Brandon Adams of Contrast recently posted a link to a helpful post by Matthew Tuininga which was recently posted on the Reformation21 blog. (You can see Brandon’s post here.) Here are some parts that jumped out at me in light of all the political ruckus that accompanies election time in the United States (bold emphasis is mine):
But in the late nineteenth century a new challenge arose. Protestant liberalism, particularly the version epitomized in the social gospel, sought to emphasize the immediate implications of the kingdom of Christ in this world. Any Protestant doctrine deemed too conservative, or too tolerant of the status quo, was minimized or abandoned. The kingdom of God, it was said, was to transform all of the institutions of this life, and this was to be the goal of all Christians in all their vocations, including politics.
Some contemporary two kingdoms advocates, particularly Darryl Hart, have stepped on the toes of many conservative evangelicals by arguing that the evangelical attitude toward the church and politics is often nothing better than a conservative version of the social gospel. In several books, including The Lost Soul of American Protestantism,A Secular Faith, and From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin, Hart has skillfully demonstrated the pietist post-millennial origins of both American evangelicalism and the social gospel, arguing that these groups have far more in common than most scholars would like to admit. In contrast, Hart argues, confessional Reformed Christians have always been much more careful not to identify the kingdom of God with social or political transformation. They have rightly recognized that the institutional expression of the kingdom in this age is the church, not the state, the family, or any other created institution.
The kingdom is otherworldly in the sense that it is future and its full consummation awaits Christ’s return. The way in which we access that kingdom…is through the regular means of grace, specifically preaching and the administration of the sacraments. When we emphasize all of life as kingdom activity, just as when we view all of life as worship, we lose sight of what is distinctive and vital about the church itself.
As 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5-6 make clear, because Christians live between two ages, they cannot turn everything they do into the kingdom of God, but they are to do everything that they do in obedience to Christ’s lordship.
I appreciated those points too. I just wish someone other than Hart had made them. If that was his only point, I’d buy the book and send it to many people. But he’s so extreme in his 2K views that I can’t give any of his books to anyone. Here’s some good counterbalance from Nick Batzig http://feedingonchrist.com/theonomy-two-kingdom-and-a-middle-road/
I know what you mean. And with Van Drunen, you have too much of a separation between “natural law” and revelation. I’m still trying to get around to reading that Kloosterman series.
It’s funny… My liberal friends think I’m too conservative, and my “conservative” friends think I’m too “liberal.” My theonomist friends think I’m too far 2K; others think I’m too theonomistic in my application of the “general equity” principle. I go to a church that is open between WCF and LBCF views of baptism, so I get funny looks from both credobaptist and paedobaptist friends. I’m a crazy Calvinist to my Arminian friends, and R. Scott Clark, C. Matthew McMahon, etc. insist I’m not Reformed. My Dispensationalist friends think I read Scripture through theologically invented covenants, and my Paedobaptist friends think I’m a closet Dispensationalist. I have friends who act like I’m antinomian because I reject MacArthur/Piper “Lordship Salvation,” while others think I sneak legalism in through the back door because I affirm Dordt’s teaching on the “Perseverance of the Saints.” I feel woefully ignorant most of the time, but (mostly) everyone thinks I just like to be a know-it-all and argue for argument’s sake. Oh well.
What do you think of Horton’s material?