CENTER: On self?

Unfortunately, the Liberal worldview is just one manifestation of our not being ‘grown-up’ about things (i.e., family, friends, foes, work, play, rest, etc.).  In other words, what’s wrong with Liberalism is wrong with all of us!  We need to grow-up and be comfortable doing so, especially when those around us act/think like children.

Let’s remember that all our efforts are in vain, unless Christ builds himself (likeness) in us, otherwise we’ll be found pretending to be grown-up.

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Kingdom: One or Two? (part 1)

Here is an interesting conversation over at Office Hours (WSC) on Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms.  Though I am not a fan of some of the Reformed (covenantal) distinctives presented here (e.g. Sabbath-keeping; strict Regulative Principle of Worship; etc) this conversation does help to sort out some of the distinctives of what I would consider a sound understanding of a New Covenant perspective on the Two Kingdoms.

Back on March 14, 2010, The White Horse Inn also hosted VanDrunen to speak about what natural law is and how it relates to the Lord Jesus Christ.

VanDrunen seeks to answer questions like:

What is natural law?

Is it consistent with Reformed theology?

How about the Two Kingdoms approach to the relationship between Christianity and culture?

Here are some of my notes from the March 14th White Horse Inn program:

  • To start out, VanDrunen takes time to explain the difference between the two distinct notions of 1) TWO CITIES and 2) TWO KINGDOMS
    • TWO CITIES
      • Regarding the TWO CITIES, we are talking about the CITY OF GOD and the CITY OF MAN
        • An individual is either a citizen of one or the other (not both!).
        • There is NO OVERLAP of the two cities.
  • TWO KINGDOMS
    • Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Man
      • KINGDOM OF GOD
        • Heavenly
        • Eternal
        • Holy Spirit-ruled in the light of the Gospel
        • Christ, Cult-centered
        • Sacred
      • KINGDOM OF MAN
        • Earthly
        • Temporal
        • Natural Law-ruled in light of nature
        • Culture-centered
        • Secular
    • An individual CHRISTIAN has a dual-citizenship, being related to both Kingdoms
      • There is an OVERLAP of these two kingdoms, within the people who are members of both, Christians.
      • The ‘unbeliever’ is not a member of the Kingdom of God, and is therefore a member of only the temporal Kingdom of Man.
    • All ‘unbelievers’ ultimately have but a ONE KINGDOM perspective, and so too many who are believers who adhere to non-biblical notions that blur the line of distinction between two real, biblically understood kingdoms (i.e., Christ and Caesar).
      • FUNDAMENTALISM (of whatever strip) is always a predominantly single kingdom perspective
      • NEO-CALVINISM (Theonomy; Dutch Transformationalism; etc) is typically a single kingdom perspective
      • BROAD-EVANGELICALISM is typically a single kingdom perspective
      • HIGHER-LIFE thinking runs along a single kingdom perspective
      • CHARISMATIC thinking runs along a single kingdom perspective
      • PIETISM/MORALISM also find their bearing to be more of a single kingdom perspective, making everything to be either holy or wicked, missing the biblical distinction between common, holy, and wicked

Stay tuned.  More to come on Natural Law and Religious Liberty!

AUDIO: Christ and Culture (debate)

Here’s the first in a series of debates on the relationship between Christ and Culture.  I’ve only listened to the first installment and it proved a worthy listen.  I’m going to assume the same could be said for the remainder.

Go here:  Christ and Culture: Introductory Remarks

Other files here:  Archive for the ‘Christ and Culture’ Category

KINGDOM: Two Kingdoms of God vs “Christendom”

Here’s a conversation that might begin to answer nagging questions like this one: “What is the Kingdom of God?” If you have the least interest in knowing the answer, it might be worth a half hour of your time. (((WARNING))) This isn’t something that promotes “Religious Right” or “Moralistic Left” ideologies.

Kingdom of God (part 1)

Kingdom of God (part 2)

CIVIL: USA as Political Messiah

Richard Gamble on Civil Religion:

“America’s anointment as the world’s political messiah did not end when demobilized troops returned from Europe in 1919. It did not end with America’s opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, nor with America’s refusal to join the League of Nations. The cumulative product of generations of reflection, experience, and anticipation, the American identity reached too deep and far to have been uprooted in a moment of supposed renunciation. Transcending party politics and most ideological boundaries, nearly all of the language of universality and emancipation, of the “city on a hill” and the world’s rebirth, of light and dark, Messiah and Armageddon, reverberates down to the present moment. Like Woodrow Wilson before them, few modern presidents have been able to resist the allure of America’s global redemptive consciousness. In the 1940s, Franklin Roosevelt planned for a future refounded on four freedoms, freedoms that would prevail “everywhere in the world.” In the fourth of these universal freedoms, freedom from fear, he anticipated a day when “no nation will be in a position to commit and act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

“In countless speeches from the 1960s through the 1980s, moreover, Ronald Reagan reached back to the earliest metaphors of America’s divine destiny” to reaffirm the nation’s special calling as a “city on a hill.” Combining the Puritan errand with the Enlightenment dream of earthly regeneration, he also embraced Tom Pain’s longing to “begin the world over again.” And on September 11, 2002, George W. Bush, speaking with the colossus of the Statue of Liberty behind him, called America the “hope of all mankind” and appropriated the world of John 1:5 as if they described not just the Incarnation of Christ but the mission of the United States: “And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness will not overcome it.” To one degree or another and with varying motives and consequences, each of these men continued to speak of the United States as if it were the Salvator Mundi, following a pattern of thought that has endured for more than four centuries.”

[HT: DG Hart]

APOSTASY: Masquerading as Gospel

Essentially, anything that poses as the Gospel or its equivelent is simply unbelief.  The Gospel stands completely on its own and needs nothing but the cross/resurrection of Jesus Christ to substantiate it.  Only the Gospel is gospel…and everything else…is something other. 

Related thoughts:

“Any cultural or political agenda embellished with such authority is a manifestation of “works righteousness” and ipso facto an act of apostasy. This theological proposition, over and beyond all prudential moral judgments, “hits” in all directions of the ideological spectrum; it “hits” the center as much as the left or the right. “Different gospels” lurk all across the spectrum. No value or institutional system, past or present or future, is to be identified with the gospel. The mission of the church is not to legitimate any status quo or any putative alteration of the status quo. The “okay world” of bourgeois America stands under judgment, in the light of the gospel, as does every other human society. Democracy or capitalism or the particular family arrangements of middle-class culture are not to be identified with the Christian life, and neither is any alternative political, economic, or cultural system. The vocation of the church is to proclaim the gospel, not to defend the American way of life, not to “build socialism,” not even to “build a just society” – because, quite apart from the fact that we don’t really know what this is, all our notions of justice are fallible and finally marred by sin. The “works righteousness” in all these “different gospels” lies precisely in the insinuation that, if only we do this or refrain from doing that, we will be saved, “justified.” But, as Paul tells us, “by works of the law shall no one be justified.” [Berger, “Different Gospels: The Social Sources of Apostasy,” Erasmus Lecture, January 22, 1987]”

FUNDAMENTALISM: An Honest Atheist’s Perspective

Todd Wilken of Issues, Etc. interviewed Bruce Sheiman; author “An Atheist Defends Religion”.  A very interesting conversation, between a believer and a fairly honest atheist.  Interesting how sound a perspective Bruce (the atheist) had on Fundamentalism, of the right (religion) and the left (scientism); both, having an equally distorted worldview.

For the interview go here:

An Atheist’s Perspective on the Value of Religion