core of Christ’s teaching and ends up overthrowing the gospel. I’m sure folks here have read Kline on this……I agree with him. He was not afraid to call this teaching what it is, and if he’s right, well, you can see why I want to shout from the mountaintops that this isn’t just an erroneous teaching but next to Christological error, this is THE error we’re being warned about on the pages of the New Testament…..I am convinced these people will either lead us into apostasy, or will unnecessarily bring down great wrath upon us as the Culture lashes back….not against the gospel, but against Sacralism.
Can someone offer a little feedback?
I could say precisely the same things about the extreme 2-K version you seem amenable to…though I wouldn’t lump myself into the Theonomist/Recon camp.
Many times, it’s as if differing men pass like ships in the night…from my perspective, what is being brought up by Darryl, and Zrim, are immaterial to the central question. I USED to be in the same camp as Darryl Hart and Zrim. I was in that camp for about 6 years. I read lots of Horton. I subscribed to Modern Reformation. I listened to the White Horse Inn. I participated on the Puritanboard from that 2K perspective and read and applauded others. I think I’m familiar with the lingo.
The fact that Hart and Zrim trot out questions concerning tax policy and street paving are not evidence of understanding a differing view, quite the opposite. The fact Zrim changes what he says concerning my views does not demonstrate his understanding…remember, he thought my stance was that policy implications have equal weight to the revelation of Christ…now he’s simply asserting that my belief that there are implications is tantamount to calling the Bible a handbook for political policy…I’d call it a non-sequitur, but that doesn’t go far enough.
The problem, as I see it, is that the jingoism of 2-K to the extreme is what keeps men from fruitful discussions…and yes, there is jingoism from other sides as well. What sort of jingoisms come from 2-K to the extreme? I’ll give you two:
1. Insisting that any view which entails the Word saying “more” than how sinners get saved somehow makes Christ’s work into a social gospel.
2. Claiming that saying the above also entails trying to make men be good rather than proclaiming the gospel and seeing conversions (strange given that certain influential recons have written to the contrary…that political ordering follows revival).
Before we can even have a discussion, those 2 have to be dispelled. Until they are, there can be no meaningful discussion. Those 2 assertions are just that: empty assertions. Why do those get a wink and pass as valid while mine do not?
We have no point of contact…until then, we’ll keep passing in the night.
John A, I also encourage you to re-read Darryl and Zrim. Neither have engaged with Psalm 2 (though Zrim came the closest). Why avoid the Word? Zrim’s latest assertion about Psalm 2 wasn’t contextually driven, it was eisogetically driven. He said:
“whole Psalm is about the redemptive work of the Lord and Creator Jesus. Maybe you don’t understand that 2K is actually the superior system when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus. We hold that he is Lord over every square inch regardless of whether some inhabitants of creation recognize that or not. 2K has no need to make the pagans bow the public square knee because they are his servants already. You seem to think Jesus isn’t quite Lord unless they do bend the knee. But take a breath, Craig, they will. Patience is a virtue, you know.”
The Psalm is about the redemptive work of Christ. He seems to think Christ’s Lordship only requires theoretical lordship…which makes life easier, right? I just say “Christ is Lord, and badda bing! No serious implications until I’m likely long dead!”.
But the Psalm was talking about Christ’s death but also eschatalogically and in-between. If only eschatalogically, then why the warning? If only about Christ’s death, burial, resurrection…then what of the demand for kings to recognize Him? It is actually self-defeating…if Christ’s Kingdom is reduced to a spiritual 2-K to the extreme version, then why demand kings recognize Him when He didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom? If it’s only eschatalogical, then again…what are the bonds and why demand kings bow?
The Psalm is about redemption…but it is clear that the redemption spoken of demands more than just men’s souls and a theoretical lordship. We all agree God is sovereign…it’s just that one side seems to prefer a sovereignty where we shrug our shoulders. God hasn’t given us very much to do since the Lord’s Day comes but once a week. Another version sees God’s sovereignty as establishing means where God actually empowers men to do what is rooted in creation: dominion. We rest each Lord’s Day from doing the work God has placed before us, glorifying Him and representing Him. It’s harder work, but we actually believe God is soverein in all things…others may say He is sovereign, but when the rubber hits the road, what really works its way out is that God is removed from our affairs and men are sovereign.
Seriously, thanks for your comments.
You’re right about there not being ‘contact’….we are like people shouting across the street at each other. Neither can quite hear what the other is saying. I think I understand you, you think you understand me…and to a certain extent we do (smile)….but in order to have conversation, meaningful interaction we’ve got to hone the discussion down to some key points.
Psalm 2 is certainly glorious……but I think the real question behind much of this is how does the OT relate to the NT? Should we read Psalm 2 as stand-alone, and read the NT in light of it, or read the NT, define Messianic Kingship and things like that and then come to Psalm 2.
What do you think? Feel free to frame the questions differently. I realize you might have a different way to put it.
Anyone else want to jump in? Aren’t these hermeneutical questions the real issue here? For the 2k folks, we see the NT message and the OT makes perfect sense…we understand it spiritually and typologically. But for the 1k, they’re reading the OT and saying it SAYS this….don’t explain it away.
I doubt in the end we will agree, but I think by focusing on the foundational areas of disagreement we can have a more profitable discussion. That way we won’t argue based off of mis-characterizing the other position. I’ve been guilty too. I know you guys are trying to honour God, but with Prof. Hart or any of the other 2kers….it’s not fair to say they only want to live as Christians 1 day a week or something like that. They’re arguing for a different type of Christian life and focus grounded in an understanding of the Kingdom. Hey I’m a rabid 2ker but let me tell you, my whole life, all day at work or wherever…I’m thinking about the Kingdom and that is profoundly shaping what I do and how I think. But if I have a different idea of what the Kingdom is…that’s going to look very different and probably more than a little baffling to you.
I appreciate the exchange….really.
I do appreciate your post, though I disagree with you…very much disagree. You said:
“Psalm 2 is certainly glorious……but I think the real question behind much of this is how does the OT relate to the NT? Should we read Psalm 2 as stand-alone, and read the NT in light of it, or read the NT, define Messianic Kingship and things like that and then come to Psalm 2.”
Here’s what I think: Psalm 2 is Messianic. We can’t read it as a “stand alone”. Especially when we have NT passages which offer divine commentary. In fact, this is what makes Psalm 2 all the more compelling for implications extending beyond the “spiritual kingdom”. The Father says to the Son “Today I have begotten you”…according to Acts 13:33 this is referring to His resurrection. In light of His resurrection, His glory, there are implications for kings, judges, and rulers on earth. So we will both agree God is sovereign (I am a Calvinist, after all), but it is clear that Psalm 2′s warning to the rulers on the earth hinges on the Kingly office Christ has secured by virtue of his incarnation, death, and resurrection.
I hope you can see my argument doesn’t hinge on Psalm 2 being a “stand alone” verse…quite the opposite. I hope you can see that we experience another “passing in the night”, so to speak. We are both saying Psalm 2 is Messianic. I’d like to see your take.
I said: “but it is clear that Psalm 2′s warning to the rulers on the earth hinges on the Kingly office Christ has secured by virtue of his incarnation, death, and resurrection.”
What I mean is that Psalm 2 isn’t appealing to God’s sovereignty by virtue of His deity, but of Christ’s office of King, secured by incarnation, death, and resurrection.
Right, but then do we take Psalm 2 and the message of universal Kingship and the bowing down of the other kings…….and say this looks like…
Christ reigning through the church? or literally in person?
over a universal world empire that’s geo-political?
or do we take the NT teaching on the spiritual and eschatological nature Kingdom and now interpret the Psalm in light of that?
Let me put this way…….what NT verses do you see that lead you to understand the Psalm as A.? We’ll start there. I’m sure you know there’s a ton that can be given to understand it as B. But go ahead…..but then you know I will ask about the B verses….because then we have a conflict in vision and Kingdom paradigm. How do we reconcile?
I don’t agree with A…sorry
I don’t believe that the Church in any way “rules” over political orders. I believe the Church is to prophesy to rulers…yes, even inform them. We no more rule political orders any more than the Levites ruled over Israel. The prophets didn’t rule over nations in their office as prophets, though we see the line blurred in David, but that’s because he was a type of Christ. Do you see a bit more clearly what I’m saying? Part of the prophetic role of the Church is to proclaim the Word against immoral policy…such as the sanctioning, and approval, of infanticide.
I’m also not saying that Jesus gets an office at the Whitehouse saying He’s the President. Authority rests upon the authority of God and His Christ. If authority is to wield the sword of justice, that authority must comply with the standards of God. So the kingdoms of man are NOT *the Kingdom*…but the influence from a prophetic Church is an activity of *the Kingdom*.
Remember, I’m saying there are *implications* for rulers as rulers and the kingdoms they lead.
“or do we take the NT teaching on the spiritual and eschatological nature Kingdom and now interpret the Psalm in light of that?”
We are going to disagree at key points of what the spiritual nature of the Kingdom is (probably eschatalogically, too…but I’m not a stickler on eschatology). Could you interact with the Psalm a bit as I did?
John A., you said
Where can you point to in the Bible that tells me the Covenant was for Edom or for Moab?
The Law of God precedes the Mosaic covenant. It was given to Adam (commonly referred to as “Moral Law”) and thus, given to all men. The Covenant God made with Israel included this Law, but also had a sacramental element to it. So, as it pertained to the sacramental feasts, for instance, “no uncircumcised shall partake of it.” (Ex 12) But as it pertained to principles of civil justice, which is really what this whole thread is about, “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 24:22) So God’s moral law, summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments (all ten, btw), is the duty which God requires of man. (WCF SC 39-41)
”We no more rule political orders any more than the Levites ruled over Israel. ….”
I really disagree with this statement. This shows a real different understanding of the Theocratic arrangement of the OT order. It seems like you’re thinking in terms of the modern nation state……which Israel was not. It was unique. The same would go for David. He was first and foremost a type of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t a prophet in relation to a secular office or a non-covenantal kingdom.
Now there is certainly the sense in which all kingdom of the earth are subject to the reign of Christ….but that doesn’t mean all fall under His holy realm. I do agree the prophetic witness of the church, the influence as you say, is an activity of the Kingdom. Our very presence, our worshipping, living our lives is a testimony.
As far as the Psalm….
Christ stood before Pilate (or Caesar if you will accept it) and told him my Kingdom is not of this world. He told Nicodemus you must be born again to see it. We’re told it does not come with observation, and it something only experienced by the regenerate…righteousness, peace, and joy.
Taking these concepts and understanding the Kingdom is Already and not yet, THEN I go back to the Psalm and say…ah, when the Messiah comes he breaks the Devil’s power over the nations. The gospel can now go forth, it can’t be restricted. This is a further ‘delay’ a proclamation to the world…this is the end, the end of times, repent and believe for the Christ who now reigns is coming again. As far as kingdoms…..they have no way to sacralize their nation. All they can do is repent and believe as individuals with their children. At the Judgment all the authorities of the world (which is of course more than a mere a political frame)….they will be destroyed (bow down).
I want to ask…what is it about your daily life as a 2ker that you found so troublesome? I’m curious. Then I’ll tell you of something of me and how it plays out if my life and we’ll see if we have the same notions of what 2K living looks like…..
Like I’ve said elsewhere, I think that IronInk McAtee guy is just building strawmen. Do you really think people like me or others here just want to check our faith at the door on Sunday morning and live like pagans the other six days? I can’t believe you would really think that.
So…..why would my reading the OT through the NT lens be wrong? And what is your understanding of the ‘retreatist’ 2k life? I know you don’t agree, but I’m not sure what else you would want me to say about the Psalm? We’re coming at it through different lenses.
Thanks for replying.
Well, I guess we do have a problem here. I find the WCF 3-fold division to be completely unacceptable and I think this formulation has fueled a lot of the debates and frustrated them by framing it all in these wrong categories.
1. There is no Biblical basis for treating the Mosaic Covenant as anything other than a unity. The so-called civil and ceremonial laws are completely intertwined and we have neither the hermeneutical tools, not the Divine authority to parse out segments of it. It all stands or falls together….I’m sorry but I think the book of Hebrews (my favourite) makes it pretty clear.
2. As far as the Decalogue…I also don’t accept that Adam had it in the garden. I think some of Paul’s statements in Roman’s are hard to make sense of if he did. I think the Moral Law is something other than the Decalogue which was given as a form-summary, a preamble for the entire Mosaic law covenant.
As far as the Law being applicable to the stranger…..that still doesn’t mean Moab and Edom, it would apply to the stranger dwelling within the Covenant boundaries, which at that point was geo-political. For us today, the stranger would not fall under the discipline or blessing of the church. Moab and Edom weren’t in the Land, the realm of the covenant.
Show me in the Bible where Paul or someone teaches the 3-fold division and I’ll talk in those terms. Otherwise I will continue to argue the NT militates against it. Westminster erred big time on that one.
Nice try, but I don’t think it works……
“It seems like you’re thinking in terms of the modern nation state……which Israel was not. It was unique. The same would go for David. He was first and foremost a type of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t a prophet in relation to a secular office or a non-covenantal kingdom.”
I’m not sure I’m actually following you here at all. I was simply pointing out that the Church should not have control over government (which was something you seemed to think I leaned toward)…we are a “holy nation”, a “priesthood” (as Peter says)…yet a priest is not a king, nor a president. That’s all I was saying. Analogies can be taken too far, and I think that’s what you did.
“Christ stood before Pilate (or Caesar if you will accept it) and told him my Kingdom is not of this world. He told Nicodemus you must be born again to see it. We’re told it does not come with observation, and it something only experienced by the regenerate…righteousness, peace, and joy.”
I’m with you 100%.
“Taking these concepts and understanding the Kingdom is Already and not yet, THEN I go back to the Psalm and say…ah, when the Messiah comes he breaks the Devil’s power over the nations. The gospel can now go forth, it can’t be restricted. This is a further ‘delay’ a proclamation to the world…this is the end, the end of times, repent and believe for the Christ who now reigns is coming again.”
Agreed. He has bound the “strong man”. I’m with you. I would very much emphasize the “it’s here”…that was the message of John the Baptist and Jesus…but it isn’t fully realized.
“All they can do is repent and believe as individuals with their children. At the Judgment all the authorities of the world (which is of course more than a mere a political frame)….they will be destroyed (bow down).”
This is where we begin parting company. You’ve “spiritualized” the spiritual Kingdom too much. It is all those things you’ve said already, but Christ’s reign as a King, by virtue of His Resurrection, *distinguished* between peoples and kings…nations and rulers…so there are *implications* for rulers and nations. You believe you’re reading Psalm 2 purely through the lens of the NT, but you’ve simply eisogeted your overly spiritualized notion of the kingdom into it. The warnings given are rooted in national disobedience…hence the collective call of groups and their rulers as opposed to a call to individuals that make up all of mankind.
In addressing this Psalm, Calvin states:
As the eternal Word of God, Christ, it is true, has always had in his hands by right sovereign authority and majesty, and as such can receive no accessions thereto; but still he is exalted in human nature, in which he took upon him the form of a servant. This title, therefore, is not applied to him only as God, but is extended to the whole person of the Mediator; for after Christ had emptied himself there was given to him a name which is above every name, that before him every knee should bow, (Philippians 2:9) David, as we know, after having obtained signal victories reigned over a large extent of territory, so that many nations became tributaries to him; but what is here said was not fulfilled in him. If we compare his kingdom with other monarchies it was confined within very narrow boundaries. Unless, therefore, we suppose this prophecy concerning the vast extent of kingdom to have been uttered in vain and falsely, we must apply it to Christ, who alone has subdued the whole world to himself and embraced all lands and nations under his dominion.
Matthew Henry is a bit more explicit with regard to Psalm 2:
“Kings and judges stand upon a level with common persons before God; and it is as necessary for them to be religious as for any others. Those that give law and judgment to others must receive law from Christ, and it will be their wisdom to do so. What is said to them is said to all, and is required of every one of us, only it is directed to kings and judges because of the influence which their example will have upon their inferiors, and because they were men of rank and power that opposed the setting up of Christ’s kingdom”
“I want to ask…what is it about your daily life as a 2ker that you found so troublesome?”
Being able to “justify” my silence at work and going about my daily business. “They’re pagans” I would say, “Why expect otherwise?” And to an extent, of course that’s true…but the law/gospel dichotomy prevented me from using such opportunities to share the Word. I became so opposed to moralism that a Christian’s reasonable service became quite unreasonable.
“Do you really think people like me or others here just want to check our faith at the door on Sunday morning and live like pagans the other six days? I can’t believe you would really think that.”
McAtee has his hobby-horse and so does Darryl. I try not to ride either, so I wouldn’t paint with so broad a brush…However, I have lived the reality of 2-K extremism, and knowing that any sin I fall prey to is common to man…I realize it is not likely to be an uncommon occurrence for those who beat the drum perpetually. Am I saying you beat the drum? I have no reason to think so.
“So…..why would my reading the OT through the NT lens be wrong? And what is your understanding of the ‘retreatist’ 2k life? I know you don’t agree, but I’m not sure what else you would want me to say about the Psalm? We’re coming at it through different lenses.”
We’re both claiming to be reading the Psalm through a NT lens, as I’ve already mentioned and believe I’ve adequately explained (though maybe I’m not always clear). What I would like you to say about the Psalm is to acknowledge there is significance to the warning to those who hold offices as rulers, and those who members of nations who participate in national opposition to the Christ. If this is the case (and I believe it is), we are far too silent on issues where our nation opposes Christ most explicitly.
Unlike Darryl’s assertion, there are implications to the Resurrection when it comes to policy…if not, then a Messianic Psalm issuing warning based on Christ’s supreme rule over the nations by virtue of His Resurrection suddenly loses its bite. We are less likely to say, with Matthew Henry, that rulers must submit to Christ the Supreme Law-giver and issue laws as instructed in the school of Christ. They are to “kiss the Son”, a symbol of submission…not merely as fellow believers, but in their capacity as kings.
Hey thanks for the great reply.
First, I will apologize if I misunderstood you regarding the analogies related to office.
Second…we’re kind of at an impasse on the Kingdom issue. Of course we’ll all agree the kings will bow and kiss the son at the eschaton when he comes in glory as judge. This Already is the time of the suffering servant and a suffering people…
But for now…I have hard time trying to get myself to think as you are, but I’m trying for the sake of the discussion. What does that look like? What does a nation bowing to Christ look like? Unless the nation is corporately regenerate I fail to see that as something that would be of any consequence. What standard are they bowing to? No nation is in Covenant with God. If it’s some kind of cultural Christianity…where’s the basis for that category in the Bible? Where’s this extra-tier added to the visible church that incorporates a nation/culture and creates a category of person that ‘Christian’ in the sense of belonging to a national cultural legacy of certain broad values? I just don’t find these categories. I understand your point about the kingdom’s bowing down….I don’t agree with how you’re framing it, but I understand your point. But in the big picture…..I struggle with even understanding why the emphasis on this? It seems a whole host of assumptions are driving the question. But if those assumptions are wrong, the whole model is kind of left with its pants down. Please feel free to shoot back a little on some of those points. In the end, yes I am spiritualizing the Kingdom…I think that’s what the NT does.
As far as Henry and Calvin…..well, with respect, they were wrong. That’s the whole point of what I argue everywhere….the Reformation recast Sacralism and set Protestantism down the same road.
What would the church addressing the state look like? I don’t get the impression you’re quite of the same mind as say, American Vision, Chalcedon, and these other groups. Or am I wrong?
What would the church say about Foreign Policy? It’s complex and if it is not carefully divorced from nationalism can lead to terrible very sinful endorsements like the Land Letter.
The Financial Crisis? Considering the majority of Conservative Christians in this country are rather well to do, it would seem they are directly involved in all that has happened and thus have no moral standing on the issue. I realize these are practical arguments and don’t address the theoretical level, but in a fallen world…that’s what we’re going to get. It’s messy.
Here’s what the churches could do. Tell the government….we’ll help. We’ll pay for the disaster relief or soup kitchens in our area for a summer…to help the government get its house in order so we can have a stable and peaceful society. What about the church taking a role like that?…like in the early church by helping people. That’s a powerful policy statement.
I think just the Altar-Oracle presence of the church in the world is proclamation enough but let’s keep going. Abortion. I don’t see any use in the legislative battle. Christians have been duped by it anyway on every turn. Protests? I just don’t see the early church out doing that. They had plenty of social evils in their day too. What about crisis pregnancy centers, ultrasounds, education, adoption options…….fantastic. God bless the people who do that. There’s a positive thing the church can do.
It sounds like maybe….you’ve misunderstood the application of 2k to the Christian life? I don’t think anyone here would say you can’t engage at work. I don’t think we need to be John the Baptist in the workplace, we can engage…..but with wisdom. We’ve all seen really foolish attempts at bringing Christianity into the workplace….it ends up where everyone just despises the guy, and it’s not because of the offense of the gospel, but because he’s a jerk. But is it our calling to protest a company’s gay policy? No, I don’t think so. I think we can speak humbly but confidently on a personal level, and if we get canned…praise the Lord. But I don’t really care if a company has some kind of gay policy. I need to stand for Christian sexual morality no matter what the consequence, but that doesn’t mean I get to dictate to Home Depot or whoever what their policies are. If they fire me because in the break room I told a co-worker that homosexuality is sin… oh, well. I don’t think the answer is to call the ACLJ. I think they need to go away.
Here’s what it looks like for me. I’ve always found a latent prosperity gospel among Kuyperians. I need to go out and conquer so God can be glorified, make good money so I can use it, etc….but in most of the business world my Christian ethic actually prevents me from having that kind of success.
I am to love my neighbour and to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I am a self-employed and do remodeling type work for people. So when I go out and work, remodeling their bathroom or whatever, I want to be very fair with them and reasonable in what I charge and how I treat them. Most of them have no idea how badly they are being fleeced by other contractors. So I try to be fair and decent. And guess what? I have a great reputation. But, I don’t make a lot of money. I’m pretty poor by American standards, but I can sleep at night. That type of ethic doesn’t make one rich. It doesn’t have to make one poor, but if you’re applying this type of thinking to your personal economics and conduct, you’re not going to get ahead and you’re going to have a hard time working for a lot of companies. In a capitalist system the guys who put profits first…they’re on top. They have the appearance of success, but I’m not sure God looks at them as successful.
Consequently to a Kuyperian, I’m not having a lot of impact am I? No extra money to contribute to ministries and causes. I’m not the guy driving around in the big red truck with a christian fish on the back. I haven’t built a business that’s involved in community affairs etc….
Or am I having an impact? How does one measure such things? Does God measure them the same as we would? I’ve got a pretty good reputation with people. I live in a rural area and everybody knows who we are and everyone knows my kids and how they behave. We live in the type of place where everywhere I go, the post office, the grocery store, the hardware store, bank, etc…everyone greets me by first name. Could it be possible that living my quiet life I’m having an impact? By running a simple and honest business I’m affecting the people that come into my path? As Providence brings people into my path….I can talk with them.
I hope you’re not rolling your eyes, but what I mean is….I think this is how the church impacts….not through Focus on the Family Justice Sunday and things like that. I think we can interact as a church with the state, but it should be in terms of helping….not faith based programs!!!!….but rather, saying we’ll help those people….disaster relief or whatever.
Maybe sometimes our interaction is by refusing to help. When the government wants us to support a war, our presence, and our silence (in the public square) might say a lot. Within the church, the leaders better be teaching their people to think and be aware and not be deceived by the propaganda……..2k theology doesn’t mean we ignore the world around us. In fact we should be the most aware, so we’re not being deceived….as the signers of the Land Letter were.
Go ahead and blast away (smile)….I do believe we’re having a healthy conversation. I hope someone finds it interesting……John A.
I wan to start by agreeing with this statement you made:
“It seems a whole host of assumptions are driving the question. But if those assumptions are wrong, the whole model is kind of left with its pants down.”
There are a whole host of assumptions I’m making (though I’ve been arguing for them). There are a whole host of assumptions you’re making as well. The assumptions are what I’ve tried to get Darryl to discuss. So to clarify, it isn’t merely that I’m making a whole host of assumptions that could leave my model with its pants down, the same goes for your view. Taking your assumptions for granted doesn’t validate them, they simply remain unargued assumptions. It’s as if we’re both approaching the doorway to a locker room…one of us may be walking out fully clothed, the other may still be fumbling for his pants. Of course, I believe my trousers are on, and my fly is secure
“As far as Henry and Calvin…..well, with respect, they were wrong. That’s the whole point of what I argue everywhere….the Reformation recast Sacralism and set Protestantism down the same road.”
Okay. That’s an assertion in lieu of an argument…followed by what I can only describe as jingoism.
“I struggle with even understanding why the emphasis on this?”
Well, my emphasis isn’t primarily political…though this seems to always be the direction 2-K extremes go when talking with someone who disagrees. Psalm 2 is not merely talking about socio-political issues the resurrection has implications for (though these are included), it is a jaw-dropping Psalm in light of Acts that you have to ask “What is not included?”.
“What would the church addressing the state look like? I don’t get the impression you’re quite of the same mind as say, American Vision, Chalcedon, and these other groups. Or am I wrong?”
1. The Church addressing the state can look different…it could be Paul, after being told he’d die, insisting on his rights as a Roman just so he can address Caesar. It could work out any number of ways. This is just one item, though my concern in opposing Darryl’s 2-K view is a bit bigger. I’d rather not get hung up on the State. I’d rather focus on the plain fact that there are implications for rulers and nations on the basis of Christ’s resurrection…which means there are policy implications, but it isn’t limited to policy. As I mentioned earlier, that Psalm is so expansive it is trifling to simply talk about political issues.
2. I’ve heard of American Vision and Chalcedon…I’m not very familiar with their stuff…but am confident my views would be nuanced differently…for instance, I’m not wholly sold on capitalism. That alone makes me pretty weird.
Again, these things are not very important…you asked a lot of questions…you’ve spent some time interacting with Psalm 2, dismissed my ideas, Calvin’s and Henry’s, but you’ve yet to set a positive case. This is where you simply take your assumptions for granted…as you noted earlier, with these assumptions being un-articulated, one may find a nippy wind for lack of their trousers.
As for your use of the term “Kuyperian”, I’m not sure that’s terribly meaningful…it strikes me a jingo. I’m in no way proposing a wealth-oriented gospel…in fact, the sort of impact Psalm 2 should have our lives may render us penniless and hated. Living a quiet life is by no means opposed to my take of Psalm 2, or a more biblical form of 2-K. On a personal note, I work in a field where my view 2-K view can (and likely will) hurt my prospects of ever becoming wealthy…not that my profession will ever make me rich (middle class, at best)…and I work for an unbeliever. I work hard, am respectful, and try to be profitable for him. This man is also a sodomite, I’ve come to learn. And some of our clients are sodomite activist groups. I have yet to be asked to work on a case for these groups, but Thursday I nearly was asked. The project file came out and was about to be handed to me, but then was taken away. I’m not officially employed, rather, I’m an “independent contractor” with none of the legal safeguards an employee has. When the time comes that I have to refuse to work on those projects, my livelihood could be gone. Word of mouth spreads fast…and my city has a terrible economy…and I have a wife and two kids. Yes, I work hard, live quietly and peacefully…the work I may be asked to do is completely legal…but from conviction from the Word, I will have to refuse to work in any capacity where I benefit a sodomite rights group.
The hand that nearly handed me the sodomite group’s project…an LCMS pastor’s wife.