Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (III): Privatizing God's Creation Order...

(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.")

Back a couple years ago, David and I wasted too much time responding to R2K heckling on Baylyblog. Here's a good example of that waste of time. In this particular case, Darryl Hart piled on and you may easily take the measure of his method of debate through his words. Rereading it just now doesn't make me angry. Just weary—what a waste of time. Then Westminster Seminary-Escondido's R. Scott Clark shows up...

Note the mocking and scorn for God's Order of Creation being applied to anywhere other than the private life of Christians in the church and the home.

This has so often been the way of tithe-their-mint-and-cummin Reformed intellectuals. They make a show of submitting to the Creation Order when it's safe and private while denying that Creation Order out there in God's Creation. Anyone who points out their refusal to acknowledge God's Created Order out there in the public square where affirming and teaching it might cause shame before unbelievers is excoriated.

Ask yourself why Reformed men refuse to state that father-rule is God's Created Order and therefore applicable to all men in all places across all time? It's really no big danger to them to issue a statement... acknowledging this, at least to the church. So why won't they do it? Calvin and Knox did it. The Apostle Paul didi it. Why won't our Reformed luminaries do it today?

And when you've thought about this, you'll be well on your way to understanding R2K men's work to relegate God's Order of Creation concerning heterosexuality to the safe privacy of the church and the home, also.

It's embarrassing to say, but there could hardly be more universal laws pertaining to the life of man than father-rule and heterosexuality, yet it's precisely these laws that R2K men are at work privatizing.

This is the third 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 fifteen grandchildren.


For the record, the 2003 Supreme Court case

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

That issue is over.  To carp on it any longer makes you look bad, esp since it makes it look like you don't appreciate the legal reality of the situation.  Even religiously, there has to be some level of submission to laws you cannot change.  Keep your powder dry and your rhetoric reasonable for the things you still can change.  The SSM issue is not yet completely lost, and the pro-life position is even making gains in state legislatures across the country.

As for members of your denomination who refuse to speak out, you can't make 'em.  The best you can do is keep 'em off your own back for doing so--if they won't lead or follow, then ask them kindly to get out of the way.  Peace and good luck.

>>That issue is over.  To carp on it any longer makes you look bad, esp since it makes it look like you don't appreciate the legal reality of the situation.

Dear Brother,

But do *you* think I don't appreciate the legal reality of the situation? It's a real question.



Applying your statement historically, it might look something like this...

1790, hey Abolitionists, move on.  You lost.  Slavery is here to stay.

1930s, hey Black folks, Jim Crow, you just can't fight it man.

1930s, hey Germans, Hitler is in charge, don't fight him.

If I am missing something here, let me know because that's what I am reading.

That's "cumin". And you need to give it a rest. You're starting to embarrass yourself.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Dear Erik, I told you that your refusal to honor our request concerning your posting multiple comments in quick succession on the same theme, many of which were taunting, would if continued lead to us removing your commenting privileges. You refused to change your behavior, insulting us in the process. Reluctantly, then, we forbade you to comment again.

But here you are commenting again. We have barred three R2K men from commenting because of their refusal to abide by objective rules. What does it take to get you men to honor authority?

So I write this to make others aware that Erik Charter has been barred from commenting on Baylyblog, he knows he's been barred, he's been informed by private e-mail which he acknowledged receiving, and he goes ahead and comments anyhow.]

Speaking of embarrassing...

(Matthew 23:23) 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." (NAS95)

Cumin (pron.: /ˈkjuːmɨn/ or UK /ˈkʌmɨn/, US /ˈkuːmɨn/; sometimes spelled cummin; Cuminum cyminum) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. (Source: Wikipedia)


Have you ever published a substantial review of or interaction wit Steven Goldberg? I know you've mentioned the book, but I don't find any lengthy engagement when searching. Ironic, I know, but it seems to fall under a category you might call, "Even the Gentiles ..."

<i>Dear Brother,

But do you think I don't appreciate the legal reality of the situation? It's a real question.


Brother Bayly, as a disinterested observer, it didn't seem that way even to the charitable reader, which I am. 

You wrote elsewhere:

<i>This is the reason R2K men are currently arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of sodomite marriage rites</i>

The "R2K" person would hardly be arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws because sodomy laws are already abolished in 2003 by <i>Lawrence v. Texas</i>.  By lumping sodomy laws in with "passage of sodomite marriage rites," you <i>appear</i> to be ignorant that the first is settled law and a moot issue whereas the latter, gay marriage, is still a live issue--a necessary distinction if you hope to have your protests have any effect in the real world.

To "Chris Robin," no, actually slavery was never a settled issue from the very beginning of America, neither was its successor Jim Crow.  It was good to keep fighting, and indeed <i>Roe v. Wade</i> is constantly getting whittled down at the late term end.  Save your ammo for where it counts.

As for Hitler, I think going nuclear with such comparisons should be saved for matters of life and death.   Sodomy isn't a matter of life and death, and to play the Hitler Card disproportionately makes you easy to dismiss as a crank.

So too, for the record, the use of "sodomite" is 99% guaranteed to turn off any of the unconvinced, if they are your target audience.  If your target audience is preaching to the choir, then the 2Kers are correct that it would be best to keep terms like "sodomite" within the confines of your own church, as they hurt your cause, not help it.

For what it's worth.  I have no dog in this fight.  I think people should bring their moral and religious convictions to the public square--even when I don't agree with their positions.  Most of all, I admire living faith.

NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Another long missive from Erik Charter. Removed.


Dear Tom,

Such oracular declarations. Such patronization. Such misplaced confidence. So very mistaken.

Then you tell us you have no dog in the fight. Ahem.

Time doesn't permit a thorough response right now, but in a day or so...


Erik: you're a rebel. Pitiable. Stop. DJB

Erik: you're a rebel and pitiable. Stop. DJB.

<em>Dear Tom,

Such oracular declarations. Such patronization. Such misplaced confidence. So very mistaken.

Then you tell us you have no dog in the fight. Ahem.

Time doesn't permit a thorough response right now, but in a day or so...


I look forward to it, Tim. I've actually been taking your part elsewhere, at least in principle.  At the moment, you seem to promise to make me regret it.  Respectfully submitted.

And I do have no dog in your fight with 2K.  I note that as a matter of civility if not political effectiveness, going Hitler or Sodom is a proven rhetorical loser.  But again, if your audience is only your own choir, by all means rock on.  If you aspire to more, then word up.

For me to be a rebel you would have to establish I have some duty to be under your authority. Are you pastors and elders to the world? We're Protestants, duh. Are you a rebel because you do not submit to the Bishop of Rome?

You guys are just fearful of exposing your people to reasoned arguments because they might stop settling for your rants.

[Another comment from Erik here removed.]

>>I look forward to it, Tim.

Great. The response to your declarations will take a day or two and will be a post rather than a comment.


Dear Tom,

I would be unhappy if what we've written didn't provoke those in the R2K camp. We're calling the position sinful. If you enjoy the argument, you won't like our position. You'll resent it, even if, as you suggest, you're in our camp.

But, Tom, you're not in our camp. You like the argument. You think it's an exercise in rhetoric. It's not. It's an exercise of teaching authority.

We don't like the argument. And we don't engage in "rhetoric" over it. We leave such debate to those who prefer sources of authority other than Scripture.

Sincerely in Christ,

David Bayly

The Supreme Court is highly politicized. That means nothing is ever really settled there.  Before 2003 they ruled that state sodomy laws were fine. In 2003 they ruled that the previous Supreme Courts were wrong and sodomy laws were  banned by the US Constitution. In 2014 they might change their minds again. It depends on who is on the Court, and, MUCH more importantly, on the state of elite public opinion. That's where we come in . Elite public opinion depends on who shouts loudest and who makes the most attractive arguments. 

  Abortion and the Court works the same way. Before 1973, states could ban abortion if they wanted to. From 1973 to 2013 they can't. I could well imagine that from 2024 to 2100 the Supreme Court will *require* states to ban abortion. Having abandoned the rule of law, the skies the limit, for conservatives as well as for liberals. 


>>The Supreme Court is highly politicized. That means nothing is ever really settled there.


>>Before 2003 they ruled that state sodomy laws were fine.

Specifically, SCOTUS upheld sodomy laws in Doe v. Commonwealth Attorney of Richmond in 1976 and Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. Even now, though, thirteen states have sodomy laws on the books and a couple weeks ago Virginia's AG petitioned the 4th Circuit to overturn a decision declaring a Virginia sodomy law unconstitutional. 

Would Mr. Van Dyke call Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli to tell him: "That issue is over. To carp on it any longer makes you look bad, especially since it makes it look like you don't appreciate the legal reality of the situation"?

It seems to escape Mr. Van Dyke and R2K men that there are reasons to fight against the repeal of sodomy laws even when one is convinced the fight will not be successful. Note carefully: "fight against the repeal of sodomy laws" does not equal "lobby for the passage of sodomy laws."

Doesn't Scripture indicate one purpose of the law is so "sin may increase?"

It's telling how Christian men are so zealous to convince their fellow believers that sodomy laws are dead. Why the intensity? Why the zeal? Why such authoritative declarations of certainty when the Huffington Post and Washington Blade are huffing and puffing about the real and present danger posed by these thirteen states?

If you think about it, both the Blade's alarums to gays and lesbians and R2Ks' squelching of the witness of Biblical Christians are equally effective in moving the homosexualists' agenda forward. The difference is one side believes in the homosexualists' agenda while the other believes in peace in their time.


For me to be a rebel you would have to establish I have some duty to be under your authority.

This makes explicit the driving force for R2K: hatred for authority. Of course they don't couch it this way; but each time I trace the R2K-issued flow chart, each termination point yields nearly identical results.

Perhaps you got me wrong, Brothers Bayly.  My critiques are more of your tactics, which are counterproductive.

The regulation/criminalization of private sexual conduct is a stupid hill to die on--First, because <em>Lawrence v. Texas</em> isn't going anywhere, secondly because blowing that trumpet weakens your effectiveness in other more important area, currently gay marriage and protection of the unborn.

I'm glad you draw a distinction 

<em>It seems to escape Mr. Van Dyke and R2K men that there are reasons to fight against the repeal of sodomy laws even when one is convinced the fight will not be successful. Note carefully: "fight against the repeal of sodomy laws" does not equal "lobby for the passage of sodomy laws."</em>

between lobbying for passing sodomy laws [dead issue] and trying to keep them in place 99% dead issue], but in the end [no pun intended], you and Cuccinelli* are squandering political capital.  If you feel you must "witness" God's disapproval of homosexual activity, so be it, but let's be clear that you're speaking as pastors--your political effectiveness as such is nil.

We must note here that you fail to make a necessary distinction between meself and R2Kers.  I'm all for the Manhattan Declaration, which is surely the opposite of 2K.  But the arguments and tactics of a successful Manhattan Declaration initiative are different than those of conservative Christian pastorship, as you appear to be aware [natural law arguments, but also an emphasis on the harm done to innocents in the name of "enlightenment" and progress"].

So if your use of "sodomites" and "because the Bible says so" is seen as counterproductive to the goals of Manhattan Declaration-type politics, then someone must speak up and ask you to stop "helping."  You're no Westboro Baptist Church, but the effect of "sodomite" and Hitler rhetoric is no less destructive to the cause.  Time and political capital that would be better spent advancing MD arguments are spent instead disassociating them from people the vast majority of the electorate consider to be yahoos.  With friends like those, out there making radically uncivil and indefensible arguments, one doesn't need any enemies.


*Technically you're correct that Cuccinelli is defending a "sodomy" law banning oral/anal sex regardless of genders involved, but since it's your custom to use "Sodom" interchangeably with homosexuality, it's unhelpful here.  Further, I can't think of any issue that would poll so poorly than making hummers illegal.  What with the graver moral issues of SSM and the protection of unborn life at stake, I vociferously object to expending any political capital whatsoever on such trivia.  It borders on a moral crime to drag down the goals of the Manhattan Declaration with such chickenspit.  Like it or not, you're part of the social conservative movement even though you weren't asked to sign.  I submit the reason you weren't was precisely because of the legitimate fear that your disastrous tactics would hurt, not help, the movement.  

I submit this with all respect, that you rethink some of this.  I realize you must feel called by God to speak out on these issues both great and small, but by the same token you must realize that others feel the need to criticize and distance themselves from you if you're to pursue this course.  The fact is that there are two kingdoms, one of the faithful and one that includes everybody, and God gave us the sense to know that the tactics must be different in each theater.

As for your fight with the R2Kers, you did write "R2K men are currently arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of sodomite marriage rites."  that's a direct quote.  If true--I don't know that it is---that's your best counterargument.  Arguing for them is no different politically than you arguing against them.

Best regards,

Dear Tom,

Over the years I've known many men bloodied by battle. The weak ones focus on being inoffensive and accomplish nothing other than copping a conscientious posture. The middling ones are only as offensive as they can be without raising the ire of the body politic, and thus they're relatively ineffective because the body politic knows they're not serious. The good ones deal with first principles and thus are very offensive, but they have the respect (and hatred) of the body politic, the prayers of the saints, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Not surprisingly, they're often quite effective which is always a surprise to the first two groups because they don't take into account the power of God's Word and Law and the Holy Spirit.

Your facile dismissal of the power of preaching in the political realm is contrary to all of Scripture. What on earth do you think caused all the sturm und drang of the book of Acts? It's also disproved by all of church history. God blesses preaching and it is powerful beyond belief, outside the church also.

As for the gnashing your teeth at my use of the word 'sodomy,' you may read my reasons for doing so here, here, and here. Your error in this matter is understandable, but I must say I cringe at your naiveté in the utility of words for warfare. I regularly hear from men tempted by homosexual desires thanking me for using the words 'sodomy' and 'sodomite.' They report that it's always a helpful reminder of the shame and horror of their particular besetting sin, so that's just one pastoral reason I use these words. Before denouncing my usages again, though, please tell me you've read the posts linked above.

Here on Baylyblog, we don't use 'gay' instead of 'sodomite,' 'affair' rather than 'adultery,' 'hooking up' rather than 'fornication,' 'euthanasia' rather than 'murder,' or 'woman's choice' rather than 'baby-slaughter.' We don't believe in the language of appeasement. It's our conviction that dull blades wielded by timid soldiers with muted bugles never win battles which is to say we do our best to keep our language Biblical.


Thanks for your reply, Tim.  Not feeling the love yet.

That you should address me as an enemy is unfortunate since there is little daylight between us on Biblical morality.  But how's the fire & brimstone act working forya?  A few hundreds in your churches on Sundays, a few thousands here and there out of a nation of 300 million, and gay marriage more, not less, likely to be passed as a result of this angry rhetoric?

I understand your argument against R2k but where does the Bible say to ignore good sense and make a political hash of it?  Is this about serving God and His children or about how righteous it feels to condemn "sodomites"?  Only your heart of hearts can know for sure.  We must continue to question ourselves at all times. Hey, I hate people reducing Mighty Jehovah to Barney the Christosaur, too, believe me.  I get where you're coming from.

But there is much compassionate work being done on the difficult issue of what is kindly called same-sex attraction [SSA], experienced by many of our children, our sisters and our brothers.  In the end,  Biblical morality calls Christians with SSA to live celibate lives.  Persons with SSA are well aware that the Bible condemns homosexual conduct.  Do we think that comes as news to them?

It's through the love of Christ that we can promise that living a celibate life is the path to happiness--not just for the next world, but that living in harmony with God's word in this world is what brings the truest happiness as well.

That argument is working.

All this "sodomite" business just gets in the way of God's love, Tim.  There is a better way, a way more godly, more Christlike.  I understand your calling to "tell it like it is" when it comes to the word of God. But which approach comports most closely with John 8?  "Neither do I condemn you," says Jesus, but also, "Go and sin no more."  In the end, the goal is for same-sex-attracted persons to live celibate lives.  I suggest--I insist--that the best way is through God's love, not by scaring the bejesus out of 'em with the threat of God's disgust and hellfire.  It just doesn't stick: the self-loathing turns into despair, and they "fall off the wagon" anyway.  The hell with it.

You write:

"Your facile dismissal of the power of preaching in the political realm is contrary to all of Scripture. "

My "facile dismissal" is that your tactics demonstrably suck, Tim---and this comes from someone who shares your goals.  This condemnation stuff fans up those who hate the Christian religion if not God's word itself, feeding the myth that defenders of Biblical morality are really more about their own self-righteousness than any concern for society and for the people in it.  To maintain that the 18th-century preacher act can achieve any political good in the 21st century is to deny reality.

The Bible does not call us to reject reality.  You can play in the two kingdoms theological sandbox with your enemies all you want--that's an intramural matter--but to affect the real world, you need different tactics than inside an evangelical church.  I find your criticism of the moral impotence of some 2Kers to be spot on, but if your own tactics serve only to diminish the work of Manhattan Declaration types whose goals are the same as your own, then social conservatism would be better off without any of you.

You write:

"I regularly hear from men tempted by homosexual desires thanking me for using the words 'sodomy' and 'sodomite.' They report that it's always a helpful reminder of the shame and horror of their particular besetting sin, so that's just one pastoral reason I use these words. "

How many?  Frankly, it sounds like spiritual sado-masochistic game to me.  Tell me what a bad boy I am.  Look, as a pastor, nobody can tell you what to preach.  Do what you feel you must.  I think the best route to celibacy for SSA persons is per John 8 above and people like Eve Tushnet and Melinda Selmys.  And if you feel it's God's will to participate in politics throwing around bombs like "sodomite' and Hitler," then I feel called politically as someone on the same "side" to ask you to reconsider your tactics.  As a practical matter, social-conservative politics would be better off if you took the R2K advice and saved that stuff for inside the church.  And I hate agreeing with them on anything.  ;-P

Respectfully submitted.

Dear Tom, Sorry that I've been testy. Do hope you'll read the posts I listed. Love,

Dear Tom, Sorry that I've been testy. Do hope you'll read the posts I listed. Love,

Tim, not testy atall, this is important stuff.    And of course I read them otherwise I could not have closed my last comment with "Respectfully submitted."  

My comments here were about tactics and technique, more about American politics than about Biblical truth.  And if anyone could get a knowing laugh out of people turning Mighty Jehovah into Barney the Christosaur, I was hoping it would be you guys.  

This is the state of Christianity in America 2013.  It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

And likewise, I was hoping that my comments above might be given some thought, some study, perhaps even some prayer.  They're the result of much of the same on your correspondent's part. I didn't come here to fight.  We need to deepen our understanding both of God and of each other.  God's word is perfect, but our understanding of it can never be perfect.  

As to the power of words, they have different power in different ages--in the 21st century, if "gay" is too mealy-mouthed, "homosexual" has plenty enough shock power.  "Homosexual conduct" or "homosexual marriage" is as big a rhetorical gun as is necessary and effective for our times, Tim---anything else is self-defeating rhetorical excess, using a nuke where a spanking is needed.  

The mealy-mouths don't even dare to use the word "homosexual" these days.  "Sodom" is overkill.

We are speaking together of tactics and effective rhetoric now, I hope.  Those who are dealing with same-sex attraction are our children and sisters and brothers.  They are not evil.  Tim and David, they don't understand their same-sex attraction, others understand it even less, and the "experts," when they're not simply ignorant, are liars.

I have heard you, Pastors Bayly, and will continue to listen. I hope you agree that pastors must listen back as well.  None of us have all the answers, and we guide each other toward a more perfect understanding of God's will.

Respectfully submitted.

Tom, I've been reading your comments over at Old Life and here. I've stayed quiet but I think I need to say something.

It sounds like you don't fit in the "Old Life" theological perspective very much, but on the other hand, it sounds like you don't like the choices which the Baylys have made regarding tactics and language. Perhaps it would help to ask yourself the question of who you would rather be around -- people with whom you have major doctrinal disagreements, or people who sometimes say things you mostly agree with, but say them in ways you don't always like?

I'm speaking as someone who has a decades-long history of trying to be a "polite, respectful, and firm" conservative in both ecclesiastical and secular politics. I don't always like the choices of language or tactics made by people with whom I agree on conservative issues, but on the other hand, the Baylys are quite correct about how weakness won't work when dealing with people who are strongly committed to seriously wrong views. Being polite and respectful without being firm is a recipe for failure.

Being a proper gentleman can work in the halls of academia, and it actually be essential to winning a debate among professors. The simple fact of the matter is that when we are dealing with issues like homosexuality and abortion, we are not dealing with academic disputations in the halls of a seminary or Christian college somewhere. These are not irrelevant secondary issues. Wrong teaching on these matters will percolate down to the level of average pewsitters, hurting real people in the real world for whom wrong decisions will have very real consequences.

To win that battle, we need to be trying to win the hearts and minds of people who are all over the map in their perspectives on life.

Certainly academic debates are important, for the simple reason that wrong things taught in colleges and seminaries must not only be argued against but also defeated. Young students go on to become leaders in the church and society, and leaders who are taught wrongly will do great damage.

However, academic debates are not the only tactic needed to win these battles.

Some people will be reached by one method; some by another. The liberals understand that, and have a wide variety of organizations to reach different people in different ways. It's harder for us to do that as conservatives because we really **DO** believe in such things as absolute truth, and that means disagreements over things like methods and language can divide conservative people quite easily when liberals would just agree to disagree.

It's time that we, as conservatives, find ways to work together instead of at cross-purposes when we agree on the goals but maybe not on the tactics.

<i>Perhaps it would help to ask yourself the question of who you would rather be around </i>

Darryl Hart.  At least he knows when to shut up.  This virtue should not be undervalued.

I appreciate the time you've taken to read me and then write to me, Darrell.  And I hope you've noticed I've rather taken a sympathetic view of your own arguments @ the OldLife blog.  If they were they succeeding in their ganging up on you, I'd even step in to get your back.  But one of you vs. 3 or 4 of them is a fair fight.  Indeed, to this impartial observer, you seem to be winning.  Heh heh.

As to our host here, the Bayly ministry, I don't yet know.  I sure hope they're open to my comments, which come after years of study and, yes, prayer. I spend a lot of time among the heathens, and I affirm passionately that they use any intemperate rhetoric from the religious conservative right to comfort themselves that any opposition to their modern hedonism is born of stupidity, oppressiveness, SIXHIRB* religious fanaticism---in short, insanity.

Now this stuff is hard enough to argue in the public square without being saddled with "allies" you end up spending all your time making excuses for, or even being forced to disavow.  I made a joke at the R2Kers per Patton, that I'd rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.  Now it's truer of the 2K mealy-mouths of whom you speak---those who only train their guns on people like the Baylys instead of the Obamans and Wallises who misuse scripture for the left agenda.  "Beatitudism," I call it, or even worse, the Barney the Christosaur religion where I love you you love me--and if Heather has 6 Mommies, where's the harm?  How does that affect your marriage?

You've heard those cliches.  You'll keep hearing them, because social conservatives fall into the trap again and again.


Darrell, I've been studying these people for years, and have my scars and bruises--their tricks are good, reeeeeeal good.  Like dopes, we keep stepping into their traps time after time, and then we wake up and wonder why gay marriage is about to be legalized in yet another state this week [Rhode island].


It's time that we, as conservatives, find ways to work together instead of at cross-purposes when we agree on the goals but maybe not on the tactics.

Exactly what I'm saying, DTM.  It's time we discuss tactics, and fix the tactical blunders we make time after time.  That would be working together.  What's wrong with us???

Paul the Apostle knew Greek-Roman philosophy, that was why he was the premier evangelist of Christianity.  Did he threaten the Men of Athens with Hell&damnation?  They'd have laughed, just as today's nihilists laugh.  Hell would beat what they think awaits us after death, which is nothingness...

On a personal note, investigating and commenting on both OldLife and Baylyblog in the past week has been partly a result of realizing my own moral cowardice on some of these issues, specifically late-term abortion, which shouldn't even be controversial.  Indeed it's not---according to the latest Gallup


at the very end, buried under a massive pile of misdirection and bullshit, is the truth:

80% of Americans think abortion should be banned in the 3rd trimester

64% of Americans think it should be banned in the 2nd trimester

We have a winning hand here, and we keep folding it.  Why?  Let's use the sense God gave us, a little at a time. Wisdom isn't "truth," right?  Wisdom is what you do with the truth once you find it.  There's nothing in the Bible that says we should be idiots.

<i>Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.</i>



* Per Dennis Prager: "SIX HIRB is Dennis's acronym for the debate-ending names conservatives are called by liberals. If you disagree with the Left, you are one or all of the following -- Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted."

intemperate rhetoric

How is using God's words "intemperate"?

Submitted by Tom Van Dyke on April 27, 2013 - 10:48pm

I appreciate the time you've taken to read me and then write to me, Darrell.  And I hope you've noticed I've rather taken a sympathetic view of your own arguments @ the OldLife blog.  If they were they succeeding in their ganging up on you, I'd even step in to get your back.  But one of you vs. 3 or 4 of them is a fair fight.  Indeed, to this impartial observer, you seem to be winning.  Heh heh.

Thanks, Tom. Considering that over on Old Life, I'm up against multiple lawyers, a number of seminary-trained pastors in conservative Reformed denominations, and at least one seminary professor (there may be others who, unlike Dr. Hart, post without using their names), it is not exactly easy for a layman to break even in a the theological debate, let alone win.

As for tactics, I've seen over the years that different men reach different groups with different methods. People who won't listen to me may love listening to somebody else who says essentially the same thing a different way, and vice versa.

I'm fine with that.

      Tom van Dyke,  the tactics debate is an interesting one. I think it's useful to have some people proclaiming, some people debating, and some people gently pushing, all the at the same time--- and sometimes the same person. What we lack, in almost every issue, is the Proclaimers and Proclaiming.   This is especially true of intellectual Proclaiming, since intellectuals' natural inclination is towards debating. (For this purpose, I'd count pretty much everybody who reads and writes religion blogs as intellectuals--- I don't mean it to be either complimentary or condemnatory.) We need Proclaiming, and that's what the Bayly's are doing. I'm pretty sure they'd rather be debating, but a willingness to look weird for the Lord is even rarer than a willingness to take the unpopular side in an argument. And a pastor is in a good position to do it, since their position adds authority even when speaking to unbelievers. 

      The intellectual Proclaimer part is important because other intellectuals are dismissive otherwise. If somebody smart and educated Proclaims at them, tho, they may think he's crazy, but they'll pay a little attention- and more attention than they would to a Debater.  

  It is  crucial is for the Debaters and Gentle Pushers to *use* the Proclaimers, not belittle them or be ashamed of them. It is a huge aid in a debate to have somebody more extreme on your side. It adds confidence to the timid, who now looks moderate instead of himself being at the extreme. It make the illogical opponent or neutral who tries to find the middle position shift ground. And the moderate Debater, when his opponent brings up the Proclaimer, can say, "Well, I know that sounds extreme. But what exactly is wrong with what he's saying?" For example, you may be shy of calling sodomy sodomy, but if someone says, "Tim Bayly calls gays sodomites, and quotes Leviticus!" you can reply, "Well, come to think of it, what is the word English always used for anal intercourse until the gays politicized it? Think about whether Bayly has a point. And doesn't it mean something that God banned the practice in Leviticus-- and it isn't just Leviticus either?"


Dear Darrell and Eric,

You make very compelling cases for the benefit of different tactics among different people and different situations. Unfortunately, after reading Tom's comments, I'm afraid any argument that doesn't end in Tom knowing best about tactics won't have a chance with him.

Tom, you're pretty much the final word on what works and doesn't work, right?

I think you should pray on whether your tactics, instead of being wise and harmless [Mt 10:16], are stupid and destructive.

Thanks to the blog administrators for letting me have my say.  I have given my thoughts and have nothing further to add.  

I've had a quick look through the above posts, after participating in a bit of a slug fest over at Old Life's  LOL post.

I generally like what Tom and Darrell have to say. I'm not sure I'm in your (Bayly) camp. I think you get way too aggressive. I thought I should have been in the Old Life camp, more or less, but clearly I'm not, much as I like Dr Hart' historical studies. I think the Reformed community in the States is large enough to have multiple layers weaving in and out, going all over the place, and you don't mind fighting. Anyway that's my conclusion after a week's posting, when I had a bit of spare time

I must say, I don't like people signing in as Todd, wjw, Bobby, sdb, Mickelmann(?) do - maybe Mickelmann is Mickelmann. I think it allows people to get away with saying things with no accountability - do you know who these people are?

Morning, David. You are absolutely right that the Reformed community in North America, although a small percentage of the total evangelical community, is large enough in comparison to a lot of other places in the world that we have the luxury of separating into a wide variety of denominations and even groups within denominations with significant differences in approach. I can't speak for Australia with any level of authority, but I know enough pastors from Australia and New Zealand that I think your Reformed community is small, struggling, and forced to cooperate in ways that we aren't in the United States.

As for anonymous postings -- I agree. But that's become standard on the web and it's been that way for a very long time. I'm old enough to remember CompuServe and AOL, as well as online BBS operations, and this issue of people posting using anonymous screen names got out of control way back in the early 1980s, if not earlier. It's just something we have to deal with now and it's probably too late to put the genie back in the bottle.

To answer your specific question -- people who participate regularly in online webpages in the church world generally get to know who the postings come from, so there is a certain level of accountability. "Todd" on OldLife is Rev. Todd Bordow, one of the people mentioned in my essay because of his comments on whether legalizing bestiality is something on which Christians can disagree. Mikelmann has his own website, he's an OPC elder and lawyer, and I knew his name for quite some time before he told me via email, but he's objected to me stating his name publicly so I won't do so in this post, other than saying that his role as an OPC elder and lawyer gives him legitimate credibility. Some of the other Old Life screen names are people I'm pretty sure I know but would rather not identify unless I am certain.

As to aggressiveness -- I've spent enough time in **VERY** different parts of the ecclesiastical landscape to firmly believe that what one group of people thinks is too aggressive will be viewed by another group as too timid. I think that's a choice individual people need to make for themselves based on their personalities, their ecclesiastical and secular context, and their understanding of how to apply certain Scriptural standards about how to conduct discussions. Let's just say I do things very differently in the Dutch Reformed world, in the world of secular Southern culture, in the world of the independent fundamental Baptists and Southern Baptists who dominate my local community life, and in my wife's Korean Presbyterian world.

Perhaps citing a simple example of how I have to act in two different ways in my own local community will help. I live outside a large Army installation in the Missouri Ozarks, a quite conservative region of the South. As is often the case around Army installations, there is a significant Korean community, mostly composed of Korean wives of servicemen. I cannot even use my wife's first name in a Korean church or secular context -- she is always "Dr. Maurina" and is always deferred to as such -- while in the Southern church and secular world, we avoid any reference whatsoever to education since almost no pastors and very few laymen around here ever went to any sort of college, and some pastors didn't even finish high school. It's pretty obvious that my wife and I have a lot of formal education, and that is a negative, not a positive, "'round 'bout these here parts." The assumption, often correct, is that anyone with a lot of education is a liberal who can't be trusted.

Anyone familiar with the Korean church world and its emphasis on "saving face" will understand that aggressiveness and assertiveness will quickly result in very bad consequences unless the person doing it has earned respect by their age, education, ecclesiastical or secular office, or social position. On the other hand, Southerners are well-known for being anti-authoritarian and dismissive of any effort to rely on any of those things, except age -- not listening to one's grandma or grandpa, or someone old enough to be in that category, will not go down well for a Southerner.

While there are biblical principles involved, this is an area in which prudence rather than principle often applies. What works well in one community may be ineffective in another because it is viewed as highly offensive and "in your face," and in a third community, it may be ineffective because it is viewed as too weak and timid of a response.

The bottom line for me is that the Baylys have years of work in the Reformed and broader evangelical world. They've been effective in many ways. If their methods work for them, who am I to criticize success?

Brothers, David and I have never aimed to be successful Only somewhat faithful. Please find a response to Darrell's last paragraph here. Love,

No offense intended, Tim... I meant success in convincing people of your point, not success in any sort of worldly sense.

You've shared your biography with me, and it's also well-known to those who know your church and your own ministry background with CBMW and other activities. Nobody whose goal is "success" in a worldly sense would make the choices you've made over the years. You've been passionate about your beliefs, and the result has been a successful ministry. There's a big difference between who you have done and having one's goal be "success," i.e., tailoring one's ministry to attract people.

Uncertain trumpets don't generally gather troops for battle. Your trumpet sounds a pretty clear note, if you don't mind the pun... ;-)

And now I'm being accused of being "passionate." Aaaaarggghhhh! I can bear up under "he's an arrogant a_ _," but I find "successful," "effective," and "passionate" intolerable. They risk leaving me unrecognizable to my family and congregation.

;</ Love,

Okay, I'll try to find some bad words to say about you, Tim... I'm sure I can find some of them somewhere out on the internet... ;-)

On a more serious point, I get what I think is your point about not wanting praise from men, especially words which have become overused and abused in modern church circles. Great! We both know far too many pastors whose primary concern is avoiding being offensive to men rather than avoiding offense to God.

Now please take my compliment. It's meant as such.

I'll take a man who is firmly resolved to follow Scripture any day, even if I disagree with him on important secondary issues. One example is the pastor of the local independent fundamental Baptist school our daughter attends since it's the only K-12 Christian school in our county. I have no doubt about that pastor's firm conviction to follow Scripture wherever it leads him, no matter what the consequences to him personally. For their part, the school's teachers have bent over backwards to help our daughter get additional reading material on Scots Presbyterians and New England Puritans, since they know that as parents, we, not their church or school, are primarily responsible for our daughter's Christian nurture. Ironically, our daughter is learning more about the role of Machen and Schaeffer in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy and the neo-evangelical fights of the 1960s and 1970s from the regular school curriculum than she'd probably learn in a lot of Reformed Christian schools or churches.

Working with someone firmly committed to Scripture, even when we don't always agree, is a whole lot better than working with a Calvinist who says he agrees with me on everything but won't fight for his beliefs.

I don't think failing to fight is something the Baylys get accused of very often... ;-)

Love ya, bro.

Thank you Darrell for taking the trouble to reply to me.

Dr Hart has put up a new post, perhaps he had me in mind, which does remove a good deal of the confusion for me. As much as I have appreciated his historical studies - and I have a number on my bookshelves, and his high church views on worship and the sacraments, I now know I'm not on the same page as Old Life, and better still the reason why. I can see a kind of logical consistency in their position, a clarity really, but I think somehow their interpretive grid leaves a good deal of the Bible out, a variant of Thomas Jefferson's Bible, just a different slice through. The other thing about it is where is our Lord in all of it? I didn't get any feeling of guys operating out of a rich devotional life, but maybe that was missing from my contribution as well.

Just how Hart describes himself in a historical sense as 2K escapes me. However, I'll go back , hopefully in the next month or so and reread VanDrunen's natural law and two kingdoms since he is a WTS West man.

Submitted by David Palmer on April 29, 2013 - 6:43pm

"Thank you Darrell for taking the trouble to reply to me. 

Let me assure you that this is not the slightest trouble at all. Look at all the time I have taken over on Old Life, on other websites, and also here, to try to answer questions about my essay and respond to criticisms, some valid and others which drop to the level of personal insult.

I really believe that this "Two Kingdoms" theology, at least in its more radical forms, is a danger to the church. If it is a danger and if I have the ability to do something to respond to the danger but I do nothing in response, I am guilty of cowardice and God will hold me accountable.

In that context, the very least I can do is answer questions from well-meaning people like yourself.

Submitted by David Palmer on April 29, 2013 - 6:43pm

"The other thing about it is where is our Lord in all of it? I didn't get any feeling of guys operating out of a rich devotional life, but maybe that was missing from my contribution as well."

You've picked up on something here which is very important. Pay close attention to Dr. Hart's rejection not only of Arminian emotion-based religion and of pietism from the late 1700s and early 1800s, but also of Puritanism from the 1600s and early 1700s. Dr. Hart and the Old Lifers are not only rejecting the Second Great Awakening of Finney but also the First Great Awakening of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and the Erskine Brothers.

It is a matter of simple historical fact that a significant portion of the Old Schoolers rejected Edwardian piety and placed themselves into a formalistic rationalism which affirmed confessional orthodoxy but rejected what Edwardseans would call a warm and vital piety.

I will not go as far as some Edwardseans would in calling Old Schoolers "dead orthodox." That is an unfair accusation, especially considering that many of them are rejecting a type of pietism which is clearly contrary to God's Word.

Also, it does not apply to all Old Schoolers, some of whom were strong defenders of Edwards' approach to piety while equally strongly rejecting the compromises made by Edwards' successors, including his own son, which they believed led directly to the New School approaches which in their extreme forms led to Finney and even in their milder forms simply were not compatible with confessional Reformed Christianity.

That aspect of Old School understanding of personal piety is not mine, it clearly is not that of Puritanism, and I would argue that it is not that of the Westminster Divines, of Knox, or of Calvin.

Yes, there is too much being thrown out there and I noted a few references I made to Calvin and Geneva that didn't go down too well either with him or his acolytes.

I guess there are many streams of reformed thinking that go back to Calvin - Old Life thou seems a rather petering out sort of stream, maybe that's a bit harsh.

Anyway I'll get over the experience. My son advices me to visit Puritan Board - he says I might find a few kindred souls there. Maybe be you have a couple of suggestions?



Add new comment