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

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

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

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

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

Similarly, David and I don't want the Indiana or Ohio State Police forcing single mothers to baptize their newborn infants as a condition of receiving WIC coupons. We don't hope for the day water cannon are used by Army National Guard... to corral the masses thrusting them into the Lord's Day corporate worship of Clearnote Church, Bloomington or Christ the Word.

On the other hand, David and I do want those thirteen states who right now today have sodomy laws on their books to enforce them and we're opposed to the Evangelical and Reformed leaders who seek their repeal. The Washington Blade, Mother Jonesand Huffington Post are huffing and puffing against these thirteen states for a reason and we believe the opposition of the Washington Blade and Huffington Post are a possible indication the thing they oppose is doing some good.

What's the difference between the state police or mayor presiding over the Lord's Supper and the state police or mayor forbidding sodomy?

Did you really ask me that question? Were you serious?

Yet R2K men are very serious when they ask this question. They're so serious about this question that this is one of their main talking points. They say in order to be consistent, the man who doesn't think sodomy laws should be repealed must seek the passage of blasphemy laws, the enforcement of blue laws (aimed at keeping the sabbath holy), and so on. To them it's clear: any enforcement of any law of God by the civil magistrate requires the enforcement of every law of God by the civil magistrate—there's nothing in between.

Why?

Because they say so. R2K men accuse anyone who opposes the repeal of present sodomy laws of "cowardice" if they do not also seek the passage of Sabbath or blasphemy laws. "You can't enforce the Second Table of the Law without enforcing the First Table of the Law."

Really? Why not?

Because they say so.

Readers should know this is simply the false dichotomy fallacy. When men want to shut down a debate, it's common for them to force an either-or choice between A and Z on their opponent as if there's no place to stand between the two. Their opponent responds, "What about B and C and D. Or V and W? Are we really required to choose either A or Z?"

To which the R2K man responds, "What's the matter with you? You said you want to see sodomy laws enforced. Taking the Name of the Lord our God in vain is in the Ten Commandments, also. Are you too much of a coward to enforce that law, too? If you're going to enforce civil laws that encode any commandment from the Second Table of the Ten Commandments, you have to enforce every last one of the Ten Commandments including those commandments in the First Table of the Law."

We respond, "No we don't. In connection with parallels between the Ten Commandments and civil law, there are thousands of places to stand. And specifically, no one who supports the sodomy laws on the books of Western nations for many centuries, and still on the books of thirteen states of the Union, is logically required to seek the passage of blashemy laws, and here's why."

God commanded heterosexuality for all men in all places across all time in the Garden of Eden when He made woman for man, ishah for ish, Eve for Adam. This was not a revelation to Noah after the flood or the Sons of Israel in the Ten Commandments. It is the core DNA of man created by God and revealed to man prior to the Fall. Heterosexuality is, therefore, the bedrock of natural law as the Apostle Paul says in Romans:

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. - Romans 1:26,27

Biology is destiny. This is God's kindness and love. In His great love He has created sexuality in such a way that to violate His Creation Order is deadly for oneself and one's partner. From His kindness He has designed man's sexuality such that the violation of our biology, physiology, apparatus, body parts, or nature in sexual intimacy will always be harmful and often fatal. Again, He says that men's rejection of His universal law of heterosexuality will cause them to receive "in their own persons the due penalty of their error." The Holy Spirit declares concerning these things:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. - Galatians 6:7, 8

Recognizing the iron-clad connection God has ordained between the violation of His Creation Order of heterosexuality and the corruption and death of those doing the violating, for many centuries nations and states used civil laws banning sodomy to protect the public health of their citizens and to guard those citizens inclined to homosexuality from murdering themselves and others.

Were all those civil magistrates passing and enforcing laws against public nuisance and fatal sexual practices cowards for not also passing laws requiring repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? A few years ago during the AIDS epidemic when San Francisco's Castro district's gay bathhouses were filled with gay men having anonymous, unprotected lethal sex with two or three other men per visit, were the public health officers who closed down those bathhouses inconsistent and cowardly because they didn't also close down bars where people took the Name of God in vain?

Of course not. Anyone who said such a thing would prove himself a fool. Yet this is the essence of the argument of R2K men who claim a man can't support sodomy laws without also supporting blasphemy laws.

Of course he can. San Francisco's public health officers did it and no one took them to court for inconsistency. They were taken to court for other reasons, but not because they stopped short of closing down bars where blasphemy occurred.

Men have always known sexual sin destroys and kills men and women.

All the talk of homosexual practice being a victimless crime is hooey. Every public health official including the Surgeon General at the time of the onslaught of AIDS, C. Everett Koop, knows full well that sodomy kills men. Scripture reveals it and nature confirms it. Homosexuality is death, destruction in this life, and Hell in the life to come.

But let's say you don't believe in Hell or the life to come—what then?

Well, you're still left with death and destruction. Not only homosexual practice but other sexual sins including adultery, incest, fornication, and bestiality cause bloodshed and death. It's inarguable. It's obvious. It's the reason nation's have always had laws against sexual sins and only our modern faith in the gods of science and technology combined with God having blinded us and given us over to degrading passions causes us to act and speak as if crimes of passion, sickness, and death are not caused by sexual immorality.

So really, we have a choice whether we're going to live in a nation where murder of self and others will be legal or not? R2K men think it should be legal whereas historic Reformed men think it should be criminal. Whether the murder is of self or others. Whether the murder is of sodomites or unborn babies. Whether the murder is public or private. Every civilized man has always known that the rule of law starts with the protection of life and the protection of life begins with the guarding of the family and the guarding of the family begins with the purity of the marriage bed and the purity of the marriage bed starts with the DNA God decreed in the Garden of Eden in the state of perfection prior to the Fall: Adam and Eve, not Steve.

At the end of the day, R2K fails because it's rigidity requires it to choose between abandoning every law of God or no law of God. But who forces them to make that choice?

Not I. Not any other historic Two-Kingdom man I've read or known. Not any church father. Not any reasonable pagan.

Yet sometimes men create a prison for themselves they can't escape. Wanting to view homosexuality as a victimless crime in order to cede the territory to the frenzied hordes rioting in the streets today, they defined homosexual practice as a religious matter about which men of good consciences may disagree, and thus they end up ceding the point that murder, too, is a religious matter about which men of good conscience may disagree.

After all, who believes any more that "in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them," and thus "whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He created them." Who believes any more that "from the beginning of creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). Note our Lord's words "from the beginning of creation."

The R2K men tell us these are private truths for Christians only (or Christians and Roman Catholics, or Christians and Roman Catholics and Jews), and thus they ought not to be codified in these United States of America.

We say they must be codified in these United States of America because these things are written into the DNA of man and without them the rule of law will end because the bloodshed of innocents will be everywhere.


This is the fourth 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.

Comments

Taking your argument seriously, and perhaps giving you a chance to improve it by expansion. 

1. From familiarity with Ancient Rome, I would have said that laws about sexuality and marriage were more motivated by concerns for paternity and suppression of strife arising from adultery and fornication. The impression I have as to their rejection of homosexuality is this: it is shameful and repulsive. It has never occurred to me that they saw a link between homosexuality and mortality. 

2. I believe that the sabbath is a creation ordinance. Would it not also be a law known to all men (yes, suppressed in unrighteousness to a great degree)? Would not defying that law cause great harm to individuals, families and communities? Perhaps not mortality, but misery? Given that "stress" and 24/7 commerce & leisure are generally recognized as producing much individual and social harm, wouldn't blue laws of some sort be a very plausible and kind form of legislation? Sabbath would have many of its good effects regardless of whether the beneficiaries worship the living God or saw it as pointing/moving forward to the Day of the Lord. And, that seems similar to marriage, in that marriage brings all sorts of responsibilities and benefits that are inherent to the creation order even for those who remain hostile to God without repentance. 

So, I am finding it difficult to follow a rationale to a limit of legislation that only works in the realm of the second table. I do think you are suggesting something different than that. Is the mortality idea more an example than a principle? It is perhaps helpful to consider Paul's teaching that one who sins sexually sins against his own body in a way that contrasts with all other sins (1 Cor 6:18-20), but there I don't see a direct connection to mortality. 

I hope these are helpful contributions.

Tim,

I find it very interesting that some in the R2K camp use laws against blasphemy as a way to shame God's people away from any use of God's law in the public square. What is there to be embarrassed about regarding the law against deprecating Jehovah in the public square? Even if someone felt that God has abrogated this law (I would not be one of them), the law was at least His rule at some point, and it would not be our place to treat this command like an embarrassment.

Interestingly, it seems that the old idea that we will serve either God's law or mans law is coming true yet again. While the church shrinks from the public square, a secular law-order is emerging, one that like any other law-order has negative sanctions for law breakers. They even have their own secular version of anti-blasphemy laws - for example, you are not allowed to speak out against abortion or homosexuality without being called a bigot, or a racist, or a bully. You can hold this view privately, but you are not allowed to upset the direction and law-order of our prevailing culture from its secular course.

It seems that in our attempt to avoid the judicially placed antithesis between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, we have offered an unholy, often unspoken form of truce - we promise to let the perverts and baby killers walk down Main street, and even have a parade or two. Little did we realize that they always intended to shove us in the closet.

Precisely and well said David. When I am asked if I am a theonomist I answer, "No, but most of my friends are." Most of those who reject theonomy do so because they are ashamed of the law of God, in any context. Most would have objected to the obscenity laws God gave to His people. What is God's will for the civil sphere is a radically different question from "Am I embarrassed by what God commanded the civil authorities in OT Israel to do?"

>>"Little did we realize that they always intended to shove us in the closet."

Right after our murder. Rarely to graceless men and women care for the stench of death, especially upon being made to contemplate or nearly so, that perhaps the stench is their own--light reveals darkness, after all, and we're so mixed-up among the darkness that it is doing its darndest to bring us to the old conservatism of the powers murdering good people while pretending they are actually seeking justice, so as to pretend they are not hypocrites, and therefore not facing a coming wrath but, rather, that they are doing righteousness--their own--and preparing to see God (or at least a heaven). The comment about Rome^ perhaps says something in the right direction: then as now, authorities (and "the people") are interested in peace peace, so the commerce keeps flowing to make affordable the slaves, and prostitutes, and hedonism, and cheap access to other men's daughters with no fear of their fathers and brothers coming to (lawfully) take the heads of those who would defile their daughters. I notice there is still a sense of justice among some, even "liberals" (who, I think, need to be endlessly shamed and boo'd for actually being rather imperialist bigots), about taking the lives of sexual deviants: ask any licentious college-age female about her view on what should be done to those who commit rape. Then ask them why, exactly, they hold such strong sentiments--and point-out that this thing being against someone's free will, violation of one's body, and so forth are not reason enough to take life: so are taxes, and cavity searches, yet most of us (within narrow, narrowly defined parameters) accept that, usually, these things can be valid actions taken against others' wills. Of course it will infuriate them, but something being against free will or assent, and even unwelcome contact with one's body, actually is shared between them: might I also mention that, the past few decades, grammarians, logicians, classicist, classic-liberal educators have noticed that, with the decline of teaching proper and strictly-delineating grammar, fury at such logic as this^? (Such as in the legal community being in a furor that anyone dare suggest constitutional language about "discoverers and inventors" being the sole folks entitled to patent grants actually means "those who have actually discovered and/or invented" something, though of course they're all in favor of strict logic whenever it suits them).

RC,

One additional point to your comments. Critics of God's law, especially professing unbelievers, will often misrepresent the laws forbidding blasphemy in the OT as a kind of Orwellian virtue and vice police, where if you stubbed your toe and accidentally said something vulgar, it was off with your head. How to word this....in a Judeo-Christian law-order, public deprecation of Jehovah was not only horrible because it cursed God, but it was really a way of enticing the people into an entirely different law-order. It was tantamount to a revolution, both religiously and politically, since the people at that time received their religious affections and their socio-political ethics from the same Source.

What I find so interesting is that, if we had a Biblical, Christian law-order today, not an ecclesiocracy, or a theocracy, but a Biblical separation of church and state, but where the pastor and the magistrate both acknowledge that they are ordained by God and that they must answer to Him and keep His ordinances properly understood, then such a state of affairs would not involve the kind of infringements on personal liberties that Christians are likely to experience in the near future. Not to get us off on a tangent, but while God's law would certainly prohibit a gay pride parade, I do not think it would authorize the magistrate to go into some of the thought and speech control modes that are happening today. 

In the absence of God's law, we still have laws, but they are increasingly unfair and we are getting closer to the point where even this conversation might be illegal in the not too distant future. And while the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, I am utterly sad at this development, because our nation's degradation is more akin to apostasy, and not the sort of struggles that go on in evangelizing unreached heathen. And that means, on our end, that the sufferings to come might have been avoided had we been more faithful and not failed to do what God would have had us do in the public square. We have not, like John the Baptist, held the magistrate accountable, among other sins of omission.

This discussion might be helped if we could look at the 'track record' of a number of attempts to apply the Law of God [that is, as distinct from  natural law]via the civil polity - and why those polities and those attempts didn't survive. I might well be misreading the history; but the history of, variously, Cromwell's England; Northern Ireland; South Africa; and the Netherlands itself, all show this at work. Scotland also - why did the country which gave us John Knox and David Livingston end up turning into the country which our moderators pointed out recently was walking very rapidly away from its Christian, and specifically Reformed, heritage?

Ross,

This is a short reply, but the first question should be directed toward what God would have the civil magistrate do, and then a second, derivative question would be how to implement the answers to the first question.

The Puritans would be an example of an admixture of some good things and some errors. Not perfect, but not a failure. There are some things we could learn from their experience.

You cannot take a society like ours, and simply elect people like the Bayly's and RC, Jr., and others, and reach a critical mass of people who are now "in charge", and who will, from the top down, fix this country. Like so many Reformed brothers before us, including many theonomists, it must be a bottom-up, grass-roots reformation. These sorts of laws we are discussing cannot be forced on a country; they are laws that a country, where the majority love God and seek to do His, will accept. To try to implement God's law on an unwilling, apostate nation is impractical, and the Bible does not describe the use of the law in this way. For example, try telling the sodomite police chief that he needs to go and shut down the gay pride parade.

Ironically, there is a sense in which the nation that is willing to have these laws is already following them voluntarily. These laws are not, Scripturally, designed to take a nation like ours and change them from God-haters to God-fearers. Rather, a nation that has been evangelized by the gospel, and nurtured and preserved by faithful pastors in local churches, is willing to have these laws stand as a silent gentry at the boundaries and fringes of society to prevent society from drifting too far in overt disobedience to God. A nation with a growing Christian influence will, inescapably, have more Christians involved in more spheres of life, including government. When these people ask how they can perform their vocation in a manner glorifying to God, such pastors would have an answer, and it would not be the R2K answer.

We're so far over the line right now, that even as someone with a theonomic outlook, I certainly do not think that a political salvation, by legislating God's law on a stiff-necked people who are unwilling to submit to it, will bring about the advancement of His Kingdom. The solution? Well one plank would be that pastors start teaching their flock that God is not just the ruler of the heart, but that He ordains the civil rulers as ministers, and that there are objective standards in His Word that they must follow. That simple step would be a start.

@David - thanx, this is helpful.

It's perhaps worth remembering that one unintended consequence of a time when we had much more in the way of 'Christian' laws, was many people thinking that they were Christian as a result, because they lived in a 'Christian' culture and did the 'Christian' thing - and making the process of evangelising these people next to impossible. As CS Lewis put it, in a different context, "mere improvement is not redemption". I fully concur that this is not our problem now, though.

Dear Ben,

A couple responses:

>>It has never occurred to me that they saw a link between homosexuality and mortality. 

Likely the pathology of homosexuality wasn't as clear to them as it is to us given the advancements in public health and epidemiology, but crimes of passion have always been connected to sex and this is the origin of laws governing intimate relations. As the Bible shows us, incest, rape, adultery—that is, all forms of sexual immorality—cause murder not to mention sickness and death.

>>wouldn't blue laws of some sort be a very plausible and kind form of legislation?

Yes, regardless of whether one is a hard Sabbatarian of the Westminster Standards variety or a soft almost-Sabbatarian of the Luther/Calvin sort.

>>And, that seems similar to marriage, in that marriage brings all sorts of responsibilities and benefits that are inherent to the creation order even for those who remain hostile to God without repentance.

Yes, true; but the consequences of violating the Seventh Commandment are more visible to pagans with eyes to see: stuff like drug addiction, suicide, sickness and death, murder, a lifetime of timidity and fear, etc.

>>So, I am finding it difficult to follow a rationale to a limit of legislation that only works in the realm of the second table.

It's the R2K men who are forcing this choice on people as a cover for their own choice of every man doing that which is right in his own eyes unless he has some private commitment to some private standard of some private derivation.

In other words, the discussion of the First and Second Table of the Law has some helpfulness in discussions of civil law, but meanwhile what we ARE ACTUALLY talking about is Reformed men who are seeking the repeal of sodomy laws (the repeal!), who are open to the reversal of defense of marriage laws, who say publicly that bestiality laws can be opposed by Christians, etc. This is how far they've gone in their pilgrimage towards anarchy.

So in the R2K context, to discuss the First Table of God's Law is simply a red herring and the serious man doesn't waste time on red herrings.

It's worth stating, though, that our nation is absolutely full of blue laws enforcing some sort of sabbath observance. Liquor laws, tavern closings, car dealers' shut, and so on. And note that no Reformed men are debating and speaking out against those laws. It's the laws that people hate today that they speak against—laws proscribing sodomy. That says a lot.

>>I do think you are suggesting something different than that. Is the mortality idea more an example than a principle? It is perhaps helpful to consider Paul's teaching that one who sins sexually sins against his own body in a way that contrasts with all other sins (1 Cor 6:18-20), but there I don't see a direct connection to mortality.

When I speak of mortality, I'm speaking of sickness, death, suicide, murder, etc. Sexual sin has always been fatal and it's the law's obligation to guard its citizens from the shedding of their blood whether by murder or self-murder. This is why suicide is against the law. No one wants to read and talk about the correlation between the bloodshed of innocents and rape, incest, sodomy, fornication, and adultery—not to mention the slaughter of the unborn! And so when Christians go along with the conspiracy of silence concerning the pathologies and fatalities directly linked, for instance, to sodomy, then we get Reformed seminary professors like David Jones at Covenant Theological Seminary calling publicly for the repeal of sodomy laws and getting lauded for his great sensitivity to an oppressed people group. Never mind that more of those he claims to be sensitive to will die because of his call for the repeal of laws banning their sin.

Any discussion of the purpose and civic utility of laws banning rape, incest, adultery, fornication, pederasty, bestiality, and sodomy should only proceed after everyone involved is able to recite the disease, mental illness, and morbidity stats associated with that disease.

>>I hope these are helpful contributions.

Yes, very helpful, dear brother.

Love,

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