Slavery was the context for the birth of the spirituality of the church rubric, and thus the R2K (Radical Two Kingdoms) error...

In the deep South, Reformed people were adamantly opposed to any interference with the practice of black slavery and emphasized aspects of the tradition that favored confining the activities of the church to strictly "spiritual" issues. -George Marsden

(Tim) Where did R2-K Normative Withdrawalists come from? They like to claim the Apostolic Age, but the Apostles were persecuted and died at the hands of the civil magistrate, and it wasn't for their ministry of the Word and Sacrament during Lord's Day worship services. Certainly they can't trace their lineage back to Calvin's Geneva or Knox's Scotland. And they themselves deny a Puritan blood line and much of any affinity for Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards.

Some try to trace it back negatively, claiming it's the necessary lesson to be learned from certain errors of those who have given themselves to Christ's command to clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Men feeding the hungry and clothing the naked in the past were Quakers or suffragettes or Arminians, so there you have it: doctrinal heterodoxy proves the danger of Christians joining together to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

Or it's bad when the church does it. Or bad when the pastor of the church does it. Or bad when the church and the pastor and the church officers do it. Or bad when someone preaches the necessity of doing it on a blog. Or bad when someone says its still normative today--the feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, that is--in such a way as to call into question justification by grace alone...

Or bad when someone commands it in such a way as to paint men who are R2-K Normative Withdrawalists in a bad light, causing them to be misunderstood.

Sorry for the imprecision of that paragraph, but I'm groping in the dark for precisely what it is that R2-K men are so dead set opposed to, leading them to condemn those moralists and pietists and theonomists and deacons and simple-minded ministers who believe in Christians feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

Yes, I know these men will consider such characterizations of their position to be unfair, but speaking for myself, I'd run into this spirituality-of-the-church normative withdrawal long before I'd read Darryl Hart or heard of Pastor Clark. From way back then, it's been clear it's a cultural and character issue--the kind of cultural and character issue the Apostle Paul and Calvin and Luther and Knox dealt with all the time, doctrinally.

Maybe I'm not quite where others are in this discussion? I can't agree to leave the R2-K Normative Withdrawal men alone if only they'll stop condemning the historically Reformed men for preaching and teaching and practicing the works that please God. Seems crystal clear that we must feed the hungry and clothe the naked as we preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments (while allowing for Biblical specialization in those callings, of course).

But back to our question: if the R2-K Normative Withdrawal/Spirituality-of-the-Church error is not to be traced back to the Apostles or Calvin or Knox or Edwards, where is its origin?

Here's the dean of American church historians, George Marsden:

Prior to the nineteenth century, questions concerning social reform had not been conspicuous, divisive issues. Until that time almost all the Reformed groups seem to have been working on the basis of a vaguely formulated, but deeply entrenched, tradition that, ideally, the religion of a nation should be exclusively Reformed. So they assumed that being Reformed accordingly involved transforming the moral ethos and legal system of a people so that it should comport with God's law. ...By the early nineteenth century, however, these Reformed principles had to be translated to fit a pluralistic and democratic situation. The question therefore became that of how much emphasis the Reformed Churches should put on shaping the legal structures of a society they did not otherwise control. Was it not the case that the true mission of the church was to proclaim a pure gospel and be a model moral subcommunity within the larger community, leavening it rather than attempting to legislate morality for all?

Finding answers to these questions was complicated by the fact that sometimes the resolution to moral issues could have as much to do with where one stood politically as it did what theological principles one held. Thus, whereas regarding Sabbath observance most nineteenth-century Reformed groups could unite in supporting legislation, on the issue of slavery they were sharply divided. Moreover, opinions on the slavery issue varied strikingly with geography. In the deep South, Reformed people were adamantly opposed to any interference with the practice of black slavery and emphasized aspects of the tradition that favored confining the activities of the church to strictly "spiritual" issues. In New England, by contrast, Reformed Christians often took the lead in insisting that the churches should unrelentingly urge the state to enact immediate emancipation. In the upper South and the lower North, opinions were more varied and often more nuanced. New School Presbyterian leaders, having New England connections, were typically moderate antislavery types, while the Old School sided with the theologically conservative South in wanting to sidestep this and other social reform issues. (George Marsden in Southern Reformed Theology)

The R2-K Normative Withdrawal/Spirituality-of-the-Church position is a late innovation in the Reformed church, able to be located with great geographical specificity. It's lineage is traced back to the slave-holding South during the lead-up to the Civil War. As we argue whether this theological innovation is good or bad (and you know I think it's bad), it's essential we know whence it came.

Don't misunderstand me. I believe states had a constitutional right to secede. The compact states entered was voluntary. Further, even at this late date, I'm firmly committed to the Tenth Amendment.

I don't think Scripture outlaws slavery of every kind. I don't think the slavery of the south at the time of the Civil War was all of one fabric. It's clear the Union victory in the Civil War is the necessary context for the loss of almost any submission to the Tenth Amendment by our non-federal government today, as well as any authority or power of the states to countermand the feds. This loss of authority and power paved the way for the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out the laws of all fifty states against abortion in Roe. v. Wade. (And if I can trivialize the matter for just a second, I resent the homogenization of our nation, culturally, that's a consequence of a number of things, but most certainly the feds' relentless exercise of power. Atlanta's gone and Birmingham and Jackson are falling.)

President Lincoln is no hero of mine, and yet I feel a deep resonance with these words from his Second Inaugural Address:

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

I've hesitated bringing up this context of the present debate because it's almost as difficult to discuss the Civil War and slavery as it is to discuss the Christian Palestinians, today. But Dr. Hart is right, continually pointing us back to history as we engage in this present debate. Our disagreements are substantive, and it's impossible to understand them without looking at our southern Presbyterian brothers' approach to slavery and the Civil War.

To attribute this argument solely (or even primarily) to the eighteenth century's Old School/New School division doesn't quite get to the nub of the issue.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Assuming I am understand the issues in debate. The sort of issues you bring up weren't restricted to the south, or indeed to Presbyterianism:

* The apartheid system in South Africa was supported for years by the local Dutch Reformed Church, until it dawned on them - helped by a thoroughly flawed Reformed minister called Allan Boesak - that apartheid wasn't nearly as godly as they'd thought.

* Remember that the SBC was formed in 1845 in part as a split with northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. Later, Southern baptistic fundamentalists were especially anti civil-rights. Philip Yancey used to be one of these; which might explain a few things.

OK - have finally realised the common factor: it was that in both cases the church of the time, Reformed or otherwise, had let itself be conformed to the culture it was placed in, rather than witnessing *against* the culture. worse, in both cases they provided a false justification from Scripture for what was happening in the culture.

Amen to the above. I would only add that there also was, given the nature of the cases, a goodish bit of schizophrenia going. Gardiner Shattuck's book, A Shield and Hiding Place, has a good discussion of the dilemma the Southern Presbyterians were in during the war -- Thornwell, Smyth, et al. They fully supported the Southern cause, but they had to do so in a way that kept the political and ecclesiastical issues radically distinct, without looking like they were half-hearted in the war effort. This is an impossible feat to manage under the best of conditions and, just like then, we are not living under the best of conditions. They wanted to keep their engagement in both realms, grounded differently. Their modern heirs have construed their duties such that surrender in the realm outside the church becomes acceptable. One way to relieve the tension, I suppose. The other is to abandon the unhistorical and un-Reformed doctrine of the spirituality of the church.

Tim Bayly asks: "But back to our question: if the R2-K Normative Withdrawal/Spirituality-of-the-Church error is not to be traced back to the Apostles or Calvin or Knox or Edwards, where is its origin?"

Tim Bayly answers: "The R2-K Normative Withdrawal/Spirituality-of-the-Church position is a late innovation in the Reformed church, able to be located with great geographical specificity. It's lineage is traced back to the slave-holding South during the lead-up to the Civil War."

Wow. I don't even know if the R2K'ers are aware of this. If they did, don't you think they'd be ashamed of themselves?

Checking on Darryl Hart's blog, I've learned that he's aware of the lineage of R2K. He was asked by Vern Crisler:

"Daryl, I understand your concerns about theocratic politics — and I agree — but isn’t there a danger of going to the opposite extreme of Thornwellism? I have your book on order, so you may have answered this already.

James Thornwell

“In the first place, we would have it distinctly understood that, in our ecclesiastical Capacity, we are neither friends nor the foes of slavery, that is to say, we have no commission either to propagate or abolish it. The policy of its existence or nonexistence is a question which exclusively belongs to the state. We have no right, as a church, to enjoin it as a duty or to condemn it as a sin.”

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1124"

Darry Hart's three part answer:

(1) So Vern, what do you do with Wilson’s apology for slavery that he co-authored with Steve Wilkins? I wonder if the Baylys have considered this when cozying up with Wilson.

(2) Vern, on which moral/political questions should the church speak? Only the really big ones, or about all forms of unrighteousness that humiliate a nation? When you start down this road — just take a look at the Larger Catechism on the Decalogue — its a long one.

(3) Vern, you have to understand that it is pretty easy to score points on the obvious enormity of slavery. But it would also help to admit that the Great Liberator himself, St. Abe, was not necessarily opposed to slavery and for a long time favored colonization. All of this to say is that what looks so obvious today was not nearly so clear cut in the 19th century (not to mention the consequences of immediate manumission.

I also wonder what either of you would say about Paul’s counsel to Philemon, or Christ’s healing of the Centurion’s slave in Luke 7. It doesn’t look like Christ and the apostles thought slavery was as wicked as your comments suggest. I know, there are different kinds of slavery. But you don’t seem to be saying that some forms are okay and others are not. In today’s moral certainty, that would be like saying some forms of spousal abuse are tolerable.

None of this is to suggest that I believe slavery is good, that the treatment of African-Americans has been laudable, or that Christians in the nineteenth century were seriously misguided on race. In fact, I think questions of race have much greater moral weight than the institution of slavery. Which is why slavery is gone but the conditions of African-Americans is still troubling.

But I would caution you against grandstanding about slavery without putting your own cards on the table about biblical teaching.

>So Vern, what do you do with Wilson’s apology for slavery that he co-authored with Steve Wilkins? I wonder if the Baylys have considered this when cozying up with Wilson.

OK, I may have overestimated Dr. Hart, that is a bizarre statement for a historian. On the other hand nobody is perfect.

Okay, I was, and remain, bone tired when I called for a truce! Right now; I'm fighting not flesh and blood but principalities and powers in the life of our church.

Dear Ken

We'll pray for you, dear brother.

Love in Christ,

Tim, Well, here's a quote from your friend Doug Wilson on Slavery:

"When we turn to individuals and families, the situation is very different. The abolitionists maintained that slave-owning was inherently immoral under any circumstance. But in this matter, the Christians who owned slaves in the South were on firm scriptural ground. May a Christian own slaves, even when this makes him a part of a larger pagan system which is not fully scriptural, or perhaps not scriptural at all? Provided he owns them in conformity to Christ's laws for such situations, the Bible is clear that Christians may own slaves.

'Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing... (1 Tim. 6:1 4a).'

"The slavery of Rome was anti-scriptural, and because of the evil of the slave trade, the larger system of slavery in the South was certainly sub-scriptural. Nevertheless, the Bible prohibits us from saying that slave-owning in such contexts is sin.

"The Bible teaches that a man may be a faithful Christian and a slave-owner in a pagan slave system. If he owns slaves, then Scripture does put a series of requirements on him, which the church of Christ may and must insist upon."

Now do you suppose that Doug Wilson is a spirituality of the church guy?

The problem you are having here is the basic Kuyperian distinction between what Christians may do versus what the church as an institution must do. The spirituality of the church doctrine has always insisted that the church must have a thus sayeth the Lord for what she does in her corporate, official capacity. Otherwise, you're left with the Lutheran or Anglican view of doing anything as long as the Bible does not forbid it.

In which case, Wilson is raising the question of whether the church has a thus, sayeth the Lord to oppose slavery. My sense is that Wilson isn't on board with the spirituality of the church. He does want the church, seemingly, to take political stands. But slavery was one he seems to think the church should have sat out.

Tim, one more thing. Excommunication was the context for the spirituality of the church. Calvin wanted the church to determine matters of excommunication, not the city council. He was fine with the state executing those whose sins requiring excommunication were also capital offenses. But Calvin insisted that excommunication was a spiritual matter, not political, and so should be in the hands of the spiritual institution, the church, you know, the one with the two-edged sword, not the kind that cuts.

Your comments are helpful, Darryl. Thanks, and

Love,

Shoot. I forgot to mention one more thing. Anti-slavery was the context for egalitarianism and the ordination of women. After all, to oppose the hierarchy of slavery was the seed for gender egalitarianism. You know, free labor, free soil, free men, working women.

>>You know, free labor, free soil, free men, working women.

Yes, that's why I'd mentioned the suffragettes. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her storm troopers

Darryl, you are right that I am not an advocate of the spirituality of the church, and it is precisely for that reason that the church could have and should have required certain things of her members, whether they were slaves or slaveowners. The church tells people in these categories on Sunday how they must behave on Wednesday. If they don't, then they are subject to the discipline of the church. Right?

You mentioned the Kuyperian problem of the church member and the Christian. But what is the interface between those two? The questions can be difficult, but we at least have one. You are saying that the categories are radically distinct, and yet, when no one is looking, standards from one magically find themselves surfacing in the other. The integration can be difficult, but we believe that integration is what God calls us to. And the only alternative to this integration is disintegration.

Question for Darryl Hart:

How does attacking Doug Wilson help you with understanding and acknowledging Tim Bayly's diagnosis that the genesis of R2K doctrine has its origins in the slave-holding South?

Doug, I appreciate your response and that you did not take my bringing up the slavery book as an attack. I just wanted to spare the Baylys from going all whiggish and thinking that Obama is the coming of the kingdom. I figured their regard for you and then your writing on slavery (endorsed as it was by the very good historian -- not a Christian mind you, ahem -- Gene Genovese) might be the elixir to back the Baylys away from egalitarianism.

To answer you question, I don't have any problem with church discipline, and I do think the church could have disciplined slaveholders, especially for breaking up slave families. But your appeal to the coherence between Sunday and Wednesday doesn't do much for the idea of Christian liberty. Some Christians will be offended by my watching The Wire. Does the church have the power to oversee my video watching? (Should they ask me about it? Yes.) How about if I eat meat offered to idols?

So the appeal to church discipline still doesn't tackle the problem of the limits of Scripture and the freedom granted beyond what Scripture teaches. And unless I'm missing something, I don't think the Bible has a clearly formulated view on health care insurance. As an elder I can't recommend either Obama or the GOP. As an American, frankly, I'm not so sure either.

Darryl Hart: "I just wanted to spare the Baylys from going all whiggish and thinking that Obama is the coming of the kingdom."

??

Darryl, we shouldn't have a position on "health care," as such, other than approving of good health as a general thing. But we can object to the stealing that funds it. Ahab would not have been okay with the prophet if he called what he did to Naboth land reform, or a zoning readjustment.

As to your other point, before the Church can teach the nations, it must learn to distinguish sins from crimes. Prohibition of murder, because God says, it not an outrage. Prohibition of alcohol, because the temperance ladies said, was such an outrage. And that applies even to the drunks, who are sinning with alcohol. In a godly order, not all sins are crimes. In a godly order, most sins are not crimes.

> "Darryl, we shouldn't have a position on "health care,"

But we have to consider if we're funding abortion, euthanasia etc. Few of us have wondered that about our health insurance plans either, even if no non-preaching discipline is appropriate.

If Christians fought various issues on various fronts, even in small ways like opting out of a health insurance plan, a lot of evils could be prevented and Christians would be salt and light.

We shouldn't have a position about health care, but certainly Exodus 20 tells us something about the morality of appropriating someone else's money at gunpoint to pay for someone else's health insurance premiums, no?

Doug Wilson: "Darryl, we shouldn't have a position on "health care,"

Clint Mahoney: "But we have to consider if we're funding abortion, euthanasia etc."

My understanding is that the Health Care plan being considered nowadays in Washington by most Liberals will fund abortion (even though they say it doesn't).

Hence, I care about health care legislation and have a position on it:

NO.

Darryl Hart: "I figured their regard for you and then your writing on slavery (endorsed as it was by the very good historian -- not a Christian mind you, ahem -- Gene Genovese) might be the elixir to back the Baylys away from egalitarianism."

(Puzzled) Are you saying that because the Baylys are anti-Slavery in terms of supporting the Christian witness and Christian actions to abolish slavery, that they are then endorsing egalitarianism?

If so, that's soooOOOOOOO ridiculous.

You should really be ashamed of yourself to try and connect those unrelated dots.

Your credibility is being shredded by your own blog comments.

If the Baylys are egalitarian, by that logic I'm a vegan. :^) I'm guessing dgh is joking there.

Or, rather, he's using the pamphlet of Wilson & Wilkins as an occasion for driving a wedge in the rejection of R2K theology endorsed here. Kinda artful, but I'd still recommend people not waste time with HBO.

Dear Daryl,

It seems to me that you are doing your best to push all of Tim's and David's buttons, but very little to actually give any serious answers. It's also clear that you've put a fair amount of work into the button-pushing. You've read enough of their work to be able to pull out and use Tim Keller, Doug Wilson (in the opposite direction), egalitarianism, and ordination of women to try to get a rise, but it isn't working. Nobody is taking the bait.

-Joseph

Doug, what does the distinction between sin and crime have to do with whether a church disciplines her members for stuff that happens on Wednesday. Are you saying that the church only disciplines sins, but not crimes. But doesn't this get convoluted when the church is instructing the state what are crimes? Is idolatry a crime? Shouldn't the state get rid of idolatry and blasphemy if it is following the decalogue? I have heard second hand that you think Mormons will not have a place in a truly Christian society? So again, what does your distinction between crimes and sins look like on the ground?

Joseph, my sense is that the Baylys can push buttons with the best of them. What isn't clear is how their embrace of folks like Frame for worship, rejection of Keller on women, embrace of Wilson on religion and politics, and rejection of slavery add up to a coherent whole. It looks simply like a bag of buttons, to be pushed at the whim of pastors who sometimes come across as pretty self-righteous.

"We shouldn't have a position about health care, but certainly Exodus 20 tells us something about the morality of appropriating someone else's money at gunpoint to pay for someone else's health insurance premiums, no?"

And giving to Caesar wasn't based implicitly based on force?

"It looks simply like a bag of buttons..."

Does it look like a bag of buttons because, based on your perception of the Bayly's positions, you hold to the exact opposite on all of these? Is this, the perceived opposite position, that which you understand to be the "coherent" whole?

Is it possible that anyone who would disagree with you, using any approach other than the carefully negotiated parlance of the academy, would come across to you as "self-righteous" or "incoherent"?

Darryl, my point about sins and crimes was that just because a church disciplines for sins does not mean that they are agitating for those sins to be made criminal. Just because we have the Bible, which searches every nook and cranny of the heart, does not mean that we want the government to criminalize everything in every nook and cranny of the heart. The line between sins and crimes in the Bible is not a difficult line to draw, and if we were to draw it in our society, a lot more things would become legal, not less. Everybody is afraid of the ayatollah weird beards running our lives, and they fail to recognize that the EPA has recently ruled that when I exhale, the resultant CO2 emissions mean that in principle they govern every breath I take. We have the weird beards now. Throw out the weird beards is my motto.

On idolatry, you have to distinguish between sinful idolatry (St. Paul says that greed is in effect idolatry), but that could never be criminalized, and nobody should try. Public and overt idolatry is a different thing, and the kind of enforcement I have in mind there would be like what recently happened in Switzerland, where they banned the construction of minarets.

Max, Doug Wilson disagees with me and yet I find his position more coherent than the Baylys, who while finding much with which to sympathize in Wilson, would also need to distance themselves from his perspective on slavery and on worship.

And the point about the academy is a nice try at a Limbaughesque put down, but do you see my position being rewarded with a chushy chair in spirituality of the church studies at any secular or Christian institution of higher learning? Teaching a couple of courses as an adjunct doesn't really qualify as academic approval.

Doug, isn't Mormonism public and overt idolatry? So why not picket outside Mormon temples?

And what you say about the Bible allowing us to search the human heart, do you mean to say that as an institution that administers God's word, the church can regulate whether I breath or not to the glory of God? Please say no since a lot of Christians do not approve of second hand smoke.

Douglas Wilson:

I followed you completely and agreed with your last post up until you agreed with the Swiss ban on Minarets - as a ban on "public idolatry". I'm confused as to how you reached this conclusion.

Please elaborate on why banning a certain building-type employed by other religions would be good.

In the theoretical realm it is a difficult question to answer, but in reality it is rather easier.

Thus saith the Lord: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Job 29:12-17 “I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. “The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. “I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame. “I was a father to the needy, And I investigated the case which I did not know. “I broke the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth.”

Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

In other words, the church *must* command her members to oppose abortion in the civil realm.

Maybe that wasn't clear. You wanted a divine imperative so that we wouldn't become Lutherans.

Jesus commands us to "teach them to observe all that I commanded you." The commands to stand up for the innocent, and care for the weak and helpless are *all through* the Bible, and Jesus' teaching. Therefore, part of teaching them to observe everything that he commanded is teaching them not just to offer their homes for adoption, but to *oppose* those who kill the innocent.

Seriously. John the Baptist was martyred for mixing the two kingdoms. Was he wrong?

It's a basic logical error to assert that because the Baylys differ with a number of people on a number of different issues, that there is no coherent doctrine underneath. More or less, it is to confuse practical/applied theology with Biblical and systematic theology.

"Dear Daryl,

It seems to me that you are doing your best to push all of Tim's and David's buttons, but very little to actually give any serious answers. It's also clear that you've put a fair amount of work into the button-pushing. You've read enough of their work to be able to pull out and use Tim Keller, Doug Wilson (in the opposite direction), egalitarianism, and ordination of women to try to get a rise, but it isn't working. Nobody is taking the bait.

-Joseph"

Unfortunately, Mr. Bayly, your post has not stopped Darryl Hart from continually throwing out his bait. Or his bait-and-switch diversionary tactics.

I wonder if his bad-faith rhetoric is due to a sinful pride stubbornly defending the increasingly untenable position in R2K.

Divvy, it sure looks like the Baylys, with all their recent posts on 2k and SOTC have taken the bait -- hook, line, and sinker.

Joseph, it is one thing to hold up the truth -- Christians must avoid drunkenness -- as biblical truth and then to specify what practical steps must proceed from that truth -- Christians must vote for the 18th Amendment. After all, Paul condemned idolatry. For some Christians that meant not eating any meat offered to idols. For other Christians it did not.

Really, the 2kingdom position is trying to do justice to Christian liberty. What I find to be an application of biblical morality may not be what others find to be the case.

What is so radical about that?

Bike Bubba, you may have a point. But isn't it a tad odd that the Baylys will take issue with Clark and me for criticizing Edwards, then shift the debate to abolitionism and the evils of some Presbyterians who did not oppose slavery, and then neglect the fact that Edwards held slaves? I mean, isn't their riff on slavery an indictment of Edwards? But anyone who questions Edwards is defective.

If you can make coherence out of this, I'd sure appreciate the instruction.

Dark Heart: "Really, the 2kingdom position is trying to do justice to Christian liberty. What I find to be an application of biblical morality may not be what others find to be the case."

Then take your own medicine and extend Christian liberty to the 1K'ers instead of initiating and continuing hostilities upon 1K'ers, and all the while seeking to undermine the moral resolve and determination of 1K'ers to protect and save innocent unborn life.

What is so hard about that?

Dear Daryl,

Does God command us to oppose abortion, or simply not to engage in it ourselves?

Mr. or Mrs., Master or Miss TUAD;

Dark Heart? Really?

I know something else besides truth that divides.

Jesse Pirschel,

Yes, really. Let's see if people who dish it out can take it.

Well Miss Truth,

The one dishing it out has a name, a church, a session and a wife to which we can all hold him accountable, you on the other hand hide in the "dark" and wield the sharpest jabs...and I am sure all in the name of God and manliness. Show your face, its the right thing to do if you are going to consign people to being darkened in heart. I will consider you are a lady until such a time as you are willing to use your Christian name. And I dont scrap with ladies.

What gave you the idea that I care what you think?

The testiness of your reply.

Dark Heart: "Divvy, it sure looks like the Baylys, with all their recent posts on 2k and SOTC have taken the bait -- hook, line, and sinker."

Given that you admit to tossing out the bait, I'll take that as a confession that you've initiated hostilities and furthermore, that you are perpetuating the hostilities with your snark remark that they have taken the bait, "hook, line, and sinker."

Dr. Hart,

You wrote:

>>> Really, the 2kingdom position is trying to do justice to Christian liberty. What I find to be an application of biblical morality may not be what others find to be the case. <<<

Could you explain the context in which it could be an application of Biblical morality to:

1) Worship a false God, or
2) Murder an innocent

If not, it would seem that there is no room here for Christian liberty, and no necessity for freedom within the civil law. Your argument makes sense for things like alcohol, where the thing may be used in both a good and evil fashion (of course we have laws against public intoxication, and is that solely because of potential "harm" to others?). But there is no good way to worship idols, just as there is no good way to murder an innocent.

The real question is whether we want to be so unloving to unbelievers that we refuse to use the power of the sword to restrain their evil. If we really loved them, we would tell them no, and try to stop them from doing evil. That's what good rulers and good authorities do, isn't it? Or should rulers be an encouragement to those who do evil as well as good?

Sincerely,

>>The real question is whether we want to be so unloving to unbelievers that we refuse to use the power of the sword to restrain their evil. If we really loved them, we would tell them no, and try to stop them from doing evil. That's what good rulers and good authorities do, isn't it? Or should rulers be an encouragement to those who do evil as well as good?

Precisely.

Love,

"not a Christian mind you, ahem -- Gene Genovese"

And you know this because . . .?

Kamilla, you know, I'm one of those nefarious academics and therefore, am part of the club in which Gene and I are members. He is Roman Catholic and I think he understands Southern Presbyterianism (and Old Schoolers) well enough to know that I would not consider him a Christian on Reformed grounds.

So Tim and David, if it is loving to use the sword to restrain non-believers from sinning, why single out abortion and not also go after idolatry? Do you advocate picketing Roman Catholic churches? I am simply trying to see how far your principle goes, or if, as I think, you are opposed to a real social evil, and are looking for theoretical rationales for the way you oppose it, but then fail to apply that theory to other practical realities.

Joseph Bayly, I do not think God requires me to oppose abortion any more than I am required to oppose any other sin (I assume we are talking about the public square). I am open to instruction on this, say, why I need to oppose abortion in the way that you do (though I do not know your practice and you do not know mine -- all of us are possibly posturing here). Say, for instance, if I were about to volunteer some of my time to the local rescue mission (which I am about to do) and I wrote a lot of posts at my blog condemning churches that do the same, and say you were a church that did not have a soup kitchen, would you not find my condemnation a tad annoying if not self-righteous? Say you yourself did not volunteer at a rescue mission, does that give me a right to condemn you for insensitivity to the weaker brothers among us? Could it be that God's people have a variety of gifts and callings? (This is all beside the theoretical point about whether the church as church is called to engage in politics or social welfare.)

Miss TUAD (thanks for that one Jesse), no admission here. I simply used the language/bait you served up. But please do keep swinging. Once you land one I'll turn the other cheek.

Ah, I thought so.

No being a an "Old Schooler" or Southern Presbyterian, I have the luxury of agreeing with Abp Chaput's recent remark that JFK was wrong.

Kamilla

Dark Heart,

The snarkiness of your replies looks to be evidence of a stung conscience.

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