Heidelminicast Special: On Smashing Satanic Statues

Call or text the Heidelphone anytime at (760) 618-1563. Leave a message or email us a voice memo from your phone and we may use it in a future podcast. Record it and email it to heidelcast@heidelblog.net. If you benefit from the Heidelcast please leave a five-star review on Apple Podcasts so that others can find it. Please do not forget to make the coffer clink (see the donate button below).

SHOW NOTES

Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027

The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


37 comments

  1. Interesting. Do you believe any reference to the Bible should be remove from public buildings in our secular North America? This is where we are seeing so many problems, the loss of Judeo Christian ethic.

    • JP,

      Did Paul ask Claudius or Caesar to inscribe biblical verses on Roman public buildings? The old American civil religion had some benefits but J. Gresham Machen pointed out over a century ago that it also came with real costs. I was exposed to American civil religion in my childhood but I had no idea who Christ was or what salvation was or was true faith was. I thought I was a Christian. I thought all Americans were Christians. I was the victim of the fog of American civil religion.

      Did it have some social benefits, yes, it did but I would like to see a case from Scripture for our Deistic civil religion.

      Biblical inscriptions on public buildings is a mixed thing. It’s a part of our history but go look, e.g., at the Nebraska State Capitol, where there are lots of inscriptions of various sorts. It’s more like the way Masons use the Scriptures than the way Christians do.

      Why do we need endorsement of Christianity by the State? Isn’t God’s Word enough?

      What we need now is not a resuscitation of the old Deism masquerading as Christianity but natural law. What we’re seeing is the cost of the loss of natural law and a lot of Christians are culpable in the loss of natural law, beginning with American evangelicals who don’t have any category for nature.

      When Paul addressed public morality he appealed to nature not Roman civil religion, which was pagan (just as American civil religion was).

      Abortion is wrong because it’s a violation of natural law. Homosexuality should be banned because it’s against nature. Gay marriage is unnatural. Recovering nature as a category does most of the work that needs to be done.

      Resources:

    • When Christians Forget Nature And Grace
    • Same-Sex Attraction Is Not A Means Of Grace Or Why We Distinguish Nature And Grace
    • Resources On The Nature/Grace And Sacred/Secular Distinctions
    • Resources On Natural Law
      • I agree, but do you think these biblical references (Ten Commandments, in God we trust on the dollar bill) should be removed at this point? The democratic system is most certainly fraught with difficulties, but it’s the best we have at this point, aside from a state religion.

  2. Your answer to the 3rd question seems like your personal political opinion. The state politicians get to decide how to use the building, even if it is a bad idea. If they solicit groups for religious displays in the building, that’s their perogative.

    Wouldn’t your ministerial role be merely to call for Christians to refuse to use the Capitol to post verses or displays? It does seem striking to say that Christians should not display a verse or something in a place dedicated for that use, though. Wouldn’t Christian liberty allow for that?

    • Joel,

      The podcast is mostly my opinion.

      I acknowledged that the display was placed with the permission of the authorities. The question is whether there should be any religious displays in a state capitol?

      Why do Christians want or need such? Why are we so needy of affirmation by the state?

      How was it that Christians got along fine for three and a half centuries without endorsement by the state?

      Did the apostle Paul wake up every morning and ask himself, “Oh I wonder when Caesar is going to endorse Christianity?” I doubt that very much. He went about the mission of the church and left the state to govern itself.

      I’m not sure what Christian liberty has to do with anything. I didn’t say that it’s sin to post Bible verses in/on a capitol building but why would we do that? To what end?

      What verses of Scripture would be relevant to the state? All those the state already knows by nature. Did Paul ask Caesar to post bible verses in Roman buildings? It’s not in Romans 13:1-7. The only thing he expected Caesar to do was to enforce natural law. What does it do to Scripture to post it next to verses from the Qu’ran or other holy books? Then the Bible is just one more holy book in service of the culture/state?

      That’s not what the Bible is at all, is it? No, the Bible is the revelation of God’s saving revelation and work in history and chiefly in Christ. What has that to do with the Iowa State Capitol? The state is not an engine of gospel ministry. The church is. The state’s job is to enforce the law. Period.

    • I didn’t see a reply button under your post, hopefully this goes in the right spot.

      I think we are agreed that it is the authorities’ job to decide whether to have religious displays.

      We also apparently agree that Christians have liberty to post verses in the display. I don’t know if I would take them up on it, but maybe I would want to remind visitors and officials of Psalm 146. Why? Men are particularly prone to trusting in ruling authorities in God’s stead and rulers often imagine themselves to be gods, so it might be fitting thing to say if one has opportunity. It’s a common (universal?) problem with states.

      • Joel,

        Could a Muslim ask verses from the Qu’ran to be inscribed?

        Ps 146 was written to the church. Is the State of Iowa the church?

        This is one of the points I tried to make in the episode. The capitol building isn’t a holy building. The citizens of Iowa, as such, are not the church.

        Wouldn’t Ps 146 better be inscribed on a church building?

    • Dr. Clark,

      I have no say in the matter of how that space is used. I would probably sell the building if I owned it.

      The State of Iowa is not the church, but I pray every single Iowan joins the church, even the politicians. Maybe the HS will use Psalm 146 displayed at the Capitol in convincing and converting someone who was trusting mere men or himself.
      It would be best if the Psalms were in our hearts, then in our assemblies, but maybe even where others can read them and believe.

      • Joel,

        Why should the taxpayers of Iowa fund Christian evangelism?

        Should the taxpayers also fund Islamic proselytizing?

        Does the Lord intend now, in the New Covenant, to use the state to do the work of evangelism? Why shouldn’t the state do its work of legislation and law enforcement? It can barely do that. I don’t want it anywhere near the gospel.

  3. Perhaps even the pagans could benefit from Machen’s thinking on what happens when Bible study and prayer are included in public (secular) education.

  4. I would argue that is right that false idols be removed from seats of honor in our government buildings. The Reformed political tradition asserts that one of the purposes of the state is to seek the common good of its people. Part of this common good, indeed the entire end, is to direct people towards their rightful heavenly end, towards heaven. The government setting up or even permitting a shrine to Satan specifically does the opposite- directs its people toward damnation, not towards heaven. We need not restrain the Word of God to the spiritual realm only, and in all other earthly matters pretend the Lord is uncaring regarding these things. You asked why the taxpayers of Iowa should fund Christian evangelism, and not Islamic evangelism. The answer is obvious: because Christianity leads to life, and Islam leads to death. All peoples flourish when governments act in accordance with God’s decrees. Justice is done, prosperity and joy abound within the nation. The nation should pursue that which is good, even when detractors within the nation disagree.
    You are right that the most important thing we can do is pray for these people, that God may turn their minds to Him. But we should not be content to only pray, and dedicate ourselves to passivity in the face of evil. For all evil needs to flourish is for good men to stand by and do nothing.

    • Kyle,

      On what basis? Is Iowa national Israel? When did that happen? Aren’t you assuming that Iowa has some special relationship to Christ? On what basis?

      Why didn’t the Apostles call for the removal of idols from Roman public buildings? Were they derelict in their duty?

      Yes, the Reformed tradition was theocratic. The Reformed tradition was wrong about this.

      The government didn’t set up a shrine to Satan. They permitted it as they permit other religious monuments.

      If we didn’t seek implicit government endorsement for our religion then the government could be about its proper task. Please re-read Romans 13:1-7. Where does Paul include the government endorsement of religion in his list of Caesar’s responsibilities? He doesn’t.

      You know what the early Christians asked Rome to do? To be allowed to participate in Roman life without affirming the Roman state-religion. We invented the idea of a secular government.

      Yes, God’s Word applies to all of life but as Calvin said, it applies differently to different spheres. He identified two spheres: the sacred and the secular.

      See the long quote I posted above. Please check out these resources:

      Resources On The Twofold Kingdom

  5. Perhaps providentially, I’ve been reading some of the history of Bishop Ambrose of Milan opposing a request by the Roman Senate to restore the Altar of Victory to its previous position of honor in the Senate building. Ambrose, like other Christian leaders of that era, regarded the Altar of Victory as idolatry that had no place in the Senate building. Can we imagine how he would respond to a Satanic statue?

    Certainly there were other things Ambrose advocated or opposed that were wrong. An obvious example where he was obviously wrong was his demand that the Emperor rescind his order that a group of professing Christians who had destroyed a Jewish synagogue pay to rebuild it. We have a strong record in the Reformed world of defending the right of Jewish people to worship even when Roman Catholics were forbidden to worship.

    Perhaps we can learn from Ambrose that it was common, after many but by no means all of the civil magistrates became Christian, for the leaders of the Christian church to call them to account for what they were doing when the Christian leaders believed their actions were wrong — but sometimes the civil magistrates were right and the church leaders were wrong.

    • Darrell,

      When Ambrose challenged Valentinian in 384 Christianity had been established as the state religion de iure for about 4 years.

      We don’t have a state religion.

      I’m opposed to establishing any state religion.

      Our circumstances are or are becoming more analogous to the pre-Christian empire.

      Hence my question: where did the Apostles practice iconoclasm in pagan Roman temples or civic buildings?

      We need to get over our longing to recover Christendom. We’re not in the late 4th century. We’re in the post-Theodosian era.

      How do we live when we’re not in power or the majority?

      This is the question we must answer. Everything else is cosplay.

    • Fair questions, Dr. Clark.

      The answers will (and should) differ depending on details of the civil government involved and the extent to which Christianity has affected the general population and the public sphere. As you know, in the Roman Empire for many years following Constantine, the patrician class and government leaders were far more likely to defend ancient pagan religious practices than the general public. Bishop Ambrose, as one of the very few church leaders who was from the Roman aristocracy and had served in Imperial government before his ordination, was the right spokesman to criticize his fellow upper-class Romans on this issue.

      Since we’re talking about iconoclasm, my understanding is that one of the early compromises in the Swiss cantons in the controversy over removal of images in churches was that the donors of the images, or their heirs, often had the legal right to remove the images which they or their families had donated, and once removed, they could do what they wanted with them. The result was that under existing circumstances predating the Reformation, some though not all of the images that were contrary to the Second Commandment could be removed without a formal decree by either church or state requiring their removal or their destruction. Of course, those formal decrees were issued later, but it took time before the church authorities and civil authorities had sufficiently high levels of consensus to take that action.

      In our current situation in the United States, we have to deal with US Supreme Court precedents that, as you know, allow religious displays on public property provided that ALL religious displays are allowed, not just some. (And yes, I know this is simplifying decades of complicated and sometimes conflicting and often confusing case law.)

      I certainly do **NOT** advocate vigilantes destroying things they don’t like on public property. I’m not supporting the precedent of what was done, for example, with Dutch mobs of Calvinists during the early Reformation who deliberately got themselves drunk before entering churches to destroy statues and paintings and stained glass windows, because when acting as a mob it was difficult to hold members of the mob individually accountable for their actions (obviously there were no surveillance cameras in the 1500s!), and even if they could be identified, Dutch law at that time provided lower penalties for bad behavior when drunk.

      I do think Christian civil magistrates need to be familiar with the relevant laws on religious expression that apply in their countries, and have prudence in how best to apply those laws. I’ve seen conservative evangelicals who have wrongly bought into a view of secularism that comes out of the French Revolution, not the American constitutional tradition, and who wrongly think no expression of religious views is ever allowed under any circumstances. Conversely, I’ve seen conservative evangelicals who have done foolish and even illegal things that any good Christian lawyer would have told them would only draw fire from the enemies of the Cross.

      When a “church of Satan” group wants to put up a temporary religious monument on public property, if the group knows the law and has a good lawyer, we both know they’re probably going to succeed either in getting their monument put up, or getting all religious monuments removed from the public property in question.

      But we shouldn’t assume that the people on the other side always know what they are doing, or have lawyers who know what they’re doing. Not uncommonly, we think those on the other side are ten-feet-tall giants backed by the ACLU when they may in fact be people who have few supporters in the community, little common sense, and less money for lawyers.

      Not uncommonly, when a community is highly unified — and that typically means small conservative towns — these matters can be dealt with by means of Christian wisdom and persuasion, and never make it to the point that a formal legal fight starts.

      Yes, I am very much aware that from a Reformed perspective, a courthouse manger scene that may be loved by local Baptists and charismatics and broad evangelicals in a Southern Bible Belt town is a Second Commandment violation that our Reformed forefathers would have considered only somewhat less objectionable than the First Commandment violation of the Satanic statue.

      The bottom line is that a Christian civil magistrate needs to be called by church leaders to be faithful to his Christian profession, and seek to follow the laws unless they directly forbid what God requires or require what God forbids, and if possible, to change or improve bad laws.

      What that looks like for a Huguenot in France in the 1500s will be different from what it looks like for a modern Calvinist in modern France, or for a Dutch Calvinist in the 1600s, or an American Calvinist today or a Calvinist today in certain countries that have a far higher percentage of active professing Christians than most Western countries.

      Here’s a practical modern example.

      In modern Italy, gay marriages and homosexual adoption are still live issues on which Christians can fight, and on which they may well win. The equivalent to the Senate Majority Leader in Italy is a conservative Waldensian who is fighting his own denomination on these issues, and is having more success in fighting liberals in the civil government than in his own church.

      I think he has a lot more likelihood of success in advocating Christian principles of family life in Italy than a Calvinist has in California, and there are things he can do in Italy to fight and win battles that Christians in America lost years or even decades ago.

      There’s not much point in wasting time fighting battles we can’t win, but we can encourage those in other countries, or other states, or other cities who have majorities on their side, and a more favorable legal situation, to fight battles that are unwinnable i our own situation.

        • Dr. Clark, it’s important for me to assure you that I’m not meaning to avoid your questions, or even less to ignore them. I may well be misunderstanding you, and if so, I sincerely apologize.

          Perhaps I need to make clear what I think about the prospect of Christendom in America.

          My view is that whatever benefits there may or may not be to a civilly-covenanted Christian commonwealth, we don’t live in one. Several of the original thirteen colonies were in that category, but it’s been roughly 190 years since the last of them ended. Further, given the supermajorities required to amend the Constitution — the core of the historic Covenanter project, since they correctly recognized what a radical break the US Constitution is from virtually all prior European precedents — we need to recognize reality and accept that given current religious conditions in America, we’re not going to have an explicit and formal Christian commonwealth in the United States. The only way I can see that happening would be following an armed attack by foreign adversaries that destroys our national government, or the sort of revolutionary activity by domestic enemies of our republic that all Christians who know the history of civil wars should dread. Those are such horrific nightmare scenarios that far from seeking them, we should beg God not to bring them upon us.

          In other words, I’m far from persuaded that we should have formal state establishment or state recognition of Christianity, but even if I thought it was a good idea, I think it’s utterly impossible. We should put our efforts into better and more productive activities.

          While we’re not going to have a Christian commonwealth, or even formal recognition of a Judeo-Christian ethic, that doesn’t mean we can’t, as Christian citizens, expect the people we elect to act in accord with the ethics of the churches of which they are members, or at least the ethical principles of the voters who sent them to office.

          What that looks like in Northwest Iowa won’t be the same as what it looks like in rural Alabama, or in a heavily Hispanic part of South Texas. There are very real differences in what “common sense” of the majority of voters considers to be “good Christian behavior.” I don’t want to traffic in stereotypes, but I’ve previously lived in heavily Hispanic communities, I grew up as an unbeliever in the Dutch Reformed world of West Michigan, and I now live in the rural South. I know firsthand that there are very different expectations by conservative Christian voters for their preferred candidates.

          What I’ve just described isn’t like anything I see as being historic Christendom. If Knox or Calvin or Cromwell heard me talking this way, all three would likely condemn me for having a “libertine” or perhaps an “Anabaptist” view of politics. The Roman Catholic inquisitors, as recently as the mid-1800s, would likely condemn me as a “modernist.”

          Saying that Christians ought to elect people who are either Christians or willing to act in accord with Judeo-Christian ethics has nothing whatsoever to do with saying the civil government should establish a religious test for who can hold office.

          I fully recognize that under our Constitution, the voters of a liberal university town will elect liberal state legislators, liberal county commissioners, and liberal city council members, and if the population is large enough, will elect a liberal congressman.

          What I’m saying is conservative Christians living in conservative Christian communities should do the same thing liberals do — elect people who share our values.

          To avoid any misunderstanding here about what I mean by “share our values,” I’ve supported Orthodox Jewish candidates for office in the past and would gladly do so again. Same for Roman Catholics, who, to their credit, are often in the forefront of the pro-life movement. I know the history of the American Revolution and the role of Jewish people and Roman Catholics in fighting for American independence — it is fully in accord with an original intent view of our Constitution to say that our Founding Fathers fully expected members of those two religious minority groups in late 1700s America, whose members had very limited rights under British rule, to have full rights in a newly independent United States.

          I just don’t see how what I’ve described can be considered any sort of “Christendom,” at least not as the word was defined from the late Roman Empire through the Middle Ages, or the Renaissance, Reformation, and “Enlightenment” eras.

          On the contrary, saying that local voters should seek out and vote for candidates who share their values just seems like simple common sense.

    • Dr. Clark, I gave you a long answer because, as a professor of church history, you deserve that from me. I need to take my time to respond to you, and do so with care and attention to detail.

      But here’s the short answer I would give to this question to someone who is a layman, or a theologically untrained pastor or elder (which means many and perhaps most church leaders in the rural Bible Belt, where seminary training is rare).

      You asked this: “How do we live when we’re not in power or the majority? This is the question we must answer.”

      My short answer: Work to change both of those problems.

      My medium-length explanation of how to do that follows.

      There are parts of the United States where conservative Christians, and those who are sympathetic to traditional Judeo-Christian values, are the majority but are not in power. We live in a free republic and can choose our leaders. Too many Christians ignore politics and then have to deal with a hostile government run by people who were elected by a liberal subset of the population because conservatives didn’t bother to get active in local community affairs.

      But what about places where Christians are neither in the majority nor in power?

      I don’t think we need to just assume, as Christians, that once a state or community gets a liberal majority, it will remain liberal forever. That problem can be fixed, but the path to fixing it involves 1) evangelism, and 2) promotion of traditional families.

      Granted, there are some places from which Christians probably ought to flee because there’s no hope, and there are very real dangers to themselves and to their children. Yes, there’s a place for an isolated Christian family to preach the gospel in a spiritual wilderness, but that’s a special calling and not for most Christians, and definitely not for those who don’t know what they’re getting into.

      However, in many parts of the United States where conservatives are a definite minority, a significant number of Christians are present, but there’s no realistic short-term way to solve that problem of being in the minority. Fixing that problem requires long-term steps, among them promoting Christian schooling to prevent losing the next generation in places where the public schools are hostile to Christians and can’t be fixed, actively working to encourage churches and individual Christians to recognize their rights and responsibilities as Christian citizens so they don’t lay down and roll over in the face of anti-Christian abuse that is often illegal and unconstitutional, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging aggressive evangelism and promoting Christian families.

      Liberals usually marry late, or not at all. Liberals often value their own personal freedom over having children, or marry in their 30s when they can’t have many children even if they want them. Not uncommonly, liberal women have had abortions or support others who want to abort their babies. That shouldn’t surprise us. Scripture teaches that those who hate God love death.

      I’m not among the right-wing anti-immigrant voices. I happen to think the best solution for the problems of some of our liberal states would be large-scale immigration by Hispanics and Asians with more traditional values, and in the case of Hispanics, who typically have larger families.

      Fixing the problems of our major urban areas may be impossible. Fixing the problems of our liberal states, especially those in which there are large rural and suburban areas that can outvote the cities, may still be possible as lots of liberal white people get old and die without having enough children to pass along their bad values to the next generation.

      Because people google and I wouldn’t be surprised if what I write here gets read by people far outside conservative Christian circles, I need to add that I’m not a theonomist or a theocrat. I don’t think government should be telling a liberal family how to live, or how to raise their children, or what to do on their own private property. Men like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were not in the majority among the Founding Fathers, but unlike some of the original 13 colonies, the United States was not founded as a Christian republic and we don’t have a Constitutional warrant to enforce Christianity on those who don’t want it.

      We do, however, need to work considerably harder to stop those who want to ban Christians from the public sphere and replace the American Revolution with the values of the French Revolution. Liberals very often win their battles because conservatives don’t show up to the fight, or fight in foolish ways.

      The choices are not between theocracy and an atheistic “naked public square.” That’s a false dichotomy pushed by liberals who very often don’t know American history or Constitutional principles, or how America functioned for most of its history until only a few generations ago.

      • Darrell,

        What is there in the NT that makes you answer, “We work to change both these problems”? Aren’t you assuming Christendom? On what biblical basis?

        Why must Christians be in charge?

  6. Dr. Clark, I’ve given a longer answer to your question because you are a seminary professor and deserve detail from me.

    However, because I know there are readers who will skip over long answers, let me try to give a short version.

    You asked this: “How do we live when we’re not in power or the majority? This is the question we must answer.”

    I answered with this: “Work to change both of those problems.” (Meaning that Christians, though evangelism and having children, should seek to become the majority since liberals often don’t care about having children who pass on their values, and if/when we are the majority, we should elect people who share our values.)

    You asked this: “Aren’t you assuming Christendom? On what biblical basis? Why must Christians be in charge?”

    I don’t see it as being any sort of “Christendom” to say that Christians who have the ability to choose our rulers should choose people who share our values. I’m not saying Christians “must” be in charge. What I’m saying is that in a free republic, when we are the majority, we should choose people who share our values.

    If we were in a different system of government, I would say Christian civil magistrates, however they come to hold office, need to act in accord with their Christian convictions insofar as they can, and if they can’t, they must resign.

    On what biblical basis?

    A believing king, a believing centurion, a believing director of public works, a believing chief steward or prime minister — and there are examples of all of those in Scripture apart from the special covenants of Old Testament Israel — needs to be faithful to Christ in his calling.

    It seems really quite simple. A Christian should act in accord with his or her values. There are going to be situations in which a Christian is forbidden from holding civil office because he can’t act in accord with those values. For example, when Communist Party membership was required in the former Soviet Union to hold virtually any public office, Christians could not hold office without making unacceptable compromises.

    In our system of government, saying that Christians should vote for people who share our values really seems quite simple and easy to understand. I honestly don’t see why anyone would disagree with that.

  7. R. Scott Clark asks:

    Darrell,

    What is there in the NT that makes you answer, “We work to change both these problems”? Aren’t you assuming Christendom? On what biblical basis?

    Why must Christians be in charge?
    _________________________________________

    The scriptures answer that Jesus is the Prince of the Kings of the earth.

    David, in the Spirit says:

    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.

    • Graham,

      Your reply illustrates the very problem I was addressing. I ask for clear evidence from the New Testament and you cite Ps 2 as if your interpretation is self-evident. Symington does the same thing. This fallacy is known as “begging the question” (petitio principii). You’re assuming what you have to prove.

      The question isn’t whether Psalm 2 is correct. It’s the Word of God. The question is how the Apostles understood Psalm 2 and how we ought to understand the significance of Psalm 2 now, in light of the progress of revelation and redemption. Christ is King! Amen! He rules all things now. Amen! But how does he rule all things?

      If nothing has changed in redemptive history and if revelation has not progressed and we are where King David was, then we need to identify the Canaanites of our time and slaughter them literally. Yet, I see no Covenanter doing any such thing. Why not? Are they being unfaithful to God’s Word? No. They are being inconsistent, however. On the one hand, they use Psalm 2 to justify their demand that every magistrate recognize the “crown rights of King Jesus” and to demand that every government explicitly acknowledge Christ but, on the other hand, they do not go to war against the Canaanites, as it were, in their towns, states, and countries. It’s incoherent.

      I can explain why Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7 as he did. Your approach to Ps 2 cannot. My approach accounts for the progress of revelation and redemption, yours does not. The national covenant expired with the death of Christ. There is no national covenant now and there cannot be. The national covenant was temporary and typological. As Paul says, in Gal 3, the Mosaic covenant came 430 years after the Abrahamic. The Mosaic, with its national covenant, “expired,” to use the language of the Westminster Divines (ch. 19) with the state of that people. It typified the eschatological state (looking vertically) and the coming of Christ (looking horizontally). Christ brought with him the eschatological (final) Kingdom, the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. We live now in light of that fulfillment.

      When Christ brought the eschatological kingdom into history he brought it not with sword or might but with suffering, death, and resurrection. He commissioned his apostles to spread the Kingdom by the preaching of the moral law (not the judicial laws of Moses) and the good news.

      That is why Romans 13:1-7 makes no reference to a national covenant or a Christian monarchy. Paul knows that period of redemptive history has ended. The reality has come. He is content to allow Caesar to rule according to natural law. That’s why never once instructed any civil magistrate on his duty to institute a Christian state. He preached the law in its first use and preached the gospel. He called for repentance and faith. Full stop.

      Again, Christ is ruling all things but he does so, as Calvin wrote, in a twofold kingdom. Here again is the passage where Calvin laid out his approach:

      Therefore, in order that none of us may stumble on that stone, let us first consider that there is a twofold government in man (duplex esse in homine regimen): one aspect is spiritual, whereby the conscience is instructed in piety and in reverencing God; the second is political, whereby man is educated for the duties of humanity and citizenship that must be maintained among men. These are usually called the “spiritual” and the “temporal” jurisdiction (not improper terms) by which is meant that the former sort of government pertains to the life of the soul, while the latter has to do with the concerns of the present life—not only with food and clothing but with laying down laws whereby a man may live his life among other men holily, honorably, and temperately. For the former resides in the inner mind, while the latter regulates only outward behavior. The one we may call the spiritual kingdom, the other, the political kingdom. Now these two, as we have divided them, must always be examined separately; and while one is being considered, we must call away and turn aside the mind from thinking about the other. There are in man, so to speak, two worlds, over which different kings and different laws have authority.

      JOHN CALVIN | Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559 edition), 3.19.15 (Battles edition).

      The visible church is the spiritual kingdom. The state is part of the temporal kingdom. The latter is secular. The former is scared. They operate under different kings and different laws. They are, as Calvin says, “so to speak” “two worlds.”

      Everyone must bow the knee now (or at the judgment) to Christ the King but that does not mean, in the New Testament, that every magistrate must acknowledge “the crown rights of King Jesus.” No apostle understood Ps 2 that way nor did any of the early Christian fathers.

      Some more resources on Ps 2:

      Saturday Psalm Series: Ruling In The Midst Of His Enemies—Psalms 2 & 110

      The Significance Of Paul’s Silence On Caesar Acknowledging Christ’s Lordship

    • Dr. Clark, I realize you’re replying to Graham Dugas, but since he’s replying to your question to me, I hope I’m not intruding by responding. You’ve asked for a biblical and confessional argument so I’m going to try to give you one on the specific point you raise here of how to apply Psalm 2.

      I think a core issue here is how Christians should deal with the reality of politics on the ground, not some abstract theory of what could have or should have been done in the historical past. Theory is nice, or at least it can be. Reality is hard.

      I think you may be implying that those who take Psalm 2 as their model for Christian dominion should, like a fair number of the older Reformed leaders, identify the “Canaanite infidels” with Roman Catholics and slaughter them as servants of the Beast. I don’t agree with that in any way, shape, or form and have a decades-long history of not only tolerating Catholics but actively cooperating with them in political matters.

      Why?

      I could give a number of reasons, but one is particularly relevant for this purpose. As Americans, we have to deal with our written Constitution and with statute law. I might be saying different things about an explicitly Christian and Reformed model of government if we were in Plymouth or Massachusetts or Connecticut in the years following 1620, but we’re not. (The actual interactions of New Englanders with the French Catholics were interesting and not always what might be expected, but that’s not relevant to my point.) To put things simply, 1776 was not 1620 and we can’t pretend we’re living in a Puritan commonwealth. Neither the Mayflower Compact nor the original charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony are in force today, nor the various statutes of some of the other colonies that were even stricter than either of those two.

      We may or may not like the Constitution and the compromises the Founding Fathers made to get Maryland into the Union and to keep peace between the New Englanders and the Southern colonies, which at that point were still largely led by Anglicans before the Revolutionary War brought numerous frontiersmen, often Scots-Irish, to prominence due to their military skills. But a covenant once made, even if wrongly made, is binding. The Westminster Confession correctly points out in its proof texts on the section regarding lawful oaths and vows that even though Israel erred in making a treaty with the Gibeonites, the treaty was binding and King Saul was punished hundreds of years later for breaking it (WCF 22:4, ref. Josh. 9:18-19 and II Sam. 21:1).

      We live in a federal republic that, right from the beginning, had a limited form of religious pluralism for Roman Catholics and for Jews. There is no point debating whether that was a good or bad thing. Thanks to simple geography, the United States wouldn’t have been possible as a single nation without Maryland being on board, and given the history of how Catholics in Quebec chose to be loyal to the British Crown, it was far from a foregone conclusion that several key Catholics who became leaders of the movement for independence would chose the way they did.

      So no — Christians in America today do not need to identify unbelieving Canaanites and slaughter them. Even if we think the agreement to accept Roman Catholics and Jews as full citizens was a bad idea, we will incur the sort of curses that fell upon King Saul if we break our agreement, now two and a half centuries old, to accept at least a limited form of religious pluralism. (Personally, I happen to think the Founders were right to make the deal they made, but what I think doesn’t matter — the deal is done and we have to live with it.)

      Please accept my apologies, Dr. Clark, if I’m reading between lines and coming up with an argument you aren’t claiming as the logical conclusion of saying that Psalm 2 teaches the crown rights of King Jesus. Others do make that argument that consistency requires extermination of unbelievers, and people on both sides of the idea make that argument, with a few conservative Christians saying we should exterminate unbelievers and a larger number of people claiming that if conservative Christians were consistent, they would want to exterminate unbelievers.

      My response is that’s a flat-out misread of the Old Testament and how Reformed people have applied it through the Reformation and early modern history. The Gibeonite treaty is just as much a part of the Bible as Psalm 2, and the Westminster Confession is quite specific on the need to keep an oath even if made to an unbeliever or heretic. That language was written in direct response to the Roman Catholic teaching that oaths made to heretics and unbelievers are invalid, so once Jan Hus was declared a heretic, his “safe conduct” pass could be ignored and he could be burned at the stake by the Catholics.

      Bottom line: It is not inconsistent with traditional Reformed principles of political engagement, under our current Constitution, for Calvinists in America to cooperate with people of very different religious beliefs, even people who we quite correctly refuse to allow to join or take communion in our churches. If the Founding Fathers were wrong to cooperate with Catholics and Jews, the blame is on them, but we are bound by the terms of that agreement even if it was wrong.

      I happen to think the Founding Fathers were right to make that agreement. Obviously Cromwell and Knox would very much disagree with me. But for better or for worse, the Constitution is our governing document and there are clear warnings in Scripture against breaking such covenants, once made.

    • Clarification on this: “If the Founding Fathers were wrong to cooperate with Catholics and Jews, the blame is on them, but we are bound by the terms of that agreement even if it was wrong. I happen to think the Founding Fathers were right to make that agreement. Obviously Cromwell and Knox would very much disagree with me.”

      Actually, Cromwell might well have supported working with Jews if he had been at the Continental Congress that declared independence, or had helped to draft the Constitution or had helped to get it ratified in the state legislatures. Over a century beforehand, he fought his own senior advisors to change English law to allow Jews to live openly as Jews in England, which had been forbidden hundreds of years before the Reformation.

      I don’t know what Knox’s views were on Jews. However, it’s obvious from their writings that both Knox and Cromwell opposed political toleration for Roman Catholics. The political situation of their eras with organized warfare led by Catholics against Protestants was very different from the situation in the late 1700s and even more different from the situation today in which our main problem today is secularists who hate all Christians, not divisions between different types of Christians.

      I have worse things to worry about in the modern world than silly suspicions that Catholics might be planning a new “gunpowder plot” to blow up Parliament. My parents lived in an era when Catholic politicians were still thought to take marching orders from Rome. Today, when Rick Santorum, Amy Coney Barrett, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are all in the same church, it’s patently obvious that’s not true.

      The political problems faced by the Reformers and the Puritans were not our problems and we make a major mistake if we don’t realize that.

      • Darrell,

        The issue isn’t whether Christians of various sorts may cooperate in secular projects. Of course they can! These things are secular, they are natural. They are not sacred. We may and should cooperate with pagans in secular, political matters.

        We draw the line at sacred matters.

        This is one of the missing distinctions here.

    • Dr. Clark, you’ve spent enough time in the Dutch Reformed world to understand why I continue to be surprised at the rejection of the use of secular/sacred terminology by Reformed people.

      It was drilled into me right from my earliest classes at Calvin College that the sacred/secular distinction is a non-Reformed way of thinking. My professors understood I was part of (at that time) a small minority of people at the college who didn’t come from a Reformed home, so my academic advisor took me aside and told me — this isn’t a direct quote, nearly four decades later, but close to it — that “there is no such thing as a secular job or secular career, only a Christian way of working and a secular way of working.”

      If I had used the language of your post I’m quoting below to any of my professors back in the 1980s, whether liberal or conservative, raised Dutch or brought in from outside, they would have politely told me, “Darrell, you’re still thinking like a Catholic” or “you’re still thinking like a non-Reformed evangelical.”

      Your response will likely be some form of this: “What does that prove? Calvin College has gone liberal, and it was well down that road when you were there. What good does a neo-Kuyperian culture transformationist mindset do?”

      If that’s your response, you would have a point. I do think “culture transformationism” can be an excuse for distracting Christians from sound doctrine and putting them to work on all sorts of cultural projects that may or may not be good in themselves, but have little to do with confessional Calvinism. Both you and I agree that being Reformed is far more than the Five Points, but I’m pretty sure you will also agree with me that a “Reformed world and life view” that de-emphasizes the confessions and the Five Points is not Reformed at all.

      I’m not sure this gets to the core of our disagreement, but I do think it may help for me to say how surprised I am to hear a confessional Calvinist like yourself, and a man who teaches at a well-known conservative Reformed seminary whose Escondido campus was begun by Dutch Reformed people, saying this:

      “The issue isn’t whether Christians of various sorts may cooperate in secular projects. Of course they can! These things are secular, they are natural. They are not sacred. We may and should cooperate with pagans in secular, political matters. We draw the line at sacred matters. This is one of the missing distinctions here.”

      Rightly or wrongly, when I said things similar to that back in the 1980s, my professors told me I had a lot to learn about being Reformed and I was using categories of thinking that were contrary to a Reformed way of thinking.

      They may well have been wrong. They most definitely **WERE** wrong about many other things.

      But again, it was drilled into me that I should not speak that way or think in those categories if I wanted to be considered Reformed, rather than a broad evangelical or a person with a Catholic distinction between the sacred and secular.

      • Darrell,

        I can’t speak to what your profs told you but I can tell you that I learned the sacred/secular distinction from the classic Reformed theologians (and the medievals and fathers they were reading). I can also say that the rejection of the distinction is mark of neo-Calvinism, not classic Reformed theology.

        I supposed that you were educated in Dutch neo-Calvinism, which partly why I’ve been responding as I have. I can see the neo-Calvinism in your responses.

        Ultimately, ironically, the neo-Calvinists taught people, unintentionally, to think like Anabaptists in certain respects, not Reformed people.

    • Thank you for your reply, Dr. Clark.

      I do find it interesting that the neo-Kuyperians at Calvin College viewed me as not fully Reformed because I was more interested in the confessions, in the Five Points, and in personal conversion than in their Kuyperian project of culture transformation, but here I am close to four decades later and I’m debating a Westminster Seminary professor who has picked up, correctly so, that I am using Kuyperian categories. Oh well. Several of my long-ago-retired professors may be reading this and say, “Wow! Darrell actually did learn something from us after all, in between his attacks on us for advocating women in office and being ‘more Dutch than Reformed.'”

      Regarding this: “I can’t speak to what your profs told you but I can tell you that I learned the sacred/secular distinction from the classic Reformed theologians (and the medievals and fathers they were reading). I can also say that the rejection of the distinction is mark of neo-Calvinism, not classic Reformed theology. I supposed that you were educated in Dutch neo-Calvinism, which partly why I’ve been responding as I have. I can see the neo-Calvinism in your responses.”

      We certainly concur that my education is in “neo-Calvinism” or “Kuyperian” circles, and we both concur that is one, but only one and not the only “flavor” or “form” or “type” of Calvinism out there.

      The Dutch Reformed themselves would distinguish between the “Reformed Scholastics,” the “Reformed Pietists” and the Kuyperians or neo-Calvinists. Defining those categories is problematic, particularly because the distinctions didn’t always work themselves out the same way in the Anglo-American world as they did in the Netherlands.

      There is, for example, no clear parallel in the “Anglosphere” to the Gereformeerde Gemeenten or “black stocking” movement in the Netherlands of “Reformed pietists” who gave Puritan piety a bad name, and drove much of Kuyper’s polemics against GH Kersten and others, because the Gereformeerde Gemeenten, and to a lesser extent the part of the CGKN who remained out of the Afschieding-Doleantie merger and the Gereformeerde Bond who remained in the state church, focused on what Kuyper and his supporters considered to be “morbid introspection.” The so-called “Dutch Puritans” or “Dutch Pietists” combined a fiery emphasis on the Five Points, particularly total depravity, with a “world flight” approach that in America was more associated with Arminian and dispensational fundamentalism.

      I’m well aware that you don’t appreciate the category of Puritanism or the First Great Awakening, but I think it’s fair to point out that the Puritans in both England and New England sought to combine what the Dutch divided — a high emphasis on academic theology (Reformed scholasticism), personal piety (Reformed pietism) and political and cultural engagement (what the Dutch would call “Kuyperianism”).

      It’s no secret that I think the Dutch erred by dividing those three categories, leading to scholarship without piety, piety without scholarship, and transformationists who divorced themselves from both the piety and scholarship of the historic Reformed tradition. All three groups ended up in seriously bad places.

      What I’m trying to get at here, perhaps not very successfully, is that I think a significant amount of the debate over Two Kingdoms/R2K/”Escondido Theology,” or whatever we want to call it, is being caused by people who are using completely different categories of theological vocabulary and talking past each other rather than talking to each other.

      Regarding this: “Ultimately, ironically, the neo-Calvinists taught people, unintentionally, to think like Anabaptists in certain respects, not Reformed people.”

      I would like to explore more how you believe Kuyperianism or neo-Calvinism led people “unintentionally, to think like Anabaptists in certain respects, not Reformed people.”

      Links would be appreciated.

      You may very well believe the Kuyperian project deviated from historic Reformed orthodoxy and historic Reformed categories. I’m not sure you’re wrong and as my previous comments should indicate, I do think the Kuyperians themselves would say they were deviating, at least to some extent, from what they attacked as “Reformed Scholasticism.”

      Still, I don’t think the difference between classic “Reformed Scholasticism” and Kuyperianism is as great as some want to make it. Kuyper’s Stone Lectures were, after all, delivered at Princeton Seminary during its era as the bulwark of Old School confessional orthodoxy. I wonder if the difference between Old School confessional orthodoxy and what Kuyper taught (as opposed to his transformationist successors, who definitely DID deviate from the confessional tradition), is less a matter of core differences in doctrine and more a matter of emphasis.

      After all, Kuyper was the head of a major political party, ran two newspapers, and became the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. One would expect a theologian who became a politician to write, speak, and teach on subjects that professors at a Reformed seminary would not normally address.

      Again Dr. Clark, I’m trying to be gracious here and am trying to understand you and where you’re coming from. You teach at a seminary whose Escondido campus was founded largely by Dutch Reformed conservatives. You are no more Dutch than I am, but you know that world even if you, unlike me, did not grow up in Grand Rapids and were not trained at Calvin. If you believe — as I am increasingly coming to think you believe — that the Dutch Reformed categories of neo-Kuyperianism are in significant error and significantly deviate from the historic Reformed writers going back to the Reformation era, then you’re in a position to address those perceived deviations from personal knowledge and interaction with people who come from that branch of the Reformed world. Most people who teach “Old School Presbyterianism” today are from the Southern Presbyterian tradition whose key leaders and key seminaries, unlike Westminster, do not have a long history of interaction with the Dutch Reformed, and I think many of them do not understand the Dutch Reformed distinctives or the very real differences between the two confessional traditions.

      • Darrell,

        This is a point I’ve made several times in this space. Check out the resources on nature and grace.

        FWIW, I distinguish between Kuyper and the Kuyperians. The former knew the Reformed tradition before the 19th century. A lot of the latter did not. Van Til is a good example of the latter. He knew Princeton but he didn’t know much, if anything, about the Reformed tradition before Princeton. He rarely mentioned theologians from the classical period. I found a reference, which I discussed in Recovering the Reformed Confession, where he characterized Voetius as a rationalist. That’s crazy. Voetius was, in anything, a precursor to CVT. Why did CVT think what he did? It was a story he inherited from the neo-Calvinists, who wrote off Reformed theology pre-Kuyper (even though Kuyper himself did not. He did serious work on the tradition).

        It’s an axiom among the neo-Kuyperians/neo-Calvinists that any nature/grace distinction is a corruption of theology. Aquinas wrote “grace does not destroy nature but perfects it.” The classical Reformed repeated that adage against regularly the Anabaptists. Why? Because, in Anabaptist theology, grace destroys nature. The Anabaptists have no place for nature as a category and neither do most American evangelicals. The Reformed did have a place for nature as a category and they regularly distinguished it from grace.

        The neo-K rejection of the nature/grace distinction reveals their collapse of nature and grace. Grace has, in their theology, wiped out nature as a category. Have you ever wondered how it was that so many Baptists and Baptistic evangelicals incorporated aspects of Kuyperianism into their theology, piety, & practice? I have. I saw it at Wheaton and in the evangelical schools who demanded that, in the job application process, candidates explain how their faith was “integrated” into their discipline. The assumption was that there is a Christian way to do x (plumbing, teach nursing, teach history etc). No one could tell me exactly what Christian plumbing is or exactly what a Christian historiography is. What is Christian math? These are shibboleths.

        Show me in Calvin or the Reformed orthodox where they talked about Christian plumbing? They didn’t have to because they had nature as a category. They understood that cobbling belongs to nature, not grace. They understood that cobbling is a good, secular vocation. They didn’t feel the need to baptize everything with adjective Christian in order to make it clean.

        The neo-Cs/neo-Ks have given up effectively the Reformation doctrine of vocation and gone back to the medieval notion implicitly that in order for things to be good they must be sacred. That is the fruit of swallowing up nature with grace.

        Check out the resources. Take a look at RRC.

    • Thank you, Dr. Clark.

      You have a valid point that I need to do more reading of what you (and others) have written on this subject, which is why I asked for links. You also have a valid point that I need to read book-length material, not only online posts, which has become an increasing problem in an internet age. Some time ago when you advertised Recovering the Reformed Confession at a discount, I ordered a copy. I began to read it, life intervened (I am a reporter, after all, and deal with chaos on a daily basis), and finishing the book got put on my “to-do list” that never got done. That’s my fault and I need to go back to it.

      To cite a very practical example of life, I will spend most of today dealing with the life-in-prison sentence for a lesbian mother who, along with her partner, were prosecuted for killing a child in their care by tying her up at night since the child was wandering the house “stealing food” due to malnourishment. The child somehow got caught up in the cords and strangled overnight while her mother and her partner slept.

      I trust that example indicates why I didn’t respond as promptly as I should have done to your listing of resources. I will read what you have sent. I owe you that after asking for references, and I appreciate your effort to answer my request.

      But I have to bow out of this discussion today, and probably for several more days until I get that court case handled, and also deal with candidate filings for city councils and school boards for which filing closes next week.

      One comment here before I bow out: Your references to Van Til not being familiar with the older tradition are very interesting. You mention his handling of Voetius, which would be an argument against what I’m suggesting here, but is it possible (and this is a real question, I don’t know the answer) that Van Til was more familiar with the Dutch Reformed theologians who still largely have not been translated into English, and not with the older Anglo-American Presbyterian tradition?

      I often found that to be true of conservative CRC ministers from a prior generation — men who in the 1980s and 1990s were close to retirement or past retirement — who had studied only at Calvin Seminary, or who had gone from Calvin to the Free University or to Kampen for graduate work, and that marked them off from the Calvin Seminary students who had gone to Westminster for post-M.Div. work. Christian Reformed ministers of that era were expected to be fluent in Dutch, so reading the older Dutch theologians or doing graduate work in Dutch was easy for them. Many saw little need to spend time dealing with theologians who wrote in English since, in their view, since the 1700s the English-speaking theologians spent most of their time fighting broad evangelicalism and liberalism rather than dealing with the more complex points of the Reformed faith.

  8. “In our system of government, saying that Christians should vote for people who share our values really seems quite simple and easy to understand. I honestly don’t see why anyone would disagree with that.”

    Problem is, there are too few people running, esp. at the higher levels, who share a truly Christian worldview. All can claim to BE Christians when running for office. Biden and Trump both do this. But honestly, I’d rather an intelligent, thoughtful Vivek than EITHER Trump or Biden, even though he is not a Christian. Am I disgracing my Lord by voting for a Hindu rather than the other two, who both have shown themselves to be inept?

    • Mary, you ask an excellent question that needs to be answered by any Christian voter who believes biblical principles should inform his or her vote. Some of what follows is copied from things written above. (Yes, I know I wrote long posts).

      What I’m saying is conservative Christians living in conservative Christian communities should do the same thing liberals do in liberal communities when they are the majority — elect people who share our values.

      To avoid any misunderstanding here about what I mean by “share our values,” I’ve supported Orthodox Jewish candidates for office in the past and would gladly do so again. Same for Roman Catholics, who, to their credit, are often in the forefront of the pro-life movement. I know the history of the American Revolution and the role of Jewish people and Roman Catholics in fighting for American independence — it is fully in accord with an original intent view of our Constitution to say that our Founding Fathers fully expected members of those two religious minority groups in late 1700s America, whose members had very limited rights under British rule, to have full rights in a newly independent United States.

      I just don’t see how what I’ve described can be considered any sort of “Christendom,” at least not as the word was defined from the late Roman Empire through the Middle Ages, or the Renaissance, Reformation, and “Enlightenment” eras.

      What follows is new and wasn’t posted above.

      Mary, I believe the problem with too many conservative Christians who are involved in politics is that they ask the same question you ask, and unlike you, they come up with an answer that is not just wrong but self-defeating and dangerous. When they see a choice between two people who by biblical definitions can fairly be described as “evil,” they respond by saying that rather than choosing between the lesser of two evils, they say it’s evil to vote for either candidate.

      How well would that have worked out for English Protestants during the Reformation when dealing with a man like King Henry VIII who was obviously and grossly immoral in his personal life, but who supported the Reformation for political reasons rather than principle?

      As Christians, we’re used to applying high standards to our candidates for church office. That’s correct. God warns that we are not to lay hands on any man hastily, and if a man doesn’t meet the biblical standards for elder or deacon listed in I Timothy and Titus, he shouldn’t be in office — period. It’s better to have an elder slot remain vacant than to have an unqualified man in that office.

      That’s not how things work in the office of civil magistrate. We need to seek candidates who can fulfill the mandate of Romans 13, not the standards of I Timothy and Titus, and it is worse to have anarchy — nobody bearing the sword of the civil magistrate leads to evildoers going unpunished without consequences — than to have a poorly qualified magistrate bearing the sword.

      Not every system of government works the same. A fair number of Dutch Reformed immigrants to the United States who were used to a multiparty parliamentary system with multiple explicitly Christian parties of various types seriously struggled with the American political system in the late 1800s. One of my church history professors at Calvin Seminary spent some time in class describing a failed attempt in Grand Rapids to organize a Christian political party comparable to Abraham Kuyper’s Anti-Revolutionary Party. They ran candidates for office who failed, and failed spectacularly, and proved by their failure that refusing to vote for the “lesser evil,” in our system of government, results in political irrelevance.

      Since people Google, I want to make clear that I don’t think it’s evil to vote for a Roman Catholic candidate. I don’t think it’s evil to vote for an Orthodox Jewish candidate. I have a lot more problems with Donald Trump, a former member of the Reformed Church in America, than I do with Rick Santorum. I aggressively argued against Trump in the 2016 primary, and supported Santorum in the 2012 primary, but voted for Trump in the 2016 and 2020 general elections as the lesser of two evils.

      Neither Trump nor Santorum should be allowed to participate in the Lord’s Supper in a confessionally Reformed church. Rick Santorum, who has spoken in our county for a pro-life fundraising event, understands that, and as a practicing Roman Catholic, he’s quite capable of explaining to evangelical Protestants why they should not receive the elements at the Mass in his Roman Catholic parish.

      Again, the standards for office as a civil magistrate and for citizenship in our republic are not the same as the standards for office in the church or for church membership.

  9. I agree with what you’re written. My question was more rhetorical. There are those who feel my voting for a principled Hindu WOULD disgrace my Lord, which is perfect silly.

    I feel fully comfortable voting for those who are more conservative (in the best sense) regardless of their faith rather than those who claim to be OF the faith to garner votes (Trump or Biden currently).

    • Thank you, Mary.

      I view political cooperation with traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews as being a special case that is specifically allowed due to the circumstances of the founding of the United States. I would want to reserve comment on Vivek Ramaswamy’s presidential candidacy because I haven’t studied enough of his religious positions, apart from some quite interesting articles in Christian and secular news media on how he believes a conservative Hindu can fit into a Judeo-Christian framework of religious nationalism in America, to have an informed opinion about him. Given the increasing number of South Asian businessmen entering politics, not uncommonly as successful business entrepreneurs, this is likely to become an issue with which conservative Christians will have to deal down the road.

      I can easily imagine voting for someone like Vivek for a city council or school board, and perhaps for a state legislature, particularly in a community where a traditional “white conservative Republican” can’t get elected but a minority can run and win. I don’t think he has enough political experience to be president and I would say that even regardless of his Hindu affiliation, and would say it if he were a member of my own church. But I also argued that Trump was politically inexperienced, and in the modern Republican Party, lack of political experience can be an asset rather than a liability.

  10. As I understand it, the civil right to place an immoral or satanic scene in the public square has little to do with the church. Unfortunately these things must be allowed, or not allowed as the case may be, hopefully to go away, else something worse may be forced, such as a decree that we must… whatever! The thing is a secular issue that the sacred has nothing to do with.
    Of course, as Christian’s we want good being done on earth through the proper actions of ourselves and government, and we want all peoples hearing and believing the gospel too. But one is done in one sphere (secular) and not another (sacred). We let natural law, common sense reason, fight our fights on the streets as it were (secular), while simultaneously praying for our enemies and preaching the word in the church (sacred); These being two separate kingdoms, while both under the auspices of God.
    There are no Christian politicians, only politicians who happen to be Christian’s, or not, as the case may be; No christian laws, or other such things, only laws with which a Christian may perhaps agree.
    There is no golden age coming, nor to be legislated.
    Gods purpose, plan and decree alone is.

  11. As I understand it, the civil right to place an immoral or satanic scene in the public square has little to do with the church. Unfortunately these things must be allowed, or not allowed, as the case may be, hopefully to go away else something worse may be forced, such as a decree that we must… whatever! The thing is a secular issue that the sacred has nothing to do with.
    Of course, as Christian’s we want good being done on earth through the proper actions of ourselves and government, and we want all peoples hearing and believing the gospel too. But one is done in one sphere (secular) and not in another (sacred). We let natural law, common sense reason, fight our fights on the streets as it were (secular), while simultaneously praying for our enemies and preaching the word in the church (sacred); These being two separate kingdoms, while both under the auspices of God.
    There are no Christian politicians, only politicians who happen to be Christian’s, or not, as the case may be; No christian laws, or other such things, only laws with which a Christian may perhaps agree.
    There is no golden age of Christiandom coming, nor to be legislated.
    Gods purpose, plan and decree alone is.

  12. Dr. Clark. I don’t agree with you on everything but imho you have hit the nail on the head here, and have helped to form in my mind the right scriptural response to many political issues. I am very grateful.

Comments are closed.