Mike Horton, my colleague at WSC, spoke recently at Covenant College (Lookout Mt, GA) on the connections between a two-kingdoms analysis and the various neo-Kuyperian approaches to the relations between Christ and culture.
Matt Tuininga was there and filed this report at his blog, Christian in America.
Horton began the panel discussion by reminding the audience that there is no such thing as an “Escondido theology” or Escondido two kingdoms doctrine. The faculty of Westminster Seminary California is not monolithic in its views of cultural engagement, the institution’s president Robert Godfrey himself being a staunch Kuyperian. Suggesting that it makes little sense to describe Kuyperian neo-Calvinism and the two kingdoms perspective as contrary positions, Horton pointed out (as did Godfrey in a presentation several years ago) that on most important points these perspectives are agreed. Among the commonalities he described:
- Both clearly distinguish the form of cultural and political engagement obligatory on Christians from the model of Old Testament Israel.
- Both maintain a sharp critique of the militancy and culture war mindset that marks much of the Christian Right, which has its own version of the social gospel.
- Each perspective affirms basic neo-Calvinist concepts concerning common grace, the antithesis, and sphere sovereignty.
- Both seek to distinguish the work proper to the institutional church (church as organization) and the way in which believers serve Christ and witness to his kingdom in every area of life (church as organism).
- Both agree that Christians cannot bring the kingdom of God to earth through their cultural work.
- Each perspective insists that Scripture has much to say about how Christians should be involved in culture through their vocations.
- Both agree that the church must proclaim what the word of God says about God’s law to the state, while avoiding false claims to expertise in matters of economics or policy.
- Both affirm that while the actual objective work of Christians often looks similar to that of unbelievers, in terms of motivation, worldview, and sometimes objective results such work is profoundly different.
- Both affirm the value of Christian parachurch organizations like colleges and seminaries, while at the same time preserving the liberty of Christians to participate in non-Christian organizations as well. Read more»