Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (I): They adore separation of church and state...

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(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.")

I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. --2 Timothy 1:12b

For over a decade, now, liberal men in Reformed denominations such as the PCA, OPC, and URC have fought like dogs to silence any witness by their churches that might look like a salvo in the culture war. Hypersensitive to being perceived as co-belligerents with those simple Christians who still believe in their calling to suffer as witnesses to the Gospel by guarding the good deposit, fulfilling the Church's calling as the pillar and foundation of the truth, and obeying our Master's command to be salt and light, these men demonstrate a cunning servility to the growing decadence of these United States. Wielding millions of words, they work assiduously to cloak themselves in Scripture and the subordinate standards as they scurry about silencing God's Word and Law in the public square.

Since almost no one reads history today, it's been relatively easy for these men to choose tidbits from here and there which are purported to support their project. Few know enough to call them on their revisionism and this is the reason Darrell Todd Maurina's post, "
What is (R)2-K theology and why does it matter..." elicited such endless comments and gnashing of the teeth. R2K men aren't used to having the spotlight turned on their tendentious abuse of church history, the subordinate standards, and the writings of Reformed fathers.

Picking and sorting their way backward through Protestant history..., feverishly searching for support for their queer trade of disengagement, they hit gold with the ante-bellum Southern Presbyterian defense of slavery. Hiding behind that very pious phrase, "the spirituality of the church," it seems not to bother them in the least that this rubric used to defend slavery continues to this very day to cause Reformed doctrine to be a stench in the eyes of godly black Americans. I've been told this myself by a godly black Reformed pastor, and having read Dabney's bio of Stonewall Jackson containing his defense of slavery, I have no difficulty understanding their well-informed position...

My own personal defense is that my ancestors were Presbyterian ministers and elders in Pennsylvania's Adams County who fought with the Union Army and voted Republican.

There's not much across prior centuries of Reformed and Presbyterian history that can be employed in support of R2K. Thus, settling for the best they can find, these modernists have emblazoned across their foreheads the secularists' and abortionists' rallying cry "separation of church and state." The phrase is pig heaven to them. "See," they exclaim, "we told you so! You are enemies of the people! You are opposing our laws and our gods! We're apple pie America and you're a traitor to the motherland! The church is forbidden to speak to the civil magistrate in the good old U S of A—that's the law of our land, you numskulls. How dare you be so unpatriotic as to question the wisdom of our founding fathers! Shut up already! Close your Bibles, go home, and catechize your children. Wait for Sabbath worship. You can have your religion in private, but drop it when you step out of your house Monday morning."

Nevermind that any honest historian recognizes the founding fathers had no intent of gagging the Word of God Written when they wrote and adopted the U.S. Constitution. They respond, "Details, my man; mere details."

Well, as it happens there are a whole lot of such details. As we all know, the U.S. Constitution does prohibit Congress from passing a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” But the constitutions of these United States at the time of the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution had, as Ezra Hale pointed out, "provided for state support of Protestant teachers (New Hampshire), instituted a tax for support of the Christian religion (Maryland), required financial support for public worship of God (Massachusetts), limited certain civil rights to Protestants (New Jersey), required members of the legislature to acknowledge that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by divine inspiration (Pennsylvania), afforded equal rights and privileges to all persons professing the Christian religion (Delaware), refused public office to anyone who denied the being of God, the truth of the Protestant religion, the divine authority of the old or new testaments, or held religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the state (North Carolina), and limited public office only to those who held the Protestant religion (South Carolina)."

Forget all that, though: you won't find any R2K men mentioning such inconvenient truths in their howls at the moon under Darrell Todd Maurina's post. These men are enthusiastic to take the perversion of the Constitution we have inherited these past sixty years or so and run with it because it suits their purpose to a T. Boiled down to its essence, R2K is a bunch of men shaking their fists, yelling the U.S. equivalent of "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!":

"Separation of church and state!"

"Separation of church and state!"

"Separation of church and state!"

It's particularly pathetic that they didn't even start the riot. Teddy Kennedy and the ACLU beat them to it, so the R2K men are humiliated to be only Johnny-come-latelies in this riot aimed at twisting the U.S. Constitution beyond recognition, thereby silencing the spiritual descendants of the Apostle Paul. The only way to tell R2K men apart from the rest of the mob is that they don't bother shouting over by the Roman authorities in order to get their attention. R2K men leave that to others and they've taken up their position over by the Apostle Paul with their coats off and a pile of rocks at their feet. 

R2K is as simple as simple can be. It's just a few loud Reformed modernists working feverishly to hijack Scripture and church history in support of the monsters-of-the-id mob.

And they hope their work of deconstructing two-thousand years of the codification of God's Moral Law will provide a modicum of protection in case the Apostle Paul is able to convince the Roman centurion to allow him to proclaim the Gospel one more time to the frenzied mob. If the Apostle Paul's voice is heard again and it drives the moviemakers and metalsmiths to fury once again, their own commitments should be clear enough to prevent the mob from mistaking them for sympathizers of the Apostle Paul and John the Baptist and Jesus, each of whom lost His head to the civil magistrate.

One way (or ther other) they intend to silence Paul so the mob will calm down and get back to work working metal, carving idols, and making movies that will help to normalize fornication, adultery, divorce, elder-slaughter, feeble-slaughter, unborn slaughter, and sodomite marriage on the way to expanding the project to pedophilia, pederasty, bestiality, and incest a few years down the road.

Ten years ago I sat among these Reformed fearmongerers as they demanded their denomination be silent concerning the sexual perversion of women wearing uniforms as military combatants. Dutiful postmoderns, they showed their utter abhorrence of distinctions. They claimed distinctions between combatants and non-combatants were obsolete in the modern military. They claimed there were no battle zones. They claimed women's physiology was no hindrance in the modern military. They claimed the Old Testament command that women not wear man's clothes was just Old Testament rubbish and certainly not any part of the general equity of God's Law. They claimed the Old Testament curse that "a woman shall rule over them" had nothing to do with sexuality, nothing to do with ruling, nothing to do with life outside the home and church, and certainly nothing to do with the general equity of God's Law. They claimed if the church declared her opposition to women combatants, it would lead, first, to woman combatants being called up on church discipline charges by their session; and soon women who practised contraception and birth control so they could keep their professional salaries would also be called up on charges, and it would all end in the horrible state of affairs in which every wife or daughter of Reformed men would revert to being wallflowers at home posting Facebook updates, drinking chai, and changing diapers.

How do I know all this?

Because I served on a study committee of the PCA General Assembly with these "spirituality of the church" men for several years and it was on that committee I first realized all their sympathies were with the secularist hordes trying to shout down the Apostle Paul and his descendants.

These men were absolutely opposed to even the smallest application of God's Order of Creation of Adam first, then Eve in any place other than private life. The slightest mention of father-rule being given by God in the Garden of Eden in the state of perfection prior to the Fall—and therefore applicable to all human life—made them froth at the mouth. They went rabid. "Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Separation of church and state! God bless America!" they shouted. 

And you know how a thief thinks everyone steals? They never stopped accusing their opponents on the committee of being "dispensationlists." Yup, that's the word they used over and over again. It was the weirdest thing that those of us who argued for the general equity of God's law forbidding cross-dressing were accused of "dispensationalism," over and over and over again. It took me the longest time to get it.

For quite a while I couldn't understand how opposing the abuse of the weaker sex as combatants forced to defend their fathers and brothers could possibly be construed as wanting every woman to sit at home barefoot and burping the baby. Something about the excluded middle.

But at that time I hadn't come to understand the terror these R2K men feel at any possibility of being associated with honest Christians unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, I didn't know most of these men grew up in dispensational, America-love-it-or-leave-it, flag-waving, independent, fundamentalist homes and churches.

Now I understand. 

These men are trying oh-so-hard to leave their childhood behind, and like so many adults trying to leave their childhood behind, they end of recreating it despite themselves. Their childhood hero, Bob Jones, gets it just right when he describes such men as saying to liberals, "If you call me an intellectual, I'll call you a Christian."

R2K men are intellectuals first and Christians second. Yeah, yeah; not all of them. As Ortega y Gasset said, "All true thinking begins with exageration." Which is to say the entire world since the Enlightenment has been built around exagerations called "hypotheses" and I'll be hanged if I'm going to let them rob us of the privilege of using them ourselves. But back to the point...

R2K men are Sorbonnists for whom the thought of applying Scripture and God's Moral Law to all of life brings on fear and trembling and sickness unto death. And so it's the height of irony that they are forced to throw the greatest intellectual of Reformed church history to the dogs, John Calvin himself.

Calvin "didn't get it." "He was a theonomist. He was a theocrat. He needed a few centuries to evolve. He was on a hermeneutical trajectory towards separation of church and state and would have rejoiced to see our day.

Anyhow, he's gone and we're here and queer—not ourselves, you understand; not our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. But others who deserve better.

Well actually, if the truth be told, two of our brothers and one of our sons. But not queer in the sense of out their getting their flame on. Queer in the civilized sense of monogamous and covenantal lifelong unions...

But again, I digress: the thing is, Calvin's dead and we're here and we're bright—exceedingly bright—and it's time for us to leave this discussion and get back to work.

One, two, three, four;

   repeal those sodomy laws of yore!

Five, six, seven, eight;

   marriage should never be owned by the straight!

We are privileged to be able to suffer shame for the gospel. It isn't something to run from. Our weapons are not physical but spiritual. May the Holy Spirit give us the boldness to wield the sword of the Spirit with accuracy, to engage the battle. May He help us not to be discouraged by those who run away in terror. The blood of the martyrs has always been the seed of the church. 

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus. (2Timothy 1:8-18)

This is the first in a (so far) eleven-part series opposing the liberal theology called "Two Kingdom," "Radical Two-Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "Revisionist Two Kingdom," and abbreviated here simply as "R2K." Here's the first in this series, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh, the eighth, the ninth, the tenth, and the eleventhAnd here's a post subjecting R2K to an historical critique.

A change to the title has reset the social networking stats at zero.

Tim Bayly

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

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