Apologetics divided-personality

Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Bojidar Marinov

26

The Two-Kingdoms Theology as a Divided-Personalities Psychology

I haven’t had the chance to read John Frame’s The Escondido Theology yet. If it is anything like what Dr. Frame has written before, it will be a very good book, I am sure.

In fact, I already know it is a very good book, even without reading it. How do I know?

Michael Horton told me about it. Or, rather, his reaction to Dr. Frame’s book told me how good the book is. I have never seen Michael Horton give such a chaotic response to anything. John Frame’s book must have caused a stir, and may be even panic in Escondido, and it certainly produced a strong reaction in Horton. I wish I was so eloquent as Dr. Frame. Alas, my articles against the Two Kingdoms Theology so far haven’t produced a response. That’s OK; Dr. Frame is older, wiser, and anyway, I learned – and I am still learning – from him and his peers. I am only an ambitious amateur compared to him. I am not jealous. (And I also have the suspicion Dr. Frame’s name makes for much easier spelling; which may be the reason my articles have been and will be spared from similar responses from the Two-Kingdoms crowd. I hope.)

Horton’s response didn’t tell me any new things about the Two Kingdoms Theology – in fact, he uses the same old arguments, most of them irrelevant. But it did confirm a suspicion I had about it, that in its essence it’s very close to what R.J. Rushdoony eloquently expressed as “intellectual schizophrenia.” It means that those who are not theonomists and who believe in a version of the Two Kingdoms Theology, eventually end up having a divided mind about many things. They hold to mutually contradictory ideas at the same time, and very often they are not even able to realize that the ideas are mutually contradictory. R.J. Rushdoony first used the words “intellectual schizophrenia” about the philosophy of modern education but later he applied it to the modern Christian theology as well.

And the words fit perfectly Michael Horton’s response.

It is a textbook example of intellectual schizophrenia, from beginning to end. It is full of contradictions and fallacies in every paragraph; sometimes two sentences back to back are contradictory without any explanation how they can be reconciled. Other contradictions are more strategic, they go across paragraphs. Then there are contradictions between what Horton says and what history really tells us. And indeed, there are also contradictions between what Horton says and what the Bible says – while claiming that that’s what the Bible says, of course.

Okay, okay, the reader will say, but where is the proof? Can you make an analysis of the whole response, Bojidar, and show us where the contradictions are?

Well, they are so many that if I needed to show them all, I would have to write a book; and writing a book about a short article is not advisable. But what I can do is pick a paragraph in Michael Horton’s response and show how in the same paragraph he intertwined multiple self-contradictions and fallacies, to the point of where nothing is clear and no logical conclusion can be drawn about what Michael Horton actually believes. I will show it about one paragraph only. The reader can do it with the other paragraphs as well.

Here is the paragraph I pick to demonstrate the intellectual schizophrenia of the Two Kingdoms Theology, straight from Michael Horton’s response:

Calvin embraced the “two kingdoms” doctrine explicitly—in those terms. Of course, it was the era of “Christendom,” where Luther no less than Calvin expected the civil magistrate to defend the true faith. Nevertheless, at least in theory, he made precisely the same arguments as Luther. I wonder if those sympathetic to theonomy or making America a “Christian nation” are really serious. Do they really want the White House or the legislative or judicial branches to enforce the first table of the law? Will orthodox Protestants be the only ones allowed to rule, or will a few Roman Catholics, Jews, and perhaps a conservative mainliner or two pass the Senate confirmation hearings? This is not to say that God’s moral law is no longer in force, that it no longer expresses God’s eternal measure of righteousness. Rather, it is to recognize that the New Testament teaches us to live as “strangers and aliens” in this present age, loving and serving our neighbors through our callings, witnessing God’s Word to them, and contributing toward the common good of a city that is important but never ultimate.

Let’s get started. Let’s take a look at the first sentence of this paragraph:

Calvin embraced the “two kingdoms” doctrine explicitly—in those terms.

Hmmm. One doesn’t have to be a specialist on Calvin or the history of Geneva to know that there is something fishy in that statement. For example, that the cart goes before the horse, or, the conclusion before the proofs. If Calvin and Horton believed in the same doctrine, aren’t they supposed also to have the same practice? Calvin – not as an individual simply but as a church leader – participated in the building of Geneva as a society, with its legal, social, political etc. codes. Most of his time was not spent teaching a few students in a seminary but in giving expert advice – again, as a church leader – to the City Council. Is that what Michael Horton is doing? Is he giving political, legal, economic, social advice to rulers? Not at all. He actually encourages the church and the Christians to stay away from those issues. If the doctrine is the same, as Horton claims, why is the practice so different?

Even if Calvin used “those terms,” is it possible that he meant a completely different thing, and not the half-baked theology that Horton and the rest of the Escondido faculty have been using as a rhetorical device after 1995? May be we should go to Calvin himself and see what he meant by his “two kingdoms,” and whether it is the same thing as Horton would have us believe?

Strangely enough, we don’t even have to go to Calvin. Michael Horton himself provides us with the proof that Calvin never even meant what Horton means by “those terms.” And even stranger, Horton gives us the answer in the next sentence!

Luther no less than Calvin expected the civil magistrate to defend the true faith.

There goes Horton’s Two Kingdoms Theology.

Let’s see. Horton’s greatest bone of contention with the theonomists is that we believe that the civil government is supposed to obey the Biblical Law, and especially that there is such a thing as a Christian government which should protect the true faith. We will see later here, but one can also see it all throughout Horton’s writings that he opposes this particular tenet of theonomy: the obligations of the civil government to enforce the revealed Biblical Law. Horton has no problem with the moral law; he has a problem with it enforced by the civil government. That’s when theonomists are preaching it. But then he himself admits Calvin and Luther were teaching and preaching the same thing, and Horton says they had the same theology as him! Divided personality, anyone? Why is the same thing bad when modern theonomists teach it but good and acceptable when Calvin preaches it? Horton doesn’t say.

But he has an explanation:

Of course, it was the era of “Christendom,” . . .

What does that mean and why should it be relevant to the issue? Is Horton saying that Calvin and Luther were blinded by the historical stage they were in and therefore weren’t as enlightened as he is? Is he saying that our theology about civil government depends on historical stages and forces, and therefore what was good and acceptable for them is not good and acceptable for us? Horton shows his condescending attitude towards Calvin and Luther; “of course,” they couldn’t know better, living in the era of “Christendom.”

But why can’t the argument be reversed? For example: “Of course, the 20th and 21st centuries are the era of paganism, socialism, atheism, liberal theology, and general apostasy, and Michael Horton, influenced and blinded by all these evils, rejects the Biblical idea that the civil government must obey the revealed Law of God.” This would be a much better argument, rather than vice versa.

Horton’s condescension to Calvin is based on some vague argument about historical eras: well, yeah, y’know, their historical era made them believe those things. But how did they come to that historical era in the first place? Was it an inevitable development, independent of the beliefs and the practices of the Christians in previous generations? Or do ideas have consequences, and the “era of Christendom” was the product of the self-conscious beliefs and work of Christians who believed in Christendom? Could it be that the causation is the other way around: Not that Calvin’s expectations were caused by the era, but that the era was caused by the expectations of many generations of Christians?

Horton doesn’t even want to go there – and he never even touches that issue in any of his articles. Why? Because if he admits that the era of Christendom came about because of the work and beliefs of those who believed in Christendom he will have to come to another conclusions too: that the present era of paganism came about because of the beliefs of people like Horton.

So, in one sentence Horton says that Calvin believed the same things as him, then in the next sentence provides the proof to the contrary. Then again, suddenly, after the next period, he goes back again to his first thesis, denying completely what he said in his second statement:

Nevertheless, at least in theory, he made precisely the same arguments as Luther.

In what theory? And what arguments? Didn’t Horton just say that the two men believed things completely opposite to what Horton believes? And then, is he trying to say that, “at least in theory” they agreed with Horton? So, when they “expected the civil magistrate to defend the true faith,” that wasn’t “in theory”? What was it? Why did Calvin work to build Geneva into a City on Hill if “in theory” he believed the opposite? Is Horton saying that Calvin’s theory was just as opposed to his practice as Horton is opposed to theonomy?

Actually, what exactly is Horton saying? The three sentences so far make no sense whatsoever, when combined together. But this is not all. He has more in store for us.

I wonder if those sympathetic to theonomy or making America a “Christian nation” are really serious. Do they really want the White House or the legislative or judicial branches to enforce the first table of the law?

Oh, boy. These two sentences are just loaded with fallacies and self-contradictions. Be patient, we’ll go over the main ones only.

First of all, what kind of an argument is that? What is it based on? Does it appeal to the Bible, or to logic, or to history? What rule of logic, debate, or discussion allows for the use of such vague and nonsensical question, “are you really serious”? Is this what passes for an argument at Westminster West these days? And what exactly does Horton expect to achieve with it? Let’s suppose Horton faces a theonomic opponent in a debate (which may never happen since Horton has turned down multiple invitations by theonomists to debate; he is afraid of facing us), and uses this argument:

Horton: Are you really serious?

Theonomist: As a matter of fact, I am. I am really serious.

H.: Really really serious?

T.: Yes, really really serious.

H.: I mean, really really really serious?…

And so on. What does that tell us about Horton and his ability to debate?

If this is how the Westminster West professors debate, I can imagine a debate between two Westminster West professors who use it on each other:

First Professor: Do you really want that?

Second Professor: Yes, I do. Do you really not want that?

First Professor: No, I don’t. Do you really want that?…

Once a person stops laughing at the comedy such argument presents and decides to give a serious diagnosis of Horton’s “really-really” argument, he will have to conclude that it is an argument that is based on vague emotions, or on an attempt to arouse vague emotions. It says, “I have nothing of value to say so I will try to cause doubts in you by asking a vague question that makes no sense whatsoever.”

But this is not the only problem with it.

Remember, Michael Horton just admitted that Calvin expected the ruler to protect the true religion. But that’s the same as having a Christian nation – which Geneva was, by law – and enforcing the first table of the Law. So why isn’t Horton asking Calvin the same question? Whether Horton admits it or not, his “really-really” argument must be first applied to Calvin: “Calvin, do you really want the judges and the City Council of Geneva to enforce the first table of the Law?”

And Calvin, if he cared to reply to Horton, will say: “Yes, I really want that.” Horton admits as much himself, in the previous sentence. So why is Horton only asking the theonomists, and not Calvin?

But there’s more. The first table of the Law, that moral law that Horton is horrified that we as theonomists want to be enforced by the civil government, is actually the natural law. I believe it, and Horton believes it too because he says in another paragraph:

As Calvin reminds us, “The moral law is nothing other than the natural law that is written on the conscience of all.”

Fair enough. I agree, Calvin does say it. Moral law equals natural law written on our conscience.

But Horton has a problem here. He asks us if we “really-really” want to see the civil government enforce that moral law; he wonders if we are serious about that. But the moral law and the natural law are one. Therefore Horton is asking us if we really-really want to see the natural law enforced by the civil government!

But wait. Van Drunnen, Horton’s friend and co-ideologist, says that the civil government is ruled by the natural law; which according to Horton is the moral law; which according to Horton shouldn’t be the rule for the civil government. Let me try it the other way around, may be it will make sense this way. Horton says that the civil government shouldn’t enforce the moral law; which according to Horton is the natural law; which according to Van Drunnen should be the rule for the civil government.

Intellectual schizophrenia. The Two Kingdoms Theology is indeed a Divided Personalities Psychology.

And if not the moral/natural law for the civil government, then what law? Horton doesn’t say. Or, to ask a different question: If the civil government is to be ruled by the natural law which is also the moral law, then how is this different from what the theonomists want? Horton doesn’t say that either. He doesn’t even notice how deep a hole he has dug for himself.

There are many more fallacies and self-contradictions in that statement alone. But I will move on.

Two really-really questions are not enough, apparently. Horton is determined to show that really-really is the mainstay of Westminster West’s apologetics these days. So he adds a third one:

Will orthodox Protestants be the only ones allowed to rule, or will a few Roman Catholics, Jews, and perhaps a conservative mainliner or two pass the Senate confirmation hearings?

OK, the really-really is in a different form now but it’s still there: Are you really not going to let Roman Catholics, Jews, and conservative mainliners rule? Really-really?

What does that have to do with anything? Of course, political systems – or any government systems whatsoever – have rules for exclusion of certain persons. It has to do with the nature of the system itself. We have exclusion from rule in the United States today for certain people. I, for one, can not become a President because I wasn’t born in the US. And I can not run for certain political offices for several years. I am excluded. So what? Do I feel bad about it?

Keep in mind, my being excluded from political rule is not based on something I have self-consciously done. If I had the choice, I would have chosen to be born in Texas. But I was never given that choice. And I am now excluded from being a civil ruler because of something I had no control over.

Horton is not outraged by the fact that I am excluded from ruling because of something I never had control over but he is outraged that in a Christian government people will be excluded from ruling based on their self-conscious choice of religion? Can I change my birthplace if I wanted to become a President of the USA? No. In a Christian nation, can a Jew change his religion if he wanted to be a civil ruler? Yes, of course. So what is Horton’s problem, and why isn’t he much more outraged about the present system which seems much less fair in its exclusion than a Christian theonomic system of government? Schizophrenia, anyone?

And why would exclusion from rule be an argument in the first place? Is political rule a right that everyone deserves? Or even wants? Immigrants – legal and illegal – come to this country by millions. They could have stayed back in their countries where theoretically, they could participate in the civil government. If the right to rule was so important, why aren’t they staying there, why are they coming here where they will have no political rights?

Horton doesn’t go that far. All he needs is another really-really argument. That’s what Westminster West can offer.

Then, of course, the Bible comes to help; or rather, Horton’s loose quoting of the Bible:

This is not to say that God’s moral law is no longer in force, that it no longer expresses God’s eternal measure of righteousness. Rather, it is to recognize that the New Testament teaches us to live as “strangers and aliens” in this present age. . . .

The New Testament teaches us to live as strangers and aliens in this present age, you see. This is one of those beautiful myths of amillennialism that is meant to discourage Christians from being victorious. There are more like it: “royal exiles,” “constantly mourning by the rivers of Babylon,” etc.

There is only one problem: The New Testament doesn’t say, and doesn’t teach such a thing.

There are about a dozen instructions about living in the “present age” in the New Testament. Not a single one of them mentions anything about “strangers and aliens.”

There are a few instances of strangers and aliens. Not a single one of them is given as an instruction of “living in the present age.” The closest one is 1 Peter 2:11, “I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” But does that mean Christians shouldn’t participate in civil government, or shouldn’t work to have a Christian civil government? Only if Horton believes that Christian civil government is a “fleshly lust which wages war against the soul.” But if he believes such a thing, then he must have a very strong indictment against Calvin and Luther too. Remember, he admitted that these two wanted the ruler to protect the true faith.

The Bible doesn’t say such a thing. What Horton has done is to arbitrarily take phrases that sound good, from different parts of the New Testament, and combine them in one sentence, give it the interpretation he wants, which fits his specific theology, and then claim that that’s what the Bible teaches. Take “present age” from one place, then take “strangers and aliens” from another, combine them, and then claim it means that we shouldn’t work toward a Christian civil government.

But he has a problem there. There is an example in the New Testament of “strangers and aliens,” and the text specifically says what these faithful “strangers and aliens” did. Hebrews 11.

The heroes in Hebrews 11 are presented as being “strangers and aliens” (v. 13). These people confessed they were “strangers and exiles on the earth.” They should be Horton’s perfect example, right? Well, not exactly, because the end of the chapter actually tells us that there is a sharp discontinuity between us and them – we are not strangers and exiles anymore, as the next chapters clearly shows. But let’s suppose – only suppose – that they are the example for “strangers and aliens” we have in the New Testament.

And let’s see some of the works of faith they did, in verses 33-34:

. . . who by faith conquered kingdoms, dispensed justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Conquered kingdoms? Dispensed justice? Became mighty in war? Put armies to flight? I can see Michael Horton employing his really-really argument to these “strangers and aliens” in Hebrews 11: “Are they serious? Do they really want to conquer kingdoms? To dispense justice? To become mighty in war and put armies to flight? Really-really?” But that’s the example the New Testament gives us of “strangers and aliens.” If Michael Horton tells us that we are taught to live as such, why doesn’t he teach what works of faith those real “strangers and aliens” performed? Why is his version of “strangers and aliens” lacking those important works of faith, that faith by which “the men of old gained approval”?

Does Horton actually know what the New Testament really teaches?

I will stop here. I took one paragraph of Michael Horton’s response to Dr. Frame’s book, and showed the main fallacies and self-contradictions in it. Only the main ones; I left out many more. One paragraph took me a whole article. If I had to go through the whole piece, a book won’t be enough. And there are also many other fallacies and self-contradictions that Michael Horton has written, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. The Two Kingdoms Theology fits perfectly Rushdoony’s description: intellectual schizophrenia. It can not run for more than a paragraph without entangling itself in at least a dozen self-contradictions and fallacies.

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About the Author

A Reformed missionary to his native Bulgaria for over 10 years, Bojidar preaches and teaches doctrines of the Reformation and a comprehensive Biblical worldview. Having founded Bulgarian Reformation Ministries in 2001, he and his team have translated over 30,000 pages of Christian literature about the application of the Law of God in every area of man’s life and society, and published those translations online for free. He has been active in the formation of the Libertarian movement in Bulgaria, a co-founder of the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty and its first chairman. If you would like Bojidar to speak to your church, homeschool group or other organization, contact him through his website: http://www.bulgarianreformation.org/



26 Responses to The Two-Kingdoms Theology as a Divided-Personalities Psychology

  1. John Hendrickson says:

    Thanks for your incisive review of just one paragraph. I will add it to my arsenal of articles dealing with this issue.

    Your comments, though amusingly done, ought not be laughed at because people like Van Drunnen, Horton, et al are giving psuedo justification for those many teaching elders who obsess over personal piety and just hanging on till you die and can escape this life. I have been called “wrongheaded” for suggesting that political activism from a Christian point of view is a legitimate area of focus for a Christian. Many amils have been dying for something to legitimize their rejection of any visible form of Kingdom success. These Escondido guys provide it.

    One thing I have always wondered is how Reformed guys justify the ability of fallen, rebellious man to come to a right understanding of God’s moral requirements for man. They may say they believe in total depravity, but they are more like Roman Catholics if they think man is able to come to true, unadulterated knowledge of God’s Law apart from the Bible. That is, they deny there is any noetic effect in fallen man. Additionally, why, since they agree Natural Law and God’s revealed Word are the same, would they bar the believer from asserting the authority of the Bible in their “common” realm? It makes no sense, short of their desire to escape the implications of bringing that Word to the public square in that God has promised it will not come back w/out accomplishing what He wills it to do. I guess too much possibility of earthly victory for the church is a little overwhelming as well as threatening to their amil’ism.

    • Semper Reformanda says:

      Re: your comments on natural law. Exactly. This is why Van Til tried to form a truly Reformed Worldview which had no place for “natural law” (in the Thomistic sense).

    • Sam F says:

      ‘Additionally, why, since they agree Natural Law and God’s revealed Word are the same, would they bar the believer from asserting the authority of the Bible in their “common” realm?’

      Because it will entirely unseat their form of “conservatism” that they are so comfortable in.

  2. Semper Reformanda says:

    Bojidar,

    Thanks. You made me laugh aloud at this article. My wife kept asking me what was wrong. :)

    It is laughable how absurd R2K is when described by someone with coherent theology. I hope that the R2Kers change their views and we can all start working towards the same goal.

  3. Stephen Welch says:

    Bojidar, are you really sure you understand Horton and Escondito’s 2-Kingdom view? :-) I could not pass up the opportunity to add a little humor. Thank you for an excellent response to Horton’s rebuttal. I am anxious to read Frame’s book, but Horton has always articulated very well his radical 2 kingdom view. It is interesting that in that same response from Horton he claims that him and the other Escondito professors hold to Abraham Kuyper’s view, but Kuyper’s view is not the same as the the 2-kingdom view. I was glad to see that Horton actually defines natural theology as the moral law, but sadly he is inconsistent in his argument. The 2-K view is a fairly recent development, so I wonder how they can claim it is consistent with the classical Reformed position.

  4. Richard says:

    Michael Horton doesn’t just have a divided personality. You just sliced and diced the rest of him into little pieces. I almost feel sorry for him. Masterfully done!

  5. Daniel Ritchie says:

    Great work. These guys simply do not understand the distinction between the two kingdoms in early Reformed thought and their own, highly novel, concept of the two kingdoms. Moreover, the whole “strangers and aliens” argument cannot work. Because, as Stephen Halbrook pointed out to me recently, the apostle Peter surely means that we are to be strangers and aliens from the world’s unbiblical standards. One of these unbiblical standards is civil antinomianism – which R2K espouses, while theonomists are trying to flee from it. Thus theonomists are the ones who are seeking to conform to the New Testament’s description of strangers, while the R2Kers are conforming to the fleshly lusts of human autonomy and civil antinomianism.

    • …the apostle Peter surely means that we are to be strangers and aliens from the world’s unbiblical standards. One of these unbiblical standards is civil antinomianism…

      Great point, Daniel. Never thought of it in these terms but you and Stephen are right: Any kind of antinominianism is pagan, not just the individual but also the civil.

    • SLIMJIM says:

      Wow, never saw that verse from that angle before; by the way Daniel Ritchie, I have been blessed by your works in the past.

  6. Michael Earl Riemer says:

    You have done an outstanding job dealing with Michael Horton’s Two Kingdoms belief. You have masterfully laid out your points in a way that is far beyond anything I could have done.

    What I would love to see, is that same skill, that wonderful intellect and insight put to use on what I see as “intellectual schizophrenia,” the Athanasian Creed. In short, the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Everything I have ever read on defense of that teaching is intellectual schizophrenia.

    That teaching (the Trinity), I do not believe would be outside of the reach or area of life that American Vision deals with. Maybe an article or two on that teaching would be appropriate.

    But I really do not think you could bring a defense of that teaching, without also being guilty as Michael Horton is, of “intellectual schizophrenia” in his “Two Kingdoms” belief.

    I guess you would say that is a challenge, will you take it up? I believe that if you would do so, you would have to discard the doctrine of the Trinity (three persons in one God).

    I have written on that doctrine but will not place what I have written on this post.

    Again, thanks for your wonderful article.

    • E Harris says:

      Mr. Riemer,
      T.D. Jakes dared to take up that controvery at a recent publicized gathering called The Elephant Room. (A very interesting thing to call a gathering of prominent conservative preachers who disagree on an abundance of things – but still agree about love and life in Christ Jesus.)
      T.D. Jakes first came to Jesus from a background similar to mine. Oneness Pentecostals. We are (still) widely regarded as heretics. People refuse to even speak with us when it becomes known who we are. Our rejection of the terms “Trinity” “PersonS” and “co-equal” mark us as supposed heretics. (That, added on to our burden of accepting the gifts of the Spirit such as tongues and the prophetic.) Oneness Pentecostals (for a long time) returned the favor and rejected anyone else. Now that the walls are beginning to crack…both sides are reaching out to each other.
      Jakes is no longer UPCI, but he brings something very close to our heart – to the table. He had a very good dialogue in that videotaped gathering. He objects to the terminology of the Trinity, but neither does he subscribe to the type of Oneness view that the UPCI has advocated in the past. (absolutely no distinction between Father and Son. I think it’s becoming obvious that there is a distinction..: the mind of Christ is human – but that His Spirit is God’s.) Jakes prefers to stick to BIBLICAL wording, which he refers to as the Pauline approach.
      The big idea of that gathering was to come together as one, in a spirit of total brotherly love and fellowship – and not shy away from the things that have kept us apart. There were people who pressured and threatened those at that meeting (because of Jakes being allowed) to the point of breaking fellowship over it! Because Jakes was supposedly a ‘heretic’. Jakes has since been pressured into ‘admitting’ that God is 3 PersonS. When no such language is in the Scripture. The word 3 is not associated with the word Person (when dealing with God), and nor is the plural word PersonS used. Quite frankly, we human beings have yet to figure out WHAT a Person (singular) IS… so we would be really hard-pressed to say what the plural form of that word is…in any concrete way.
      We have legal battles over that word, on the topic of abortion. It is an important word. One that we need to get absolutely right. And so we should stick as close to the BIBLE on that terminology as possible – without violating the scriptures.
      It is interesting how ‘the Trinity’ was solidified as a doctrine at the Council of Nicaea. And I have severe doubts about the biblical legitimacy of that whole proceeding. Sure it got the Roman Empire off of the backs of a lot of christians – but at the expense of any christians who disagreed with the official positions. Safety at the expense of freedom of speech and biblical purity.

      • Michael Earl Riemer says:

        There were people who pressured and threatened those at that meeting (because of Jakes being allowed) to the point of breaking fellowship over it! Because Jakes was supposedly a ‘heretic’.

        That is one reason I did not post what I wrote on the teaching of the Trinity. For I do not want to break fellowship over my belief on that one subject. But it is an important issue. For those who hold to the teaching in the Athanasian Creed, would have to say Jakes is a heretic and that I am lost and not saved, for it is necessary, according to the Creed to believe in the Trinity or you are lost.

        And if I do everything right and help build God’s kingdom down on this old earth, and believe in the vision of American Vision, but am lost for I do not believe in that teaching, what good is it to me, if I would gain the whole world and lose my own soul and those who I lead, down the path to destruction?

        Athanasian Creed

        “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic [universal, Christian] Faith…And the catholic faith is this that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity….For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost…This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” From 1941 Lutheran Hymnal.

        If you would like to read what I wrote, “God Is One Divine Being” email me at riemerm@att.com

  7. Alan says:

    Wonderful article. When all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail. Dr. Horton has been thankfully taking the churches to task for their abandonement of the Gospel of Christ in favor of a strict political agenda (usually on the right while he tends to forget those on the left). However, since all he has is a hammer, he is unable to envision a complete theology that embraces the Gospel of Christ and all of its parts, including politics, economics, sociology, etc. He has created a charicature of his opponents in his mind that he cannot think beyond. He is as much a creature of the age as anyone he criticizes.

    In one radio broadcast, he stated that the church can say nothing to the government on the topic of gay marriage. He and his radio co-hosts even grow silent on the topic of abortion. Yet, when the radio topic was slavery in the 19th century, they changed their tune. Then, they wanted to bring pro-slavery Pastors up on charges of heresy and other acts.

  8. Tim Hawes says:

    I am better than half way through Frame’s book. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that Frame did not want to tackle Horton’s historical scholarship. Rightfully, though, Frame felt that the exegetical was more important. We need to enlist someone to tackle Horton’s/WSC’s historical fallacies. That would complete a one-two punch on the 2 Kingdom mess. A compilation of Joel McDurmon’s articles would be excellent for starters.

  9. E Harris says:

    John 18:36
    Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

    Revelation 11:15
    [ Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed ] Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

    I think the key word is a word that people rarely look to as a key: “Of”

    Jesus’ kingdom is not OF this world (but there are kingdoms that are of this world). Now, the kingdoms of this world, have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. (Sometime before Rev 11…probably around the time of the ascension.)

    How can they be said to be OF Christ, when they move AGAINST the spread of his message? …but even when they move against the spread of Jesus’ message: they only seem to add fuel to the fire (by actively illustrating that they don’t know what they are doing). So, whether the civil ruler intentionally moves for Christ or against Christ… he helps set the stage for an effective proclamation of the gospel BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE.

    So those who believe have nothing to fear from a sword that protects their interests, or that moves against their interests. Those who believe will have platforms to witness to people, either way. So we don’t need to fear (or even take up a weapon, if we prefer not to…unless protecting our families). Either way, what matters isn’t geo-politics. It is the gospel message being believed by people, that subdues nations.

  10. Len says:

    Two advantages of the “two-kingdom” myth is that it greatly reduces ones workload (one doesn’t have to actively confront evil wherever it may be found), plus it greatly reduces the chances of being persecuted and hated. It would be interesting to hear Mr. Horton’s comments on John 7:7.

    • David Smith says:

      Reduction in workload and persecution. Interesting points. Given, one can’t presume to know what motives lie in the depths of another; however, unless one stringently holds to a pre-trib view, I would think it would be better to be politically engaged BEFORE persecution becomes a reality.

      Like many here, I am frustrated with the Two Kingdoms crowd for a number or reasons, but it sometimes seems as if they’re gleefully looking forward to widespread persecution.

      “Oh goody, Mommy, I can’t wait to go play with the lions!”

      Go figure.

  11. Larry Ball says:

    Very good Bojidar! First question – will you tell me how to pronounce your first name? Not only is it hard to spell, but I don’t know how to pronounce it. Secondly, a comment and a few questions. What stands out to me about Horton’s response is that he limited the Senate Confirmation Hearings to “Roman Catholics, Jews, and perhaps a conservative mainliner or two.” Sounds like he is restricting the choice to at least the Judeo-Christian Community. What about Mormons? What about Muslims? What about Atheists? Is he cheating a little by his restrictions and is he still influenced by the borrowed capital of a strong Chirstendom that captured America years ago?

    • BO-zhee-dar. The ZH sounds like the French soft “j” in “bonjour,” or like “s” in the English word “leiSure.”

      What Gary DeMar said in an earlier article about Phil Johnson applies to Michael Horton as well:

      People like Phil Johnson are living off borrowed capital. They denounce Christian involvement in politics but reap the benefits of generations of Christians that made it possible for them to enjoy the freedoms they have in this nation to preach the gospel unhindered.

  12. Mark says:

    Sorry. I’ve not followed all your articles like I used to. Can you name the two Two-Kingdom articles you’ve written? I located the one on Moral Relativism and 2KT, but I’ve identified the other. Can you help, Sir?

    BTW, love this article, and I’m reading Dr. Frame’s book.

    • Mark says:

      Hi, nevermind. Found it/them.

      Regards

      • I was about to give you instructions how to find them. You can search on “Two Kingdoms,” this way you can also find Joel’s articles on the issue. Some of his are much better researched and argued than mine.

  13. Benjamin says:

    Excellent work Mr. Marinov. I’ll never understand why the E2K guys still try and pretend Calvin would agree with their false understanding of the relationship between God’s Law and the civil kingdom. I am starting to think these guys do not read primary sources, especially Calvin’s sermons in Deuteronomy, instead relying on the writings of folks that already agree with them.

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