We don’t Need Two Kingdoms, We Need Law and Gospel

Christians should not try to participate in two kingdoms at once. Christians only have one master, and they are already citizens of the kingdom which comes to earth from heaven. We don’t need two different kingdoms or two different laws. . We need law and gospel.

The law-gospel antithesis is about the difference between God’s commands and God’s promises. Legalists turn the promises into the commands, and antinomians lower or eliminate the commands and penalties and threats.

But there are many who would rather be “unencumbered” by the Sermon on the Mount. They do not deny the Sermon on the Mount as “first use of the law” (to create the despair that drives us to the gospel) but they make every effort to teach us how the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to Christians “just as humans” or in any case in which we would be required to love the enemies of our families.

but don’t I know that Genesis 9 is not about grace or faith or the gospel, but only about all humans? Don’t I know that “natural law” is for everybody, including Christian, and that it exempts Christians from the Sermon on the Mount?

Define “natural”—-not “arbitrary”? Not given by a personal Sovereign? Is “natural” evolving?

Define “arbitrary—not “natural”? Positive and for a church, but creatures can “live and prosper” without it?

Define “natural”—-universal and objective? For all times and in all places?

Is “natural” a way to say “sin” without saying “idolatry”? Ethics without religion?

David VanDrunen—Crucial for understanding Matthew 5:38–42 is Jesus’ programmatic statement in 5:17 that introduces his subsequent commands: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” A common reading of this verse in my own Reformed tradition is that Jesus is about to clarify the Mosaic law in response to Pharisaical corruption of Moses. While this reading has the virtue of guarding against denigration of the Mosaic law, it is not an adequate interpretation of Jesus’ words. A general difficulty with this reading is that it fails to reckon with the radical, eschatological newness of the coming of Jesus and his kingdom so emphasized in the preceding texts in Matthew considered above. Matthew 5:17 itself reinforces this sense of eschatological newness. The first use of the key Synoptic phrase, “I have come,” for example, hints at Jesus’ heavenly origin (and hence his authority to say what he is saying) and indicates that Jesus is about to reveal a central purpose of his ministry.10 In addition, Jesus’ denial that he has come to abolish the law or the prophets indirectly offers further evidence of the spectacular newness of the kingdom of heaven: apparently what has transpired thus far in Matthew’s story has given some people the impression that Jesus has come to abolish something in the OT.

More concretely, the way in which Jesus’ commands unfold in 5:21–48 is ultimately incompatible with reading them as clarification of the Mosaic law over against corrupt Jewish interpretation. For one thing, all six of Jesus’ “You have heard” statements either quote or paraphrase the actual teaching of the Mosaic law, not contemporary Jewish interpretation of it.11 Jesus presents his exhortations in comparison with those of the Mosaic law itself. Second, however much the first two antitheses are amenable to the view that Jesus is purifying the interpretation of the law, the last four antitheses cannot reasonably bear such a reading. Jesus does show the inward demands of the prohibition of murder and adultery in the first two antitheses, but whereas the Mosaic law prescribed procedures for divorce, oath-taking, just retaliation, and destruction of enemies, Jesus proscribes these very actions. To say, for example, that what Moses really intended by writing “keep your oaths” was that the Israelites should not swear at all strains the imagination. Jesus’ statement about divorce in 5:31–32, furthermore, cannot be an elaboration of the OT law since it presumes that the death penalty is not applied against adulterers.

A better reading of 5:17 is that Jesus fulfills the law and the prophets by accomplishing all of the things that the OT prophesied. To this point in his gospel Matthew has already labored to show that Jesus’ actions constitute a turning of the ages and bring to pass what the OT foretold and anticipated (1:22–23; 2:5–6, 15, 17, 23; 3:3, 15; 4:4, 6–7, 10, 14–16), and this theme continues in all sorts of ways subsequent to the Sermon on the Mount.12 Jesus’ words in 5:18 confirm an historical and eschatological interpretation of “fulfill” in 5:17 by saying “until heaven and earth disappear” and “until everything is accomplished” (or “comes to pass”). Jesus therefore indicates in 5:17 that he is neither abolishing the Hebrew Scriptures nor simply purifying them from corrupt interpretation. By his deeds and here also by his words, Jesus brings the law and the prophets to historical and eschatological fulfillment.

Thus, as the kingdom of heaven is something strikingly new, so the Sermon on the Mount, the ethic of this kingdom, proclaims a way of life that is eschatologically new. It is different from the way of life under Moses, though in a manner that accomplishes rather than thwarts God’s larger purposes in giving the law and the prophets. How, exactly, does this shape our interpretation of Jesus’ handling of the lex talionis in 5:38–42?

First, we must consider how Jesus’ commands in 5:38–42 are different from the lex talionis as imposed in the Mosaic law. The “eye for an eye” formula appears three times in the Mosaic law and is evidently a cornerstone of its jurisprudence. It was likely not intended to be applied in an overtly literal way, but represented a key legal principle: justice was to be strict, proportionate, and retributive.14 As such it encapsulated, on a personal level, the central Mosaic theme that Israel would be justly rewarded in the land if they faithfully obeyed God’s law and would be justly (severely) punished if they disobeyed.15 However exactly one interprets Jesus’ command not to resist the evil-doer (5:39–42)—to which I return below—Jesus is certainly not instructing his disciples in the most effective way to impose strict retributive justice against those who harm them. Jesus is legislating a principle different from the principle of proportionate justice.

In fact, matters of justice and OT judicial life are raised by all six of the Mosaic commands that Jesus mentions in Matt 5:21–48. The one who murders will be liable to judgment (5:21). A legal bill or certificate is required for divorce (5:31). A central purpose of OT oaths was to secure truth-telling in court (5:33; see Exod 22:11; Num 5:19–21). And the command to hate one’s enemy—through cherem warfare against the Gentile occupants of the Holy Land—was the ultimate expression of God’s retributive justice against the abomination of sin. Jesus even seems to ratchet up the forensic tension as Matt 5 moves along. Oaths ensured that trustworthy evidence would be presented to the court; the lex talionis provided a basic standard of justice for rendering the verdict; and cheremwarfare was the implementation of strict, merciless justice on a macro level.

Jesus’ commands stand in sharp contrast. His kingdom is marked by the absence of judgment.16 Its citizens’ way of life is so pure that there is no possible ground for anyone to bring judgment against them, and when others are in conflict with them they seekreconciliation with the wrongdoers, not judgment against them. The Mosaic law occasionally touched upon internal matters of the heart, but its primary focus was on external matters. Its purpose was to establish and regulate a theocracy, a geopolitical entity in which justice was maintained among its inhabitants. But this radically new kingdom that Jesus has announced is of a very different nature. It does not break into history as a theocratic, geopolitical realm and thus focus on external conduct and seek the strict enforcement of justice.

The disciples of Jesus certainly do not murder or commit adultery, but they also shun sinful anger and lustful glances, matters which are beyond the jurisdiction of any civil justice system. Instead of seeking legal termination of troublesome marriages, they seek to maintain marital relationships. Instead of going to court to establish truth by oath, they tell the truth at all times. Instead of implementing just retaliation against the tortfeasor, they themselves bear the proportionate payback. Instead of wiping out the foreigner from the holy land, their love extends indiscriminately. The Mosaic law, it should be noted, required theocratic Israel to pursue precise and proportionate justice in external matters through oath-taking, the lex talionis, and cherem warfare. These commands were bound up with the nature and purpose of the old covenant community. But Jesus announces that in his kingdom there is perfect and holistic righteousness and no pursuit of precise and proportionate justice in external matters through these various means. Jesus’ kingdom is of a radically new and different nature and these things have no place within it.

My interpretation of 5:17, however, indicates that Jesus’ commands in 5:38–42 not only are different from the Mosaic lex talionis but also reflect the eschatological fulfillment (rather than simple abrogation) of it. How is this the case? It is significant to note that Jesus does not tell his disciples to ignore and walk away from the person who harms them, but to take a second slap, to give up a second garment, to go a second mile. The lex talionis prescribes a second action that is proportionate to the first action: the person who causes the injury is to receive the same injury in return. Jesus’ words in 5:38–42 preserve the twofold action and the proportionality of the lex talionis. The difference is that he exhorts his disciples to bear the second, retaliatory action themselves.17 A proportionate penalty is still borne, but the wronged party rather than the wrongdoer endures it. This reflects the larger Matthean theme that Jesus’ disciples must imitate Jesus in his suffering at the hands of sinners.

Jesus has already told them that suffering is their lot in the present age (5:10–12), and later he explains that as he will go to the cross so also they must bear the cross (16:24–26). Matthew’s gospel alludes to, though does not explain in detail, the substitutionary atonement, Jesus’ dying on behalf of his people to secure the forgiveness of their sins (see 20:28; 26:28). Human beings, as it were, slapped God in the face through their sin, and God responded with the lex talionis—not by justly slapping them back but by bearing that retaliatory slap himself through Jesus. God’s saving action in Jesus satisfies retributive talionic justice once and for all. By bearing in their own bodies the just penalty due to wrongdoers in order to bring healing and reconciliation, Jesus’ disciples are privileged to show forth God’s gracious action toward them in Christ. In this way Jesus’ words in Matt 5 reflect not the abolition but the fulfillment of the lex talionis. The way of life of Jesus’ kingdom is, quite literally, marked by refusal to seek just retribution against the wrong-doer and willingly suffering for the sake of Christ.


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29 Comments on “We don’t Need Two Kingdoms, We Need Law and Gospel”

  1. Rick p—-“May God send us many more snipers to defend us with courage and skill until Jesus finally comes and relieves of us the terrible burden of war. – See more at:http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/01/should-christians-praise-snipe.php#sthash.3OqmxEra.dpuf

    Rick p—“it is a service to society for godly pastors to act on the state’s behalf in establishing godly marriages. Instead of pulling out of society, Christians should seek to be involved for the good of all,”

    From Jonathan Malesic’s Secret Faith in the Public Square (Brazos Press, 2009)

    “Can Christians be witnesses to the hard truths of the gospel in a land where being Christian is a form of political or social capital? What is the theological cost of the church becoming a constituency, a network, a market? What about when Christian identity has become a brand? How can Christian identity be saved from American public life, which so easily distorts and converts it into something meant to benefit individuals in that public life? This book is a theological answer to questions like these. The answer begins by my showing that secrecy about the most distinctive aspects of Christian identity—including prayer and liturgy and explicitly Christian justifications for public actions—is a real though underemphasized theme in Christian theological, liturgical, and spiritual tradition. (p. 15) I am concerned in this book with secrecy about membership in the public of the church. My proposal is an answer to the question of what individual Christians should do when non-Christian publics, especially the overarching and competitive public spheres of government, work, and the market pose danger to the integrity of the Christian public. I maintain that when Christian identity is thought to be useful largely to confer status on someone in one of these spheres, then the true purpose of being a member of the public known as the church has been lost. Being Christian is meant to serve ends beyond publ

    • markmcculley Says:


      maybe the Son as Creator is our Lawgiver, but is the Son as Redeemer our lawgiver?

      Hauerwas—-“At a conference sponsored by the Church Federation Office in 1932, Bonhoeffer vigorously attacked the idea of the “orders of creation” introduced by traditional Lutherans. Creation simply cannot be self-validating because Christians have no knowledge of creation separate from redemption. “The creation is a picture of the power and faithfulness of God, demonstrated to us in God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. We worship the creator, revealed to us as redeemer.”

      “Bonhoeffer soon returned to the issue of the “orders of creation” in a
      address to the Youth Peace Conference in Czechoslovakia in July 1932. Again he attacks those who believe that we must accept certain orders as given in creation. Such a view entails the presumption that because the nations have been created differently each one is obliged to preserve and develop its own characteristics. He notes this understanding of the nation is particularly dangerous because “just about everything can be defended by it.” Not only is the fallenness of such order ignored, but those that use the orders of creation to justify their commitment to Germany fail to see that “the so-called orders of creation are not revelations of the divine commandment, they are concealed and invisible. Thus the concept of orders of creation must be rejected as a basis for the knowledge of the commandment of God.”

      Bonhoeffer is against the distinction between “person” and “office” he attributes to the Reformation. He notes this distinction is crucial for justifying the Reformation position on war and on the public use of legal means to repel evil. “But this distinction between private person and bearer of an office as normative for my behavior is foreign to Jesus,” Bonhoeffer argues. “He does not say a word about it. He addresses his disciples as people who have left everything behind to follow him. ‘Private’ and ‘official’ spheres are all completely subject to Jesus’ command. https://uwaterloo.ca/grebel/publications/conrad-grebel-review/issues/fall-2002/dietrich-bonhoeffers-political-theology

  2. markmcculley Says:

    why does Matthew 5:48 come after Matthew 5:43-47.
    Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    It’s not because verses 43 to 47 have commands which we cannot keep. Make no mistake, verses 43 to 47 do have laws which we cannot keep. But we cannot keep any of God’s law, because to do that we need to keep those laws perfectly. Disobey one once, disobey all.
    Verse 48 does not come after verses 43 to 47 because those commands are more difficult or impossible to obey than other commands. In context, what is commanded in verse 48 is our being indiscriminate, our not making a distinction between those who are enemies and those who are not enemies.
    Even though we are all enemies of God before justification, God does discriminate by electing in Christ some to be justified in Christ. But when verse 45 describes God sending rain on the just and the unjust, that is not describing God sending justification on the just and unjust. Nor is it describing God’s “desire to send justification to all of God’s enemies. The goodness of God is indiscriminate in sending rain on those who are justified and also on those who are not justified.
    We are not commanded to send justification to anybody. We cannot send justification to anybody. Nor can we send rain. But we are commanded to be indiscriminate, to NOT RETURN EVIL FOR EVIL, to not send evil to those who are evil, and good to those who are good. But we don’t like to be indiscriminate in this way.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Why do people think that the “law restrains sin”?

    Romans 5:-20–“Now the law came in to increase the sin, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”



    John 3:19-21 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light,) lest his works should be exposed. But as many as do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 16: 15, 16 : “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous….Serving two kingdoms is not about God’s glory, nor is it about Christ as creator being different from Christ redeemer. Serving two kingdoms is about Jerry Falwell wanting more money and power, and saying that “we are not here to elect a Christian”.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    “Consider the Noahic covenant: The death penalty mentioned in Genesis 9 was not merely an a-religious means of maintaining law-order…. The cross has eliminated all sacrifices because no sacrifice is left except Christ Exclusively (Hebrews 9, 10)…. Human sacrifices by means of the death penalty are abrogated….” Mark McCulley, Studies in History and Ethics (1982), p. 68.

    We have with us today a brand of holiness which falls far short of radical conformity to the politics of Jesus. Assuming that the only way to become involved is through traditional politics like voting, pious “nonresistants” warn us against any “particularly Christian” concern with material realities.

    I think there are two major reasons for this: (1) a refusal to take seriously other people’s profession to be Christian; and (2) a sacred/secular distinction which assumes that the Cross has nothing to say about the death penalty.

    We are warned that it is foolish “to attempt to persuade the unsaved to live like Christians. They cannot do it.” We are even told that “the job of the sinner is to sin.” Therefore, the sinners are to fight wars and execute the death penalty instead of us who are Christians.

    This is a strange kind of substitutionary double-ethic. Even though God ordains that non-Christians will “take our place” in doing the “dirty” work, that is no reason for us to approve what they do or to call what they do good. The “Calvinist” who assumes that the pagan “inability” to understand and obey Jesus is somehow an excuse ends up thinking like an Arminian when it comes to “responsibility and ability”.

    We need to tell the religious world that they are lost. When they assure us that “Christ died for me” because “Christ died for everybody”, we need to tell them the truth that Christ died only for the elect and not for the non-elect. We don’t tell them that in order for them to figure out before they believe the gospel if they are elect. Rather, we tell them this so that they will know what the gospel is and so we command them to believe on Christ instead of the god of their own making.

    When we tell them what the gospel is, they will soon understand that we think they are lost. And they will be offended. People don’t mind being told that they are sinners. They DO very much object to being told that they are lost, and that their religion is idolatry.

    The false gospel says that you must believe in order to receive salvation. The true gospel says that you must be given spiritual life in order to believe in Christ as He is described in the gospel. The false gospel says that we come with our sins and give our sins to the Son. The true gospel says that the Father gave the sins of the elect to the Son and that all these elect will be given hands to receive.

    The false gospel still has God trying to give something away. The true gospel says that God has given, does give, and will give the elect not only the Son but everything else, including faith and receiving. (Romans 8:32)

    Saying that you are saved because YOU “renounced your works” is just as much of an abomination to God as saying that you are saved because of works. As long as the Calvinist says that the difference between him and the Arminian is not as important as saved and lost, that Calvinist is right: because that Calvinist is still lost! There is only one true gospel, but many false gospels, and many different standards of saved and lost.

    When a vast majority of a society thinks of itself as Christian, as our American society does, we need to treat that claim seriously. My atheist friends are certainly convinced that America is a Christian society. Think of our next door neighbors, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, Arminian and legalist: if we are really so suspicious that they aren’t Christian, why haven’t we shared our concerns with them and given them the reasons why we don’t believe them when they say that they’re Christian.

    The Great Commission says that all authority on earth has been given to Jesus Christ, and that we are to make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. In other words, we are go to the world with the power of the gospel which can change idolaters into saints. Most who profess to be Christians are not Christians indeed. Let us be bold enough to tell them that and to tell them why.

    But we must be careful not to give anybody, no matter what their confession or profession, an excuse for not acting like Jesus. We say either, “you believe the gospel, you can’t kill” or “killing’s wrong, believe the gospel,and then stop killing”.

    One problem is a sacred/secular distinction which assumes that the Cross has nothing to say about killing. Under this distinction, we think the Cross is ONLY about God being just and the justifier, and therefore NOT about us not killing.

    We think that our killing is justified (apart from Christ) and therefore not something we need to have forgiven. As Plato separated the form from the particulars, as the Gnostic separated the spirit from the material, most of us still have an orderly picture of the world which depends on dividing religion and politics, soul and body. There is in our minds a neat and tidy difference between Jesus dying as the substitute for the elect on the Cross, and the victims killed by secular wars and secular death penalties.

    Our indifference to “secular” victims is built on a sacred/secular dichotomy which misreads the Gospel accounts that tell us who Jesus was and what Jesus did. That is why we are so silly as to think that Jesus only spoke out to Jewish religious authority but not to Roman civil authority. And that Jesus is the new priest but not the new lawgiver.

    Thus we ignore the political power and collaboration of the Jewish religious leaders; and we overlook the religious idolatry of the Romans. We fail to see that it was a collaboration of religion and politics that put Jesus on the cross, just as it was a collaboration of the politicians and professing Christians who declared “just” the bombing and killing of professing Christians in Iraq.

    Reading of the Gospels shows us that our neat religious/nonreligious difference will not work. In his mission to tie up the strong man, Jesus was resisted by his biological family and finally was killed not by spiritual demons but by the Roman legions. John the Baptist also was killed by politicians. How then can we continue to assert that his preaching was only spiritual?

    In condemning Herod’s political alliance through marriage, John the Baptist was turned into a sacred sacrifice to the anger of Herodias. John the Baptist was telling Herod what not to desire. And the more he preached, the more Herod desired to acquire, the greater the war against John and those like John who followed Jesus. And so Herodias taught Salome to desire the head of John, and so the teachers of the law taught Pilate to desire the death of Jesus. And the politics and the religion won’t separate out so clean as many of us want to read it.

    As Moses led Israel on a political exodus from Egypt, Jesus walked on the water and led his disciples away from the sacred violence of the temple and of the Romans. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” Mk 8:15 Watch for both religion and politics, and don’t think that religion is not political or that the political is not religious. After all, they got together to kill Jesus.

    Who do we say Jesus is? Somebody who gave blood only as our great high priest and didn’t get involved as a prophet? Or somebody who acted in such a way that the religious politicians murdered him? Does it matter to us HOW Jesus happened to die? Do we even care that he was murdered as a criminal?

    What kind of “salt” are we anyway, if by voting or by silence we assent to the wars and death penalties of a pagan society that still pretends to be Christian when it goes to war or kills a criminal?

    Our sacred/secular distinction may give us an illusion of peace and order. As we read the Gospel of Jesus, we bracket out what we don’t want to imitate. But Jesus does not attempt to reform the Temple and silently approve the killing of the Romans. Jesus attacks scapegoating at its root: we are commanded to forgive.

    The elect are not forgiven because they are more “forgivable”. The salvation of elect sinners is not conditioned on the elect. This means that the elect should not now behave as if their forgiveness of others (even the criminal and the reprobate) is conditioned on those others. The elect have no right to hold a grudge. The elect have no rights. The elect have been judged, and the judgment is that the sins of the elect demanded the death of the elect. As the elect rejoice in death by imputation, they have no calling and no liberty to put anybody else to death.

    To stop killing would be the end of religion and politics as we know it. The gospel of the cross is not only about the end of legal fears in “getting saved” but also the end of legal fears in living the Christian life.

    In Mark 13, Jesus prophesies that the sun will be darkened, and that at that time people will see the Son of Man coming. In this way he points ahead to the revelation of God that took place at the Cross — at the sixth hour darkness came and the curtain of the temple was torn. And for those of us who have eyes to see, there is no more legitimacy for either animal or human sacrifices.

    But we defend ourselves against Jesus, saying, “We don’t believe in sacrifices anymore. But we do believe in the death penalty not as redemptive or expiation, but as a deterrent and as a sacred duty. We do believe that the final judgment of works will consider not only one’s state of justification or condemnation but also ‘factor in’ works and we who did more will get more.”

    “Blood calls for blood.” So why did God protect Cain? “Blood calls for blood.” So why does the blood of Jesus speak a better word than the blood of Abel?

    The disciples still thought he was going to be the instrument of their resentment against all the sinners who had been in power so long. Instead of watching and praying with Jesus, one of them even took out his sword.

    “Trembling and bewildered, we flee, saying nothing to anyone, because we are afraid.” Mk 16:8

    Legalistically, we can ask: ok, now what do I have to do to prove to myself that I am one of those for whom Christ died? The Cross is God’s way of justice for the elect. God will save the elect. But we also need to see that the cross was the greatest demonstration not only of God’s wrath but of HUMAN WRATH against God’S GOSPEL.

    Perhaps we are afraid of the social tension Jesus provoked, the controversy that resulted in Jesus being killed. We want no part of anything that hints of the political. Thus we excuse not only ourselves but also our Arminian neighbors who profess to be Christian. We say that we don’t want to offend. But aren’t we really just afraid?

    The only hope we have (and anybody has) is not our killing, and not our not killing, but only the Death of Christ for the elect.

    • markmcculley Says:

      James Jordan—God says that He will require the blood of His people from the hands of those who slay them, specifically from the hand of “every man’s brother” (9:5). This is a direct allusion back to Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. God did not require Abel’s blood at the hand of Cain, and protected Cain. God allowed Cain and the unbelievers to remain “inside” the covenant grant before the Flood, but now things are going to be different. No longer are murderers protected. Instead, they are to be cut out of the world, removed from it by means of execution. Now, in a Christian theocracy we would also put to death anyone who murdered an unbeliever, but this is part of the “spillover” of the covenant. The covenant and its provisions are actually addressed only to believers. God says here that if the courts do not act to avenge His saints, God will do so Himself: http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/…/no-19-who-rules-the…/

      James Jordan–God says that His people may eat the flesh of any animal, clean or unclean, except that they are not to eat the blood with it (9:3-4). Of course, unbelievers after the Flood ate meat also (and perhaps before the Flood as well), but this grant is not specifically made for them. The unbelievers are not entitled to eat meat except insofar as they are under the “spillover” of the Noahic Covenant.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    We say that the Psalm Sunday crowd got it wrong because they were wanting freedom in this world and in this age, and then we who either love the status quo or think nothing will change say that Jesus was offering only spiritual freedom, a kingdom after we die. a death which is not really death. Instead of Passover and resurrection, we teach an inherent immortality that claims that all humans are eternal.

    That way we can say the kingdom is in our hearts. Instead of obeying the King who was standing among the disciples and who is coming back to earth, we can say that the Sermon on the Mount is only for after we die, and now go out and buy our guns. All we need to do is be careful not to buy those guns as a church but as individuals.

    Hauerwas—-“If Jesus is all about getting us to love one another, then why did everyone reject him? They did so, I think, because when Jesus was told by the devil that he would be given the power to turn stones to bread, he refused; when Jesus was offered authority over all the kingdoms of this world, he refused; when he was offered the possibility he would not die, he refused. Jesus refused these goods because God’s kingdom cannot be forced into existence using the means of the devil.

    Hauerwas—Jesus’s refusal to play the devil’s game does not mean that the kingdom he proclaims is not political. Jesus refuses to use the violence of the world to achieve “peace.” But that does not mean he is any less political or that he is not about the securing of peace. His arrest is often thought to represent the apolitical character of Jesus because he commands Peter to put away the sword Peter had used to cut off the ear of the priest’s slave. Jesus rebukes Peter, but he does so because that is not the “cup” the Father has given him. But the cup from which Jesus must drink is no less political for being nonviolent.

    Hauerwas—The character of Jesus’s politics is manifest in his response to the high priest who questions Jesus about his teachings in John 18.19-24. That he is questioned by the high priest may suggest that his mission was “religious” rather than political, but such an account cannot be sustained for no other reason than Jesus’s answer: “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in the synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

    Hauerwas—They tell me that you are the King of Jews. Is that true?” Pilate’s question is meant to see if Jesus is “political.” Jesus responds by asking if Pilate came up with such a view on his own or did others tell him such was the case. “I am not a Jew, am I?” replies Pilate.. “If my kingdom were FROM this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over. ” This is a response used often to deny that Jesus was political. But Pilate rightly saw that Jesus’ denial that his kingship was not of this world is not the denial that Jesus is king. Jesus denied that his kingdom was just another form of Rome.


  7. markmcculley Says:

    Some claim to vote ” not as Christians but as humans”.

    Some need to explain the clay as not being in regard to the clay’s “default sinfulness” or the clay as “human creatures but not sinners”. But I don’t think that question is an infralapsarian or supralapsarian issue

    Sin or no sin, God makes two kinds of vessels, not just one while leaving the other.

    “The vessel of wrath” did not become so by reason of them being different from the vessels of mercy. Sin or no sin, they were no different except by God making them different.

    “Before they did good or evil” does not equal “before “God decreed that Adam would sin on their behalf”.

    Before they did good or evil, Adam sinned the sin that God imputed to them.


  8. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 12: 13 Someone from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 “Friend,” Jesus said to him, “who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 Jesus then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”

    16 Then Jesus told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive.17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones

    Be on your guard against the yeast[b] of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. 3 Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

    4 “And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death

    Are we trying to defend Jesus so nobody notices that we don’t like Jesus either?
    stay unprepared, don’t try to defend yourself by defending Jesus
    Jesus was lifted up the cross for the forgiveness of my sins
    Luke 21: 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of My name. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for you to witness. 14 Therefore make up your minds NOT TO PREPARE ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be HATED BY EVERYONE hated by everyone because of My name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance gain your lives.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Matthew 4: 8 The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And the devil said to him, “All these I will give you.”

    I Corinthians 10:20– I do not want you to be participants with demons.”

    1 John 5:19– “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

    Romans 13 commands to submit to Hilter and Stalin—-exousia—there is a difference between what God has predestined and what God has commanded. God has predestined even the disobedience of those who refuse to leae the wrath to God



  10. markmcculley Says:

    Most folks who would kill for the American empire but who would not kill for true churches would say that their willingness to kill for a specific family or nation- state is legitimate but does not have for them the same priority as their allegiance to Christ’s kingdom. They have “levels”.

    On one level, yes the family of a Christian person is not to be equated with the true church. And on yet another level. all visible churches together are not to be equated with Christ’s kingdom, as God’s covenant is not to be equated with God’s election. Although there is normally no forgiveness of sins apart from visible true churches, on the other hand, nobody knows anything for sure when they profess themselves to be a Christian parent..

    One version of this “two kingdoms are relative in priority” theory makes a distinction between motives. If you are trying to kill me as I represent a true Christian church, I will not fight but will instead imitate Jesus in leaning on the everlasting arms of the Judge, leaving place for His wrath. But if you are trying to kill my family or take my stuff, in that sphere I will do what any person in this age would do. Instead of putting God to the test, by trying to tempt God to protect my family, in this time and place I will do for my family what God might not do.

    I hope this is not a caricature. For sure I am not a two kingdom person. But my sense is that two kingdom people want people to make distinctions about why they kill or are being killed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX63szEpg1

  11. markmcculley Says:

    So is a new covenant assembly the reality which fulfills the Abrahamic church as a type? Or is a new covenant gathering the very same thing (essentially) as the Abrahamic church, and therefore also still a type?


    I Peter 2: For you were called to THIS, if you happen to be in your private religious “role”
    because Christ also suffered for you,
    leaving you an example,
    but not in any public “role”, where other people are involved
    you only need to follow in His steps.
    when it comes to things redemptive, but not when it comes to creation
    or to serious secular stuff where other people depend on you and you can’t wait

    in those ‘roles” you need to threaten and then back your threats up
    not entrusting other people like your family to the One who may not judge justly until the age to come.

    Matthew 11:Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? One private person playing an unique “role”. But sometimes a man needs to dress in soft clothes and sit in congress where he can help make sure the right people kill the other people. As your redeemer, I know that you cannot imitate the atonement nor is there any need for you to suffer now that it’s time for you to play another ‘role”

    John 18: “My kingdom is in this world but not from this world ,” …. “If My kingdom were from this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. My kingdom in this world does not come from this world.

    But clergy have the mediating “role” to play in my kingdom, but for the rest of you there is also another kingdom, and in that kingdom, you get to play another ‘role” . In the one kingdom, sure, you leave the wrath to God, but in the other “role”, you take up the wrath, because in that ‘role” you are not merely submitting to the powers, but are agents of God’s wrath but now in this age without God’s guidelines In this age God still legitimates the death penalty but now you can’t do it as worship to any specific God. . Because even Satan is God’s servant and has a ‘role” to play.

    Luke 4: The Devil said to Jesus, “I will give You all this authority, because all this authority has been given over to me, and I can give all this authority to anyone I want.

    And so after Jesus died, even though the god of this world was disarmed, the prince permitted Christians to play a double “role” IN THIS AGE, so that in one kingdom they exercise authority in wrath, and like Satan masquerade as lights and yet in another role are servants of wrath As long as you worship the Lord your God, you don’t need to serve Him only, because you can also serve your fellow humans by killing other humans, and in this age without the restrictions of the old age

  12. markmcculley Says:

    Maybe there is a case to be made that the church should do those things, but I haven’t seen it yet.

    mark—The 2k case is that the Christian should do those things, but not in his role as a church member. But of course there is this one character in Brothers Karamazov who, unlike theonomists like Rutherford, rejects any separation between the church and the death penalty.


    Why,” began the elder, “all these sentences to exile with hard labour, and formerly with flogging also, reform no one, and what’s more, deter hardly a single criminal, and the number of crimes does not diminish but is continually on the increase. You must admit that. Consequently the security of society is not preserved, for, although the obnoxious member is mechanically cut off and sent far away out of sight, another criminal always comes to take his place at once, and often two of them. If anything does preserve society, even in our time, and does regenerate and transform the criminal, it is only by recognizing his wrongdoing as a son of a Christian society — that is, of the Church — that he recognizes his sin against society — that is, against the Church. So that it is only against the Church, and not against the State, that the criminal of to-day can recognize that he has sinned.

    If society, as a Church, had jurisdiction, then it would know when to bring back from exclusion and to reunite to itself. Now the Church having no real jurisdiction, but only the power of moral condemnation, withdraws of her own accord from punishing the criminal actively. She does not excommunicate him but simply persists in motherly exhortation of him. What is more, the Church even tries to preserve all Christian communion with the criminal. She admits him to church services, to the holy sacrament, gives him alms, and treats him more a captive than as a convict. And what would become of the criminal, O Lord, if even the Christian society- that is, the Church — were to reject him even as the civil law rejects him and cuts him off?

    What would become of him if the Church punished him with her excommunication as the direct consequence of the secular law? There could be no more terrible despair, at least for a Russian criminal, for Russian criminals still have faith. Though, who knows, perhaps then a fearful thing would happen, perhaps the despairing heart of the criminal would lose its faith and then what would become of him? But the Church, like a tender, loving mother, holds aloof from active punishment herself, as the sinner is too severely punished already by the civil law, and there must be at least someone to have pity on him. …So it seems at least in Lutheran countries. As for Rome, it was proclaimed a State instead of a Church a thousand years ago. And so the criminal is no longer conscious of being a member of the Church and sinks into despair. If the whole of the society were changed into the Church, not only the judgment of the Church would have influence on the reformation of the criminal such as it never has now, but possibly also the crimes themselves would be incredibly diminished.


  13. markmcculley Says:

    John Howard Yoder, “Exodus and Exile”, Cross Currents 23:3, 1974,
    p306—“The Joseph/Daniel/Mordecai model is more often the fitting contribution to the pagan community than any theocratic takeover. The complement to the Exodus of the counter-community is a not a revolution by the righteous oppressed, but rather the message of the resident minority.”

    Yoder, For the Nations, p69—“Jesus further validated the already expressed Jewish reasons, for the already existing ethos of not being in charge and not considering any local state structure to be the primary movement of history.”

    The New Testament assumes that exile (diaspora) is a good thing. because it means that Christians are not trying to take over or influence any nation-state

  14. markmcculley Says:

    Milton–Satan, at least I have a place of my own away from God. I have not perished and I will never be destroyed.

    I Corinthians 15: 24 Then comes the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when Christ abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For Christ must reign until God puts all His enemies under His feet

    Those who equate imputation of righteousness with righteousness
    make Adam and history irrelevant
    forget Satan and the powers, they never mattered

    forget Adam,, because if Adam was elect, they think Adam was born justified
    forget Abraham, because they think Abraham was born justified

    forget propitiation, because they think there is no before or after to God’s wrath

    Colossians 2: 15 Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly. God triumphed over the powers by Christ.

    make no mistake–there are still two kingdoms in this age, and we are in one or the other of those kingdoms

  15. markmcculley Says:

    Verduin–A monstrous doctrine of “two swords” was worked out, a fiction whereby all the weaponry of the regnum was made available to the church. The sword of the magistrate was given to Peter and that it was therefore only by the sufferance of the pope, allegedly Peter’s heir, that the magistrate had it to use. This construction, of course, implied that the civil rulers had better use the sword as the church liked to see it used or else. The text on which this doctrine of the “two swords” was based was Luke 22:38, Jesus said that this was “enough


    Whatever reason you give, it’s a sin to not baptize your children, and the ignorance of your conscience is no excuse. Whatever reason you give, all who are catholic must agree that the Supper is not what we do but what God does—this thing is proven because God can kill you (or have you killed ) by the “means of grace”.

    ohn Frame teaches that “corporate national election” is “common grace”?. This goes along with teaching that everybody in the visible church (the covenant of grace which includes the non-elect) are receiving grace.
    John Frame– The ordo, of course, is historical in that all the events it describes, from effectual calling to glorification, takes place in space and time. But the events described in the ordo recur over and over again in history. Noah and Abraham experienced the events of the ordo, as did Moses, David, Paul, you, and me. The second model, historia salutis, however, focuses on non-recurring historical events. God made a covenant with Noah, for example. He never made that covenant again, and he never will make it again. . That covenant continues while the earth remains. Same for the covenants with Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and Christ.

    John Frame Another feature of the historia salutis method is that it sees salvation less in individual terms, more in corporate terms. The covenants are made, not only with the covenant mediators like Noah and Abraham, but through them with their families. The corporate emphasis in the historia salutis leads to a focus on the public and visible aspects of salvation. The events described in the ordo are invisible, inward. They occur in the individual heart. The historia salutis occurs in public events. The covenants are publicly witnessed. The history includes deliverances from oppressors, victories in war, dramatic displays of divine power and grace.
    John Frame–,the history of salvation focuses on the visible church rather than, as the ordo salutis, on the invisible. In the Old Testament, the history of salvation is largely the history of one nation, Israel….. The ordo salutis analyzes the heart condition of church members and declares that those who are truly regenerate cannot apostatize. The historia salutis analyzes the empirical reality of the church in history. In its view, people enter the church through baptism, and they either continue in their allegiance to Christ or they renounce him.

    The historia salutis expresses a more obvious integration between law and gospel than we saw in the ordo salutis. The gospel, the good news, is “Your God reigns” (Isa. 52:7). It is “the time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). This is gospel, because it is good news. But it is also law, because it is the coming of a king, the imposition of his rule.

    • markmcculley Says:

      Tianqi Wu –The phrase “mediatorial dominion” is ambiguous and saying it’s “universal” is misleading.

      John 17:2 as You gave to Him authority over all flesh, so that to all which You gave to Him, He may give to them everlasting life.

      Father has granted Christ a dominion over all human beings (this is related to but distinct from the pre-incarnate Logos’ absolute dominion over all things which also continues after incarnation) and this dominion serves his mediatorial work on behalf of the elect alone.

      Since Christ has dominion over all human beings, everything that non-elect receives in this life is given to them with Christ’s authority. Since Christ is not their mediator, these things cannot benefit them (spiritually, eternally) but only harden them and increase their guilt. Nor is Christ’s intention in giving these things to them one of mercy towards them.

      Luke 19:27 But these hostile to me, those not desiring me to reign over them, bring them here and execute them before me.

      (Here Christ speaks as the King – the one who has been given “authority over all flesh”. )

      It’s then a big misnomer to call some of these things “blessings” just because they materially, temporarily benefit the non-elect.

      It’s very misleading to refer to these thing as “many benefits short of justification and salvation accrue to men from the death of Christ”. On the face of it, this sounds like Christ’s died to purchase these “benefits” for all men. But the truth is that these “benefits” do not depend on Christ’s death. God is sovereign to give good things to evil people and Christ didn’t have to die for that to be just, because God’s judgment will make them repay. Rather, Christ died for the judgment that the elect deserved.

      One reward for Christ’s obedience unto death is the dominion over all human beings. But this merely affect the way that God dispenses things – now everything everybody receives bears the authority of Lord Jesus – but not WHAT God dispenses. God is still withholding the “way, truth, and life” from the non-elect, because God did not give Christ for them.

      (It’s ironic that many people who emphasize you cannot have Christ’s benefits without having Christ’s person, yet at the same time also say you can have benefits from Christ without being belonging to Christ. )

  16. markmcculley Says:


    One of the things that makes Luther’s Two Kingdoms theory so powerful, and so enduring is that you can enact it in a range of different ways. So, in the classic Lutheran and Calvinist states of the 16th and 17th centuries, the church has its own quite limited sphere. It gets to look after doctrine, preaching and maybe some aspects of its own self-government. But the state is sometimes an overweening protector. It has responsibility for looking after the church in all sorts of ways, and that responsibility can involve leaning on it quite heavily. It can look like a protection racket. So there’s certainly a sense that these Protestant churches badly need some sort of political support. They go to the state and the state happily takes this on and gains a whole series of privileges, and a lot of property, as part of the deal. Calvin determined not be seen as a threat to political status quo

    Alec Ryrie–Protestants have ‘insisted on God-given inequality’ ‘valorised state power, persecuted dissenters and placed the community above its members

  17. markmcculley Says:

    When we say that the gospel is about Christ, does that mean that God’s law is not about Christ?

    When we say that Christ received the wrath of God;s law against the sins of elect sinners, does that mean that Christ did not give God’s law against sin and that God has no wrath or judgment?

    Are you teaching that God’s law now has nothing to say to the nation-state, or are you teaching that the church has no right to tell the nation-state what God’s law says to the nation-state? Or neither?

  18. markmcculley Says:

    In 1648, in the Peace of Westphalia, the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics finally gave the Reformed a seat at the table.


    “Either the Pope was Christ’s vicar on earth or he wasn’t. Protestants were heretics or heroes. You couldn’t split the difference.”

  19. markmcculley Says:

    Did God oppose the death penalty by raising Jesus from the dead after Jesus received the death penalty?

    David B Hart–ost natural law arguments r are hopelessly ad hoc constructions, consisting in prescriptions unconvincingly and willfully attached to endlessly contestable descriptions. But, even if capital punishment is entirely in keeping with natural justice (and I am more than willing to grant that it is), that has next to no bearing whatsoever on how Christians should understand their moral obligations with regard to it.

    The law of Christian charity is not limited to natural justice, but often positively subversive of it. There is a kind of apocalyptic indifference to the economy of nature in the New Testament, something altogether “unnatural”.

    New covenant law departs from the equilibrium of normal justice. Not only does it place individual prohibitions on even proportional retribution, but also it demands that the Christian compound certain injustices with an excess of compliance”surrendering one’s coat as well as one’s cloak, or more money than is demanded, going a mile farther than one is compelled to do, meeting violent assault by proffering the other cheek and so on.

    And then there are God’s curious dealings, freely grafting Gentiles into a covenant on which they have no proper claim, “contrary to nature”

    In trying to understand the Christian vision of the social good, natural justice can be neither the first nor the final consideration. “Natural justice” belongs to the “former things” that are passing away.

    Is the Noahic prohibition on eating meat with its blood still binding as well?
    It always surprises me that Christians can find any encouragement in Romans 13 to believe that capital punishment is morally good . Certainly Paul says nothing of the sort. He uses the wonderfully vivid image of the one in authority bearing the sword “not in vain”.
    The sword represents the power of coercion, though not specifically the practice of capital punishment; it has no more prescriptive force than saying, as we might today, “That’s why the police carry guns.”

    Even if the “sword” really were clearly meant as a symbol of the power to execute criminals, though, Paul is merely saying that Christians who commit crimes may expect to suffer the wrath of God under the form of civil penalty. He certainly makes no comment on the intrinsic justice or injustice of any particular practice of the state.

    Romans 13 says absolutely nothing about what punishments Christians who might come to power ought to impose on criminals. The moral content of the entire passage extends only to the actions of individuals under the law; beyond that, it provides no moral instructions for rulers or lawmakers, and there is simply no warrant for claiming that Romans 13 requires Christians to approve of capital punishment.

    Most of us tend to assume that Paul was working from premises much like our own. As a result, we rarely grasp how strange and radical his teachings were. Unlike Paul, we do not think of that providence in terms of authority delegated to angelic powers ruling from heavenly courts (archontes and exousiai and so forth), as the “gods” of the nations. But, for Paul, the “old age” is one in which often rebellious or incompetent deputies of God,rule over the various peoples and “elements” ( stoicheia ) of the earth.

    We do have the episoe of Christ’s own condemnation at the hands of duly appointed legal authority, for offenses against public order (the cleansing of the temple, after all, was a fairly provocative and, surely in Roman eyes, dangerous act). That verdict was overturned by God, and the penalty annulled by resurrection.


  20. markmcculley Says:

    aul Zahl, Grace in Practice. 188
    Luther’s ‘two kingdom’ theory is the least credible section of
    Luther’s theology. It is an attempt to keep to some idea
    of human distributive justice, even while the grace of God is formally offered pride of place in ultimate justice. It conveys the
    impression of a rationalization. It has the feel of bowing of the
    knee, for some sort of short-term utilitarian gain, to the powers
    that be. Luther’s theory reads like a compromise.”(

    if you are a pacifist, you don’t believe that people are sinners.

    If you are not a pacifist, you know that there’s no need to leave the
    wrath to God, because the wrath of the good sinners will punish the
    bad sinners.

    When the law moves Christians to progress in morality, we call the law grace.

    But when Christians in their public office use the law to control and
    punish those who are not Christians who do not obey, that’s what makes society work. If we did not do this, Satan not God would be in control
    of the world.


  21. markmcculley Says:

    If you say that that there is a different less strict law for non-Christians, what happens is that Christians themselves will be content to themselves live by that less strict law “in their public life”. And since they save the law of Christ only for their “spiritual life”, they think they can in two kingdoms at the same time.

    Even worse, many deny that there is any law for those in Christ’s kingdom . They think the only law for them is “included in the gospel”, and since some antinomians deny that unbelievers are commanded to believe the gospel, they say that the gospel is only for those who shows signs of being already broken and regenerate. And law, they say, is only for those who are not Christians.

    A lot of anti-dispensational people professing to be Reformed turn into dispensationalists when it comes to both law and gospel. They don’t agree that what Jesus commanded about loving enemies is law today for Christians. Maybe being told about not killing enemies will show us our need of the gospel, but it’s not God’s law in the book of Acts. And since they don’t like that Jesus talked about election when Jesus was preaching to strangers in John 6 and 10, they don’t agree that talking about election is any part of the gospel when you get to the book of Acts.

    Gadsby Question LXXVI. What is meant by the gospel in a more extensive sense? Answer. The above things,TOGETHER WITH together with the precepts and ordinances enjoined on the church by Christ and His apostles, and the things connected therewith. Question LXXVII. Is the gospel, in all its branches, a sufficient rule of life to a believer in Christ? Answer. Yes; for through the life-giving power of the Spirit, faith lives upon Christ, the Living Head, and gospel precepts are the believer’s rule


    Is Genesis 9 about “common grace” or “common law” (where law also is a kind of grace for everybody)?

    Does “natural law” exempt Christians from the Sermon on the Mount, at least in their public life?

    define “natural”—-not “arbitrary”? Not given by a personal Sovereign? Is “natural” evolving?

    define “natural”—-universal and objective? For all times and in all places? a way to say “bad” without saying “sin”? if the Noahic covenant is not redemptive, how is it an “administration” of “the covenant of grace”?

  22. markmcculley Says:



    they don’t want to talk about the kingdom, but about going to heaven, except when they want to talk about two kingdoms so they can do what they want to do anyway in the first place

    stay content in your low paying job or in your slavery, but the clergyman wants to be paid as a professional

    In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904), th German social theorist Max Weber described a worldly asceticismin which, contrary to the norm in traditional societies and especially in Catholic regions of Europe, people felt duty bound to work for work’s sake – or rather to perform the duties of their earthly “calling” methodically and conscientiously.

    Theodore D. Bozeman, “Inductive and Deductive Polities”, Journal of
    American History, December 1977, p 722–, Old School contributions to social analysis may be viewed as a sustained attempt to defend the inherited social structure…The General Assembly found it necessary to lament the practice of those who ‘question and unsettle practice which have received the enlightened sanction of centuries’… The desire was to draw the ought out of the is…to make facts serve a normative purpose

  23. markmcculley Says:

    Mereidth Kline –sometimes God goes by theonomic rules (intrusions) , but now we are to assume “common grace”?

    Falwell–fake news if you report today what I said yesterday


    first thing I ever read from Kline was his response to Bahnsen, very much about “intrustions”, of course they did not let Bahnsen respond in the Westminster Journa, but Bahnsen did respond—-i think it way more likely that we disagree than that I have read less or understood less of what I read


  24. markmcculley Says:


    Horton’s number one nemesis in his new books on
    justification is not Arminianism but a group he calls “anabaptists”,
    because they won’t participate in the second kingdom– he equates
    being pacifist with wanting to be justified by works . Thus the
    question-begging. 1. The Reformation defines what is “evangelical”. 2. Most “evangelicals” are not “evangelical”. Maybe Horton just needs to say that he is not “evangelical”. Of course “evangelicals” also are not pacifists. So that means, lots of us are NOT EVANGELICALS.

    “Colossians 1:19-20 and Psalm 72 relate to Christ in his
    mediatorial office, not to the church’s mission. While it is true
    that the church is the instrument that Christ uses to advance his
    kingdom, this does not mean that we are free to conflate the church
    with Christ. ”

    Meredith Kline points out the danger of failing to maintain this
    distinction when he writes, “Substitution of the temporal causes of
    common grace social-political concerns for the absolutely distinctive
    purpose and program of eternal salvation is theological confusion at a most fundamental level.”[

    T”he writings of David VanDrunen are another
    helpful resource. For a historical-theological study, see Natural Law
    and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought. For a biblical-theological study, see Divine Covenants and Moral Order: A Biblical Theology of Natural Law. For a more popular treatment, see Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture.

    Meredith Kline– it must be recognized that
    the whole life of God’s people is covered by the liturgical model of
    their priestly identity. All that they do is done as a service
    rendered unto God. All their cultural activity in the sphere of the
    city of man they are to dedicate to the glory of God. This
    sanctification of culture is subjective; it transpires within the
    sphere of the saints. Negatively, it must be insisted that this
    subjective sanctification of culture does not result in a change from
    common to holy status in culture objectively considered. The common city of man does not in any fashion or to any degree become the holy
    kingdom of God through the participation of the culture-sanctifying
    saints in its development. Viewed in terms of its products, effects,
    institutional context, etc., the cultural activity of God’s people is
    common grace activity. Their city of man activity is not ‘kingdom (of
    God)’ activity. Though it is an expression of the reign of God in
    their lives, it is not a building of the kingdom of God as institution
    or realm. For the common city of man is not the holy kingdom realm,
    nor does it ever become the holy city of God, whether gradually or
    suddenly. Rather, it must be removed in judgment to make way for the heavenly city as a new creation” (Kingdom Prologue, 201).

  25. Mark Mcculley Says:

    p.52 of The Reformers and their Stepchildren, Verduin

    In the sacral pattern heresy is automatically sedition. The Codes of
    Justinian decreed that “Heresy shall be construed to be an offence
    against the civil order” (XVI, 5:40). It has been said that Calvin
    sought, late in the trial, to have sentence commuted to the effect
    that some mode of execution other than by fire would be Servetus’ lot.
    The reason for this suggestion was that Calvin wanted Servetus
    eliminated as an offender against the civil order. Death by fire was
    for offenders in the area of religion. Hence Calvin’s concern in the
    matter. It was the same sensitivity that made Margaret of Parma, in
    1567, specify death by hanging for Guido de Brès. It would look better to have de Brès destroyed as a seditionist than as a heretic; hence death by the noose rather than by the flame. So also in the case of Servetus.


  26. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Being “reformed” means that there is only the one “the culture” and that this “the culture” depends on lethal violence.

    Ben Sasse–The Trump administration approved supplying Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine By comparison, did President Obama refuse to send weapons or other lethal military gear to Ukraine?

    Being “reformed” used to mean that no magistrate kingdom could be exempt from the kingdom of “the church”.

    But being “reformed American” now means that both kingdoms cannot have power when it comes to violence against heretics against “democracy” . When it comes to America, there is no natural law and no God’s law—extra-political or non-political spaces do not exist.

    James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Wayne Grudem would agree to the bureaucracy—“Laws, rules, and norms are made through a political process, and the decision about how to apply the laws will always be a matter of judgment, which means it will be a matter of politics, too. Law claims to speak for the whole political community.”

    Abraham Lincoln–There will not be two political communities. No matter how many kill and are killed for the bigotry of the people, there will only ever be “the one nation” and one “the culture”. Two kingdoms is a fake construct, because a person with two kingdoms has two masters.

    Matthew 12: 25 “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

    Matthew 26: 52 all who take up a sword will perish by a sword

    Luke 4: 5 So the Devil took Jesus up and showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The Devil said to Jesus, “I will give You all this authority, because all this authority has been given over to me, and I can give all this authority to anyone I want. 7 If You then will worship me, all authority will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered the Devil. “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

    I Corinthians 2: 6 the rulers of this age are coming to nothing.


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