God of the Mundane, my Heidelblog review

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PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I'm generally okay with that. My question, and this might be for another thread, is will be prosecute Lutherans and Baptists? I haven't gotten a straight answer in the past. Our Reformed forebears did have a very specific answer (yes) to that question.
I think I have tried to answer that in the long distant past Jacob. I don't think so. Yes, I see major issues when it comes to implementation in this debased environment but it is our fault. SMH, we have problems even deciding which Confessional Standard we choose along with revisions. I am reminded of the Article 36 issue. Even Strimple disagrees with Clark on Chapter 19. Not so sure how reliable of a Reformed Guide we have in Clark. As a plus, at least Robert believes and defends the Pre-lapsarian Covenant.

How does the following Confessional point factor in? Is this a Confessional issue? How does the RPW factor in? How does Clark intend to hand the sword back to the Civil Government concerning Homosexuality?
Clark is about as Reformed as Johannes Cocceius. Ursinus and Cocceius have little in Common when it comes to Covenant Theology in the Reformed Tradition. As has been noted before, Clark held to Dichotomous views as opposed to distinctions between Grace and Law. I am not sure where he ended up after the OPC Study but...

How does Robert say he would implement the Confessional Standards when he has no basis for implementing the Law in the Civil Government? How would he confessionally address gross violations and perversions of the second table of the Decalogue and Civil responsibility?

WCF Chapter Twenty
1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; a and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, b from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; c as also in their free access to God, d and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind .e All which were common also to believers under the law; f but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected; g and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, h and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of. i

a. Gal 3:13; 1 Thes 1:10; Titus 2:14. • b. Acts 26:18; Rom 6:14; Gal 1:4; Col 1:13. • c. Psa 119:71; Rom 8:1, 28; 1 Cor 15:54-57. • d. Rom 5:1-2. • e. Rom 8:14-15; 1 John 4:18. • f. Gal 3:9, 14. • g. Acts 15:10-11; Gal 4:1-3, 6-7; 5:1. • h. Heb 4:14, 16; 10:19-22. • i. John 7:38-39; 2 Cor 3:13, 17-18.

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, a and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship. b So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; c and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also. d

a. Rom 14:4; James 4:12. • b. Mat 15:9; 23:8-10; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor 7:23; 2 Cor 1:24. • c. Psa 5:1; Gal 1:10; 2:4-5; 5:1; Col 2:20-23. • d. Isa 8:20; Jer 8:9; Hosea 5:11; John 4:22; Acts 17:11; Rom 10:17; 14:23; Rev 13:12, 16-17.

3. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. a

a. Luke 1:74-75; John 8:34; Gal 5:13; 1 Pet 2:16; 2 Pet 2:19.

4. And because the power which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. a And for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or to the power of godliness; or such erroneous opinions or practices as, either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the Church; they may lawfully be called to account, b and proceeded against by the censures of the Church, and by the power of the Civil Magistrate. c

a. Mat 12:25; Rom 13:1-8; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 2:13-14, 16. • b. Rom 1:32 with 1 Cor 5:1, 5, 11, 13; 2 John 1:10-11 and 2 Thes 3:14 and 1 Tim 6:3-5 and Titus 1:10-11, 13 and Titus 3:10 with Mat 18:15-17; 1 Tim 1:19-20; Rev 2:2, 14-15, 20; 3:9. • c. Deut 13:6-12; 2 Kings 23:5-6, 9, 20-21; 2 Chron 15:12-13, 16; 34:33; Neh 13:15, 17, 21-22, 25, 30; Isa 49:23; Dan 3:29; Zec 13:2-3; Rom 13:3-4 with 2 John 1:10-11; 1 Tim 2:2; Rev 17:12, 16-17.

We are not where we want to be but who knows where we will end up?

Well, we have devolved into the Polarizing Westminster West problem. Time for a new thread maybe?
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
We're putting a bunch of issues into one. I'm not NCT, so I don't know why that was brought up. Yes, I know Gillespie upheld the establishment principle. But I don't see how you can have the establishment principle without some form of religious proscribing, if not outright persecuting.

I'm not on the same page as Horton on this point.

I didn't say you were NCT. But it is rather strange to use the different scopes of the Son's reign according to his natures as a basis for which laws would be upheld.

You can have proscription without persecution. I'm not entirely sure that is always the best path forward, but the first principles are the same for those who disagree.
 
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danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree. The only problem with ambiguous phrases like "uphold the law of God" is that it can mean anything from Christian Reconstructionism to only upholding the second table.
I don't think it's as ambiguous. Uphold both tables. Labor to propagate and defend sound doctrine. WCF 22 and how those men attempted to see it implemented gives us a pretty good idea of what it can look like.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Nice to see your comments again, Randy. I haven't been on the Puritan Board for many years but saw this link on Dr. Clark's Heidelblog and decided to click it.
Hey old buddy. Long time no communicate with. I dropped out of life for a while till I could have some heart surgery. I was in a medical research study for 4 years that literally extended my life. I would be gone now. My heart valve was toast. It is doing much much much much better now. I have blood flow again.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I don't think it's as ambiguous. Uphold both tables. Labor to propagate and defend sound doctrine. WCF 22 and how those men attempted to see it implemented gives us a pretty good idea of what it can look like.

Which raises the inevitable question: will this Christian commwealth be a lowest common denominator ala Cromwell, or will it be a specific, confessional commonwealth?
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
I didn't say you were NCT. But it is rather strange to use the different scopes of the Son's reign according to his natures as a basis for which laws would be upheld.

You can have proscription without persecution. I'm not entirely sure that is always the best path forward, but the first principles are the same for those who disagree.

This is precisely the thing - when Providence brings us to this point - the Lord will bring the right men to discuss and debate and He will give them wisdom. But, first principles remain the same: the establishment of the Christian religion and Christ's rule acknowledged is required by Jehovah upon the commonwealth and not just the church - "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Horton of course, in that very article that is cited on archive.org disputes this and incredibly states his doctrine like this:
"…in any case Christians should not seek to promote distinctively Christian doctrines and practices through the properly coercive power of the state."

That shocking statement, of course, leads him to his view that civil unions between homosexuals and lesbians as being acceptable.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
This is precisely the thing - when Providence brings us to this point - the Lord will bring the right men to discuss and debate and He will give them wisdom. But, first principles remain the same: the establishment of the Christian religion and Christ's rule acknowledged is required by Jehovah upon the commonwealth and not just the church - "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Horton of course, in that very article that is cited on archive.org disputes this and incredibly states his doctrine like this:
"…in any case Christians should not seek to promote distinctively Christian doctrines and practices through the properly coercive power of the state."

That shocking statement, of course, leads him to his view that civil unions between homosexuals and lesbians as being acceptable.

This is the bit that is the most shocking and saddening to me - Christians seriously considering that the magistrates Christian duty is to provide a level playing field amongst all view points as equally valid. It is one thing to disagree on the path forward in certain circumstances or to disagree about certain policies or procedures. It is entirely different to suggest that having a Christian magistrate enforce both tables of the law would be immoral and outside of his purview. So someone like Darryl Hart can suggest that killing Christians was within Nero's God-ordained purview, but it is not good if a Christian magistrate were to establish Sabbath laws.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
This is the bit that is the most shocking and saddening to me - Christians seriously considering that the magistrates Christian duty is to provide a level playing field amongst all view points as equally valid. It is one thing to disagree on the path forward in certain circumstances or to disagree about certain policies or procedures. It is entirely different to suggest that having a Christian magistrate enforce both tables of the law would be immoral and outside of his purview. So someone like Darryl Hart can suggest that killing Christians was within Nero's God-ordained purview, but it is not good if a Christian magistrate were to establish Sabbath laws.

Do you have a source on the Hart quote? I try to keep a tally of this kind of absurdity that is prevalent in the R2K crowd.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Do you have a source on the Hart quote? I try to keep a tally of this kind of absurdity that is prevalent in the R2K crowd.

It was an old blog post he did. It was in the context of a Socratic dialogue discussing what it means to obey "the law" in the abstract vs. concrete. It was meant to generate critical thinking.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you have a source on the Hart quote? I try to keep a tally of this kind of absurdity that is prevalent in the R2K crowd.

This isn't the original place, but it is in a few places here: https://oldlife.org/2019/01/07/eschatology-matters/

"Nero did not violate God’s law IF Nero executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to
do..."
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
It was an old blog post he did. It was in the context of a Socratic dialogue discussing what it means to obey "the law" in the abstract vs. concrete. It was meant to generate critical thinking.

It generated some thinking in my mind that was quite critical of Hart's absurd views.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Jacob, Have you become the apologist for Hart and those who hold to a deficient Radical Two Kingdom view?

No, I am not an apologist for Hart. I was just reframing the context of his question (and Nero was wrong for what he did).

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today. Sure, we might hope for that, but it has zero practical relevance for tomorrow. And then there is the question, whether it was sufficiently answered or not, on what to do with our stubborn Baptist brethren.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
No, I am not an apologist for Hart. I was just reframing the context of his question (and Nero was wrong for what he did).

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today. Sure, we might hope for that, but it has zero practical relevance for tomorrow. And then there is the question, whether it was sufficiently answered or not, on what to do with our stubborn Baptist brethren.
I would like to see the context but it evidently is not available. That is problematic. It is referenced in a few places but I can't confirm nor deny your claim of context. I vaguely remember when he posted that but he was so off the wall back then and wrote so much Radical Two Kingdom and Grace / Law dichotomy stuff that it just seemed to all coagulate into.... well, you call it. It wasn't worth discussing after the OPC Study.
My old RPCNA mentor emphasized the importance of the Decalogue for the Church and Civil Kingdom. Forget about even considering what to do about the Lutherans, Anglicans or Baptists. The first thing that is needed is a recognition of the Decalogue. We need a starting point. First Things First.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
No, I am not an apologist for Hart. I was just reframing the context of his question (and Nero was wrong for what he did).

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today. Sure, we might hope for that, but it has zero practical relevance for tomorrow. And then there is the question, whether it was sufficiently answered or not, on what to do with our stubborn Baptist brethren.

I might be in the minority on this, but I firmly think the establishment principle has practical relevance for tomorrow. For one, it is important to know the duties one has even if one isn't in the position to carry out those duties. It is helpful to have a general idea of what is required of a parent or a spouse even before one is such. Arguably more important is the duty towards organic and outward ecclesiastical unity. I for one, don't wish NAPARC to remain a discussion table forever. We ought to put off our respective sins and all confess the same things. I do not get the feeling that many of my non-establishmentarian brethren really see the scandal of schism and desire a singular visible church in a nation.

Still it is sort of side stepping the point. We can figure out the babdists once we agree that it is good to have sabbath, blasphemy, and idolatry laws.
 
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kodos

Puritan Board Junior
No, I am not an apologist for Hart. I was just reframing the context of his question (and Nero was wrong for what he did).

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today. Sure, we might hope for that, but it has zero practical relevance for tomorrow. And then there is the question, whether it was sufficiently answered or not, on what to do with our stubborn Baptist brethren.

Its practical relevance? It is knowing Jesus Christ has prayed that the Church will be one (John 17) and that kings and queens will nurse the church (Isaiah 49:23). To keep pleading with the Spirit to blow upon the churches and revive her to give her the same unified mind in doctrine and practice and to seek it out - many stubborn Baptists have become Presbyterians (myself included). Practically, go and preach the gospel uncompromisingly so that souls are brought from death to life until the time comes where converted souls will demand the kings of their lands to give them Jesus and not Barabbas.

In other words, we do not see the 16th and 17th centuries as a historical anomaly, but a foretaste of greater blessings to come as our prayers for "thy kingdom come" is answered as the fullness of the Gentiles come in and the Jews ingathered.

Some see the present declension and evils around us as the irreversible trend of history. Others of us see it the way so many of us have individually experienced in our personal conversion - the Lord bringing nations so low that we cry out to Him after we see the futility of "doing what is right in our own eyes".

The "stubborn Baptist" question is often a dodge to make us think such things are impossible, but what is impossible for man is possible with God. To convince a "stubborn" Baptist to Presbyterianism is a lesser work than converting a stubborn sinner from death to life.

The time will come to deal with those particulars, but we must know the goal and what the Lord has asked us to pray for, fast for, and labor for, so we are readied for that time, as Simeon and Anna were to receive their King.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with Kudos above, but additionally, the problem posed "what to do about Baptists", which of the 10 commandments are they violating by their existence? Our 1689 brothers can and do uphold at 10 commandments. The magistrate would not have to act upon them at all in that regard. Also as Rev Romesh pointed out, let's start with the law and then we can deal with the nitty gritty.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I agree with Kudos above, but additionally, the problem posed "what to do about Baptists", which of the 10 commandments are they violating by their existence? Our 1689 brothers can and do uphold at 10 commandments. The magistrate would not have to act upon them at all in that regard. Also as Rev Romesh pointed out, let's start with the law and then we can deal with the nitty gritty.

That's where the debate starts to trade on ambiguities. God's law can mean anything from the 10 commandments to all the civil penalties. But to the question: the Regulative Principle of Worship has rightly been seen as an application of the 2nd Commandment. Most Baptist churches probably don't hold to the RPW. That means they (and all Lutherans and most Anglicans) are violating the 2nd Commandment. I return to my question.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
the problem posed "what to do about Baptists", which of the 10 commandments are they violating by their existence?

By denying infant baptism and church authority beyond the congregation, do they not violate the 2nd commandment and the 5th commandment?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Still it is sort of side stepping the point. We can figure out the babdists once we agree that it is good to have sabbath, blasphemy, and idolatry laws.

Think of how many non-Sabbatarians are in America (probably over 100 million). Will you execute them? I know it sounds extreme, but those are the issues that have to be worked out before hand. If we say, "But the Spirit of God will change the hearts before that happens," then the whole issue of social ethics is now moot.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
My old RPCNA mentor emphasized the importance of the Decalogue for the Church and Civil Kingdom. Forget about even considering what to do about the Lutherans, Anglicans or Baptists. The first thing that is needed is a recognition of the Decalogue. We need a starting point. First Things First.

That's great and I don't disagree, but neither is that the Establishmentarian principle.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Think of how many non-Sabbatarians are in America (probably over 100 million). Will you execute them? I know it sounds extreme, but those are the issues that have to be worked out before hand. If we say, "But the Spirit of God will change the hearts before that happens," then the whole issue of social ethics is now moot.

You don't get to sidestep the same kind of questions with the second table. Say tomorrow we had a converted president and they establish the escondido view of a 'righteous government' if there is such a thing. Do you put the adulterers all to death? These sorts of lame objections would lead a civil magistrate to sit on his hands and never do anything.

I really am at a loss at what your civil ethic is. In this thread you've argued against first table laws and now you have just said you agree with first table laws.
 
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83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
You don't get to sidestep the same kind of questions with the second table. Say tomorrow we had a converted president and they establish the escondido view of a 'righteous government' if there is such a thing. Do you put the adulterers all to death? These sorts of lame objections would lead a civil magistrate to sit on his hands and never do anything.

On the Escondido view (as I understand it), probably not. But I don't think anyone in this discussion holds the Escondido view.

I think the problem that Jacob is highlighting is that everyone claims that the state should enforce God's law. Of course, there is disagreement about what that looks like, which is why the statement "the state should enforce God's law" is not precise enough to be helpful. The better question is how the state should enforce God's law.

Maybe I'm not tracking though. What is your answer to your own inquiry about adulterers? In your view, how should the state enforce God's law?
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Think of how many non-Sabbatarians are in America (probably over 100 million). Will you execute them? I know it sounds extreme, but those are the issues that have to be worked out before hand. If we say, "But the Spirit of God will change the hearts before that happens," then the whole issue of social ethics is now moot.
But changing people's hearts is what happens in times of reformation. That's what reformation is-- it's spiritual revival and a willling return to the old paths. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
But changing people's hearts is what happens in times of reformation. That's what reformation is-- it's spiritual revival and a willling return to the old paths. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
Do you interpret this to mean that reformation in the rulers is preceded by reformation in the people?
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
On the Escondido view (as I understand it), probably not. But I don't think anyone in this discussion holds the Escondido view.

I think the problem that Jacob is highlighting is that everyone claims that the state should enforce God's law. Of course, there is disagreement about what that looks like, which is why the statement "the state should enforce God's law" is not precise enough to be helpful. The better question is how the state should enforce God's law.

Maybe I'm not tracking though. What is your answer to your own inquiry about adulterers? In your view, how should the state enforce God's law?

Jacob has pretty much said he agrees with the Escondido view. He said he is on the same page as Clark.

No one has gotten to the details of specific punishments. I'm no reconstructionist and those are matters of disagreement. Jacob seems to think that Sabbath laws are always immoral and wrong as he has said first table laws are 'problematic'. That is until he just contradicted himself in post 113.

The issue in play is not what to do with Baptists - that is a red herring. The issue in play is if it is in the purview of the state to suppress heresy and idolatry. The specific punishment can come later.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Do you interpret this to mean that reformation in the rulers is preceded by reformation in the people?
I think the biblical accounts of reformation in the OT are instructive, and so is church history in showing how God has brought about reforming times. In the reformation under Calvin and John Knox, it was like a wind sweeping through-- how could we outline and map out what God will do, and when? It's a work of the Spirit.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the biblical accounts of reformation in the OT are instructive, and so is church history in showing how God has brought about reforming times. In the reformation under Calvin and John Knox, it was like a wind sweeping through-- how could we outline and map out what God will do, and when? It's a work of the Spirit.
Thanks Jeri. So if I can rephrase: many of the difficulties of 'mass punishment' are only hypothetical (and therefore possible), but you believe will not be actual during a reforming time. Is that accurate? And would it be accurate that you believe that should reformation occur within the government but not in the people at large, that more large-scale punishment would be biblical?

Jacob seems to think that Sabbath laws are always immoral and wrong as he has said first table laws are 'problematic'. That is until he just contradicted himself in post 113.

I think the issue for Jacob is less about the first table, than how it is enforced. (Jacob, correct me if I'm wrong on this) It seems like Jacob has consistently agreed that the first table is normative for civil government, but he disagrees that the first table looks like the establishment principle. The quotes below seem to demonstrate that the issue is specifically establishment.

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today.
I don't disagree, but neither is that the Establishmentarian principle.
I don't see how you can have the establishment principle without some form of religious proscribing, if not outright persecuting.

The issue in play is if it is in the purview of the state to suppress heresy and idolatry.
Do you believe that the state has this authority? If so, what in your mind qualifies as heresy that requires state punishment?

For example, if a child during a sermon discussion says that the persons of the Trinity are three gods, is that heresy? Should it be punished by the state? I ask not to draw away from the question about the state's authority, but to clarify just what that authority is. If it has the authority to suppress heresy, then it needs a definition of heresy. Where does it get this definition from? Or more specifically, where in Scripture do you see God providing the state the power to decide doctrine? It seems like if you agree that the state and church wield different authorities, the power of doctrine is an authority held by the church (ministerially) and not the state. So, the state not being competent to define heresy, how can it judge heresy?
 
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