Theonomist Bret McAtee's (IronInk) recent article, another critique of Two Kingdom theology provides a good opportunity to demonstrate why they can't seem to grasp what we're saying.
This post title is "Mike Horton In Christianity Astray (Today)"
Horton: “But ideas like “Christendom” die hard.”
IronInk: It is a common theme of R2k types to bemoan Christendom. R. Scott Clark has even said about the demise of Christendom, “good riddance.”
However, if, as the R2K idiots insist, Christian culture is not possible, then why should they complain about Christendom given that by their own plausibility structure Christendom never really existed because it was impossible for it to exist? And why complain or worry about those Christians who affirm Christendom since they are affirming something that can’t be? How can they say “Christendom was a mistake” if Christendom is impossible?
These blokes want to insist that Christendom is impossible while at the same time bitch and moan about the reality of Christendom.
Ah, good old Theonomist rhetoric.
I'm not sure why this is so difficult for these folks to understand. It's pretty simple.
Christendom is a historical reality....no dispute there.
But it's theologically invalid....hence we can say good riddance.
It's not that they're affirming something that can't be...they're rejecting something that shouldn't be. Christendom was a mistake, because the Bible doesn't teach Christendom.
Just as we can say the Roman Catholic Entity is a historical reality, but it's invalid, and we're right to 'complain' about it.
Horton: Islam, of course, is not just a religion; it’s a cultural and even geo-political reality. As such, its strict adherents excoriate co-religionists like Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im who call for an “Islamic Reformation” that would make jihad into a spiritual struggle rather than an armed military conflict.
You know, theoretically I could see an alliance between R2K “Christians” and Muslims like Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im who call for an “Islamic Reformation” that would make jihad into a spiritual struggle rather than an armed military conflict. For guys like both Mike Horton and Abdullahi Ahmec etc. their religion is only Spiritual. Both Mike and Abdullah etc. find common ground in their concept of a common realm. Christian R2k fan-boys and Islamic Abdullahi etc. fan-boys can hold hands in the common realm and sing Den Mother songs. It’s a bizarre world when Westminster California and certain Muslims agree with one another on a point like this.
Just because Islam is a form of Sacralism, doesn't mean Sacralism is a valid concept. The Kingdom of God is not like other kingdoms.
As far as an alliance, that's not possible. On a social level I would stand with someone who would vote against Islamic Sacralism as well as 'Christian' Sacralism.
On a social level, we can and ought to live at peace with all...something Theonomy and other forms of Sacralism won't do.
Islam gets the kingdom wrong, but if they're willing to live in a socially pluralistic society, I can live next door to them.
I would not want to live next door to a Theonomist. In reality, they are a greater threat to the Kingdom of God, then some lost Muslim who's trying to get along with his neighbours.
Not quite an alliance, simply a common social rejection of Sacralist agendas...whether Christian Dominionist or Islamic Dominionist.
Horton: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly abrogated the ceremonial and civil law that God had given uniquely to the nation of Israel.
IronInk: Did Jesus abrogated the Ceremonial and Civil law in the Sermon on the Mount before or after he said in his Sermon on the Mount,
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Two immediate problems. One, McAtee is assuming the Westminster 3-fold position regarding the Law, which helps the system to function and is part of the tradition, but is erroneous. The New Testament doesn't teach this way of dividing up the law. If Westminster is wrong, then Horton's statement is also erroneous to a point.
Secondly, if the entirety of the Mosaic legislation was still valid today,we ought to be circumcised and offering sacrifices in a Temple run by Levites.
The problem is...like some other systems that get this wrong....'law' is forced to almost always mean one thing. And, though Theonomists love to point to this verse, it's one of their system flagships....it's actually their bane. They misunderstand the destroy/fulfill contrast. Christ did fulfill all....already/not yet. In one sense, heaven and earth did pass away....for us. We are translated in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, all is indeed fulfilled. The typology has been completed.
They think that if you argue for fulfillment/completion, you mean it's been destroyed. No, Christ didn't come to cast down Moses as an enemy. Moses pointed to Christ. In other contexts Moses when compared to Christ is reckoned a yoke, an administration of death, weak and unprofitable, bondage. But in terms of typology, the lessons of Redemption were present in Moses....fulfilled by and in Christ.
In the end, the Mosaic Law is a unity and if it's still valid, the Theonomists are wrong as well. The Temple system would still be valid. In which case, Rome and the Eastern Orthodox have been much more faithful in trying to create 'christianized' versions of Old Testament worship. They have temples, priests, altars, vestments, a sacrifice, etc....
It is difficult to have charitable thoughts of these gentleman when they write things like that in Christianity Today.
“We can rejoice that even in this present evil age, God’s common grace & common justice are being displayed through secular authorities. “For [the ruler] is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
1.) Stalin was a secular authority
2.) Stalin displayed God’s Common Justice on the Kulaks’ Christians
3.) Believers can rejoice over Stalin’s common justice as seen in the Holdomor
Indeed every time we read Robert Conquest’s “Harvest of Despair” we should be flipping cartwheels rejoicing over Stalin’s common justice.
Oh, McAtee must be looking for utopia...heaven on earth.
Yes, we live in a fallen world and the Common Grace order will ultimately fail, that's why our hope is in the coming of Jesus Christ.
McAtee thinks someday they'll set up a system that will eliminate the effects of sin. Little do they realize, they would (in the end) become Stalin's themselves. It's the story of the Middle Ages.
His syllogism is childish and he probably knows it.
Horton: Second, it (the implications of God’s common justice per Horton) means that we can’t rejoice in the death of the wicked any more than does God (Ezek. 18:23) … We may delight in the temporal justice shown to evildoers, but leave the final justice to God.
We cannot rejoice but we may delight?
Those two sentences were the first & last sentence of the same paragraph.
Is this guy smoking peyote before he writes?
Well, it's probably not how I would have put it. Nevertheless, I'm guessing what Horton means is that we can't place ourselves in the position of Righteous Judge and thus rejoice in those who are condemned to hell...because ultimately we deserve to be there as well. We all deserve hell every bit as much as Bin Laden does.
In terms of the here and now, we can be thankful...probably better than 'delight', that Providence does hinder a Bin Laden, a Hitler, a Stalin, a Bush from doing all that they might do if they were unhindered.