Wilson contra Trueman

I’m a huge fan of Reformed Confessional ‘Two Kingdom’ theology (because it’s biblical). That being said, most modern Two Kingdom advocates are ‘radical’ and ‘anti-transformationalist’, meaning that they deny the existence of a thoroughly Christian, i.e. biblical, civil and public ethos, one that extends beyond the hallowed and desirable halls of the institutional church and her worship piety. With this narrowing tendency we must disagree. The moral law of God extends its reach into all of life, obliging all mankind, and thus it speaks more or less directly to all that we do as humans, including our public ethos, the spirit and character of our civilisation, and the way we live together. Thus, the denials of that far and wide reaching biblical ethos are disappointing in the likes of DG Hart, RS Clark, and Carl Trueman.

Well, Douglas Wilson, for all his problems and errant tendencies, has responded well to this gainsaying by Carl Trueman in his recent article ‘Cigar Smoke and Mirrors and Transformation’ on the Reformation21 blog. Trueman’s foil in this recent article is the historic public efforts of Kuyper in ‘transforming’ Dutch public life as contrasted with what has become of those efforts in the modern corruption of Dutch society. I disagree with much of Kuyper’s method and direction, especially when it comes to his denial of establishmentarianism, and so on. Still, Kuyper’s heart was in the right place on the absolute dominion of our King above all Kings. Trueman misses the real point and Wilson hits it fairly head on.

Trueman, Toilets, and Transformation « Blog & Mablog | Douglas Wilson

Be that as it may, I remain in agreement with Trueman’s opposition to ‘despising the day of small things’ and making heroes out of men like Dr Tim Keller simply because such men seem to have got themselves into positions of some cultural influence. Trueman is right that our aim should not be to grasp the reins of influence and power as though doing so is the the only way to show Christ’s dominion. Transformationalists can easily become obsessed with ‘making a difference’ and consequently end up disparaging the simple calling of the Christian life. Our aim ought to be faithfulness in our place and calling, even if that’s simply cleaning toilets.

Bowl brush with holder green

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The Church is not a Political Action Committee

Dr. D.G. Hart has posted a good article interacting with critics of two kingdom theology. While I disagree with Dr. Hart on the the extent to which the Scriptures speak to matters of civil ethics, nevertheless I agree with him entirely on the principle of the Spirituality of the Church.

The Scriptures teach that the magistrate is required to uphold the whole of the Moral Law as it applies to the civil sphere, and the church must proclaim this truth as it is found in Scripture. But the church is not a political action committee! It would be a shame to the name of Christ and an overthrow of jurisdiction for His Church to behave as though she were a political entity.

It is a common error amongst erstwhile Reformed evangelicals to think that the Church has a duty to do whatever any individual Christian may do. Christians as citizens in the civil sphere ought to be involved in politics to whatever extent they are able, and to shape their politics in keeping with the Scriptural standard of civil ethics. But it would be an abuse of the authority Christ has left in His church for her officers to convene Synods and Councils as though she were a political party calling a convention.

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