The two-kingdom resurrection of Christ lacks "policy implications"....

(David) I've been looking through Heidelblog, Modern Reformation and several of Darryl Hart's books trying to discern the dividing lines two-kingdom pastors observe in preaching and shepherding--and after several days of reading I'm more confused than when I began.

How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ's Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God's Law so that the Christian understands God's demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ's? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ's Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?

The two-kingdom concept seems simple enough initially. Two kingdoms: the kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Two forms of authority: divine and eternal; human and temporal. 

In one sense it's elementary, so basic I doubt any Christian would deny it. There are human kings and the King of Glory, kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of God. 

The problem comes in knowing how to deal with the inevitable collisions between kings and kingdoms. When a family hires a gardener, does the gardener have authority over the garden? Certainly. Should the children of the family heed the gardener in the garden? Of course. But when parents say one thing and the gardener says another, who wins? Does gardener authority trump parental authority in the house? Of course not. But what about in the garden?

For most of us, the answer is clear: there are two kingdoms but one lasting King, two spheres of authority but one final Source of authority. We obey the gardener in the garden because our Father tells us to. Parental authority establishes and thus limits gardener authority. 

But in the two-kingdom view of Westminster West things aren't so simple. God rules the house. There His children acknowledge His authority by heeding His Word and actively obeying Him. In the garden things are different. In the garden God rules by providence, expressing His will only by natural revelation. Edicts in the garden flow from the gardener and when the gardener's edicts contradict their Father's express will, though they may seek to alter the gardener edicts, the children may never do so by referring to their Father's will or authority. 

It's as though life is a floor on which the Christian bride dances: there's a secular sphere of the floor where the bride follows the lead of secular authority and a religious sphere where the bride follows the lead of God. Life is a series of crossings. Though the bride hears the music of the religious sphere in the secular portion and longs to return permanently to the squiring of God, as long as the dance floor's divided between eternal and temporal, sacred and secular, God allows His bride to be led by His enemies. 

In Westminster West's two-kingdom view Christ steels Himself to the droit de seigneur of earthly kings over His Bride--a form of suffering His Bride could accept as the cost of discipleship if she only had a good idea of where the limits of her submission lie. But such submission in the absence of any clear explanation of its limits--without any understanding of when and where faith calls us from meek submission into Caesar-defying lives of obedience to our King--is impossible. And no one I've read in the two-kingdom camp seems willing or able to explain where those boundaries lie. 

The situation in the Westminster West camp is so bleak that in a post on Heidelblog entitled "Christ is Lord of All But....", Scott Clark writes:

I don’t think the resurrection, however, has great public policy implications or even implications for how we do science. That wasn’t the point of any of the great redemptive miracles. Nevertheless, as Christians we should insist that the resurrection is a public, historical fact and it should be preached as such. Paul appealed to it in his defense of the faith at Mars Hill, but he didn’t claim that he had peculiarly Christian insights into art or sculpture (other than to imply that idolatry is sin!) or as to exactly how the resurrection worked. He only claimed that it had happened.

Can you imagine it, the resurrection preached as "historical fact" but lacking any "great public policy implications?" How can you divide life so cleanly that the fact that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection has no implications for public policy? Isn't it strange that the earthly kings Herod, Pilate and Caesar deemed the resurrection to have deep implications for their reigns--and feared it? Perhaps Nero's persecution of the Church wouldn't have taken place if only Peter and Paul had been taught by Drs. Clark and Hart.

Comments

Tim Bayly: "Can you imagine it, the resurrection preached as "historical fact" but lacking any "great public policy implications?""

Honestly, no.

But I'd be surprised if Professor Clark is embarrassed by what he said and now wishes to issue a retraction.

Messrs. Bayly & Bayly,

Would you please explain which public policies, as you see it, should change given the truth of the Resurrection of Christ? I suppose I could see you arguing for the Bible effecting public policy in a "Judeo-Christian" way (I might still disagree) but I am curious about the Resurrection itself.

It also seems to me that your analogy puts the earth, un-recreated, un-redeemed, as it is in the same realm as God's Kingdom. Could this be your confusion? Isn't this world going to pass away? Won't it be re-created in the blink of an eye? Isn't it at the resurrection, judgment and Last Day when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord?

It seems to me that your analogy is trying to make things much more simple than they really are, not taking sin into account.

Now, I can appreciate what I see is your pastoral concern; however, I think you might be asking the wrong questions even there but that will have to wait for another time.

AH

Is a public school teacher currently allowed to say that the resurrection is a public, historical fact? If not, the rule against it is an example of where that is relevant to public policy.

If we can look to other countries, a pretty direct implication of the resurrection is that Christians should tell their friends about it. In many Moslem countries, though, converting Moslems to Christianity is illegal. Would a Christian pastor or just a plain Christian in such a country be justified in politicking to try to change that policy?

One might answer "No" on the grounds that we have no record in the Bible of Peter and others trying to lobby the high priest for toleration (I don't count just trying to defend yourself personally when arrested). But that would be wrong. Absence of political activity in the New Testament, like absence of mention of the early Christians having regular haircuts, tells us very little except that it was too minor or too normal to be worth mentioning.

David, if Paul had been sitting in your congregation, he'd never have written Romans 13. You do make it seem as if Nero killed the Christians because they were all up in the emperor's face. They weren't. Paul told them to submit even in the face of great persecution (as Calvin also advised the French Reformed).

Maybe the reason there are no policy implications to the resurrection is that the same apostle who taught the wonder-working power of Christ's rise from the dead didn't think (and he was a Roman citizen no less) there were any.

The way you talk, as if Christians must have an impact and eliminate evil in this world, is to sound like you are postmillennial and think you are really ushering in the kingdom of God. That kingdom will come. I'm convinced of it. But why are you so impatient with the Lord who for now is witholding that ultimate manifestation of his kingdom and requiring Christians to live among the pagans. You really do sound like you want to immanentize the eschaton. Talk about utopian. Is Finney your hero?

Eric, you wrote: "Absence of political activity in the New Testament, like absence of mention of the early Christians having regular haircuts, tells us very little except that it was too minor or too normal to be worth mentioning."

So, are you saying that Scripture is not sufficient then? God forgot to include the political manual?

Also, which subject exactly would a teacher NEED to mention the resurrection in? Are you arguing for a brief line in the history text when they are speaking about the Roman Empire? I don't mean to be blunt but, really? Is that really what you think would be the shift in "public policy"?

Where, in your view, do we identify with Christ in sufferings? Isn't that what the Scriptures teach us to expect when we share our faith? Where do we get the implication that we should somehow construct a Christian America?

I am just curious about your line of reasoning and from where you are drawing it. Like I mentioned above, it seems that it is at the blow of the 7th trumpet that the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord.

I just haven't heard that trumpet blow yet. Have you?

AH

So now we do theology not on the basis of what God's Word actually says but on the basis of what the Baylys think Pilate and Herod must have thought?

Okay. Good to know the new principium cognoscendi.

>Okay. Good to know the new principium cognoscendi.

An improvement in Clark commentary, no references to lame 60s sitcoms.

R. Scott Clark: "So now we do theology not on the basis of what God's Word actually says but on the basis of what the Baylys think Pilate and Herod must have thought?"

I would hope that this is an accidental and unintentional mischaracterization of what the Baylys have been arguing.

Eric:

Thank you for straightforward and cogent examples. We might also add:

Rulers would no longer lord it over their subjects, as the pagans do.

Rulers would rule as men who are themselves under authority.

Ah, you wrote:

>> Isn't this world going to pass away? Won't it be re-created in the blink of an eye? Isn't it at the resurrection, judgment and Last Day when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord? <<

So anything which is going to pass away cannot be governed or done in a distinctively Christian manner? Schools will pass away, therefore there is no distinctively Christian way to do school (not to say there is a _single_ correct way to do school, but that Christians ought to do schooling in a way that is different than the pagans). Writing books will pass away, therefore there is no distinctively Christian way to write books. I think there is a problem with the principle here.

Dr. Hart:

Thank you for cheering my day by mentioning "immanentizing the eschaton." My inner Voegelin rejoices.

Exercise for the reader. Find the error in this reasoning:

Jesus teaches us that we should submit to those in authority over us (Romans 13). Therefore, when Christians are rulers they ought rule no differently than enlightened pagans.

Sincerely,

David,

Where does Romans 2 fit into your equation? Essentially, the principle I am using is that Christ's kingdom is NOT of this world. That's my point.

I think you recognize this tension yourself when you back off on THE way to do school. I mean, if there is a "Christian way" then please enlighten us and show everyone else that they are wrong. Now, I certainly believe that I have responsibilities, as a parent, to raise up my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If I write a book, I have the responsibility to be honest (then again, I think all people do...that's not a problem for me, see Romans 2). If I do any work, I ought to do it as a Christian and, therefore, to the glory of God. But to say these things and then turn around and say, "Therefore, the country ought to be governed Christianly" is to make a leap in logic that I don't think you can make. Again, Jesus clearly stated that his kingdom is NOT of this world.

I don't know how much clearer Jesus could be. Maybe Paul misunderstood him and should have told the people to picket and rise up against higher taxes and persecution. He must not have gotten the memo.

Again, I haven't heard the 7th trumpet. This nation isn't Christ's - no nation is. It's all the city of Man and it is passing away. Period. We are not called to Christianize it - we are called to make disciples and teach them to observe what Christ has commanded.

Where has Christ commanded that this country should be run in a distinctive Christian manner?

AH

"ti's all the city of Man and it is passing away. Period. We are not called to Christianize it"

Is it possible that this is the disconnect? Who said that giving folks the gospel and standing against evil in the secular sphere are mutually exclusive.

In fact, there is a lot of fruit in meeting people where they are at a moment of crisis in their lives when they feel their need for a savior most (i.e. abortion clinics, prison ministries etc.)

In fact, many people, especially men will see Christians standing for right in the secular sphere and see the sincerity of the Gospel more than in a typical American church, if they ever wander into one. Men know, instinctively, that they were made by God to stand against evil, when they see it done by Christians it resonates with us and we are ripe for the Gospel.

-Clint

Clint,

Yes, Yes, Yes! We stand, we witness, pastors preach! That's the point. We don't try to legislate Christianity. You are right on target with what I am saying - and what Christ said. The kingdom of the USA is not his kingdom - the church is the City of God. And we operate by God's word and we witness to the world in what we do.

The original blog is about political policy, which is where I disagree. I agree with Christian honesty and Christian witness and even Christian schools. But forcing the resurrection to be that which makes public policy is attempting to establish something on earth that isn't here yet and won't be until the trumpet sounds.

AH

David, it is amazing to me how you and Tim can be so direct and blunt in some of your posts, but then when you are asked questions, you are coy and respond with tests about how we reason.

So I'll bite: if Christians ought to rule differently from pagans, which seems to be the point of your exercise, then ought not the United States be under a different political regime. I mean, if the heterodox founders, who didn't have a Reformed world and life view, set up a constitutional, federated republic, then Christians ought to do something moral (compared to the founders' immorality).

But back to the example of your post: if you have it figured out about Christ's rule for the nations, then please explain what the child in your parable is to do. Is the child supposed to obey the gardner when in the garden? Or is the child supposed to obey his parents? (If the gardner is a woman, why did the parents hire her?) I mean, there are problems of contested rule all the time, such as when you are ruling your children at one point as father and another as pastor.

I don't see why this is a problem for 2k any more than Bayly k, unless of course you're obsessed with 2k.

You know, brothers, the entire New Testament world, secular and religious alike, thought it vitally important that Jesus claimed to be King. Pilate and Herod's fears were not assuaged by the fact that Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world.

Stalin asks, "How many divisions does the Pope have?"

"None at all," Professors Hart and Clark reply in chorus, "the resurrection has absolutely no policy implications in your kingdom, O King Stalin."

I've been following this thread, and wondering if people are starting to talk past each other. Some ideas, with the intention of promoting clarity:

First, we would do well to look at some real-life examples of what the 'rule of the righteous' has looked like in practice. In the mid-seventeenth century England was torn apart by a Civil War and then a Revolution whih resulted in Cromwell's regime gaining power for just over ten years. Their attempts to legislate morality, to use a modern phrase, did not last; once Cromwell died, his regime did, and the old regime was restored in 1660 to what can only be called wide acclaim (and with unpleasant consequences for the Puritans who'd supported Cromwell). Along those lines, we could look at how Calvin's Geneva worked in practice. There are things about it we would like; things that at this distance we would probably say, "no thanx, not now". In the nineteenth century Lord Acton was right to observe that "power tends to corrupt".

Second, if we are witnessing and working in the public sphere, we need to have a clearer idea of our priorities. I concur with the Baylys that that means pro-life activism, of whatever form, should be at the top of the list; I think even Darryl Hart might agree with this. I am not quite so sure of where some other issues might lie, such as laws against homosexual behaviour. Some issues, indeed, the whole church can own; others, might really be for individual Christians, such as dealing with poverty, or more precisely its systemic ot structural causes. Some areas we might not own at all, even at an individual's level (environmental activism, perhaps?)

Third, there are many parts of the world where Christians are in no position to engage in the sort of the wider activism we are talking about here, because the cultures in which they live don't really have any Christian background to build on. This debate is only possible in this context, because the Reformed tradition has some real-life examples of Christ and the civil law to look back to. Most other Christian traditions are not quite so fortunate.

I find all this talk about the Resurrection having an impact on government policy akin to Luther's charge of "voyeurism" on the part of those who seek to peer into the privacies of God, in effect wanting to see Him "stark naked."

Anti-2K-ists want the KOG here right now, with no thought whatsoever as to God's timetable, and is really quite presumptive.

The fact is that KOG policy can only be effected through sheer force when not all the subjects are regenerate, hence the eschaton has us seeing a purging of the world of unregenerate dross before the kingdoms of this world become the KOG.

>We don't try to legislate Christianity.

Nobody here is advocating legislation requiring people to affirm the virgin birth or the resurrection. That would be legislating Christianity. Legislation that prevents the murder of infants is not legislating Christianity but simply legislation informed by Christianity.

Some here seem to think that Christianity requires a form of federalism akin to the early days of the Republic. That is genuinely odd for anyone who has acquainted themselves with human history.

Additionally some here don't seem to perceive the difference in our responsibilities under a system of government in which each citizen, to some degree, exercises political power and consequently bears some responsibility, as opposed to Nero's Rome or the France of the de Guise family.

David,

I hate to always differ with people but opposing abortion is not something only "informed by Christianity". That was what I was getting at - that could be a judeo-christian legislation (probably even a Muslim legislation). The resurrection makes no difference there. Furthermore, before we say that explicit Christianity informs such legislation, let's not cut out the atheists who are against abortion. Yes, yes, they are borrowing Christian capital and such but they certainly do not see Christianity as only that which opposes abortion.

Personally, I think that the Kingdom of God is far too radical to impose in this life. I think that it will include throwing unbelievers into hell and providing an eternity of heaven for those who are justified through and united to Christ. That's why it can only come with that 7th trumpet in the second coming of Christ. The best we get is a taste of what is to come as we gather together as God's people and worship.

Does that mean we don't help the poor? Of course not. Does it mean that we don't oppose abortion? Of course not. We are called to be salt and light and preach the gospel...but what we should expect is opposition from Satan and I see nowhere in scripture that we are to try and reform the government according to our understanding of scripture.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the whole transformationalist agenda that is put forth on this blog but it seems to be driven by some theonomic commitments. I wonder if you are sometimes mistaken for theonomists.

>I hate to always differ with people but opposing abortion is not something only "informed by Christianity".

You aren't, I didn't say that. I said it was it was informed by Christianity, not that pagans couldn't oppose it as well.

>I see nowhere in scripture that we are to try and reform the government according to our understanding of scripture

People seem to have a false understanding of what is going on here. Everyone brings an understanding of what is right and wrong to the table in a democracy. The question is what informs your sense of right and wrong? For a Christian this should be simplicity itself, it seems for some 2K types it is a sticky wicket indeed.

Prohibition is an interesting question as anyone promoting it from a Christian point of view would have to recognize their Christian perspective was a very ahistorical perspetive, Christianly speaking. Lewis was right, Islam is the teetotal religion, not Christianity (speaking as a practical teetotaler).

My thanks to David Bayly for helping me understand the differences between 2k and 1k arguments (finally!). Great post.

From what I gather, 2k vs 1k doesn't (necessarily) seem to be polar opposite views so much as a continuum with various points along the line.

I'm curious how Dr. Hart's 2k views affect his opinions across a broad range of public policy, in terms of how he believes Christians should approach them. Does anyone know a blog or maybe one of Dr. Hart's books that would be best to read to understand 2k (and his) views of Christian engagement with politics around us?

5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”

7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

8 Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;

9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

10 So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him,

but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

David Bayly, you quote from Scripture selectively. The ones who condemned Jesus (legally), Pilate and Herod, called Jesus King as a form of mockery. They thought it laughable that this man would be perceived kingly. That is why Pilate says to the crowd, who wanted Jesus killed, and the only grounds they could find was that Jesus was a threat to the Jewish and Roman rulers, "I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him; neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him." Luke 23: 14-16.

I know it helps your cause to regard Jesus as a revolutionary. That's why liberation theologians also find Jesus appealing.

David Gray, so is idolatry not a sin? Don't we want Christianity to influence legislation about religion? Or do you prefer the separation of church and state when it comes to the first table? I mean, if we want to protect abused women and children, don't we want to protect Roman Catholics from the abuse of the gospel?

2kers can play the piety card as well.

>David Gray, so is idolatry not a sin?

Last time I checked.

>Don't we want Christianity to influence legislation about religion?

Historically Western nations have had blasphemy laws. Were they all in error?

Asserting a particular doctrinal position, such as requiring a reformed understanding of the 2nd commandment, affirming a belief in the bodily resurrection, etc. is different from forbidding behaviours such as sodomy (which Western nations have historically done), rape, incest, abortion, etc.

>2kers can play the piety card as well.

Seems a clumsy match though...

Darryl,

You are adept at the trick practiced by those who rebel against God's Word of playing the ends against the middle in the hope that the middle will not hold. It's the old feminist trick, for instance, of asking, "So is a woman forbidden forever and on any occasion to speak in the Church? After all, God calls for them to remain silent."

I don't have to call for the state to execute Servetus as a pastor to call the state to stop killing infants using my pastoral authority. But you use Calvin with Servetus to argue against me with abortion just as you use Machen on prohibition to support your own silence before the state on abortion.

You have a curious inability to discern and to make distinctions.

Sincerely in Christ,

David

Darryl,

While this might not play well in the PCA world, NT Wright has demonstrated quite convincingly that the advent, death and resurrection had devastating implications for the existing political orders. Whether or not Pilate recognized it - does it matter? The Jews didn't know they'd killed their own Messiah until the scales fell off their eyes at Pentecost, and whaddyaknow, the Sanhedrin kicks off a persecution of a rival cultus. I'm pretty sure they didn't know they were scattering the seeds of the new kingdom by doing so either.

I think the idolatry question is interesting and you rightly point it out as a difficulty - but I think your forefathers in Pennsylvania gave us at least a starting point when their 1776 constitution limited the religious test to belief in Jesus as the divine son of God and to the belief in the Old and New Testaments. I'm willing to start here and wait until the Church is in full agreement to proceed further fully acknowledging that I have no idea when that will happen. Perceptions to the contrary, we postmils aren't in a rush.

The overwhelming message I receive from Darryl Hart and his 2-kingdom men is that they're an exotic species of Reformed men no other period in history would understand; but fat evangelicals wanting to escape shame and suffering and persecution today, here in the Western world, understand perfectly. And either we hate their arguments because we find them so appealing to our fatness and complacency, or we love them because we find them so appealing to our fatness and complacency.

Now some will cry "Unfair! That's no doctrinal argument! You're saying this is a matter of character and avoiding the (chop) logic of their position."

Yes, precisely. I smell a rat and I don't like rats. Anything that assuages my conscience in my indifference to the poor and the oppressed and the sojourner in our midst and the innocents whose blood is being shed and those suffering from injustice, as well as to my own lies and greed, is at war with my soul.

2-Kingdom men say their doctrine does no such thing, and that my doctrine is rehashed social justice/sentimental liberalism. It's not.

Here's how I summed up this argument to our David's Mighty Men meeting this morning:

1 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. 2 And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. 5 And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” 6 And they could make no reply to this.

7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10 “But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ 19 “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20 “Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ 21 “And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 “And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 ‘For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”

25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:1-35, NAS95).

Pray the Father of all mercies will give you and me ears to hear, brothers.

Love,

Jesus is the King of kings, whether the kings recognize it or not. All states fulfill their religious duty to Him by wielding the sword--rightfully or wrongfully--at every time and place.

A king will answer for the moral perversion that he did not stop through his laws. The dilution of responsibility might help citizens wash their hands of their servitude to the King, but God is not so easily deceived. If a king lets an innocent die unjustly, will he not answer for it? It is no different for a citizen of a "liberal democracy."

"Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

After why did Paul say that the state bears the sword?

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Tim wrote: "I smell a rat and I don't like rats."

Wow. I hope your love for the poor is better than your love for the brethren. Seriously, this is sickening. Maybe you were joking but maybe not.

As a 2k kind of person I don't think that it leads, in the least, to assuaging my conscience regarding the unborn who are being slaughtered, the poor on the streets or anything else. I believe that I have a Christian responsibility to care for those who come across my path, Good Samaritan style. I am even willing to go out of my way to help those who are in need. I support the local clinic that is against abortion. I vote my conscience when it comes to these things.

BUT, I stop short of saying that we, as Christians, are supposed to somehow work to take over the legislature because this is what God tells us to do. Being involved in culture is certainly our calling; transforming culture to make it "Christian" I don't see that call in scripture. Maybe Paul missed it. Maybe they should not have submitted to Roman authorities.

Maybe Paul meant to say, "get enough Christians so we can overthrow the government and establish a righteous regime...then we won't have to love our savior to the point of death."

I don't get you, your brother or STILL understand which public policy would be effected by the Resurrection, specifically. Maybe we stop linking death and taxes? That's a thought.

Your version of Christianity is just too tame. Unless you were willing to put to the sword all unbelievers, idolaters, etc I just don't think you can be consistent.

In the end, I want the world you seem to want...I just know that it isn't going to be in THIS world. That doesn't free me from loving and caring for the least of these. I don't THINK that is what Dr. Hart is arguing for; rather, it means that I do care for them as I can but I don't expect the kingdoms of this world to somehow become the kingdom of Christ until the last day.

Maybe I misunderstand your position. Maybe I misunderstand Dr. Hart's. Regardless, this is my position.

David Gray wrote: "After why did Paul say that the state bears the sword?"

Exactly. Paul told them this even about an unrighteous, ungodly, idolatrous government. So, Paul could say this about the USA as well as North Korea, right? His point wasn't that we ought to work to change the regime but that we submit to the authorities over us and submit to the suffering we might face because of them. They will answer to God just as we will.

>His point wasn't that we ought to work to change the regime but that we submit to the authorities over us and submit to the suffering we might face because of them.

Actually his point in that passage was neither of those things but rather what was the ordained function of government. What about when we are the government?

>BUT, I stop short of saying that we, as Christians, are supposed to somehow work to take over the legislature because this is what God tells us to do.

Is this what a return to, say, pre-1960 US law on abortion would mean?

>>Tim wrote: "I smell a rat and I don't like rats."

>>Wow. I hope your love for the poor is better than your love for the brethren. Seriously, this is sickening. Maybe you were joking but maybe not.

Dear Mr. Haine,

The rat I smell is logic purportedly coming from the Reformers, tempting me to confirmation in my cold-heartededness.

Love,

David Gray,

Your points are good, though I think that Paul WAS teaching the Christians at Rome to submit to the authorities over them - even though they were ungodly and would persecute them.

You ask, "what about when we are the government?" I am not sure who the "we" is in this sentence. Are you meaning that somehow America is Christian - either now or in the past? Do you mean the "we" to be the church? Or, are you supposing it in a "we the people" sort of way?

I suppose I would ask what next? I mean, is this just about repealing abortion? Do we then pass laws regarding the Sabbath observance, anti-gay, pro-Protestant (and so, anti-Catholic AND anti-evangelical)?

I guess I have no problem standing for the rights of the unborn but I don't see that as something peculiar to Christianity...just read the Manhattan Declaration. There's all kinds of heretics that signed that (not all the signers were heretics).

Tim,

Don't ever be confirmed in cold-heartedness. Maybe you have had more personal contact with Dr. Hart than I have. Maybe you know that the 2K view means we don't care about the poor or the unborn. I don't. I think that a 2K view is compatible with caring for culture, as an individual.

The problem is with the transformational view of culture - as though we are called to work to transform this world for Christ, either to prepare for his return or to actually bring it about.

Don't be cold-hearted to the poor or to your brothers in Christ, I would say, preach the Gospel (I think you're a pastor, right?), point people to Christ, equip the saints for the work of the ministry. None of that implies transforming culture.

I look forward to more interaction on this blog!

>I think that Paul WAS teaching the Christians at Rome to submit to the authorities over them

I agree, just not in that passage.

>I am not sure who the "we" is in this sentence.

It is the nature of our government that nearly all adult citizens exercise political power. This is not true in Nero's Rome.

>I suppose I would ask what next? I mean, is this just about repealing abortion?

No.

>Do we then pass laws regarding the Sabbath observance, anti-gay,

Historically that has been true in much of the West. Examining the historical practice of Christians is one of the things that shows problems with this form of 2K, it has little precedent in the church's understanding. Sort of like premillenial dispensationalism.

>pro-Protestant (and so, anti-Catholic AND anti-evangelical)?

Laws address behaviours, not beliefs or attitudes. So the law doesn't need to require people to affirm that Mary was not sinless.

Yes Albert. Since that is exactly what transformationalists, particularly like Kuyper, believed.

Very thoughtful critique. Ouch. My convictions hurt.

David Gray wrote: "Laws address behaviours, not beliefs or attitudes."

This is precisely why I am uncomfortable with transformational approaches. The law does address beliefs and attitudes...at least the law you are trying to put into practice here. God's Law is what I assume you are going to use as reasons for not allowing abortions or gay marriage. That same law tells us not to worship any other but Yahweh and only in the manner prescribed.

Your transformation is Pharisaical at best and would lead, actually, to the cold-hearted response that Tim Bayly is concerned about, imo.

David Gray, right, legislating against behavior is different from legislating against belief, though belief does lead to worship and bad belief leads to idolatry. So again, if you want to spare the women and children from abusive fathers, why not spare the Roman Catholic women and children from the spiritual abuse of priests by agitating for legislation against Roman Catholicism? Do you not care for all of God's law?

David B., you have a tremendous capacity to write things about me out of complete ignorance of what I say or do. You seem to care a lot about the 6th commandment. How about the 9th?

You may fairly criticize, heap scorn on, make fun of anything I've written. But since you don't know all that I do (though I think the Baylys are becoming a tad obsessed), I believe the Matt. 18 model of accusation is to keep silent.

Tim B., have you ever considered that in your mission to expose fatness and complacency you may be a tad sanctimonious, sort of like the Pharisees who liked to pray and preen spiritually in public? Fatness works both ways, my loving man.

>>have you ever considered that in your mission to expose fatness and complacency you may be a tad sanctimonious...

Yes, of course; like this morning as I wrote the above. But it's a danger intrinsic to preaching--not teaching.

On the other hand, the danger of not pursuing holiness and piety is so much greater. So I try not to hover between two opinions, but choose my poison and not look back.

Love,

Dr. Hart,

I'm curious, what is your opinion of Christians going to war on behalf of the state? Is pacifism an option, or not?

Tim, so you don't care if you misrepresent the views of others, as long as you are on the side of piety and holiness? You actually think it is better to err on the side of self-righteousness? And you guys think Clark has a problem with Pharisaicalism?

Bill, I generally follow just war theory on Christians serving as soldiers. In fact, I think Luther's tract about soldiering is remarkably wise. But I respect those Christians who for conscience's sake cannot serve. And I also have my own problems with the history of U.S. engagement in war. I still think we should have heeded our first president's advice and avoided entanglement in European politics.

>>Tim, so you don't care if you misrepresent the views of others...

Dear Darryl,

High humor you accusing anyone else of this. As for accusing your system of Pharisaism, I can't get you to differentiate between my brother and me. To simplify matters for you, though, I'll now say yes, this 2-K thing has Pharisaism written all over it.

Has nobody ever accused you of Pharisaism, before? Seems like the proper charge to lay against a system that specializes in the sort of close distinctions related to social justice and whose responsibility it is that are your forte.

Of course, David and I have been accused of Pharisaism for many years, now, so you're in bad company.

Love,

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