11 January 2011

Maurina's Critique of www.proto-protestantism.blogspot.com

Sorry some of these recent posts have been so long, but rather than divide them up I've just posted them. If you're here, you know the importance of these issues.

Here's my response/interaction with DT Maurina. This was posted over at a URCNA discussion group. I thought he was pretty fair, but that does not alleviate our significant differences which were pretty clear in the GreenBaggins exchange. They will also be clear here…….

This is yet another excellent opportunity to examine One Kingdom/Dominionist/Sacralist thought and how it perceives what people like me are saying.





First, here's his text in full, followed by his text with my responses.





My own (very preliminary) response to Two Kingdoms stuff and its Anabaptist root

Thank you for your post, Rev. McAtee.

Several people on this board have asked me to do some writing on the Two
Kingdoms movement. Some of what follows may satisfy that desire. I'm far from
ready to send something to Outlook or Christian Renewal or a scholarly journal
for print -- men like Dr. Hart and Dr. Clark deserve better from my pen in those
forums -- but I'm becoming angrier and angrier with the people who claim to be
Reformed but are advocating this "two kingdoms" stuff and I'm prepared to post
this on the internet as a preliminary warning to inquiring people, like Nancy,
that all is not well in this category of professedly Reformed thought.

I read much more than I write when it comes to the Two Kingdoms theology. The
more I read of their own blogs, the more I'm coming to see that while this stuff
may sometimes claim a Southern "spirituality of the church" heritage, it appears
to have a totally wrongheaded root which is not in any way connected to any
conservative Reformed theological category and in fact is openly attacking the
Westminster Standards.

Look, for instance, at this discussion over on Rev. Lane Kiester's "Green
Baggins" site which began as a quite legitimate question of how to be militant
for truth without being obnoxious, but has recently turned into a Two Kingdoms
discussion:

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82473

A number of the "usual suspects" show up -- Dr. Daryl Hart, Zrim, etc. -- some
of the people who started advocating wild views over on Dr. R. Scott Clark's
"Heidelblog" up to and including saying Christians shouldn't be fighting against
gay marriage in California because it supposedly "confuses the kingdoms."

There's also a writer I hadn't studied before -- JohnA, who runs a blog known as
"ProtoProtestantism" which says it is dedicated to studying the Reformers before
the Reformation. That seemed interesting at first; Wycliffe, Hus, the
Waldensians and a number of the other groups which advocated Bible teaching
before the Reformation can quite legitimately be respected as people who, even
if they had problematic theology, might well have become fully Protestant if
they hadn't had their efforts cut short by death or severe persecution.

His blog is here: http://www.proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/

I probably should have expected problems when I saw his first posts declaring
that he's not proud of being a veteran and arguing not only that he doesn't like
FOX News but also that CNN and NPR are unabashed and uncritical suppporters of
American power.(Huh?) But people have every right in the world to hold
politically liberal or anti-American positions; America is not God's chosen
nation and the Republican Party is not "God's Own Party."

JohnA is a homeschooler. He's got a lot of insightful commentary on the problems
of the late Roman Constantinian consensus that led to the development of
Christendom and the secular power of the Roman Catholic Church. He's clearly
done his homework. He's also got some really useful stuff pointing out how
fundamentalists of various sorts often re-invent an imagined golden age in forms
of dress and worship, and then insist upon them rather than following the twin
Reformed doctrines of Christian freedom and the regulative principle. Examples
of that are here:

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_5582.html

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/good-old-days.html

So far so good. I actually like a lot of what he says about the importance of
following Scripture and not just being traditional conservatives, and his
emphasis on learning lessons from Christian history is from which **MANY** broad
evangelicals could learn a great deal.

But then he attacks Rick Warren of Saddleback Church -- far from being a
conservative Reformed man -- for asking this question to then-candidates Barack
Obama and John McCain: "WARREN: OK, we've got one last time -- I've got a bunch
more, but let me ask you one about evil. Does evil exist? And if it does, do we
ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?"

JohnA then asks this: "Why is a supposed Christian asking a politician of a
common grace nation something like that? Why is he asking the Common Grace state
to define a metaphysical concept?"

JohnA goes into a lot of detail here ...
http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_10.html

... on what's wrong with that question in his view. I won't try to summarize his
explanation -- go read it in his own words, I want to be fair to him -- but
re-read JohnA again. According to him, it is wrong to ask a candidate for
President of the United States -- at present, the most powerful public official
in the entire secular world -- whether evil exists and how to deal with it.

That points out the core of the problem with the Two Kingdoms theology. These
people, or at least some of them, really **DON'T** believe that the civil
magistrate, in accordance with Romans 13, is a minister of God to punish evil --
or if they do, they define evil in purely secular terms with which many or most
non-Christians can agree. The civil magistrate doesn't have a duty to do good as
defined by Christianity or to punish evil as defined by Christianity, or to
promote the Gospel, or even to help maintain conditions favorable to the spread
of the Gospel.

Given that view, I suppose it should not surprise me that JohnA has read deeply
from Verduin's book on the Reformers and their Stepchildren, in which that
liberal CRC chaplain at the University of Michigan who defended draft dodgers
during Vietnam argued that the Anabaptists were good people.

JohnA goes much father: "Obama is not a fascist or a Marxist, but Bush was the
closest we've come to a Hitler-type figure in this nation's history. To me, the
years 2001-2003 were like Germany in the 1930's. It was unreal, my head was
spinning. And just like I always thought…the Christians were the first ones to
cheer it all on .... The Tea Party Putsch is at work. We don't have just one
Mein Kampf…we've got teams of writers putting out new editions. Some are going
rogue, some are arguing with idiots, some are looking out for you while they let
freedom ring."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_10.html

I suppose it's not necessarily unacceptable for a Reformed man to say that the
Anabaptists were right about a lot of things, that in a post-Christian era we
should look to them as models, or even that the modern conservative movement
risks co-opting evangelical Christians into a fascist form of nationalism. The
sad example of the Gereformeerde Gemeenten under Kersten and their capitualation
to the agenda of the Dutch Nazi Party during World War II shows us that such
things can happen -- and there are elements in the modern secular conservative
movement which are totally hostile to biblical Christianity.

But what do we do with a statement like this: "I have no hope of Reforming
institutions like the PCA or OPC. It's impossible ... and one level I don't
care…they're man-made constructs anyway. A General Assembly, offices with
computers and file cabinets a 501c, and a Book of Church Order doth not a church
make. The church is not a form…I have found so many of the people in those ranks
seem to think they can hold their dominations together with forms. The
Confessions are used as restraning chains rather than guides and like it or not,
the theology of these bodies is not exactly the same as the 17th century men and
I'll say it, the confessions are wrong in some places. But when we've committed
to a form like that....there's not much you can do. By using the confession as a
boundary instead of a help, you've bound the Bible."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_4169.html

Again: "Rather than super explicit detailed documents like the Westminster or
Belgic Confessions, we need simple statements of the faith and then we need to
trust in the Holy Spirit to hold the church together. The Westminster Confession
is not the Bible, and the more you try to bind people to an extra-scriptural
document as the basis for holding a faction together, the more they will slip
through your fingers."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_3117.html

That is ecclesiastical Anabaptism and certainly contrary to both Presbyterian
and Dutch Reformed church polity, but more importantly, it is explicitly
anti-confessional.

If there's any question about how deeply JohnA has drunk from Verduin's well of
appreciation for Anabaptism, read this about why he hesitates to use the label
Reformed: "I remember being rather proud of my Reformed heritage and talking
with a couple of ex-Amish guys outside of a supermarket. We were talking a
little theology and history. They know very well how their forebears were
treated by the Protestants. And they know that they are excoriated within the
Reformed Creeds. I remember feeling not so proud of my faction when I considered
they murdered and waged war in the name of the Kingdom of Christ and sought to
destroy the ancestors of these men."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_11.html

There's a lot more to read in JohnA's writings, but I trust these examples will
make my point. This simply is not Reformed and cannot be called Reformed in any
meaningful sense of the word, and JohnA actually realizes that to some extent.
You don't need to advocate civil penalties against Amish and Mennonites -- I
don't -- to realize that Anabaptism and Calvinism are inherently incompatible.

JohnA is one man, and some may say that just like ZRim and others who are
prolific posters on the "Two Kingdoms" theology, he's just one man with a
keyboard.

So who cares?

Well, JohnA may be irrelevant, but former Westminster Seminary professor Dr.
Daryl Hart, a prolific writer and a scholar of J. Gresham Machen and the history
of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who is a major Two Kingdoms advocate, is not
irrelevant.

What does Dr. Hart think?

Quoting from something Dr. Hart put up today:

"59.dgh said,
December 27, 2010 at 9:25 am
John A., as a Rush listener might say, 'mega dittos.'"

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82466

That's a nice comment from Dr. Hart. As a prominent advocate of a theological
position who has an earned doctoral degree, he knows full well that whatever he
writes will be **AND SHOULD BE** carefully scrutinized.

When I publicly agree with someone on a specific area where I have major
underlying differences, I'm careful to qualify my agreement, and when
questioned, I freely explain my differences. (An example is here where I attack
the underlying anti-Christian principles of FOX News while supporting their
secular conservative position:
http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82464 )

It is totally unfair to accuse an Orthodox Presbyterian minister like Dr. Hart
of being an Anabaptist or of beleiving that "the Confessions are used as
restraning chains rather than guides."

What is clear, however, is that there are more than a few shades of Anabaptist
thinking in the Two Kingdoms movement, and despite the presence of some sincere
Old School Calvinists in its leadership, people are being attracted to the Two
Kingdoms theology who are Reformed in name and not much else.

Why is that? Is it because the tree, when fully grown, bears bad fruit?

I think we need to take a long, hard look at whether it's time to repudiate the
Two Kingdoms theology not just as a wrong view but as one which is inherently
Anabaptist and is falsely laying claim to the name Reformed.

I close with this quote from JohnA, which ends a section attacking not only
theonomists (who deserve attacks) but also Abraham Kuyper: "Even institutions
that don't specifically advocate the extremes Judaizing positions of Theonomy,
still strongly advocate Dominionistic and Sacralist Theology. Only the small
Escondido school seems to be standing for the truth on this issue. And even
among them, many advocate Cultural Doctrine that is rooted in Sacralist
presuppositions. We are in the dark ages once again as far as the church goes."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_3117.html

With "friends" like this, Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido,
California, most assuredly does not need enemies.

Regards,
Darrell Todd Maurina
Gospel of Grace Church, Springfield, Mo. (transfer in process)



-----------------------Here's the text again. DTM indicates his post, while my responses are preceded by Proto:





DTM:



My own (very preliminary) response to Two Kingdoms stuff and its Anabaptist root

Thank you for your post, Rev. McAtee.

Several people on this board have asked me to do some writing on the Two
Kingdoms movement. Some of what follows may satisfy that desire. I'm far from
ready to send something to Outlook or Christian Renewal or a scholarly journal
for print -- men like Dr. Hart and Dr. Clark deserve better from my pen in those
forums -- but I'm becoming angrier and angrier with the people who claim to be
Reformed but are advocating this "two kingdoms" stuff and I'm prepared to post
this on the internet as a preliminary warning to inquiring people, like Nancy,
that all is not well in this category of professedly Reformed thought.

Proto:

First, I do not claim to be Reformed and I'm sorry to say that usually ends the debate right there. My theological background is Reformed and in some sense I still fall largely within that general category, but I don't argue within the circle of the Reformed tradition.

I have found that for many if you say the Westminster Confession or the Three Forms carry little to no weight….they're not interested in pursuing the discussion. This is part of the reason I backed off from identifying myself as Reformed. I find this position unacceptable. The Confessions and all of Church History serve as a guide but if we make these secondary documents Authoritative, if we treat them as Deutero-canonical, then not only have we abandoned Scripture, but principially we have adopted a position that equates Tradition with Scripture. We are no better than Rome and for those keen on historical and institutional continuity, the charge of schism becomes pretty hard to avoid.



And I might add it is no wonder at all that for many Dominionists the Middle Ages are now looked upon with fondness…a cohesive social unity, a society both Monistic in form and Sacral in structure. For many Dominionists, the Kingdom of God is essentially about civilization, and it is easy to join with members of Rome to accomplish these ends.



Monocovenantalism has led many Reformed people to essentially deny the teaching of their own confessions concerning the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. The Levitical order and the Apocalypse are looked to as standards for worship and increasingly we find even so-called Reformed churches adopting Lutheran and Anglican principles.



Modern Protestantism, even modern Reformed Protestantism is starting to look very Roman both in structure and its Christendom based goals.



I know it may sound strange to advocates of One Kingdom or Monistic constructed theology, but some of us are pretty angry as well. We are outraged that the Redemptive and Typological Scriptures of the Old Testament are applied to Common Grace entities like the United States….stripping them of their Redemptive-Historical ties to the person of Christ. We are angry when Christians ignore the Spiritual nature of Christ's Kingdom, one that only those born again can see, and apply it to Western Civilizational Institutions. We are angry when Christians use this Civilizational-construct of the Kingdom to promote Nationalism which we believe to be a form of idolatry. We are very angry that with this Nationalism comes an acceptance of propaganda and militarism. We are angry when cultural and civilizational commitments concerning the Kingdom lead to a philosophical system that claims to be Biblical but extends far beyond the scope of Scripture. This philosophical system Sacralizes cultural elements, removing them from the realm of Common Grace and without Biblical warrant transfers them to the Holy Redemptive Realm.



DTM:



I read much more than I write when it comes to the Two Kingdoms theology. The
more I read of their own blogs, the more I'm coming to see that while this stuff
may sometimes claim a Southern "spirituality of the church" heritage, it appears
to have a totally wrongheaded root which is not in any way connected to any
conservative Reformed theological category and in fact is openly attacking the
Westminster Standards.


Proto:



You won't find any kind of Antebellum Spirituality of the Church being promoted here. The Old South was a thoroughly Constantinian entity, not with an official Established Church, but as a so-called Christian society. It's a perfect example of an acculturated Church with no sense of antithesis, no sojourner identity. It was One with the Cultural Construct. The Established Church is merely a form of polity. We don't have an Established Church in the United States, but you'll find an American flag in virtually every 'sanctuary' (another Constantinian idea) and with very few exceptions you'll find American Churches even the apostate ones promoting Civil Religion.



The Church needed to speak out against chattel slavery….but its threat and indictment are for those within the Church. Only those who have the Holy Spirit can respond to and be convicted by the Word of God. For the unbelievers the message of the Church is not……we need to outlaw slavery. The message is Repent and Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only those born again, will understand and accept the law of God. The unbeliever will reject God's law and is in a state of enmity to it.



Some might retort, but weren't all the Southerner's Christian? This is the problem with Constantinianism. Everyone becomes Christian by default.



I'm not arguing for some kind of Baptistic theology. I'm an ardent Paedobaptist, and in fact I go much further than most Reformed people. I believe we raise our children as Believers resting in the promise of God. By their baptism they are genuinely part of the Church, not just in a provisional sense. I only say this to emphasize the issues I raise do not flow out of Baptistic commitments.



But if our children stray and apostatize, then they must be put out. Constantinianism creates an ecclesiastical and cultural climate of spiritual nominalism. Being put out of the Church in Constantinian Christendom has societal consequences. In the Old South they weren't going to burn you like in the Middle Ages, but you were a social outcast. The Common and Redemptive Grace realms are treated as a Unified or Monistic Structure. We talk in terms of Christian Society or Christian Nation. It creates a lovely social veneer, but rots the Church from within. And in the end, the masses of unbelievers that are produced by this un-Biblical ecclesiastical and social structure rebel against it. We're seeing it today.



Where can I find Christian Nations, Christendom, Christian Societies in the Bible? Old Testament Israel was a type of the New Covenant Redemptive Community….not a parallel with Common Grace Nations of this age. You can't appeal to Israel. The New Testament context was Rome…and the New Testament wasn't treating Common Grace Rome the way you're treating America.



I argue that by combining the Common and Redemptive Grace realms we misunderstand the nature of Common Grace nations…sometimes with very dangerous consequences, and we do great harm to the Biblical understanding of the Church.



DTM:


Look, for instance, at this discussion over on Rev. Lane Kiester's "Green
Baggins" site which began as a quite legitimate question of how to be militant
for truth without being obnoxious, but has recently turned into a Two Kingdoms
discussion:

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82473

A number of the "usual suspects" show up -- Dr. Daryl Hart, Zrim, etc. -- some
of the people who started advocating wild views over on Dr. R. Scott Clark's
"Heidelblog" up to and including saying Christians shouldn't be fighting against
gay marriage in California because it supposedly "confuses the kingdoms."


Proto:



We can fight against Gay Marriage as individual citizens. As Christians we can engage the public square, in fact it's impossible not to, but the Church's task is to preach the Gospel. Lost unbelievers are going to act like lost unbelievers. The remedy the Church brings is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The legislature can't help the Church build the Kingdom. That's not the type of Kingdom the Church is trying to build and not the tools it employs. Show me where the New Testament teaches the magistrate helps the Church build the Kingdom? Romans 13? I think not. We'll come to that shortly.



We're not looking for perfection in the Common Grace realm. If we are, then were Utopian Babel-builders. So if the Common Grace realm can never be redeemed, which the Bible is very clear on…contrary to the Jewish vision of Postmillennialists….then what are to expect of it?


Very little. All we're looking for is God's Providential restraint to provide a realm in which the Gospel can work.



Gay Marriage is abomination but so are many things the United States stands for and has engaged in. If you can't see that, then Nationalism which is pride, which is idolatry has blinded you to it.



I'm sorry if you think Gay Marriage somehow hinders the gospel. It might hinder your Civilizational and Constantinian goals, but for those of us who have no such aspirations we see Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, Gary DeMar, Jim DeMint, and Sarah Palin as far more dangerous to the Church than some law in California that gives people a piece of paper that acknowledges the behaviour they've already been engaged in.



Do you think there was no homosexuality or abortion in New Testament times? You had Caesar's like Hadrian who were openly homosexual and using tax dollars to put up statues of his sodomitical partner all over the place.



Where in the New Testament do I find an emphasis or directive for the Church to transform the Roman Empire into a Holy Realm? I ask this repeatedly. Constantinian assumptions buttressed by good Dutch Reformed philosophy can give an answer, but there doesn't seem to be one in the New Testament.



Salt and Light? How is one salt and light in a Christian society? If the society has supposedly been Christianized, then the cultural norms are Christian practice. Salt and light implies an antithesis that Constantinian and Dominionist theologies wish to erase. You acknowledge the existence of the Common Grace sphere, but you don't grant it validity. We're not looking for any kind of transformation prior to the Parousia. Only then will the glorious prophecies of Isaiah 2 etc… find their ultimate fulfillment. The Common Grace sphere will always be deficient, inconsistent and dysfunctional. To think otherwise is to embrace….I know not what else to call it…a form of Pelagianism. If you think that fallen man can somehow keep God's laws and their wicked hearts engaged in some kind of outward veneer-like conformity brings glory to God…I don't know what to say to you. We're reading different Bibles.



DTM:


There's also a writer I hadn't studied before -- JohnA, who runs a blog known as
"ProtoProtestantism" which says it is dedicated to studying the Reformers before
the Reformation. That seemed interesting at first; Wycliffe, Hus, the
Waldensians and a number of the other groups which advocated Bible teaching
before the Reformation can quite legitimately be respected as people who, even
if they had problematic theology, might well have become fully Protestant if
they hadn't had their efforts cut short by death or severe persecution.

His blog is here: http://www.proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/

I probably should have expected problems when I saw his first posts declaring
that he's not proud of being a veteran and arguing not only that he doesn't like
FOX News but also that CNN and NPR are unabashed and uncritical suppporters of
American power.(Huh?) But people have every right in the world to hold
politically liberal or anti-American positions; America is not God's chosen
nation and the Republican Party is not "God's Own Party."


Proto:

Christians who like FOX news? (huh?) Not very impressive way to argue is it?

And thus my argument is made for me. Christian Patriotism and Nationalism are not only permitted but are promoted as THE Christian worldview. Americans naturally believe that their nation is the best, exclusive, and Providentially blessed by God. Those who think otherwise do not merely have a Civil Issue….they have a Theological one. Of course the British were equally keen on their Empire and were quite shocked to find that professing Christian colonists did not always agree. Every Empire has thought this and rather than reflect a Christian worldview, I believe it promotes something deeply pagan….the Babel impulse. Christianized it is always more dangerous because then it can infect the Church.



So then out of hand, anyone who formerly wore an American uniform and isn't beaming with pride must be astray. Anyone who doesn't accept the standard media paradigm (the American paradigm) must be deluded.



We even have a philosophical justification for this type of thinking. Since due to sin there can be no true objectivity, why even try? We already know the answers, we already know what's right….so let's just promote that.



Of course you could also ask people who live outside of the circle in which you live, the circle the authorities and establishment powers give to you….ask someone from another culture or another nation what they think about our media?



Oh, but we can't do that, because these Civil, Common Grace issues have been confused with the Redemptive realm. If they weren't confused we could talk to people from other places and they might very well tell you that American media, even the outlets labeled as liberal are often still very blatant in their support of America. Sure they may not superimpose a flag on the background, but whole discussion and emphasis, the structure of the argument is still from within an American framework and with an American bias.



Living outside the United States for a time will also help. Seeing how Christians live in other countries is helpful and it is also eye-opening to see that they often do not equate patriotism with nationalism, and if they live in a minority situation they would find it absurd to think that somehow the government of their country could help them in the promotion of the gospel. They often find it equally absurd when they meet American Christians who somehow think their government and nation are somehow better or blessed.



DTM:


JohnA is a homeschooler. He's got a lot of insightful commentary on the problems
of the late Roman Constantinian consensus that led to the development of
Christendom and the secular power of the Roman Catholic Church. He's clearly
done his homework. He's also got some really useful stuff pointing out how
fundamentalists of various sorts often re-invent an imagined golden age in forms
of dress and worship, and then insist upon them rather than following the twin
Reformed doctrines of Christian freedom and the regulative principle. Examples
of that are here:

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_5582.html

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/good-old-days.html

So far so good. I actually like a lot of what he says about the importance of
following Scripture and not just being traditional conservatives, and his
emphasis on learning lessons from Christian history is from which **MANY** broad
evangelicals could learn a great deal.


Proto;



Thank you, but you didn't seem to get where these problems come from. The Golden Age tendencies come from the civilizational Kingdom-construct called Christendom. When you promote a so-called Christian America agenda, you're doing the same thing. How many of the things you're fighting over stem from cultural issues rather than the gospel?



DTM:


But then he attacks Rick Warren of Saddleback Church -- far from being a
conservative Reformed man -- for asking this question to then-candidates Barack
Obama and John McCain: "WARREN: OK, we've got one last time -- I've got a bunch
more, but let me ask you one about evil. Does evil exist? And if it does, do we
ignore it? Do we negotiate with it? Do we contain it? Do we defeat it?"

JohnA then asks this: "Why is a supposed Christian asking a politician of a
common grace nation something like that? Why is he asking the Common Grace state
to define a metaphysical concept?"


Proto:



Yes, I explained that it was a set-up question, meant to make Obama look bad in front of the Christian audience. Obama tried to give a thoughtful answer, McCain's was buffoonish and unhelpful.



The Common Grace magistrate can't take on redemptive tasks like fighting evil. We as the Church fight evil with the gospel. We identify spiritual evil. The Common Grace order is not trying to build the Kingdom, it's trying to sustain itself. It's trying to build Babel….an evil project. You're asking the fox to guard the henhouse when you want the Magistrate to combat spiritual evil. It has no weapons to do so, nor can it as an entity or as a social construct apprehend God's law. All the Magistrate can do is try to create a stability based on a Natural Law morality base. We can try and point unbelievers to spiritual truths, but they will not see them apart from the grace of God. The Scriptures know nothing of Institutional or Cultural conversion… these being Constantinian categories.



DTM:


JohnA goes into a lot of detail here ...
http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_10.html

... on what's wrong with that question in his view. I won't try to summarize his
explanation -- go read it in his own words, I want to be fair to him -- but
re-read JohnA again. According to him, it is wrong to ask a candidate for
President of the United States -- at present, the most powerful public official
in the entire secular world -- whether evil exists and how to deal with it.




Proto:

Thanks for being fair here. I do appreciate your spirit in these matters. Despite your initial desire to kick my teeth in since I wasn't a proud veteran and don't like FOX (smile)...you've tried to be reasonable.



But asking the magistrate to identify and deal with spiritual evil is like asking a toddler to explain the properties of atoms. The toddler does not have the ability to do so. Actually it's more akin to asking a corpse to give a weather report. So what is the evil in Romans 13?



Paul seems to be talking in a generic category that was applicable to his contemporary situation. Claudian or Neronian Rome were apparently applicable to the categories he lays out….and their concepts of evil were not based off the Bible, but on what? Natural Law of course. Even fallen man can recognize evil, but Rick Warren the 'pastor' with his Christian audience hardly had that mind. We're talking about a nuanced question and let's face it Evangelicals and Americans in general don't do nuance.



Was Paul speaking of a hypothetical in Romans 13? Some might argue that but I would argue it makes little sense for him to write what he did without qualification and it seems incompatible with the rest of the New Testament data concerning Christian life in a fallen world.



DTM:


That points out the core of the problem with the Two Kingdoms theology. These
people, or at least some of them, really **DON'T** believe that the civil
magistrate, in accordance with Romans 13, is a minister of God to punish evil --
or if they do, they define evil in purely secular terms with which many or most
non-Christians can agree. The civil magistrate doesn't have a duty to do good as
defined by Christianity or to punish evil as defined by Christianity, or to
promote the Gospel, or even to help maintain conditions favorable to the spread
of the Gospel.


Proto:



I don't think you realize what you're saying. Heresy and blasphemy are evil too. Do you want the magistrate to deal with those as well? Is that what Paul had in mind?



Of course not. A distinction must be made. Unfortunately the discussion is often clouded by the Westminster Confession's erroneous 3-fold division of the law and the categorization of the Decalogue as The Moral Law. Since law is parsed rather than understood as a Covenantal unity, the theological discussion is confused….and this and other factors play out in the discussion of law pertaining to the magistrate and the definition of evil that Paul had in mind.



You say you're not a Theonomist, but I will say their construct in which the magistrate punishes heresy and blasphemy is consistent. It's completely contrary to the Bible, but it's a systemically consistent form of Sacralism.



How can the Magistrate promote the Gospel? The Magistrate is part of God's Common Grace order, the hand of restraint to provide the venue for the Gospel to work. Where do find any notion, any hint from the New Testament that the Magistrate is to help build the Kingdom of God that you must be born again to even see? How can the Magistrate promote righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit? How can the Magistrate promote a kingdom that is within, one where men do not say Lo Here or Lo There? How can the sword-bearing Magistrate promote a Kingdom which Christ said would not be promoted through fighting with the sword?



We have a huge problem here in understanding what the Magistrate is and what are the limits of the Common Grace realm. The Magistrate is Common and the operative authority for the Common Grace realm is Natural Law. The conscience is all the natural man has to restrain him. The presence of the Church can also aid in this….the life and conduct of Christians. Fallen man won't understand the why, nor can fallen man please God or bring his institutions into the Redemptive realm…but individual fallen men and their families can be brought into the Holy Realm of Christ via the Gospel….that's the mission of the Church.



The notion that the Magistrate can aid the Church in this task has led to nothing but massive slaughter. In the Middle Ages it was within Christendom. And as I've argued extensively over at my site, the modern age and especially the Christo-American project has led to massive destruction and slaughter outside the boundaries of the United States. Modern structures are different, but they're built on the same foundation. I'm thankful for the freedoms we do have in the United States despite the efforts of Constantinians who would take them away and corrupt the Church of Jesus Christ and its mission to build the Kingdom of God.



DTM:


Given that view, I suppose it should not surprise me that JohnA has read deeply
from Verduin's book on the Reformers and their Stepchildren, in which that
liberal CRC chaplain at the University of Michigan who defended draft dodgers
during Vietnam argued that the Anabaptists were good people.

Proto:



Theologically liberal? I don't think so. If you assert that, you haven't read his books. Liberal in terms of the Common Grace sphere? By your definitions perhaps, but as I continually argue….those who refuse the Constantinian/Dominionist paradigm are neither right nor left. We reject the whole paradigm, so merely categorizing us as Left is misleading and an oversimplification of our position.



So were the Anabaptists evil? The Amish are evil?



If you argue they're theologically evil because of their soteriology or something like that, then we can say the same of Rick Warren or Pat Robertson….but I have a feeling you're not willing to call them evil.



If you mean evil because they don't sign onto Christo-American nationalism, then I think you had better reconsider. Your argument is not derived from anything Scriptural, rather its rooted into sentimentality and pride.



I didn't know Verduin aided draft dodgers. I like him more than ever. What a strange Christianity that views the world in such simplified terms that it is willing to validate a war in which millions died for a cause which even the architects of that war today admit was an error. Even people like McNamara admit that the Domino Theory wasn't accurate, and that the Vietnamese were largely fighting a nationalist cause. The Communistic-hybrid that Ho Chi Minh advocated was hardly that of Marx but an expression of an oppressed class in the face of French and American Imperialism. That said, people like McNamara continued to defend their record as doing the best with what they had. I am baffled by Christians who continue to promote and defend America's long record of bloody interventions, coups, proxy wars, and dictatorial regimes. Time and time again the government has lied to the people, propagandizing them into bogus wars for bogus causes…and yet somehow we're supposed to wave the flag and support the legions?



But Nationalism won't allow for a sober discussion or repentant reflection. The wasted lives memorialized on the National Mall have to be viewed in Sacral or Hallowed terms. Redemptive language is applied to the narrative and deeds of the nation. And thus like Constantinian Rome, the Medieval Crusades, the British Empire and now the American one, the wars themselves are viewed as something Holy.



No Christian should have gone off to Vietnam to defend a dictatorial proxy regime and an Imperialist legacy. What a shameful thing. Christians should have been speaking out against conscription and defending freedom of conscience. We may wish for that at a later date. Good for Verduin. I love him more than ever.



Inconsistent for Christians to speak out in a Two Kingdom paradigm? Not at all. We speak as individuals, sojourners living in Babylon. Seeking the peace of the city, we don't help build Babylon, but we can show kindness and compassion, we can promote goodness….but not in an expectation that Babylon will become holy. We don't look for Babylon to become Zion. The Jewish exiles didn't cheer on Babylon's wars, and they didn't expect the Babylonians to conform to Mosaic law. They lived and participated in Babylonian society, with a limited expectation, and because of the antithesis there are times when the participation itself must be limited.



Churches should have been teaching their people that it's wrong for Christians to support war, wrong for them to send their sons off to another country to fight the people who live there, wrong to support an empire's dictatorial puppet regime.



Would the White House have understood the principles of the Kingdom? Of course not. The message for the White House is repent, Christ is coming.



Some try and argue that people like Bill Clinton, or Lyndon Johnson were ostensibly members of the Church. The Dutch tradition I think deals with this a little better and can speak with more confidence of false churches, rather than a nebulous category of 'less pure.'



But again, Constantinianism casts Christianity in cultural and civilizational terms and thus the whole concept of the Church is muddled. Apostate bodies are granted some degree of legitimacy because they're part of the overall cultural heritage and participants in the common goal….even if they've denied in both doctrine and life the Lord of the Church.



We see this confusion as well when Christians are willing to join hands with Papists and now Mormons in order to pursue this common goal. With my understanding of Common Grace I have no problem joining with people of other religions to help promote the peace of Babylon….it's Common activity, not Kingdom building.



But how startling to see Dominionists who view all activities as Kingdom activities willing to join with heretics and false Christians to accomplish….Kingdom goals?



I loathe Tony Blair but I could see someone joining with him to help earthquake victims in Haiti, but how can a Dominionistic thinker like Wheaton College's Ryken join with Blair? If those activities are Kingdom activities… how can the lost help build it? That strikes me as extremely problematic.



Constantinianism blurs the lines.



DTM:



JohnA goes much father: "Obama is not a fascist or a Marxist, but Bush was the
closest we've come to a Hitler-type figure in this nation's history. To me, the
years 2001-2003 were like Germany in the 1930's. It was unreal, my head was
spinning. And just like I always thought…the Christians were the first ones to
cheer it all on .... The Tea Party Putsch is at work. We don't have just one
Mein Kampf…we've got teams of writers putting out new editions. Some are going
rogue, some are arguing with idiots, some are looking out for you while they let
freedom ring."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_10.html

I suppose it's not necessarily unacceptable for a Reformed man to say that the
Anabaptists were right about a lot of things, that in a post-Christian era we
should look to them as models, or even that the modern conservative movement
risks co-opting evangelical Christians into a fascist form of nationalism. The
sad example of the Gereformeerde Gemeenten under Kersten and their capitualation
to the agenda of the Dutch Nazi Party during World War II shows us that such
things can happen -- and there are elements in the modern secular conservative
movement which are totally hostile to biblical Christianity.


Proto:




You're missing it again. I'm not talking about a post-Christian era. You think we Two Kingdom people share the same goal you do and we just disagree over the means in getting there. You think we're defeatist and retreating. You can't seem to grasp that we reject your goal. It's a wrong view of the Common Grace realm, it's harmful to the Church. Modern Christian Conservatism is totally hostile to Biblical Christianity. It changes the definition of the Kingdom, what it is and how it is built.



DTM:


But what do we do with a statement like this: "I have no hope of Reforming
institutions like the PCA or OPC. It's impossible ... and one level I don't
care…they're man-made constructs anyway. A General Assembly, offices with
computers and file cabinets a 501c, and a Book of Church Order doth not a church
make. The church is not a form…I have found so many of the people in those ranks
seem to think they can hold their dominations together with forms. The
Confessions are used as restraining chains rather than guides and like it or not,
the theology of these bodies is not exactly the same as the 17th century men and
I'll say it, the confessions are wrong in some places. But when we've committed
to a form like that....there's not much you can do. By using the confession as a
boundary instead of a help, you've bound the Bible."


http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_4169.html

Again: "Rather than super explicit detailed documents like the Westminster or
Belgic Confessions, we need simple statements of the faith and then we need to
trust in the Holy Spirit to hold the church together. The Westminster Confession
is not the Bible, and the more you try to bind people to an extra-scriptural
document as the basis for holding a faction together, the more they will slip
through your fingers."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_3117.html

That is ecclesiastical Anabaptism and certainly contrary to both Presbyterian
and Dutch Reformed church polity, but more importantly, it is explicitly
anti-confessional.


Proto:



Yes, you're correct. I don't find Presbyterianism in Scripture. I don't find an intermediate institutional structure that exists between the local congregation and the larger expression of the Visible Church. Denominations in my view add a not only unnecessary but quite harmful tier or dimension to the Church. I believe congregations dialogue and interact as per Acts 15, but the Church of today cannot say, "It seemed to good to us and the Holy Ghost." Extra-Scriptural Apostolic Authority is gone and thus the authority of Acts 15 is not normative. Regardless, Presbyterian polity cannot be found there. It is incompatible with the Sufficiency of Scripture.



Dutch Reformed polity is thankfully a bit more Congregational in flavour, but still more or less embraces the same error. Pragmatic? Absolutely, but so is Episcopalian polity. That's not the issue.



Anti-confessional? Wow. If that's your argument, then what more is there to say? If the Confessions are an authority equal to Scripture, then the sky is the limit. What's to say we don't develop new Confessional Traditions? You may not like it, but can you in principle argue against it?



If you want to claim historical continuity….I'm sorry but most Protestant polities don't have a leg to stand on. The common argument that Rome ceased to be a Church on a day in the 1560's due to proclamation at Trent is pure fiction. Just because the Roman Entity had not decretally formalized what had been reality for centuries did not grant it legitimacy. Rome hadn't been a Church for centuries. The problem is how the Church is defined.



The Confessions are useful as guides. We would be fools to ignore the work of those who have gone before. But to use them as restraining chains instead of guides is to fail to learn from their mistakes. Their context was different and Protestantism's re-embrace of Constantinianism did much to shape their way of looking at issues such as polity. We need to learn from that.



To read Scripture through an authoritative confessional lens is to create a religion of tradition and to abandon the authority of Divine Revelation.



Finney was a lost heretic, but he was right in condemning the Presbyterians of his day as bowing to a Paper Pope.



Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every once in awhile.



DTM:


If there's any question about how deeply JohnA has drunk from Verduin's well of
appreciation for Anabaptism, read this about why he hesitates to use the label
Reformed: "I remember being rather proud of my Reformed heritage and talking
with a couple of ex-Amish guys outside of a supermarket. We were talking a
little theology and history. They know very well how their forebears were
treated by the Protestants. And they know that they are excoriated within the
Reformed Creeds. I remember feeling not so proud of my faction when I considered
they murdered and waged war in the name of the Kingdom of Christ and sought to
destroy the ancestors of these men."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_11.html

Proto:



It's interesting that the GreenBaggins discussions regarding Patriotism I cited my own pedigree. I've got American roots going back to the 1600's, the colonial wars, the pioneer expansions, the Revolution/1776 Rebellion, both sides of the Civil War, etc…etc….



I said that I had much to be proud of but I count it all as dung including my own 'service' in the uniform. None of it mattered to me anymore once I became a Christian.



No one seemed to get the point, because everyone started citing their own heritage. Many seemed to be a little embarrassed that they didn't have the background I did.



It's all rot. That was my point. What place does pride have in Christian thought and life? Pride in tradition and confession are the same thing. If all we care about is the Reformed Heritage……then we have not heeded Paul's lesson in Philippians.



God will not be impressed that we were 'Reformed' and if we're finding comfort and pride in a tradition……we have not experienced the riches of Christ and the glories of His Grace. We drinking from a shallow well.



I've got plenty of Reformed heritage in my background and I was converted into Reformed Christianity. I was raised in a Politically Conservative home. In my house Goldwater was a hero and FDR was a villain. I used to be an ardent Rush Limbaugh fan and the photo of Reagan hanging on my wall could bring tears to my eyes. I remember being so proud that he stood up to that dire and terrible threat called Grenada.



But when I became a Christian my whole way of thinking changed. I questioned EVERYTHING and I could not find much of what I had been raised with to be compatible with the Scriptures. As a Reformed man I used to practically worship Calvin…read him voraciously, and zealously defended the record of the Reformers. I laughed at drowned Anabaptists and praised the burning of Servetus. The buffoonish Ian Paisley was my hero and while in the United Kingdom I would proudly sing God Save the Queen, just oozing Constantinian sentiments from my heart.



But the more I read and studied the Bible and history….I needed to take a more reflective and nuanced view of these matters. A new paradigm opened and that's what I'm writing about. I realized that in terms of the Reformed and the American historical traditions ….there was much romanticism and pride, but very little in the way of Biblical Christianity.



DTM:



There's a lot more to read in JohnA's writings, but I trust these examples will
make my point. This simply is not Reformed and cannot be called Reformed in any
meaningful sense of the word, and JohnA actually realizes that to some extent.
You don't need to advocate civil penalties against Amish and Mennonites -- I
don't -- to realize that Anabaptism and Calvinism are inherently incompatible.


Proto:



They can't both be right, but that doesn't mean one is exclusively right and the other exclusively wrong. But starting and stopping with 16th and 17th century Confessions will never allow the questions to be genuinely addressed.



Actually certain aspects ARE compatible. That's what I'm arguing for. Some of the pre-Reformed groups exhibit these traits….Biblicism, even Augustinian with regard to soteriology and sacraments, but rejecting Constantinianism. Some groups learned this the hard way, some never really learned it, and some were happy to embrace Constantinianism when the Protestants gained power….but others consistently rejected it.



DTM:


JohnA is one man, and some may say that just like ZRim and others who are
prolific posters on the "Two Kingdoms" theology, he's just one man with a
keyboard.

So who cares?


Proto:



Not very many I assure you. But there are others who either already see these issues and there are some who are uncomfortable with certain attitudes and interpretations of Scripture, history, and current events…and they're looking for answers. As I say repeatedly, I'm not expecting anyone to agree with me 100%. I'm trying to provoke thought, discussion, and reflection. I am fearful of where things are going….not in the nation….in the Church.



DTM:


Well, JohnA may be irrelevant, but former Westminster Seminary professor Dr.
Daryl Hart, a prolific writer and a scholar of J. Gresham Machen and the history
of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who is a major Two Kingdoms advocate, is not
irrelevant.

What does Dr. Hart think?

Quoting from something Dr. Hart put up today:

"59.dgh said,
December 27, 2010 at 9:25 am
John A., as a Rush listener might say, 'mega dittos.'"

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82466

That's a nice comment from Dr. Hart. As a prominent advocate of a theological
position who has an earned doctoral degree, he knows full well that whatever he
writes will be **AND SHOULD BE** carefully scrutinized.


Proto:



That's hardly fair. Just because he might agree with me regarding what I'm saying about Christians and Society hardly means he supports even a fraction of the theological, philosophical, or historical positions I've put forward.



That's like me saying you must be Roman Catholic because you like O'Reilly or Mormon because you like Beck. That wouldn't be fair would it? And yet you might appreciate some things they say, right?



How sad that someone who is outside of your tradition is deemed…..irrelevant. Just because someone doesn't claim to be of Cephas, or Apollos he is not worth listening to?



Hardly the Berean spirit.



DTM:


When I publicly agree with someone on a specific area where I have major
underlying differences, I'm careful to qualify my agreement, and when
questioned, I freely explain my differences. (An example is here where I attack
the underlying anti-Christian principles of FOX News while supporting their
secular conservative position:
http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-resurrection-of-machens-warrior\
-children/#comment-82464 )

It is totally unfair to accuse an Orthodox Presbyterian minister like Dr. Hart
of being an Anabaptist or of beleiving that "the Confessions are used as
restraning chains rather than guides."

Proto:



It's an informal Reformed discussion board. You've got people from many stripes commenting there. If we have to place those kinds of qualifications on everything we say in an informal discussion, then nothing will be said. Hart certainly would not agree with my views of the Confession and many other theological issues.



DTM:



What is clear, however, is that there are more than a few shades of Anabaptist
thinking in the Two Kingdoms movement, and despite the presence of some sincere
Old School Calvinists in its leadership, people are being attracted to the Two
Kingdoms theology who are Reformed in name and not much else.


Proto:



So please tell us….What is Reformed? We have Baptists who think Reformed means Calvinistic Soteriology. We have PCA and OPC people who think Reformed means Calvinism with an Anglican view of worship. We have some who think the essence of what it means to be Reformed is the so-called Christian World and Life View, i.e. Culture Transformation.



Since I'm outside of the tradition, it's easy for me to say, but who cares about a label? Is this about the gospel or about who is getting to call the shots?



DTM:


Why is that? Is it because the tree, when fully grown, bears bad fruit?

I think we need to take a long, hard look at whether it's time to repudiate the
Two Kingdoms theology not just as a wrong view but as one which is inherently
Anabaptist and is falsely laying claim to the name Reformed.

I close with this quote from JohnA, which ends a section attacking not only
theonomists (who deserve attacks) but also Abraham Kuyper: "Even institutions
that don't specifically advocate the extremes Judaizing positions of Theonomy,
still strongly advocate Dominionistic and Sacralist Theology. Only the small
Escondido school seems to be standing for the truth on this issue. And even
among them, many advocate Cultural Doctrine that is rooted in Sacralist
presuppositions. We are in the dark ages once again as far as the church goes."

http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-am-i-talking-about-all-this-\
how-did_3117.html

With "friends" like this, Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido,
California, most assuredly does not need enemies.


Proto:



Theonomy is merely the logical end of Constantinian and Dominionist doctrine. Ask McAtee.



While I greatly appreciate Klinean thought, they too would disown me. Nor do I by any means agree with many of their theological positions. I've critiqued some of them. But on this one issue, the Vosian/Klinean Biblical Theology school has exposed the exegetical fallacies of Dominionism and the harm it does to the Biblical doctrine of the Kingdom.



Not all of us operate within a world of neat packaged labels, camps and factions. This kind of thinking is harmful to theological discussion and literally dangerous when it comes to history and geo-politics.


I know this will not win over anyone at GreenBaggins or at the URCNA list. But I hope some will pause and think about issues like Authority and Tradition whether it be national or ecclesiastical.



In conclusion I'll say again I find that most One Kingdom advocates seems to fail to understand the Two Kingdom position because they think we're arguing for different tactics for the same overall goal.



We are defining the Kingdom differently and thus we have different goals and therefore very different means. Two Kingdoms theology is not retreatist, nor is it silent with regard to issues such as abortion. Constantinianism is the explanation for the Church in Germany acquiescing to the Third Reich. A theology looking for the magistrate to aid the Church in Kingdom building is bound to confuse culture and nation with Kingdom. Only Two Kingdom theology can keep a proper vigilance that will never fall for state propaganda…even if cleverly packaged with waving flags and teary eyed soldier's wives.



Just because it is not the task of the Church to try and force the unbeliever to conform with God's law in no way means that the Church is silent on these issues.



The Church needs to understand abortion is murder, homosexuality is sin etc…. We can speak in the public square on these issues……..we speak as Christians trying to promote the peace of the city. We know that no law on these matters will bring any person or institution into the Kingdom of Heaven. Though everything in the universe is under Christ's RULE, all is not part of His Holy Redemptive REALM. Our expectations for the Common Grace realm are non-redemptive. Babylon is not Zion. We can hope for a good Babylon at best.



The Church alone is given the Redemptive task of preaching the gospel. Once people are Christians they then learn how to live in a fallen world. As Christians we can talk with others about morality and contemporary issues but the task of the Church is to preach the Gospel the world calls foolish. Laws for or against something don't aid or hinder the Church in this task. They might make our society a nicer place to live, but the laws themselves cannot bring someone to Christ.

6 comments:

Darrell Todd Maurina said...

Thank you for your note, JohnA.

I noted that on the URCNA list you indicated your church affiliation as "CCCC."

Guessing that means Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, it may interest you to know that I spent twenty years in the 4Cs and am now (quite correctly) ineligible to hold church office in what will soon be an Associate Reformed Presbyterian church because I hold to Congregational polity and cannot say that Presbyterianism is taught in Scripture. (I can work within a Dutch Reformed polity context, and did for many years, just as did a number of expatriate English Congregationalists during the late 1500s and early 1600s, including Ames.) Suffice it to say that you will get no argument from me on your view that OPC and PCA church government cannot be backed up from the Bible.

Also, speaking as somone whose wife is Korean and who came very close to a permanent move to Korea at one point, I am anything but an uncritical advocate of the United States. We have major problems in the United States and unfortunately they are getting worse.

We all need to choose our battles and decide where to dedicate our time. I live in the South. Nearly everyone I deal with is non-Reformed, so I am not unfamiliar with discussing the Bible with sincere fundamentalists and evangelicals who disagree with me on important things. However, I suspect that our theological differences are big enough that we might want to spend our time on other issues. It does not bother me when people advocate views with which I disagree in churches which agree with those views; it bothers me greatly when people claim to be Reformed but advocate views which are contrary to the Reformed confessions. That shows a fundamental lack of integrity that is far worse than just having wrong views.

Since that's not the case with you and you don't claim to be something you aren't, I don't think we really have a problem with each other on that count.

I hope this is of some help to you. Based on your comments, I suspect we actually may be in more agreement on some things than you might otherwise believe.

Protoprotestant said...

Sorry your comment didn't post earlier in the day. It appeared in my email, but then I came onto the site and looked... for some reason it was in the spam file???? I don't moderate comments, so I'm not sure what happened.

No, I didn't know you were in the 4C's. Very interesting. It's a group with enough breadth to be inclusive in a good way....but with that breadth it sometimes is a little too inclusive. (smile)

I don't usually broadcast it because I'm not trying to push a denominational line or anything along those lines. Nor would I want anyone to think the 4C's stands for the things I'm arguing for! There may be some, but I've yet to encounter them.

I appreciate the exchange. Passionate but reasoned and civil. That's how it should be.

And despite the disagreements, something of an encouragement.

Anonymous said...

He's trying to be fair, but from his grid.

I'm not sure he can answer your position. I have looked at quite a few of these interactions and I think you are correct in judging that those you call "Sacralist" are unable to grasp the 2kingdom position.

I am not as yet convinced your position is completely correct and yet my readings here have certainly challenged me to reconsider some of these matters.

I am probably most convinced the positions you label as "Sacralist, Dominionist, Monist, and Constantinian" are incorrect. However I'm not quite sure your views are correct either. But I am continuing to read your work and investigate. I have and have purchased some of the works you list at the bottom of the web-page and am finding them to be challenging and helpful. Perhaps you could expand that list for the book-lovers who frequent this page?

I wish you well and I will certainly share this website with those I know and encounter. I am aware that you are trying to expand things a bit and bring in some support. I hope that works out for you.

It's a rare thing and a refreshing one to find someone thinking "outside" the proverbial box and has a wide enough range of knowledge and experience to provide some really thought provoking material.

I must say on almost a daily basis your writings make my brain do a flip-flop and force me to look at things in a very different way. Well done.

Carl McAllister

Protoprotestant said...

Thank you, most kind.

I too wish you well in your studying out of these matters.

Since you sound like a thoughtful person, I would appreciate any other comments you might have.

Carl M. said...

Also I had some trouble getting my comment to post using my log-in. I've also lost some comments in the past. Is this Google or do you need to change a spam setting?

Protoprotestant said...

It's Google being quirky. I don't moderate or do anything to hinder comments. The only stuff that gets blocked is the blatant spam offering porn sites and junk like that. I check the folder every couple of days to make sure someone didn't get dumped in there by mistake. I've never found anyone's comments placed in there.

Sometimes I even have trouble logging into the comments.