Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

"Old Reformed" views and "Escondido 2K" views of politics (vanity)
Christian Observer Forums: CO-URC | 8/9/2012 | Darrell Todd Maurina

Posted on 08/09/2012 9:54:59 PM PDT by darrellmaurina

If you're a Free Republic participant, I already know you're a political conservative. If you're a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America, or United Reformed Churches, and if you don't know what "two kingdoms" theology is, you need to read this post.

Matt Tuininga, who is the son of one of the founders of the United Reformed Churches in North America and is currently doing his doctoral dissertation at Emory University on John Calvin's political views, has put up an interesting post here on how what he calls "Old Reformed" theology differs from the Escondido Two Kingdoms theology:

"Yes, the two kingdoms doctrine affirms Christ’s lordship – and the authority of Scripture – over the State: But what does that mean?"

http://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/yes-the-two-kingdoms-doctrine-affirms-christs-lordship-and-the-authority-of-scripture-over-the-state-but-what-does-that-mean/

My response is here:

http://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/yes-the-two-kingdoms-doctrine-affirms-christs-lordship-and-the-authority-of-scripture-over-the-state-but-what-does-that-mean/#comment-980

First off, I believe Matt has done the whole "Two Kingdoms" debate an important service by coining the term "Old Reformed" to describe those of us who differ from the Escondido 2K or R2K position. We need terms we can agree on and which fairly describe the difference.

I'm comfortable calling myself "Old Reformed," and since both Matt Tuininga and Dr. R. Scott Clark of Westminster-West both seem to agree that older Reformed leaders in the 1500s and 1600s held views of politics which they do not hold, perhaps we now can agree to acceptable terms which define ourselves in this debate. My view is not identical to that of the earliest Reformers, but I do believe it is a line of consistent doctrinal development which includes the practices of the Dutch burghers with William of Orange, the views of Oliver Cromwell, the views of Abraham Kuyper, and the views of modern Reformed leaders who focused on political engagement such as Francis Schaeffer and D. James Kennedy.

Matt has also raised an important issue. In his words: "One of the most prevalent assumptions about the two kingdoms doctrine that frequently leads individuals to criticize or reject it is that the two kingdoms doctrine teaches that the state is not under the lordship of Christ or under the authority of Scripture. This is a terrible assumption, and it is a testimony either to the failure of two kingdoms advocates clearly to communicate their position or to the slanderous way in which that position has been caricatured by some of its opponents (or perhaps a bit of both?). I’ll let you decide."

I've posted my response to him at the end of this note, with some editing and additions to make sense in a different context. For now, the key thing to point out is that we need to try to understand each other. There are major issues at stake, they have major consequences for the life of our churches and our country, and we need to be clear about our differences.

Clarity is not helped by slandering each other's positions, or by the actions of extremist radicals who do not fairly represent the views of the leaders of either side in this debate.

I am deliberately using the terms "Escondido 2K" and "R2K" to hold open at least the possibility that there is a difference. I think the Escondido 2K people need to do a lot more work to address Matt's quite legitimate concern that the "Two Kingdoms" people have a PR problem. When we have Radical Two Kingdoms or R2K people claiming a Reformed case can be made for gay marriage, something needs to be done to drive such arguments out of conservative Reformed circles.

Darrell Todd Maurina _____

Matt, this is a helpful post for at least two different reasons.

One is that some of the people in the “Two Kingdoms” camp have **CLEARLY** given the impression to many of us in what you call the “Old Reformed” wing of the church that your group believes that the civil magistrate’s actions are not to be governed by Scripture, but rather by appeal to some vague and undefined principles of general revelation. You may tell me that is not what you said or meant, and you may well be right, but speaking as someone who is **NOT** trying to deliberately slander the Two Kingdoms people, some of what I read from Two Kingdoms advocates on the internet curls my toes. I know we need to judge a movement by the theology of its leaders, not its radicals, but you’ve got a real problem with wild-eyed radicals saying stuff that makes your entire group look bad, and your leaders need to write more to distance yourselves from the radicals.

I am both surprised and pleased to see an explicit Two Kingdoms advocate like yourself affirm Psalm 2. If more “Two Kingdoms” people were saying what you say in this post, maybe some of us who object strongly to the Two Kingdoms position would decide we still have enough in common that we can carry on a civil conversation.

A second is that you appear to acknowledge that the “Old Reformed” position is historically a legitimate understanding of what it means to be Reformed, while explicitly affirming that in some ways you are deviating from it, and that you believe most of the modern Reformed world has also deviated from it.

I’m not sure if you’ve coined the word “Old Reformed” in this context, but if you did, I hope it gets picked up by others. I find that term helpful. There **ARE** important differences between the “R2K” or “Escondido 2K” position and what you’re calling the “Old Reformed” position, and we need to come up with mutually acceptable terms that describe those two positions. I’m comfortable with calling myself “Old Reformed” if you’re comfortable with calling yourself “Escondido 2K.”

Though I don’t think he uses the term “Old Reformed,” I saw a similar concept in Dr. R. Scott Clark’s writings in which he said the early Reformers were theocratic but not theonomist — a point on which I agree with him, by the way — while acknowledging that he and other modern Reformed people have deviated from older Reformed views on civil government.

I think this is an important point that both sides of the debate need to grant. Modern American Reformed positions are **NOT** those of the 1500s and 1600s on politics; virtually none of us, for example, want to prohibit Roman Catholics from voting or from holding civil office under the American Constitution. On the contrary, many if not most of the most politically aggressive Calvinists are happy to work with Roman Catholics in the pro-life movement, at least as a short-term step toward a longer-term vision of a Christian America. We also need to deal with the practical reality that while Reformed Christians are considerably more influential in Christian conservative political movements than our numbers would warrant, largely because of our emphasis on rigorous theological justification for our actions, the rank-and-file of the modern Christian conservative political movement is broadly evangelical and Roman Catholic.

How are we, as consistent Calvinists, going to deal with working hand-in-hand with people who believe things our confessions strongly reject?

We have changed, and if I can borrow a concept from John Henry Cardinal Newman, we need to show that the change is a consistent development of doctrine or we need to explain why we have deviated from what our forefathers believed by showing through good and necessary consequence why their principles were self-contradictory and could not be maintained without emendation.

Matt, I know that asking “what would Calvin do” is begging the question since your doctoral dissertation seeks to prove that John Calvin held a form of “Two Kingdoms” theology, so let’s leave that question alone, at least until you’re done with your dissertation.

However, can all sides of this debate at least acknowledge that a straightforward reading of the biographies and writings of John Knox and Oliver Cromwell would not logically lead us to believe they would be invited as speakers in a conference dedicated to supporting the Escondido 2K theology? Westminster-West simply cannot claim that it stands in the line of the older Reformed views of politics represented by the Scottish and English Puritans.

I'm not sure the same can be said with regard to Francis Schaeffer and D. James Kennedy, though even there qualifications need to be made.

I think Cromwell might like me a fair amount because of my views on political pluralism within evangelical bounds, but Knox might throw me in jail for Anabaptist leanings if I showed up in Scotland, or at least throw me out of the country and tell me to go over to the Netherlands where their loose views of civil toleration allowed Barrowists to have independent churches outside the Dutch Reformed synodical system.

I realize that Dr. Clark grounds his deviation from older Reformed views in the American revisions to the Westminster Confession, and points to similar revisions in the Belgic Confession made by Kuyper and his followers. I don’t happen to agree with him on that point at all. I do not believe those confessional revisions lead to Escondido 2K views, though they probably do lead to views which are more in accord with Cromwell, Kuyper, Schaeffer and Kennedy than those of Knox.

However, I certainly do agree that ecclesiastical pluralism in North America has led to changes in Reformed political theology. Where I disagree, I think, with both you and Dr. Clark is whether those changes are good. If it’s true that “we can think ourselves into new ways of behaving or behave ourselves into new ways of thinking,” perhaps we ought to go back and examine what you call the “Old Reformed” political arguments to see whether they were bad theology or simply inconvenient and uncomfortable.

I realize we are far apart in a lot of areas, and definitions need to be worked out since I’m still not convinced we’re using words in the same way, but what you say here is a good start.

Now on the broader issue, I speak only for myself here, but I think my words would be affirmed by a lot of other people when I say that the Two Kingdoms theologians have a major “PR” problem. Your group — not necessarily you personally, but the group — gives the impression that you believe in appealing not to Scripture but to some vague and undefined “natural law” concept when it comes to ruling the state.

Your group also seems to have a serious animosity toward Christians who believe in political engagement, an animosity which seems to have two roots: one, a historical reaction at Westminster-West against the influence of theonomy in Reformed circles in Southern California, and two, a concern that modern evangelicalism is in danger of losing its way by substituting a political agenda for the gospel. (The “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” concept being advocated by Chuck Colson, et al., is only one example of those issues; much cruder co-optings of the gospel by politics could be cited from evangelical leaders who are much less careful thinkers than Colson.)

I have major sympathy for both of those concerns by Escondido Two Kingdoms people.

My response is to follow Abraham Kuyper’s theological position of supporting work with Roman Catholics in the civil sphere while maintaining a strong emphasis on confessional integrity within the church sphere. Romans 13 defines the primary task of the civil magistrate, and there can be much greater room for toleration in the civil government than in church government.

I believe Kuyper’s view of sphere sovereignty — that the confessions govern the church, but we can cooperate with others in the sphere of the civil magistrate who don’t affirm the confessions but do affirm a Romans 13 view of civil government — is a consistent development of the same core doctrine of political engagement held by the Dutch Reformed, who were willing to work with William of Orange despite problems with personal morality and a less-than-consistent confessional stance,

I think it is also consistent with the views of Oliver Cromwell and other Puritans who understood that Calvinist Anglicans like Archbishop Ussher, the Presbyterian majority of Puritanism and Parliament, and the Congregational and Independent minority which dominated the New Model Army, were all agreed on the core of Calvinist orthodoxy but could never work together in the same church. Cromwell, unlike Knox but like the Dutch burghers who threw off the yoke of Spain, believed in a certain amount of ecclesiastical pluralism and political pluralism.

I can live with the viewpoints of William of Orange, of Oliver Cromwell, and of Abraham Kuyper on civil government, all of which I believe are fundamentally consistent with each other and proceed from a similar basic principle which is close but not identical to that of Knox. I think those are valid developments of Reformed political doctrine. I think with some additional research I could say more about how the Plymouth Bay Colony had a level of toleration which would be quite compatible with the views of Francis Schaeffer and D. James Kennedy, but I don’t want to post things on the internet that I can’t back up with citations. My memory of things I read thirty years ago is not something I want to trust on something this important.

What I can’t live with is the idea that civil government is to look to general revelation rather than special revelation for its rules. There are radicals in Escondido 2K circles who hold views which are (or at least ought to be) a public embarrassment for conservative Reformed thinkers. Time will tell whether those radicals are consistent with the core theology of Escondido 2K or if they are taking the E2K theology into places where it not only need not but also should not logically go.


TOPICS: Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: escondido; reformed; twokingdoms; westminsterwest
This is the full text of a post I made today on the Christian Observer forum for the United Reformed Churches in North America.

People in Reformed and Presbyterian circles who pay attention to politics need to be aware of this "Two Kingdoms" theology coming out of Westminster Theological Seminary in California and what damage it is doing in our churches. Things have gotten so bad that some professed conservative Calvinists are even trying to say that a Christian case can be made for the legalization of gay marriages.

This has also been crossposted to the Christian Observer URCNA and OPC forums, and the Puritan Board at these links.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/co-urc/message/25367

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/presbyterians-opc/message/44925

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/old-reformed-views-escondido-2k-views-politics-75448/

For those who want to read more, here are some additional links to discussion of the Escondido Two Kingdoms theology:

"Green Baggins, 2K, Westminster-West, gay marriage, and Calvinist politics" http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2862357/posts

"Ongoing review of Van Drunen's 'Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms' in the Puritan Board Theological Forum; Dr. Nelson Kloosterman of Mid-America Reformed Seminary has begun what promises to be a lengthy review of this book."

http://www.puritanboard.com/f54/ongoing-review-van-drunens-natural-law-two-kingdoms-63558/

1 posted on 08/09/2012 9:55:11 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: crghill; marshmallow; aimhigh; veracious; ReformationFan; Lee N. Field; Dr. Eckleburg; Cronos; ...
Calvinism, politics, Westminster-West, and “Two Kingdoms” ping. Please re-ping to other Reformed people on Free Republic — none of you are on any formal ping list; I've simply noticed you commenting on Calvinist posts on Free Republic.

Those of us who are Calvinists and believe in political engagement need to take a close look at what is going on with this “Two Kingdoms” movement.

For those who are not familiar with the movement, it is an argument that when Christians enter the political realm, we are not to argue based on Scripture but rather using natural law or general revelation. Some of its advocates really and sincerely believe that engagement in politics runs the risk of replacing the Gospel with political compromise that leads to theological compromise. Others have far more questionable motives, and the accusation has been made (in some cases, definitely wrongly) that Two Kingdoms theology is a cover to allow liberal politics into the church.

I am not a fan of attacking academia — I am a Calvinist, after all, and I believe in a studied ministry — but this is an ivory tower movement coming predominantly out of one seminary and spreading in academic circles. This is definitely not a grassroots movement. Most theologically conservative Calvinist laymen involved in business or professional lives are also politically conservative.

It's time for elders and laymen to stand up and speak out. The stakes are simply too great to let politically uninformed pastors muddle things up for our churches. They may mean well, but they're causing major problems at a time when we need to be unified to fight against the culture wars that threaten to destroy what is left of biblical Christianity in America.

2 posted on 08/09/2012 10:12:20 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina

Sounds like your classic tempest in a teapot ultra-conservative Reformed/Presbyterian debate to me. Honestly, I don’t think this touches 1% of American evangelicals...

Any professing conservative Calvinist teachers pressing for sodomy-marriage simply need Church discipline.


3 posted on 08/09/2012 10:15:17 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns
I didn't see that arguing for sodomy was proposed by anyone. If I understand correctly, those prodessing the 2kingdoms would say you can't advocate against it usung Scripture as the basis of your argument. To this I say,

HOGWASH!

Scripture is living, AND ACTIVE and even though a hearer may attempt to disdain it, the Holy Spirit has a way of moving through even the hardest hearts and bringing to Himself those whom He seeks.

4 posted on 08/10/2012 4:05:12 AM PDT by Jemian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns
I didn't see that arguing for sodomy was proposed by anyone. If I understand correctly, those prodessing the 2kingdoms would say you can't advocate against it usung Scripture as the basis of your argument. To this I say,

HOGWASH!

Scripture is living, AND ACTIVE and even though a hearer may attempt to disdain it, the Holy Spirit has a way of moving through even the hardest hearts and bringing to Himself those whom He seeks.

5 posted on 08/10/2012 4:11:11 AM PDT by Jemian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: napscoordinator; Antoninus; cripplecreek; writer33; Lazlo in PA; AmericanInTokyo; wagglebee; ...
This is a quick ping to my personal list of Santorum supporters on a non-Santorum matter in my own church circles which may interest you.

For those of you who are Roman Catholic, I have a long history of commending your church for taking a stance on politicians advocating obviously anti-Christian public policy. In my own theological circles, we need to deal with the fact that our political history during the Reformation was closely intertwined with fights against Roman Catholicism. How can we cooperate with Catholics now when our history was very different?

The core issue is that we now face an even worse enemy — secularism and “enlightenment” thought stemming from the French Revolution. We can work together against a common enemy so long as we realize our differences.

The Dutch church leader Abraham Kuyper, who became the prime minister of the Netherlands a century ago as head of a Christian political party and was the founder of a Christian university, a daily newspaper and a church magazine, and of what became the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination, advocated cooperation with Roman Catholics in the sphere of the state while strongly affirming the need to maintain confessional integrity in the sphere of the church. In the modern context, Francis Schaeffer and D. James Kennedy held very similar positions.

I believe it is entirely consistent to work with Roman Catholics in the political realm to fight abortion and other evils covered by Romans 13. I believe we need to recognize that our confessions will and should keep us from ecclesiastical compromise, but Romans 13 specifies the primary purpose of the state in ways that not only allow but probably require us to work together as evangelical Protestants, traditional Roman Catholics, and Orthodox Jews.

6 posted on 08/10/2012 4:43:21 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns; Jemian
3 posted on Fri Aug 10 2012 00:15:17 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) by AnalogReigns: “Any professing conservative Calvinist teachers pressing for sodomy-marriage simply need Church discipline.”

Unfortunately, the case of Misty and Lee Irons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church shows that “Radical Two Kingdoms” theology has given birth to bitter fruit.

I'm prepared to listen to an argument that this is an extreme view — “R2K” instead of “Escondido 2K.” I'm quite aware that many of the more mainstream Escondido 2K people have developed a “natural law” argument for why homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption violate natural law and general revelation, essentially coming to the same position as standard Christian conservatives using a different route to get there.

The problem is that Lee and Misty Irons are not the only people saying such things, and I remain seriously concerned about the entire movement. Time will tell whether the Irons are being consistent with the fundamental principles of the “Two Kingdoms” theology.

7 posted on 08/10/2012 4:54:32 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns; Jemian
Here are some links to the Misty Irons controversy. Remember, she was a pastor's wife in the **ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,** for crying out loud, not the Presbyterian Church (USA) or even the PCA. "Radical Two Kingdoms" theology has put its tentacles into even some of the strictest presbyteries of the strictest of Reformed denominations.

This year, Misty spoke to the GCN (Gay Christian Network) conference. I've posted two of her videos below.

By God's grace, the OPC did the right thing by driving the Irons out of their denomination. A clearer rejection of the theology of the "Radical Two Kingdoms" movement might have been more helpful, but the end result was that the Irons were pushed out of the OPC. In 2002 and 2003, I'm not sure a stronger statement would have been possible since many people still thought that "Two Kingdoms" theology was a modern version of the old Southern Presbyterian "Spirituality of the Church" concept and wanted to protect its legitimacy under "Old School" Presbyterian principles. I'm not convinced the outcome would have been the same in every NAPARC denomination, especially if this happened in one of the less conservative presbyteries of those denominations.

http://www.upper-register.com/irons_trial/musingson/chronology_musingson.html

Key quote from Lee Irons: "The documents relating to my trial in the Presbytery and my subsequent appeal to the General Assembly in 2003 have been posted on this site for some time. But the controversy over my view of the Law was only half of our struggle in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. My wife’s struggle to be allowed to keep up her website on homosexuality is the other half. From March 7, 2002 to April 22, 2003 she was under the threat of being formally charged and brought to trial if she did not shut down the website. In the end, charges never were filed against her and she never did shut down her website (www.musingson.com)."

Here's Misty Irons' website, entitled "Musings on Christianity: Homosexuality and the Bible": http://www.musingson.com/

Here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oFZsF1LxmU

Here's another video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LCT5EdsiOc&feature=related

Two comments say it all: "Thank God and to the praise of His glory that people like Misty is being raised up in the mainline churches to testify that Christians can be gay just like" them" and that we gays have a standing in grace that no one and nothing can take it away. Romans 5 : 1,2." Again, "I praise the Lord for Misty's testimony to the gospel of grace in Jesus. More than through her words, her testimony shines forth in her loving actions."

Here's one of many pro-gay bloggers who like Misty Irons:

http://joemoderate.blogspot.com/2008/02/misty-irons-on-gay-lust.html

Key quote: "Remember ridiculously cool Christian blogger Misty Irons? She recently posted a thoughtful entry on her blog analyzing why mainstream Christians are unable or unwilling to consider that gay couples may actually be bound by love. Misty chastises those Christians who dismiss gay affection as nothing more than 'lust' ... Another excellent example of how Mrs. Irons really 'gets it.' She gives me hope that understanding and reconciliation between gays and Christians is a possibility."

This is not just a problem of "other people out there." It's here inside our own conservative Reformed churches, and we need to deal with it.

8 posted on 08/10/2012 5:22:36 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns; Jemian
Here is Misty Irons current blogger website:

http://moremusingson.blogspot.com/

Key quote: "Straight, married with three kids, homeschooling, evangelical Christian of the Reformed variety. Okay, now that the scary part is out of the way, see 'More about me' to find out why I support gay marriage in society and oppose it in the church."

Here is a post with some homosexuals arguing that Misty Irons isn't affirming enough of homosexuality (i.e., she's "Side B" with Tony Campolo and similar people who view homosexuality as a result of brokenness, not "Side A" which believes homosexuality is a good creation of God and not a result of brokenness:

http://moremusingson.blogspot.com/2011/07/gcn-conference-2012.html

In her video, Misty points out that "being in the PCA has offered her more freedom to do things" like continuing her pro-gay blogger advocacy.

Key quote by Misty Irons: "It would soon became evident that the whole denomination would divide up according to which side people resonated most strongly with ... The news that an OPC pastor's wife had not only come out in favor of civil same-sex marriage but defended it publicly could not be contained. My article spread to four other internet discussion lists and, I was told, seven other Reformed denominations."

Misty points out with regard to advocates of homosexual civil unions that she "provided a service of making them look like moderates by comparison." We need to beware of the "frog in the kettle" syndrome here.

Clearly this issue is not over; the problem has moved from the OPC to the PCA.

9 posted on 08/10/2012 5:57:44 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina

If Christ has no say in the political realm then only fallen man can be the savior of it. Seems that’s not working out to well in our culture.


10 posted on 08/10/2012 5:58:51 AM PDT by crghill (Silly Mormons, God is triune.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
If you're a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America, or United Reformed Churches, and if you don't know what "two kingdoms" theology is, you need to read this post.

Great article - ping to read again in greater detail

11 posted on 08/10/2012 7:06:02 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2898271/posts?page=119#119)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
I am a son of the Kingdom. I am not a Calvinist or any preconceived, intellectually contrived, traditions of men system.

We worship and follow the King in spirit and in truth (Word). We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and our testimony.

Yahweh, created _all_ things, including leadership, “business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion”. Man has freedom to develop in these and all other spheres with the guidance of the Word. Furthermore, the apostolic call on the His people requires us to lead the world in all these efforts. The intellectuals which muzzle His guidance, thru His chosen ones is of our enemy. It is a big part of what has happened to our culture, nation and now even the whole earth: collapse.

The very Word translated into church ecclacia (or whatever) means (to) legislate. His people are His sons and this is what He called us to do.

Torah is instruction much more than it is _law_.

12 posted on 08/10/2012 8:37:14 AM PDT by veracious
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: veracious

Some may wish to consider my previous post using these insights, which I concur with
http://www.reclaim7mountains.com


13 posted on 08/10/2012 8:41:20 AM PDT by veracious
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
It would seem to me that a quick look at the Westminster Confession of Faith would solve this for any logical moral thinkers (Chapter 19 "Of the Law of God"):

2. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.
(Related WLC: 98 WSC: 41)

3. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.
(Related WLC: WSC: )

4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
(Related WLC: WSC: )

5. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither doth Christ, in the gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion." (Leviticus 18:21-23)

(fascinating how homosexual behavior is listed right along with child sacrifice and bestiality, isn't it? Also fascinating how homosexual activists today are almost uniformly pro-abortion...and most favor other sexual perversions too.)

So, since the Moral Law--of the Old Testament--applies to everyone today (no exceptions for "secular government") how can anyone call themselves Reformed at all...let alone a conservative Presbyterian--in obedience to the Westminster standards, and deny that? I really don't see any leeway, whatsoever, on homosexuality.

An OPC PASTOR'S WIFE? What? She, or perhaps her husband, needs to be charged in his presbytery for departing from holy Scripture--and his vows to uphold the Westminster standards.

14 posted on 08/10/2012 11:20:33 AM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
FYI: I'm a conservative Anglican, (of the J.I. Packer variety) and we rightly name ourselves as "Reformed Catholic." The Anglican "Articles of Religion" (dating to nearly 100 years before Westminster) also clearly distinguish between Ceremonial, Civil and Moral Law in the Old Testament...and bind us all to that Moral Law (and to Christ alone for justification...). From the "Articles of Religion" (or the "Thirty-nine Articles"):

VII. Of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 posted on 08/10/2012 11:30:03 AM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns
14 posted on Fri Aug 10 2012 13:20:33 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) by AnalogReigns: “An OPC PASTOR'S WIFE? What? She, or perhaps her husband, needs to be charged in his presbytery for departing from holy Scripture—and his vows to uphold the Westminster standards.”

It happened.

The whole case got bollixed up with the question of theonomy and Old School Presbyterian “spirituality of the church” views. The end result is that Rev. Lee Irons chose to leave the OPC, his church disbanded, and Irons eventually ended up in the PCA as a layman (I think he's now a ruling elder).

While Rev. Lee Irons and Misty Irons were personally run out of the OPC, their ideas were not, and the underlying issues did not get solved. As to persons, Lee and Misty Irons are now the PCA’s problem. However, their ideas did not leave the OPC when they left.

There continue to be significant numbers of Reformed people in the OPC and PCA who believe that general revelation and natural law, not Scripture, are to determine what is right and wrong in politics. Most won't go anywhere near as far as Misty Irons — as she said to the Gay Christian Network conference, her advocacy created space for less radical people to be viewed as moderates in the OPC — but the key issue of the role of the law in the civil sphere remains.

I get the point that nobody wants to say that Dabney and Thornwell were heretics, and nobody wants to co-opt the gospel with politics. I really do get it — Gardiner Spring resolutions are bad and have no place in Reformed assemblies.

However, this has to be addressed. It does us no good to be valiant in all the battles of the world except the one where our chief enemy is currently fighting.

If someone is a solid five-point Calvinist and subscribes without reservation to all the articles and points of doctrine of the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and Canons of Dordt, or without exception to the system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Standards, but then proceeds to argue that we can ignore the culture war because it is “mere politics” and go AWOL in the middle of the homosexual assault on marriage in America, I fail to see how such a person is obeying God at this time when what is left of Christianity is under direct attack in the civil sphere.

16 posted on 08/10/2012 11:58:51 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
Even if one doesn't think it right to directly apply the Law of Moses (the 10 Commandments) in civil law to non-Christians, the judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah was LONG before Moses and the giving of the Mosaic code--proving, as Bob Gagnon argues (following Jesus' example), homosexual behavior is violation of a foundational, from-the-Garden, pre-fall principle, of one man and one woman for life--applicable to all people, everywhere.

...but then proceeds to argue that we can ignore the culture war because it is “mere politics” and go AWOL in the middle of the homosexual assault on marriage in America, I fail to see how such a person is obeying God at this time when what is left of Christianity is under direct attack in the civil sphere.

My thought's exactly. The following (attributed to Luther, but apparently apocryphal) quote is (none-the-less)true:

"If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity.

Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."

17 posted on 08/10/2012 12:18:51 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns
Oh, by the way, that great spurious Luther quote:

"If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity.
Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point. "

was by, Elizabeth Rundle Charles, from the novel The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family (Thomas Nelson, 1864.)

While it does SOUND a lot like Luther...and Mrs. Charles' fictional novel was about Lutherans, apparently Francis Schaeffer (mis)quoted it as Luther...and so has everyone since.

18 posted on 08/10/2012 12:34:20 PM PDT by AnalogReigns (reality is analog, not digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
"How can we cooperate with Catholics now when our history was very different?"

The transgressions of the past are in the past.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

We are all called to forgive trespasses, both real and imaginary. If we both concentrate on cooperating with God we will be cooperating with each other. First and foremost we each have to get past the idea that the other is an evil on par with Satan and attack that with is obviously and undeniably evil in our society.

Peace be with you.

19 posted on 08/10/2012 12:47:22 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Natural Law
I think we agree on the need for traditional Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants to cooperate. The question is how we justify that cooperation when the Council of Trent's anathemas against Protestant doctrine and corresponding Reformed and Lutheran condemnations of Roman Catholic doctrine have not changed.

Abraham Kuyper proposed a doctrine known as sphere sovereignty. I'm simplifying radically, but his view was that God operates through three basic spheres, that of the family, the church, and the state. The family is the most basic of the three and predates the others, and at some times in earlier history (Abraham and Moses, for example) the covenant heads in the spheres were identical.

However, under the current conditions, the government of the family, the church, and the state are and ought to be separate. That means while the confessions of the church quite properly prevent Roman Catholics and conservative Protestants from being in the same churches, that doesn't mean we can't work together to stop abortion, for instance, under the principles of Romans 13 in which the primary purpose of the state is to punish unbelievers.

If I were in an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country (Cold War-era Poland, Franco's Spain, etc.) where patriotism and Roman Catholicism were closely linked, I would have significant problems cooperating with Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics in the Deep South had that problem a century ago as well dealing with the Bible Belt, when anti-Catholic efforts were made (wrongly) through Blaine Amendments to drive Catholicism out of the public schools which were at that point still largely Christian.

We're not in that situation today in America and we need to “hang together” whenever we can or we will most certainly be hung separately by the radical secularists.

20 posted on 08/10/2012 1:33:48 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: darrellmaurina
"....we need to “hang together”...."

We most certainly do. When I was in school a professor once took a large sheet of paper and drew a dot on it and then asked each of us to describe what we saw. Invariably we all concentrated on the dot which accounted for something less than one tenth of one percent of the total area of the paper. No one really commented on the other 99.9%. We tend to do the same thing in these forums. We have significantly more in common than we hold differently. When we both profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior we have stated the 99.9%.

Eccumenicalism and cooperation is an area we have to trust to faith. Agreeing that it is not a recruiting tool or a negotiation, we must rejoice in what we have in common and respect what we as individuals hold different and work for the Glory of God, not ourselves or our denominations.

I have to say that as a Catholic I am prepared, in order to confront the threats to Christianity and to religious freedom, and to protect life and traditional marriage, and our liberties, to embrace what I do not yet know and accept what I do not understand, and trust that God will guide our efforts. I have faith that the separated brethren will stand with us. Peace be with you

21 posted on 08/10/2012 6:28:11 PM PDT by Natural Law (Jesus did not leave us a Bible, He left us a Church.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson