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Theological Forum discuss "Escondido Theology" in the Theology forums; Has anyone read Frames new book. and do you have any thoughts to share? Escondido Theology: Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology (J. Frame) $5.00 ...

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    Kevin's Avatar
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    "Escondido Theology"

    Has anyone read Frames new book. and do you have any thoughts to share?

    Escondido Theology: Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology (J. Frame) $5.00 Off! - KennethGentry.com

    Also has anyone written a substantive review yet? All I can find is a brief (non-review) blog post by Hart.
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    We discussed the book when it came out here and I closed the thread until someone could give a solid review of it.

    Frame's new book on R2K

    So if anyone has read the book and can give a solid review that would be fine. But keep it within this context. We already discussed the possible merits of this book without having read it.
    Last edited by PuritanCovenanter; 01-12-2012 at 02:46 PM.

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    I think we can be certain that Horton, Clark, et. al. have been "Frame(d)" pretty good in the book.

    It is on my list of must-read books, but it will be some time before I can read it. If anyone has a reference to a good review, it would be a wonderful gift.
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    Thanks, I missed the earlier thread.

    I spent the day at the Haddington House Library yesterday, and saw that title. I would be interested to hear what he has to say. As well as what people think of what he has to say.
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    I read the book, and without giving a "review", I would observe:

    1. Good portions of the book are a compilation/re-work of material previously published, i.e., Frame's reviews of certain books by Horton, Clark, Van Drunen, and Kline. Book ties things together into one work.

    2. Background info given on his reasons for leaving WSC is helpful to understand his reluctance to publish the book.

    3. Spends time anticipating the inevitable charge of personal vendetta.

    4. Overall, lays out the theology under review through use of extensive quotations and his analysis is straightforward and readable.
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    If you look at Wscal's blog, Dr. Godfrey wrote somewhat of a response. I think it's worth taking a look at and taking careful thought into approaching the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew P.C. View Post
    If you look at Wscal's blog, Dr. Godfrey wrote somewhat of a response. I think it's worth taking a look at and taking careful thought into approaching the subject.
    This is the link:
    Westminster Seminary California Faculty Response to John Frame:: Westminster Seminary California
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    That was very unsatisfactory.

    Can anyone imagine what any WSC faculty bloggers would have said if Doug Wilson had offered a blog post such as that in response to the FV critics?
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    I must disagree, Kevin. A response was given, though in short form.

    Consider this possibility--that in his reply, Dr. Godfrey was consciously seeking to walk in light of Proverbs 15:1.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    That was very unsatisfactory.

    Can anyone imagine what any WSC faculty bloggers would have said if Doug Wilson had offered a blog post such as that in response to the FV critics?
    Can you elaborate what the problem is?
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    Since I had read Frame’s book, I was asked to give my impression of Dr. Godfrey’s response posted on the WSC site. As I said above, I do not intend to write a review of Frame’s book. Nor do I wish to make extended comment on Godfrey’s response. I am even reluctant to make this post, since I know critique on this issue has some highly personal and partisan dimensions to it. Thus, I'll just focus more narrowly on what I found a most remarkable aspect of the response, where Godfrey wrote:

    “In response all of us on the WSC faculty wish to state clearly that we reject all of these thirty-two points as a fair or accurate presentation of our views. …In relation to most of John’s bullet points we believe and teach the very opposite of what is attributed to us.”

    Well, has Frame so misrepresented them that his formulations are the “opposite” of what faculty members of WSC teach? Let’s look at just one of Frame’s key points that gets at the heart of the modern “two kingdoms” theology:

    “God’s principles for governing society are found, not in Scripture, but in natural law.”

    Now compare that bullet point with some representative quotes from WSC faculty members:


    “His revelation speaks to everything but not in the same way. The cultural or civil sphere is normed by God’s general or natural revelation. Special revelation wasn’t given to norm cultural or civil life.” R. Scott Clark.


    "Scripture is not the appropriate moral standard for the civil kingdom. … Scripture is the sacred text given to God’s covenant people whom he has redeemed from sin. . . . Given its character, therefore, Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing. David Van Drunen

    “Christ’s kingdom is its own culture: holy rather than common. That does not mean that it is an alternative subculture. In other words, there is no such thing as Christian sports, entertainment, politics, architecture and science. In these common fields, Christians and non-Christians are indistinguishable except by their ultimate goals and motivations.” Michael Horton,


    “God presently rules the world through providence and common grace, while he rules the church through Word, sacrament, and covenantal nurture. This means that there is no difference between Christians and non-Christians with respect to their vocations.” Michael Horton

    “{Guided by} the Lutheran two-kingdom perspective on scholarship, scholars at Christian institutions will not feel the need to introduce questions of faith in literature or chemistry classes, or to require theological precision from every new hire in sociology. Indeed, only in the Bible and theology departments, where faith and theological convictions make the most difference, is close scrutiny of a professor's profession of faith immediately relevant to academic work”. Darryl Hart

    The problem with using the Bible in public life is that you bind people who don’t believe the Bible. .. I believe making non-believers obey the Bible is illegitimate as long as they don’t believe the Bible.” Darryl Hart.



    Additional quotes could be supplied, but not sure how any reasonable reader could find Frame’s formulation as the “opposite” of what these faculty members actually teach. Perhaps that's not a bullet point Godfrey had in mind? He did only say that they reject "most" of the bullet points as being "opposite" of their teaching. He did not identify any bullet point that might tend toward being agreeable or a more fair representation, so we are left to guess at this point.

    Additionally, I wish Godfrey had addressed the fact that approximately 17 pages later past the bullet points, Frame provides an even more crystallized summary of the features of the “Escondido theology”. Two(2) of these 9 features Frame lists as follows:

    1. A strict separation between law and gospel.
    2. A radicalization of the Reformation two-kingdoms view, leading to a separation of church and culture, and church and state, so that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society.


    Can anyone question whether #1 is accurate? #2 is not a unique to Frame, and quite frankly, there is a growing chorus of Reformed scholars who would concur with it.

    I well understand that a WSC blog entry could not address everything in Frame's book. But rather than simply crying out "misrepresentation" and engaging in ad hominem against Frame, I wish he could have provided a charitable offer to engage Frame's arguments, even if in a different forum.

    Sadly, Godfrey’s response actually raises the question of how familiar he is with what’s actually being taught by members of his faculty.
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    I may be wrong in my analysis, but this:

    “God’s principles for governing society are found, not in Scripture, but in natural law.”

    looks like a caricature, to me, from what I've read and digested from the WSC.

    Here's what's wrong with it: I think WSC would say that *ultimate* principles that sustain or govern a society are found in Scripture (spelled out in the moral law); AND in natural revelation. The SAME law is found in BOTH. So IMO, the statement is inaccurate at best, prejudicial at worst.

    Consequently, along with Paul (Rom.1-2) WSC will affirm that the natural man is capable of resurrecting a "tolerable" moral/governmental order, thanks to the fact that he has an ineradicable "work of the law" within him. Of course, the human apprehension is very imperfect, and they don't get everything just right. In fact, perhaps most of the time they erect tyrannies and despotisms, rather than a truly beneficial social order. Certainly, they typically privilege one nationality or class, at the expense of others. What else should we expect from people who inherently rebel against their Maker?

    The real issue and division between WSC, and critics represented by Frame and others, is this: in a setting that is non-evangelistic, what is the best means of finding and promoting good-government? Should we try to "sell" anti-abortion measures on the basis of the 6th Commandment, the Sermon on the Mount, and Psalm 139? WSC says "no, that's not the best way, and may even be counterproductive--mainly because mining the Bible for public-policy grounds is a misuse of the text." Are all those above references relevant to the question of whether a nation should allow abortion? Of course. But the Bible is not a book for unbelievers. It is written to convict unbelievers of sin, but it is not a book FOR unbelievers. And, in the main, they don't like it anyway.

    So, the original statement, if it is to have any helpful relevance to the actual issue, needs to be re-Framed.

    “God’s natural law is the place to find common-ground with unbelievers in pursuit of benevolent principles for governing society (or other pursuits), inasmuch as we cannot escape the necessity of living and working with them; rather than making an appeal to them to just "obey" the laws of Scripture.

    A Christian in government should certainly be directly informed by Scripture as to his awareness of the common, natural law, because he is "spiritual," and can in fact "receive the things of the Spirit of God," by way of clarity and confirmation. His arguments should be strengthened because of this advantage.



    But ultimately, I think the "big issue" at hand isn't the argument over whether "God's principles for governing society"are found in Scripture, nature, or both. But whether "God's principles" are coequal and coterminous with the Moral Law (10 Commandments, and their natural adjuncts); or if the "right way" to do a myriad of things is found--or should be sought--from Scripture.

    If you think that the Bible is a BIG RULE BOOK, then you will mine it for all its worth. A LAW for this, a LAW for that, a LAW for this, a LAW for that, a LAW, a LAW, LAW, LAW, LAW.... And all the non-Christian neighbors hear this incomprehensible message, "Hey, this country has Christian origins; so ya'll OBEY if you know what's good for you (in this life!), and especially what's good for me!"

    If you think that the Bible is a BIG BOOK about JESUS CHRIST, then you will mine it for all HE'S worth. "These are the Scriptures that testify of ME." And all the non-Christian neighbors will hear this incomprehensible message (except when the Spirit works, making it understandable!): Come to Jesus and find LIFE, by GRACE.


    In the end, the latter is the only way one will ever have a larger society that is well-salted for long-term preservation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    If you think that the Bible is a BIG BOOK about JESUS CHRIST, then you will mine it for all HE'S worth. "These are the Scriptures that testify of ME." And all the non-Christian neighbors will hear this incomprehensible message (except when the Spirit works, making it understandable!): Come to Jesus and find LIFE, by GRACE.

    In the end, the latter is the only way one will ever have a larger society that is well-salted for long-term preservation.
    I appreciate the emphasis and focus on the Lord Jesus Christ here, but we are left with a moral dilemma which the unbelieving society is bound to take advantage of, and is even now using to the detriment of Christianity in the world. If we were to accept that "God’s natural law is the place to find common-ground with unbelievers in pursuit of benevolent principles for governing society (or other pursuits)," we have essentially told the unbelieving society that it does not need the special revelation of Jesus Christ to make a well governed, benevolent society. Alas! the salt has lost its savour and is good for nothing! Worse than that -- now that the society feels perfectly capable on the basis of natural principles to arrive at moral solutions without the aid of Christianity, society would be quite within its rights to judge the higher morals of Christians as superfluous, if not supercilious and burdensome. It might on that basis adversely criticise Christianity as a religion that is simply unfit for human society. Then, for the Christian's failure to live up to the neutral, mundane, social ethics of the community in which he lives, the community might justly determine the Christian is unfit for society and intitiate the extermination of this odious sect. At which point it will be shown that the unthinking Christian has given the thinking non-Christian the moral weapons he needs to outlaw and persecute Christianity until the name of Jesus Christ is never heard again. Alas! the salt has become good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men!

    The rhetoric of neutrality always leaves out of view an important factor -- that "the world" (the world that by wisdom knew not God) is not neutral but hates the Lord Jesus Christ and hates His people. Toleration may have taken the teeth from the lion but it has not changed its nature. Let us never forget that it was Christianity which brought toleration to our western world. It was Christianity which sowed the seeds of representative government and civil rights. These principles are not inherent in the world by nature. Take Christianity out of the public square and the world will simply use these principles for its own destruction.
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    Sorry Bruce and MDVM. But I really believe this goes deeper than that. These separations hurt. Even in this discussion on the Union in Christ.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    If you think that the Bible is a BIG RULE BOOK, then you will mine it for all its worth. A LAW for this, a LAW for that, a LAW for this, a LAW for that, a LAW, a LAW, LAW, LAW, LAW.... And all the non-Christian neighbors hear this incomprehensible message, "Hey, this country has Christian origins; so ya'll OBEY if you know what's good for you (in this life!), and especially what's good for me!"
    BTW, That wasn't the message of our Country's founders who gave their all. It wasn't what I wanted to give my life for as a military person under Ronald Reagan. It wasn't all about me. The founding fathers gave and promised all. Was it all just so we could live in liberty away from or for truth? In studying this period years ago it was for. Is the Bible and our Confession against this? BTW, this also has to do with the law and gospel debate in my estimation as I have stated before on the Puritanboard.
    Last edited by PuritanCovenanter; 02-10-2012 at 02:34 PM.

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    BTW, I believe in rightful forced subordination. It is right. We do it daily. Ask my parents as they were raising me and trying to teach me. May I remind everyone of Deut. 29;29. Maybe we should devote a thread to Luther and Two Kingdoms. Luther's and Augustine's teaching on this don't look like Westminster California's in my estimation as I read and have seen the fruit of in History. But I would really rather focus on something more primer and premier. Christ and Union. It is foundational. It is the root of the problem in my estimation.

    Back on to the topic. I agree with the URC Elder. He is not alone.

    I do believe the Bible is a book about Jesus Christ. Believe me. I do. Even for the unelect.
    Last edited by PuritanCovenanter; 02-10-2012 at 02:36 PM.

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    "There is a great ignorance even of the very first principles of religion. It will be very easy, Sirs, to introduce Popery into Scotland. Oh, the gross ignorance of our principles that are contained in our Catechisms, larger and shorter, and Confession of Faith, sworn to in the Covenants."

    Richard Cameron, ‘Sermon on Hosea 13:9-10 (1680)′ in Sermons in times of persecution in Scotland, by sufferers for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, ed. James Kerr (Edinburgh, 1880), p. 409.

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    Thank you, Bruce. From what I've read, I would agree that the way you put it more accurately represents what the WSC guys are trying to say. We must interact with what they really mean to say, not, as you put it, a charicature of what they're saying.

    Even if one disagrees with them, playing fair means accurately acknowledging their strongest point from the start... and only after that, examining it for pitfalls. We all know that to be an effective advocate in any discussion we first need to convince the other guy that we do understand what he meant to say and appreciate whatever strong points he's made.

    And the WSC guys do make some strong points that deserve to be engaged, not merely dismissed by restating them in a way they disapprove of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvdm View Post
    Additionally, I wish Godfrey had addressed the fact that approximately 17 pages later past the bullet points, Frame provides an even more crystallized summary of the features of the “Escondido theology”. Two(2) of these 9 features Frame lists as follows:

    1. A strict separation between law and gospel.
    2. A radicalization of the Reformation two-kingdoms view, leading to a separation of church and culture, and church and state, so that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society.
    No problem with number one, but did he really write number two? "So that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society"? Wow. I haven't read a whole lot of the output of WSC, but I don't recognize that at all.
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    I am about halfway through the book, and I've read Godfrey's response. On the whole I agree with MVDM (11 above), and won't expand on that since I can't really improve on what he's presented.

    But in fairness, I have to agree with Scott R. that "so that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society" is a bit of a mischaracterization. I've heard Horton and Hart on the subject, and I don't think they have a problem with individual believers seeking changes in society (although I haven't gotten to Frame's review of Hart's "Secular Faith" yet and I may be missing something). But they clearly are opposed to the organized church, and church officers in their official capacity as church officers, working for change in society. If you were to substitute "the church" for "believers" in that quote, it would not be a caricature at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    But ultimately, I think the "big issue" at hand isn't the argument over whether "God's principles for governing society"are found in Scripture, nature, or both. But whether "God's principles" are coequal and coterminous with the Moral Law (10 Commandments, and their natural adjuncts); or if the "right way" to do a myriad of things is found--or should be sought--from Scripture.
    If this was the "big issue" I would be with WSC along with the Reformed tradition. However it seems that those from WSC do not really want to look to the 10 commandments. At best, they wish to look to the last six commandments while ignoring the first table when it comes to ruling a society. If they took both tables seriously, they would not be able to avoid the religious wars of yesteryear that they are so anxious to avoid.

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    What Mark has summarized in his second paragraph is nothing more than the old doctrine of the spirituality of the Church, succinctly stated in WCF 31.4.
    (a doctrine grievously misused by some Presbyterians in the 19th century.)

    Sean Lucas had a good post on this subject : Sean Michael Lucas: The Spirituality of the Church

    and Dr. David Coffin has spoken on it at length. His church's web site had a bibliography posted, but I can't relocate that at the moment.
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    They may agree that individual believers can seek to change society, but as Rev. Buchanan's post shows and Dr. Hart has repeatedly said, the "Escondido 2K" view teaches explicitly that Scripture cannot be used by the individual to redress the civil government. They are free to appeal to "Natural Law" and reason, but not to the explicit teachings of Scripture.

    In other words E2K teaches that I as an individual cannot point to Leviticus 18:22 or Matthew 19 when speaking against homosexuality and homosexual "marriage", but must look to nature and make arguments from there as to why homosexuality is wicked and should be legislated against. To use Scripture in this case (in their view) is to misuse and misappropriate the Bible for a purpose in which it was never intended.

    That most assuredly is not the Reformed 2K view.

    ---------- Post added at 03:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:26 PM ----------

    In addition I wonder if the E2K men could agree with Charles Hodge in his discussion of the 5th Commandment in his Systematic Theology, Vol. III, pg. 359, when he says:

    "The sanctity of law, and the stability of human government, depend on the sanction of God. Unless they repose on Him, they rest on nothing. They only have His sanction when they act according to His will; that is in accordance with the design of their appointment and in harmony with the moral law."
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    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

    Deo Vindice
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRoper View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mvdm View Post
    Additionally, I wish Godfrey had addressed the fact that approximately 17 pages later past the bullet points, Frame provides an even more crystallized summary of the features of the “Escondido theology”. Two(2) of these 9 features Frame lists as follows:

    1. A strict separation between law and gospel.
    2. A radicalization of the Reformation two-kingdoms view, leading to a separation of church and culture, and church and state, so that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society.
    No problem with number one, but did he really write number two? "So that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society"? Wow. I haven't read a whole lot of the output of WSC, but I don't recognize that at all.
    Yes, Frame wrote #2. I agree it is incomplete, but I suspect I know what he is driving at. There is much in the Escondido works arguing against the idea of "Christianizing" or "transforming" culture. Thus, Frame would have been more precise if he had added the words "upon explicitly Christian/Biblical principles" at the end of #2.
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    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
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    Ellisville, Mississippi

    ‎‎"Ministers of the Gospel, when dispensing the truths of God, must preach home to their own souls, as well as unto others. Sir's, we do not deliver truths or doctrines to you, wherein we ourselves have no manner of concern. No, our own souls are at the stake, and shall either perish or be saved eternally, as we receive or reject these precious truths which we deliver unto you. And truly, it can never be expected that we will apply the truths of God with any warmth or liveliness unto others, unless we first make a warm application thereof to our own souls. And if we do not feed upon these doctrines, and practise these duties, which we deliver to and inculcate upon you, though we preach unto others, we ourselves are but castaways." -- Ebenezer Erskine, "The Assurance of Faith", pg. 8

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    bookslover is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    I visited the bookstore at Westminster Escondido recently and mischievously asked the clerk if they were going to carry Frame's book. To my surprise, he said that yes, they will carry it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookslover View Post
    I visited the bookstore at Westminster Escondido recently and mischievously asked the clerk if they were going to carry Frame's book. To my surprise, he said that yes, they will carry it.
    I hope you dressed and laughed like Dick Dastardly when you did it.
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    John Frame has consistently defended “evangelical reunion,” even while questioning the ecumenical formulation of the Trinity, the Reformed regulative principle of worship, and downplaying many historic categories of classical Reformed theology. He often scolds those who take creedal and confessional subscription seriously, while even defending people like Joel Osteen with remarkable sympathy.

    There’s a history here of being nicer to those outside Reformed circles than within. A while back, John’s critique of David Wells’ scholarly study of evangelicalism and American culture (acclaimed by many outside as well as inside Reformed circles) went in tandem with his odd arguments against Richard Muller, the dean of Reformed scholasticism specialists. (See Richard Muller’s response in Westminster Theological Journal 59 [1997]: 301-310.) I wish I had the good sense of humor expressed by David Wells’ response, “On Being Framed” (in that same issue). John seems to be the least charitable to those who are most convinced of the distinctive contributions of the Reformed tradition and who, despite their long and serious contributions to the evangelical movement, are worried that it has become too captive to modernity.
    Nice. I'm glad someone made this point.

    At first, John seems to affirm the distinction. He even concedes that Calvin and Reformed writers affirmed it as well as Luther and Lutheranism. What he’s against is a “radical law-gospel antithesis.” Yet once again, his own alternative is a blurring of the distinction altogether. The gospel includes commands and the law includes gracious promises, he argues. So it’s not clear to me whether he affirms the distinction or denies it, but the latter seems to be the last word. If he were to say that the covenant of grace includes commands (or that there are commands to repent and believe the gospel), who could argue? But these commands to repent and believe (and obey) are not the gospel; they are the proper response to it. Or, if he were to say that the gospel was promised to the old covenant saints through types and shadows, again, who could take issue? Yet to say that the gospel itself is law and the law itself is gospel is not to hold them together; it’s to make them one and the same thing.
    This has been covered before: taking law as "imperative" and gospel as "indicative" is not the historic Reformed law-gospel distinction.

    First, given the fact that John has been critical of the traditional Reformed application of God’s Word to worship in the “regulative principle,” this is an odd charge. Not even the regular preaching of the Word is an essential element in the public service, John argues in this book (and elsewhere). It would surely be odd if one thought the Bible sufficient for politics, but not for the worship and government of the church.
    This is good stuff.

    In spite of the seriousness with which I take my calling as a minister, I don’t doubt my capacity for error and the need to be open to critique. Reviews are great ways of taking on board important critiques that lead to further reflection and correction. However, as I tell students in class, you have to earn the right to critique first by stating the position held by others in terms that they would at least recognize as fair. It’s one thing to say that you believe a certain view should lead logically to such-and-such a conclusion; it’s quite another to misrepresent someone’s view as actually advocating a position that he or she in fact rejects.
    Sadly there is no way this is not going to bring back echoes of a previous controversy. The fact is (though I suspect it's not an applicable fact in this case) that someone can always be dis-satisfied with a formulation of their view that doesn't wind up in agreement. And by that standard, if your opponent is obstinate, you will never have an acknowledged right to critique them.
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  29. #29
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    Original statement by Dr. Horton

    In spite of the seriousness with which I take my calling as a minister, I don’t doubt my capacity for error and the need to be open to critique. Reviews are great ways of taking on board important critiques that lead to further reflection and correction. However, as I tell students in class, you have to earn the right to critique first by stating the position held by others in terms that they would at least recognize as fair. It’s one thing to say that you believe a certain view should lead logically to such-and-such a conclusion; it’s quite another to misrepresent someone’s view as actually advocating a position that he or she in fact rejects.
    The bolded portion above in light of the quote below makes me wonder if that is what John was trying to say (or should have said).

    2. A radicalization of the Reformation two-kingdoms view, leading to a separation of church and culture, and church and state, so that it is wrong for believers to seek changes in society.
    Last edited by py3ak; 02-10-2012 at 01:38 PM. Reason: clarifying attribution
    Rev. Daniel Kok
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post

    At first, John seems to affirm the distinction. He even concedes that Calvin and Reformed writers affirmed it as well as Luther and Lutheranism. What he’s against is a “radical law-gospel antithesis.” Yet once again, his own alternative is a blurring of the distinction altogether. The gospel includes commands and the law includes gracious promises, he argues. So it’s not clear to me whether he affirms the distinction or denies it, but the latter seems to be the last word. If he were to say that the covenant of grace includes commands (or that there are commands to repent and believe the gospel), who could argue? But these commands to repent and believe (and obey) are not the gospel; they are the proper response to it. Or, if he were to say that the gospel was promised to the old covenant saints through types and shadows, again, who could take issue? Yet to say that the gospel itself is law and the law itself is gospel is not to hold them together; it’s to make them one and the same thing.
    This has been covered before: taking law as "imperative" and gospel as "indicative" is not the historic Reformed law-gospel distinction.
    Thanks Ruben.

    I appreciated this from Dr. Horton.....
    All that I ask is that those who disagree with my arguments in fact disagree with my arguments, not with John Frame’s description of them. Do not assume that if you’ve read The Escondido Theology you actually have any grasp of what I or any of us teach at Westminster Seminary California. Like all of my colleagues, I’m trying to participate in a long conversation that is both appreciative and self-critical of our tradition’s interpretation and application of God’s Word so that the church can be more faithful in this generation. It is a work in progress, and our differences among ourselves as a faculty are treated as the grist for the mill of constant dialogue and mutual correction.

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    SolaGratia is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    I don't know about Prof. Horton and Prof. Frame, but I do know about Real 2 Kingdom Theology from our Reformed Fathers:

    ‎"This argument has been harmoniously received and even become common in the opinions of the schools of orthodox theologians, which state that the magistrate ought to be the keeper of both Tables of the Law. Indeed, he is the keeper, to take care that the business he has been commissioned with is carried out in the same manner which the Lord has commanded him."

    Johannes Piscator

    "Argument 4. What the Magistrate is fore-prophesied to be under the New Testament, that he must discharge with all the power God hath given him, and that perpetually, and not by the tie of a judicial and temporary law, which binds for a time only. But the Magistrate is fore-prophesied Isa. 49. 23. and 60. 10 Rev. 21. 26. to be a Nurse-father to the Church under the New Testament, to keep and guard both Tables of the Law, and to see that Pastors do their duty, to minister to the Church by his royal power, yea when the fountain shall be opened in David's house, that is under the New Testament, he shall thrust through the false Prophet that speaketh lies in the Name of the Lord, Zach. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6."

    Samuel Rutherford


    "But this is not arbitrary to him, for he is the minister of God, (Rom. 13:4) and the judgment is the Lord’s (Deut. 1:17; 2 Chron. 19:6). And if the Magistrate is keeper of both tables, he must keep them in such manner as God has delivered them to him."

    George Gillespie


    “The Magistrate is not merely appointed by God as both the keeper and avenger of the second Table, but certainly also, and especially, of pure religion, with respect to which he keeps an external discipline.”

    Philip Melanchthon


    ‎"Therefore, in regard to this very subject of which we here treat, since we have the clear word and command of God, by which magistrates are ordered to punish blasphemy. And in addition (as we demonstrated above) this is particularly the duty of the Magistrate, to take care that sins against the first Table are avenged"

    Theodore Beza


    ‎"We therefore conclude that the civil government, as soon as it discovers abominable heresies by which the glory of Christ is diminished and the salvation of souls prevented, is in duty bound, yea that it has the office, to wield the sword and to exercise its full authority against those errors which bring divisions among the people and other great calamities, as we have experienced more than once. And if the teachers of false doctrines will not be convinced of their error, nor desist from their preaching, let the government use its power and compel them to refrain from their mischievous work, so that the true doctrine, and the proper worship of God, may be retained pure and unadulterated, that peace and harmony may prevail."

    Martin Luther


    ‎"There are two governments: the one religious, by which the conscience is trained to piety and divine worship; the other civil, by which the individual is instructed in those duties which, as men and citizens, we are bound to perform"

    John Calvin


    This one thing I add more; that it is the duty of a christian magistrate, or at leastwise of a good householder, to compel to amendment the breakers and contemners of God’s sabbath and worship. The peers of Israel, and all the people of God, did stone to death (as the Lord commanded them) the man that disobediently did gather sticks on the sabbath-day [Numbers 15:32-6]. Why then should it not be lawful for a christian magistrate to punish by bodily imprisonment, by loss of goods, or by death, the despisers of religion, of the true and lawful worship of the sabbath-day? [...] For it is a heinous sin and a detestable schism, if the congregation be assembled, either in cities or villages, for thee then to seek out byways to hide thyself, and not to come from there, but to contemn the church of God and assembly of saints: as the Anabaptists have taken an use to do.

    Henry Bullinger, Fifty godly and learned sermons divided into the five decades containing the chief and principal points of Christian religion, ed. Thomas Harding (1849-52 Parker edn; 4 vols, Grand Rapids, 2004), i, 261-2.


    Nor do I find a warrant for Magistrates to compel any to profession of truth, Psal. 110. His people a willing people. To Order what men shall believe, is to exercise Dominion over men’s Consciences: It is One thing to cause the people to attend the means, and another to make them believe the truth, the first they must do, but not the second: Faith is God’s gift. It is one thing to hinder Idolatry and blasphemy spreading, another thing to make people renounce an opinion, and embrace the truth. [...]

    They may Command and Order the people to come and attend upon the Ministry of the Word, as the means instituted by Christ for their instruction to salvation. It is one thing to order them what they shall believe, another thing to order them to wait upon the means. All grant the civil Magistrate may call public Assemblies, to hear their Proclamations, and Statutes, &c. read: if they may call a whole Town to hear a Law, then much more may they call them to hear God’s Laws.

    Stephen Marshall, The power of the magistrate in matters of religion, vindicated. The extent of his power determined. In a sermon preached before parliament on a monthly fast day (London, 1657), pp 5, 7-8.


    Ye will not look to Christ, and yet there is no other ye can have help from but from Him. There is none to help you at all, except you acknowledge Him as your King and Head, and except you acknowledge no other magistrate but according to what He ordains in His word. See what David says, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Compare this with “Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth hating covetousness. Therefore let the fear of God be upon you, take heed, and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord your God.” Ye see such should be men that fear God, and men of truth. Oh, take heed and consider what you are doing! Cry unto the Lord, and let us fight against these wicked rulers with the weapons of the spiritual warfare, the arms of secret prayer. Let us pray unto the Lord to cut them off, and the Lord will raise up those that will condemn and despise them.

    Richard Cameron, ‘Sermon on Hosea 13:9-10 (1680)′ in Sermons in times of persecution in Scotland, by sufferers for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, ed. James Kerr (Edinburgh, 1880), p. 417.


    [T]here will be use of an arming sword, not of War, but of Justice, to cut off Superstition and Idolatry on the one side, and Profaneness and Sacrilege on the other: Heretics with one edge, and Schismatics with the other. For as in the beginning of the Reformation, so now in the endeavoured perfection thereof, the moral enemy of our immortal souls sets on work all sorts of Heretics and Schismatics to hinder, disturb, and (if it were possible) destroy this excellent work. The Heretics he employeth to pervert the Catholic doctrine, the Schismatics to subvert the Apostolic discipline of the Church: the Heretics endeavour to shake the foundations, the Schismatics to make breaches in the walls: the Heretics to rot the main timber, the Schismatics to pull in sunder the rafters of this sacred structure.

    Daniel Featley, The dippers dipt. Or, the Anabaptists duck’d and plung’d over head and ears, at a disputation in Southwark (5th edn, London, 1647), i-ii.


    For it is a thing more certain that whatsoever God required of the civil magistrate in Israel or Judah concerning the observation of true religion during the time of the Law, the same doth he require of lawful magistrates professing Christ Jesus in the time of the Gospel, as the Holy Ghost hath taught us by the mouth of David, saying (Psalm 2): ‘Be learned, you that judge the earth, kiss the Son, lest that the Lord wax angry and that ye perish from the way.’ This admonition did not extend to the judges under the Law only, but doth also include such as be promoted to honours in the time of the Gospel, when Christ Jesus doth reign and fight in His spiritual kingdom, whose enemies in that Psalm be most sharply taxed, their fury expressed and vanity mocked. And then are kings and judges, who think themselves free from all law and obedience, commanded to repent their former blind rage, and judges are charged to be learned. And last are all commanded to serve the Eternal in fear, to rejoice before Him in trembling, to kiss the Son, that is, to give unto Him most humble obedience. Whereof it is evident that the rulers, magistrates and judges now in Christ’s kingdom are no less bound to obedience unto God than were those under the Law.

    John Knox, The appellation of John Knox from the cruel and most injust sentence pronounced against him by the false bishops and clergy of Scotland, with his supplication and exhortation to the nobility, estates and commonality of the same realm (Geneva, 1558) in idem, On rebellion, ed. R. A. Mason (Cambridge, 1994), pp 91-2.



    Others may claim a liberty to dispute whether civil coercion and restraint of gross heretics, idolaters and blasphemers, be an exercise of civil authority sanctioned by Scripture:- but to those who have received the Standards of the church as scriptural, and are resolved to maintain them, there is no room left for discussion on this article. These Standards do most plainly and unequivocally teach the doctrine of magistratical coercion, and the proofs which they exhibit from sacred Scripture show that they regard this principle as authorised by the real word of truth.

    Thomas Houston, The Covenanter’s narrative and plea: exhibiting the error, schism, radicalism, and slander of Dr. Paul, and other separatists from the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Belfast, 1841), p. 19.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvdm View Post
    1. Horton says: "this book represents a new low in intra-Reformed polemics."

    By what standard does Horton conclude this? I would like to know, given I've not read one word from him on the gutter polemics of some of his colleagues.
    Thanks, I really wanted someone other than myself to make that point.
    Mark Hettler
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  33. #33
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    I haven't read Mr. Frame's work, but I have thought of attending Whitefield Seminary. If it is true that he didn't get the 32 bullet points of difference right, then I don't have much of a mind to do either. Mr. Horton's book published in rebuke of MacArthur seems charitable, that he had the decency to take it to MacArthur for review, correction and re-editing before it was published. The points of disagreement were agreed upon before it went to print, and, as a result, MacArthur even adjusted his views. The apparent lack of this fruit of charity from Mr. Frame's camp, to not have WSC agree to the points of disagreement, sends up a red flag for me.

    Blessings!
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