R2K (Radical Two Kingdom)

"Historical" claims lacking fruit...

Reading the likes of R. Scott Clark, Michael Horton, and Matthew Tuininga, one walks away with the impression that all of the problems within Evangelicalism stem from our failure to respect history and toe the line of our Confessions in history (as revised in more recent history); and an infatuation with the new along with the desire for success as measured by the world. And their solution?

Go back.

It's a tempting critique because it rings with a certain amount of truth, but continue reading these men and you'll find that, after wagging the chin about historic Reformed orthodoxy a bit, other cards start slipping into the deck...


Birdies and babies...

Over in the UK, since 1954 it's been a crime to collect the eggs of ninety species of wild birds. Hypothetically, one may engage in oology as long as the subject of one's study (eggs) can be documented to have been collected before 1954. Otherwise, one's oology must be done in the wild and from a distance—through binoculars with great care taken there be no feelings of insecurity on the part of the nesting mother or father. Intimidating encroachments will be prosecuted.

The U.K.'s National Wildlife Crime Unit has been so successful with her constabularies, swat teams (no exageration), and prosecutions that oologists are resorting to collecting pictures instead of eggs. The sneaks climb trees and take pictures of the eggs, and although no one has yet been imprisoned for taking such pictures, head of the Wildlife Crime Unit, Nevin Hunter, warns his patience is growing thin. "The penalty is available," Nevin shrieks.

Speaking of shrikes...


Teddy Roosevelt and G. K. Chesterton...

Interesting exchange about Teddy Roosevelt over at First Things that's generating as much light as heat. Again, my dear friend Bob Patterson is holding up TR as a paragon of conservative virtue. (Yup, Joe Sobran's turning over in his grave.) The teaser below caught my eye because in the car I've been listening to Libravox recordings of Chesterton non-stop the past six months. He's unbelievably helpful—unbelievably!

And yes, he never stops attacking Calvinism, but he's wrong...


Religious tests and anti-creedal bodies...

[Note from TB: Brian Lee is an R2K pastor in the United Reformed Church who serves a congregation in Washington D.C. Recently, Pastor Lee was invited to be guest chaplain to the House of Representatives—an honor he shares with Lloyd John Ogilvie, Michael Jackson, Earl Palmer, Hassan Qazwini, Ben Haden, Alisa Lasater-Wailoo, Bloomington's own Tom Ellsworth, Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, Joel Osteen, and Jerry Falwell's son Jonathan Falwell.

The invitation put Pastor Lee in an awkward position. How could he, a minister of the Gospel called to serve the Church, move over into the house of the civil magistrate and lead him in prayer? Pastor Lee announced publicly that, after receiving the invitation, he was "torn, and proceeded to have a lively debate with myself." Of course he went ahead.]

In defending his recent prayer before the nation’s legislature, Pastor Brian Lee calls the United States Congress an “anti-creedal body.” I couldn’t decide whether that sounded more like an astronomical object or a microbiological organism. Either thing is about as relevant as “anti-creedal body” to the U.S. Constitution's Religious Test Clause, which the pastor used to justify the form and content of his prayer.

Here’s the relevant constitutional text, in full, from the third and final paragraph in Article VI:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

The first thing you’ll note from the plain text is that the ban on religious tests has no special application to Congress as a body or to its members individually.


Making suits from Adamantium...

A common refrain lobbed from R2K adherents is a "lack of consistency" on the part of those holding to the historic Two Kingdoms doctrine. If you think God has called you to call sodomites and baby-killers to repentance, why not call on civil government to enforce the worship of the Trinity and punish Sabbath breakers?

At the heart of this complaint is R2Ker's notion of the "spirituality" of the church. What is the spirituality of the church?

Good question. On its face, the term lends itself to being so vague as to be nearly useless. Calvin and others following him use this term much different than R2K men. Hisorically, it wasn't a paradigm.

But R2K has co-opted the term and R2K men are all over the board as to its meaning...


All those sotto voce television programs...

One Google headline celebrating the Supreme Court's predictable and utterly boring ruling against DOMA today was this:

"Gay marriage: How TV helped nudge society on the issue."

Yeah, yeah; television nudged society to accept sodomite and lesbian "marriage" as Hiroshima and Nagasaki nudged Japan to surrender. I mean, how do you keep track of the levels of deceit and conceit, here? We have the media reporting on themselves and chortling over their victory, but wanting to keep their chortling seemly, they humbly call their influence a nudge.

Nudge nothing. The idiot-box buffoons and lechers browbeat, badgered, and hectored.


R2K and Early Church apologists...

One thing to keep in mind concerning the R2K mantra that the civil magistrate must choose to enforce either neither or both Tables of God's Law  is the argument made by Early Church apologists that the Roman Empire's persecution of those who refused to honor the Roman Pantheon of gods actually dishonored those gods because it produced lip service rather than true devotion.

As no man loves insincere service, even less does God. ...No one can be compelled to worship against his will. ...even sacrifice calls for willingness. - Tertullian, Apologeticum 24:6.

Church fathers defending the Christian faith used to say that any god worth his salt desires true devotion from sincere hearts, not hypocrisy. And while it's debatable which commandments of the First Table of God's Law necessitate more or less sincerity, it's clear sincerity is essential to the First Table in a way it isn't to the Second.

For the civil magistrate to forbid mothers and the Planned Parenthood ghouls they hire from slaughtering little babies does not require the mother to feel good about not murdering her baby...


R2K: If you're gonna outlaw baby slaughter, you gotta outlaw Moslems, Roman Catholics, and Jews...

I don't want to direct anyone to Darryl Hart's blog, but here's a short exchange Darrell Todd Maurina just had with Darryl Hart that is so typical of R2K men that I deposit it here for permanent reference. As always, they claim that any law that enforces any one of the Second Table of God's Moral Law requires the civil magistrate also to enforce the laws of the First Table of God's Moral Law. Thus they claim the man who wants the civil magistrate to prohibit the wholesale slaughter of the unborn (abortion) must also shutter every Islamic mosque, Roman Catholic cathedral, and Jewish synagogue...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms theology (VIII): Machen was a culture warrior...

Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.

- J. Gresham Machen *

Any movement's claims of lineage should be examined with a critical eye for the legitimacy of those claims. Because someone is writing history doesn't mean he's writing history.


Can you see the real me me me me me...

A friend forwarded me this statement by Mr. Matthew Tuininga, an Escondido man who promotes Horton, Hart, and VanDrunen's Radical Two-Kingdom (R2K) error. Listing the following three propositions, Tuininga follows them with a declaration that leaves the reader wondering whether Tuininga's been out in the desert eating mushrooms for the past decade:

the Magistrate is subject to both tables of God’s law
the Magistrate is subject to the authority of God’s Word
the Magistrate is ordained to advance the kingdom of Christ

I’m not aware of any two kingdoms theologian who would dispute the first two points.

Maybe awareness is not Mr. Tuininga's strong suit? For the life of me, I can't fathom the man thinking he could get away with this statement...


The difference between pro-life and anti-antiabortion...

If there’s one thing I have been convinced of over the years, it’s that some Pro Life® organizations try balancing an apparent allegiance to God’s “no” with a false notion of propriety. I say “balance," but what it comes down to is that some of these organizations absolutely will not ever say “no,” but then they’ll tell you “no!” when you actually say God’s “no”…you know?

Saying God’s “no” is antithetical to the peace they enjoy, but their peace is only what the world has to offer. God's "no" disrupts the equilibrium of an otherwise airy existence...

But then when someone else says God’s “no," it draws attention to the fact these Pro Life® groups won't say "no," and it’s embarrassing, really. Why they refuse to say “no” is quite principled, we’re assured; but I think it boils down to the following:

  • A false sense of propriety, and
  • Self-preservation

Some may balk at my number two, but keep in mind that there is no Pro Life® movement unless abortion continues. There are ministries and careers to preserve—not just babies. But more, no one wants to give money to organizations that are impolite. These groups need our money for their salaries.

Take, for instance, Oklahoma's Holy Innocents Foundation (HIF), a group dedicated to the adoration of the Eucharist on behalf of the unborn...


Inflammatory rhetoric in the abortion debate...

The Question

Recently somebody posed the following question:

[Why] this incessant interest in abortion? Inviting speakers to preach in church and on the IU campus about "abortion holocaust" and using words like "murder," "killing," "infanticide," "slaughter" routinely in its teaching? ...this kind of constant inflammatory rhetoric is going to take a toll on members and encourage anti-social behavior and criminal acts.

It's a worthwhile question to answer regardless of who is asking it, and the description of the outcome certainly resonates right now. As I answer the question, I'm writing to Christians. In other words, I'm going to assume that we are in agreement about a lot of important things.

First, let's clarify and intensify the question by replacing "anti-social behavior and criminal acts" with the word 'sin.' "Anti-social behavior" in this context means "behavior I don't like," and we aren't worried about that as Christians. "Criminal acts" are more problematic because we know from 1 Peter 2:13-17 that the civil authority has been given to us by God and that we are to obey him. Still, we also know in the post-60's United States that there is a time and a place for civil disobedience. Since most Christians agree there is a time for civil disobedience, let's not muddy the waters with an ambiguous term like "criminal acts" right now.

So here's the question I want us to focus on: are we actually encouraging people to sin by our use of inflammatory rhetoric?

Now we could argue that describing the rhetoric as inflammatory is begging the question, but let's accept that calling abortion "murder" is inflammatory. You can't say anything true about abortion without being inflammatory and this isn't because it's a politically charged issue; it's because it's a morally charged issue. Abortion is one of the most evil practices man has ever devised, and the vast majority of us have been directly involved in this evil. The rest of us...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (VII): Civil magistrates are elders and they need a pastor, too...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

So with many other exhortations (John the Baptist) preached the gospel to the people. But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done... - Luke 3:18, 19

Engineers rock when it comes to bridges, elevators, and making sure the van is ready for the family vacation. But pastoral care and the application of God's Word to the messies of life? Not so much; the boy needs help. They can be so fixated on specifics that there's no broader picture. Once I served a church with a session of engineers. One of them wasn't just an engineer, but his company had him engineering halfway between quality control and customer service. We loved one another but sometimes he drove us crazy.

With engineers, the work is always definition, demarcation, and proper process towards the single goal of perfection. There's nothing in between right and wrong, risk is always to be avoided, and that's that. So a helpful way to understand the error of R2K is to think of it as an engineer's hat chart for Christian witness. There's this but absolutely not that for now (but not then) when A and B have both occurred within three days of C and Person Number One is wearing his tall hat. If it's a short squat hat, though, that changes everything.

So, for instance, here's how a Radical Two Kingdom church officer (pastor) tries to explain to the public why he went ahead and accepted an invitation to open the U.S. House of Representatives in prayer...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (VI): To be rid of the burden of confessing Christ...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

In an essay critiquing R2K that ran¹ in the latest issue of Mid-America's journal for scholars, Cornelius Venema writes:

For those who advocate the two kingdoms perspective [R2K], human conduct in the common kingdom of life and culture is the same for believer and unbeliever alike. The two kingdoms perspective, therefore, liberates Christians from the burden of having to find a distinctively Christian way of living in the “common kingdom.” ...Unlike (those who call) for the transformation of human life under the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the two kingdoms project promises a far simpler, less pretentious and burdensome view of the vocation of human beings within the framework of the common kingdom of God.

Which being interpreted simply says the R2K man breathes a deep sigh of relief and calls out to his R2K playmates "Allee, allee in-free!" Surveying the minefields they would have had to walk as followers of Jesus Christ at work, in the university classroom, inside the courtroom, at the statehouse, in the cafeteria, on FB, and in the coffee shop when everyone else was confessing sodomite marriage, they found a principle to allow them not to confess Scripture, God's Law, Creation sexuality, manhood and womanhood; in short, a principle allowing them not to confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (V): For love of the sheep...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'To An Unknown God.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you." - Acts 17:22, 23

Notice in Athens the Apostle Paul picks the idols on every streetcorner to focus his call for repentance. There is the gap in the wall and there he stands preaching the Gospel.

The most frequent attack R2K men make against Baylyblog is that we have only one thing on our minds. But is it really us or is it the world? Who chose this hill—did we or did they?

There's a reason one of my favorite orthodox Roman Catholics (I have no favorite liberal Roman Catholics), E. Michael Jones, refers to the demons of our time as "monsters of the Id."

Our battleground is sexuality. That's the gap in the wall that needs to be defended in our time. Back in 1979, I was on the pastoral staff of First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, Colorado for a year's internship prior to seminary and one day the senior pastor there, Bob Oerter, asked a question during staff meeting: "Why are we always talking about the sin of homosexuality rather than gossip or greed or adultery?"

Bob was a wonderful senior pastor and I thank God for my time under his leadership. When he asked this question, I thought about it for a while. We did seem to be guilty as charged—why were we always talking about homosexuality rather than other sins?

{C}


Chris Broussard on Jason Collins...

The question is whether Jason Collins is right to claim the Christian faith in support of his sexual immorality? ESPN's Chris Broussard gives a straightforward Biblical answer. True, he makes no appeal to natural law, but this sort of witness is commendable and Reformed men should support it. (Thanks, Steve M.)


God never stops speaking (although we wish He would)...

Dear brothers and sisters, would you please read this? And don't get discouraged by confusion in the first half; persevere to the very end.


The heart of our opposition to R2K...

Here on Baylyblog, David and I are pastors first, second, and last. Thus it is our purpose to call men and women who are former gays or lesbians, fornicators and adulterers, those unbiblically divorced alongside gossips and materialists growing old with their first wife to be witnesses to their neighbors and thus to fulfill the law of love.

Sincere Christians willing to obey their Lord in this matter of loving their neighbor by being salt and light ought not to be ridiculed and shamed into silence by professional intellectuals claiming the Name of Christ. We aim to protect them from this abuse. By exposing the Biblical and spiritual—not to mention theological, legal, and historical—errors of R2K, it's our purpose to create a safe space for faithful men and women of God to witness to their Lord without fear of...


Tom Van Dyke and the SCOTUS Amen Corner...

Tom Van Dyke admonishes us not to criticize or work against whatever happens to be the latest, faddish pronouncement of the U.S. Supreme Court. He writes:

“For the record, the 2003 Supreme Court case

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas

declared that bans on sodomy are unconstitutional.  That decision will not be reversed, and no new legislation could pass constitutional muster.  

That issue is over.”

Imagine if prior generations had shared his fatalism and capitulation to the Supreme Court of the United States' (SCOTUS) exercise of raw judicial power.  


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (IV): Sexual sin kills...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

The heart of R2K is their intense work to keep the civil magistrate's authority out of the Christian church and God's authority out of the public square. Some might quibble with the way this is worded but it's undeniable R2K is all about the rigid policing of the boundaries between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Thus "R2K" is an abbreviation for Rigid-Two-Kingdom or Radical-Two-Kingdom.

To most of us it sounds helpful to guard the church against usurpations of ecclesiastical authority by the civil magistrate. John Calvin fought against this in sixteenth century Geneva. He was willing to die in the cause of protecting the authority of the officers of the Church over the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper from Geneva's civil magistrates.

No one wants Hitler's SS guards enforcing the use of patriotic hymns of the Third Reich in Lord's Day worship. No one wants today's public school teachers leading their classrooms in prayer. Like Dad before us forty years ago, David and I don't believe in school prayer because any prayer to any deity among our pluralistic pantheon of gods would be a prayer no orthodox Christian could join in. The melting pot has done its work starting with religion. School prayer has long been dead.

Similarly, David and I don't want the Indiana or Ohio State Police forcing single mothers to baptize their newborn infants as a condition of receiving WIC coupons. We don't hope for the day water cannon are used by Army National Guard...