Scott Clark for President

Ok, on a given day I cannot decide who to rally for President: Mike Horton, Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, Jason Stellman or David VanDrunen. Today I am stumping for Clark as he posts about a favorite topic to the Outhouse. Talk about getting my cultic and cultural wires crossed…should I be stumping like this?

Anyway, let’s all raise our pints to the secularizing of the public square and the Christianizing of our churches.


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47 Responses to Scott Clark for President

  1. Rick says:

    Sure, I finally get a post in and you go and bury it.

    Anyway, I’ve said it before ‘Clark for Civil Magistrate’

    be more confessional man!

    Now, I must read his post.

  2. Zrim says:

    Oops, sorry about the bury…but that is what you get for assigning Spacey’s mug to me without persmission! Of course, he is a good looking guy so it is sort of real to life.

    OK, everyone read Rick’s post before this one, even though it was a piggy-back of mine. Sorry, Rick, one last swipe for good measure.


  3. Rick says:

    All in jest. You’re right – It was a piggy. I was just happy that I had a little time to compile something for the Outhouse for once. “Busy Busy Worky Worky!” But for a guy who resisted for so long, you sure seem to love it out here.

    You know, since Clark doesn’t allow comments, we could just link to all of his posts and comment here. We could rename the blog something like, “Heidelblog Discussions”

  4. Zrim says:

    Yes, it is good countryside sitting. I have to admit, Rick, you were right. I still get queasy about it from time to time but I think that is just the smell. You’d think I’d be used to it by now.

    Good idea, but something tells me this would become more a dumping ground than a proper Outhouse! Maybe a sub-section of the OH?


  5. Rick says:

    I’m dying to hear an argument against this paragraph:

    “We’ve spent a lot of time and energy in modern times applying the adjective “Christian” to common endeavors while, at the same time, our congregations are losing their saltiness. Our worship looks more common and cultural and our baptize our “Christian” bookstores and businesses. This is profoundly ironic.”

  6. Zrim says:


    Then pull up your socks and head into the Household…you won’t find one here.

    There is no more such a thing as a Christian politics as there is Christian salad.

    And for all you watching at home, I would say there is no such thing as Christian education. I do find it interesting that so many who would otherwise champion a W2K view (which, as Calvinism is shorthand for biblical soteriology, etc., W2K is shorthand for how to biblically understand the two kingdoms, etc.) draw their lines here. I understand it because we are talking about our children. But I think the W2K rubber hits the road here in very interesting ways.

    Even though I have the blustery slogan, “Public schools should be thoroughly secularized and Christian kids ought to be in them,” I do want to put my sense of Christian liberty ahead of even that: educate your kids the way you see fit (I’d even cut a check to CSI if that was the only viable option, as well as Catholic schooling). But I do think W2K mettle gets tested when it comes to what we do with our children, as with so many things in this life. But my general point here is that it becomes odd when so many agree that there is no such a thing as Christian whatever but then sound like Transformers (with all their horror stories about what happens in the big, bad secular world and its encroaching devils, blahblahblah), when it comes to where Bobby goes to school.


  7. rana says:

    Amen Dr. Clark!

    Let’s book him for a lecture at Calvin’s January series. That would go over *real* well.

    Like I tell my husband when I give him leftovers, “as the family food martyr, do you want to redeem this or not?”

  8. rana says:

    I would like to see some dialogue on education, both k-12 and higher education.

    Please excuse my British spelling, spent some time teaching in a British educational system.

  9. Zrim says:


    If they can book NT Wright why not Clark? Also, Clark has spoken at plenty of Covenanter circles, so why not Kuyperian ones?

    Speaking of Calvinists redeeming the world, Hart recently made the quip in the context of FV theonomists that he has always suspected them to be Calvinism’s version of Methodists. They are and their kindler, gentler cousins the Transformers.


  10. Zrim says:


    What kind of dialogue?

  11. Rick says:

    I think she means dialogue here at the Outhouse. Posts and discussion .

    I think we need to save the education of Christian children for another post…or two…or three. But whatever happens happens – it does apply to this thread.

  12. Zrim says:

    That’s what I assumed. I think it’s entirely relevant to this thread. What would be irrelevant is for me to laud and honor Cate Blanchett in “Notes on a Scandal” because Rana mentioned her teaching in a British educational system.

    So, Rana, feel free to post some thoughts.


  13. rana says:

    i have few thoughts on this issue that i would fight for, if any.

    if i did not have the Christian school or Homeschool requirement I would probably have little problem sending my kid to a *good* public school. my definition of good schools would be schools similar to the ones i graduated from, giving a shout out to Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo, California where i was educated k-12!

    my husband and i will take care of catechizing our kids at home, my 2 year old proudly answers catechism question #1.

  14. Rick says:

    Does your husband’s employer, in addition to telling you what denomination you must belong to, also require you to send your kids to a Christian School (or homeschool)?

  15. Zrim says:


    As a father with two girls in school, someone who has worked in education on one form or another his whole adult life and with plenty of family/friends who teach or send their own kids to Christian schools, good is a very relative term, to be sure. What is good to you may not be to me, yet there is plenty on which we likely would also agree. Maybe it’s my own upbringing in perfectly good public schooling (and parents who had a high view of public education, my mother being a PS teacher herself), but it is nowhere near my programming to vilify PS or deem it as automatically one step behind parochial schooling. It is a jagged little pill for me to swallow that by virtue of a school being parochial it is inherently “better’ than a public one. My own personal experience snickers at that very idea since it seems more the result of idealism than realism.

    It is my view that education is about the specific needs of children first, which should not be vulnerable to the philosophical idealism of parents. This is why I say my notion of Christian liberty trumps my idealism about public schools being secularized, etc. And what’s good for the Christian secularist goose is good for the Transformer gander: are your kids getting a good education or are they getting what you perceive to be one based upon your idealism? (And, BTW, my experience with the local CS scene is that they provide very good education, strictly speaking. But it has nothing really to do with the fact that “Christian” is its modifier. I perceive that most of these parents pay for an image they don’t really receive–our own youth pastor relayed that there is no perceivable difference between the CS kids and the PS kids. It confirmed my own views that until I see graduates of the CS system super-surpassing all else, I’ll keep ignoring the CRC de jure rule about the whole CS thing and keep my money.)

    One dimension in this discussion can be the inappropriate stakes many put onto education. Many seem to suppose that the institution of education is in the business of “shaping and nurturing young souls.” As significant as their role is, they are most assuredly not ordained for this. It is the institution of family/home that shapes and nurtures young souls. Sometimes I wonder if parents hide behind this seemingly noble idea of schools shaping souls so that the burden on them might be lifted. Maybe that is too pessimistic. Nevertheless, I reject this idea that schools have final sway over the finalization of my girls’ souls. That is my role and their mother’s. But this over-realization of just what a school does over against the home seems in keeping with blurry sacred/secular lines broadly anyway, so I am not surprised.

    Along this line, Dr. Stob once preached at our PM service and made mention that the Presby school he Head mastered down in Florida saw only 12% of its parents actually attend church. That tells me something. It tells me that parents do in fact see school as doing what they should be. Parents who send to Xian school and don’t attend church probably have little use for that aspect of family life called religion (and these are Presbyterians of all creatures?!); and I bet they think that something is being made up for 6 days a week in Mr. VanVanderVan’s classroom. Do we imagine they are catechizing their kids at home? Likely not. This American notion that school does what both a church and family do, while predictable, is insane to me.


  16. rana says:

    yes, my husband’s employer also requires either Christian school or homeschool.

    i wonder in some ways if this revised FOS will actually make null and void the CRC church requirement for faculty? we could then be members of ANY church? except the URC and Protestant Reformed, of course.

  17. rana says:

    zrim, i think a lot of parents think by sending their kids to a Christian school they will get their religious education.

    i hear these things on the playground at the park when i meet women who ask me for recommendations on churches with “good children’s programs”. from what i gather is they have fond memories (whatever that is) of Sunday school and want that same type of education for their kids.

    usually they have checked out recreation life, i mean res. life and mars hill. i usually recommend an OPC or CRC depending on what the parent is “seeking”. i know, i know market driven world, especially in GR.

    one of the stronger aspects of the CRC i attend is the focus on home discipleship, i have not seen this in such an intentional manner and supported by the church as i have seen where we are now. granted it is far from a perfect church.

  18. Zrim says:

    “i wonder in some ways if this revised FOS will actually make null and void the CRC church requirement for faculty?”

    In a denom that has a higher view of CE than it does the Confessions, I highly doubt it. Suggest changing the FOS and you hear crickets. Suggest tinkering with the de jure rule for us all generally and the de facto you poor employed saps must endure, and it would be all out war. talk about crossed wires. Sheesh.


  19. Zrim says:


    …”recommendations on churches with “good children’s programs”.

    Ah yes, the height of churchly measurement. I like DG Hart’s analogy that you can judge a church like you judge your golf game: the less going on the better you are doing. I read that piece at the beginning of a diaconal devotional and suggested we reflect on our plethora of “activity” and see if it may be time to go to the clubhouse for a pint. Went over like a bag of hammers. I counted 23 crickets chirping.

    We live a mile north of Res Life. It’s right across the street from the PRC seminary. When I take my car to the mechanic and pass that scene in irony, I laugh and laugh and laugh.


  20. rana says:

    LOVE the crickets chirping! that is great.

    i actually think you are spot on about the de jure rule, considering the college pres is a hardcore CE advocate.

    i stand by my statement that life was less complicated among camels and pyramids in Cairo.

  21. Zrim says:

    Are there complicated crickets in Cairo or just common camels? Sorry, I don’t think I got in all my alliteration for the day.


  22. rana says:

    did i read somewhere that you got your BA in Lingustics?

    there are only common, crappy

  23. rana says:

    oops! common, crappy camels.

    sorry dudes. i am recovering from finally putting my 2 yr old to nap -in her bathing suit i might add, upon her insistence.

  24. Rick says:

    Now, I like what you wrote, and I agree. I also understand that it’s in a comment thread where you must be brief, but I don’t see too strong a case for public schools. This might take a whole post, and I think I know where you would go with it, but how does your 2K POV inform where you send your child to get their education. I think that above you make a half-case for homeschooling…what do you think about homeschooling?

    I would love my child(ren) to be schooled in the home – but they wouldn’t get the full education I would desire them to have.

    I have some internal conflicts with the thought of sending them to a public school (I may *flush* these things out later in a future post – they have nothing to do with my confusing spheres or crossing wires)- but I have more conflicts with sending them to a Christian school.

    More than half of the families at our church homeschool their children. Most of the other half send them to a nearby Christian school. I have some gripes with the Christian school of choice that these families send their kids too, issues with their Bible department and the Science department. (in fact an OPC pastor considered sending his kids to this school until he found out what they teach in these two departments). They are nothing less than Fundies in these two subjects.

    When someone tells me that it’s a ‘covenant responsibility’ to give your child a Christian education – I ask them for the chapter and verse. When they come back with passages that say something like, ‘instruct your children in the Lord…’ I say “Yeah, That’s telling you as a parent to instruct your child in the Lord…”

    More on this later I’m sure.

  25. Zrim says:


    BA was a double English and American Literature. I intended in Linguistics and wanted to teach it, but life, as John Lennon said, is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.


  26. rana says:

    when you all talk about education, please include higher education, i am curious if you all see any difference. i believe Godfrey’s wife is helping out with a new Reformed College in So Cal (correct me if i am wrong peops!).

    Rick, we plan on homeschooling if i can handle it, because honestly for me that is what it will come down to will my children honor me as their mother and teacher?

    or will i be driving them to Potter’s House (my #1 choice of CE but so far) or Dutton Christian (just 1.5 miles away).

  27. Rick says:


    I don’t know what to say about Christian colleges. Most of them have gone Transformer on us. But where does one go for say, pre-seminary training?

    Tell us what you think.

  28. Zrim says:


    Yeah, I know what I say could be construed to be for HS. But let me be clear and say that, while I consider HS to be perfectly legitimate and begrudge no one that option whatsoever, I don’t understand it at all and neither does my wife. So no HS advocate am I.

    Just as any non-home school environment is not “ordained” to do what is ordained for the family/home, I also do not think that the home is to do what the school does. I mean, I don’t think Mr. Simons is to shape and mold my daughter’s soul, and, by the same token, I don’t think I am ordained to teach physics just because I am the parent. Bright lines, bright lines. Like my dad always says, a place for everything and everything in its place.

    Often you will hear this on the part of HSers, that it is incumbent upon a parent to “teach their children.” And that is somehow or another translated into history and physics. I think that is a gross misread of the text, etc. The text is speaking more of the affective aspect of a person’s soul (read: what all parents naturally do and what covenant parents cultically do in catechism and churchly activity, etc.)

    As far as a case for PS, I usually say that I believe that my covenant children have a high calling to both God’s Church and his world. The former is fulfilled by my catechetical/biblical instruction in the home working in conjunction with the Church, etc. The latter is in part fulfilled by their placement in PS. I know that is an oversimplification. But I see the PS system as a gateway into their being citizens in God’s wider world because education is a child’s vocation. And I view PS as a way to implicitly teach them that there is only one world and we cannot create another one. This is what I see in the phenomenon of CE, the idea that we are creating something extra that we don’t need to; not only is it entirely God’s world but we are not allowed to shrink from it one iota. I think this is the implied message kids get when they are CS’d or HS’d. I know it sounds hard line, but if education is a child’s vocation, what are we telling him when we say he may close himself off in this way? Why do we expect only adults to go into the wider world after grade 12 or after Christian college? Why not continue this idea of a closed off vocation and go onto exclusively Christian work, etc.? Why does Christian vocation all of a sudden end after Xian schooling? How are they supposed to engage God’s wider world when they have not really for 12+ years?


  29. Zrim says:

    Godfrey’s wife helping start a Xian college is what I mean by just what W2Ker mean when they criticize Christian versions of anything common. Who knows if this info is accurate, but if it is, I don’t get it. What is Xian education?

    I know Rick has problems with the Transform’ism in certain colleges. But even as anti-transformer as I am as well, for some reason this doesn’t bother me. I guess because by this time it is young person’s choice. And if you want a world-class liberal arts education, you can’t beat Calvin. I would tip-toe around the transformer stuff. You have to cross mine fields in any educational choice no matter what.


  30. rana says:

    i see a lot of transformer at CC, but can’t speak for any other colleges.

    i guess the issue is since the educational realm is not cultic but culture transformer is ok if you choose? i don’t know to be honest. i do think some of the values CC teaches are good, i wouldnt say they are uniquely “Christian” though.

    complicated issue i think, more so than k-12 maybe.

  31. rana says:

    this is totally OFF TOPIC but how are elders chosen in the CRC? is it “legal” by the book of church order if the pastor(s) appoints the elders and then that team chooses the other elders?

  32. Zrim says:

    Like I said, Rana, let’s not be too hasty here. If one chooses an option that happens to be a transformer option, so be it. If what is being offered to to a student/parent is what a student/parent wants (read: a good education) then do it. This is why I say I would cut a check to CSI if our situation demanded it.

    I just stress to remember that there is nothing “special” going on in a Xian school that surpasses a non-Xian school. They don’t do anything better or endow anything special by virtue of their being Xian. There is a big difference between Xian education and Xians doing education, between Xian education and a Xian environment. Often, I don’t think the differences are appreciated.


  33. rana says:

    what was i being hasty about?

  34. Rick says:

    Nice answer. Too bad your POV will never prevail, and I’m not just talking about in Greater Dutch GR, it’s everywhere (even the MS Lutherans have started a HS). I remember JJS saying he would send his children to a CS if it was Reformed enough. I think you see it from many-a-W2Ker. For some reason they still want to send their kids to a CS, even if it’s simply because they want to them to go to school with other Christians. Like I said, I still have internal conflict on this, issues I’m working out (I have 3 years before my daughter would start Kindergarten).

    The question is; are these W2K-ers really being inconsistent? Some are for sure. But can we blame them? Our hearts ache for the well-being of our children and if we can make some things a little easier for them when they’re young we’ll do it.

    You don’t really have a hard line, but you have a minority view, even in the 2k corner.

  35. Rick says:

    ^my “HS” stands for High School not Home school in my last comment.

    Do you like all the abbv’s?

  36. Zrim says:


    Exactly. When it’s our kids our ideals can become obscured! That is what I meant up above about inconsistencies.


  37. Zrim says:


    By hasty I guess I just read you to wonder a bit too much over whether a transformer choice was OK. Maybe I read you wrong, sorry. While I have very definiate views, I get queasy about the idea of not letting my kids go to Calvin because of my anti-transformer views! It all has to be taken in good stride.


  38. Zrim says:

    “I remember JJS saying he would send his children to a CS if it was Reformed enough”

    And I told him, good luck, JJS.

    We have to be aware, I think, of the things we demand of schools, etc. It is almost too consumeristic in some ways. Everything has something you will cringe at.

    You can’t always get what you want.


  39. rana says:

    you read me wrong, zrim.

    zrim, if Calvin CRC calls that alberta, canada guy you linked to how soon will he start? do you have links to his sermons?

    i think we might be hitting the CRC circuit again soon, *gulp*. see previous off topic question that no one replied too.

  40. Bruce S. says:

    Van Drunen’s a lawyer. So he may have some “statecraft” skills seeing as how numerous former (and current) presidents have such training. His willingness to lie has taken some serious hits, so that may nip these hopes in the bud.

    I want to see an article about “Christian” education.

  41. Zrim says:


    I hate stuffing ourselves through these damn comment boxes. I repeat my apology.

    Dr. Raymond Blacketer. How soon will he begin? Good question. We have at least one other candidate to evaluate. It’s been over two years. We lost Scott Hoezee to the Sem for their new Director at the Center on the Excellence in Preaching, which was fitting to say the least–Scott was/is excellent. So Calvin places a high premium on excellent preaching, big shoes to fill. But Blacketer was fanastic, if you ask me. I have a good feeling the search committee is getting equally good feedback. Anyway, I hope he would be called before Spring…but that is just a guess.


  42. efwake says:

    Ok, chimming in way too late on this one, but I’ll do so anyway.

    Rick- pre-sem, in my opinion, is best done in a secular or really challenging “Christian” liberal arts school like Calvin. The minister gets his theological training from his desire for it and through his M. Div. but needs the kind of contact with the broader world that a secular institution provides, as well as the type of general understanding of the world that liberal arts allow.

    Anybody ever read Richard Weaver? He is the author of the book with the much-quoted title (by Republican neo-Con morons who couldn’t read through it if they tried) “Ideas Have Consequences”. He has influenced my thoughts on this stuff; I have a certain appreciation for the generalist.

    Public schools recieved vehement backing from the early reformers, who were dealing with literacy issues and wanted the Scriptures read by laity. Knox was a huge public school advocate, but of course that was in Scotland where Church and State we’re separate.

    I agree completely with Steve on this one. I want my kids challenged throughout their acedemic careers with sub-Christian (what are mothers in law for!?!?) non-Christian, and anti-Christian sentiments in the classroom. Catechesis is done here, and we deal with how to “think Christianly” (PLEASE forgive me if that sounds like Rex Rogers) about all such issues.

    I’m always appreciative of the Princetonites on this type of stuff. They (Hodge, Warfield, Machen) did not sit in their ivory towers and debate the Liberals from Germany, but sat in their institutions and learned with and from them. Machen’s family was very close with the founders of Johns Hopkins University. His time overseas was a turning point in Machen’s career, shaping the way he dealt with the fundamentalist/modernist debate and earning him the repect of noted Athieists Walter Lipmann and… um… the “man of letters” who hated Christianity… dang I forget his name.

    At any rate, the Dutch obsession with Christian Ed is, in my opinion, a hold over from the relationship the Church has with the state over there and does more harm than good here… assuming, as Steve said, that the Christian Schools in question aren’t acedemically superior to the area public schools. As expensive as they are they ought to be, but when I was a student at Rockford High School we had a not inaccurate saying that the students at Christian High were no different than us, they just smoked better weed and drove nicer cars.

  43. Rick says:

    Good post. I hear you and I’m with you. I never disagreed with Zrim (Steve), I just wanted him to elaborate on some stuff. You’re right, the Dutch Reformed Christian Ed obsession comes from the old country – It’s a Kuyper thing, but we’re not the only ones with this tradition (ours may be the most vehement, and deep-rooted). I have many friends at Harvest OPC and the make-up there seems to be like our church, most homeschool, many do Christian schools, a few public students. 7th Reformed always intrigued me, as most of those kids go to public schools.

    What do the sems require for pre-sem? Do you know?

  44. Zrim says:

    Eric and Rick,

    Good points about the CS thing being laregly a holdover from an ethnic enterprise. I was thinking about that lately myself. In this way, I always find it interesting when non-Dutch are so raucous over CS and don’t seem tuned in to the fact that they really are sort of partcipating in an ethnic experiment that historically doesn’t include them. Of course, things evolve and you won’t find many saying it is a Dutch experiement in continuance, which brings the questions back to just what the heck is “Christian education”? And, despite my asking for years, I cannot conclude that it is really anything more than a Christian environment doing education: I know what a Xian environment is, but I still don’t know what Xian education is.


  45. Pingback: A Home for Homeschooling « The Confessional Outhouse

  46. efwake says:

    Bruce- YES! Mencken!

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