Of Friendship, Fellowship, Study and Prayer

Those who hold so strongly to Reformed two-kingdom theology are regularly accused of being way too otherworldly for any earthly good. Apparently, we stake out the eternal and temporal so radically that we render the faith irrelevant and ourselves apathetic antinomians.

I can’t speak for every evangelical expatriot, but this accusation seems quite odd. Many moons ago, when I had come to the inevitable end of a short-lived evangelical devotion, one of the things that exhausted me was the relentlessly world-flight piety. To be honest, pietism had never computed with me—it was like trying to keep a balloon under water. I grew up in the world, it was a good place. And so going to the dark side of the Reformation earned me a reputation amongst my evangelical friends and family of having joined “worldly or carnal Christianity.” (I’m pretty sure I am described as the one who “baptizes his babies and drinks beer.”)

It strikes me that the kind of piety expressed in these two blog posts (here and here) not only capture well what I think is generally the best of Reformed outlooks in two different ways, but they also may help put to rest any idea that those who hold so strongly to two-kingdom theology are latent Gnostics. After all, can a Gnostic really say things like he feels “closer to non-believers, and may even be edified more by them, than by my fellow believers”? And can a Gnostic really put such priority on public worship over against private devotion, or describe spirituality as that which “flows from the public Word, the public means of grace, i.e., the preaching of the Holy Gospel and the administration of the Holy sacraments”?

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10 Responses to Of Friendship, Fellowship, Study and Prayer

  1. todd says:

    Zrim,

    For those new to such theonomic accusations against 2k I thought I’d provide a glossary of terms commonly used in the debate:

    Gnosticism – A refusal to publicly support, in the name of God, our anti-Democratic party, pro free market capitalism, anti-homosexual rights, anti-public school, abortion clinic tactics, anti-freedom of all religions, anti-Obama political agenda.

    Antinomianism – see definition for Gnosticism

    Treason – see definition for Gnosticism

  2. Zrim says:

    Todd,

    Be careful what you say at the BB. I think I got the boot for suggesting that disagreeing with the Bishop of Toledo over his defiant, almost subversive anti-abortion sermons directed at the powers that be is not the same as “telling slanderous, public lies.”

    But maybe I made my own bed by refusing to apologize for making careful distinctions?

  3. todd says:

    That’s fine. Certain “boots” end up being badges of honor.

  4. todd says:

    Zrim – were you actually banned from that blog? Is that what you mean by getting the boot – or just rebuked?

  5. Zrim says:

    Todd,

    Good question, I don’t really know. According to John Meuther I was banned. I think the long and short of it was that Bayly didn’t like the fact that I strongly dissented from his raging anti-abortion sermonizing, found some comments of mine to that effect a while back on some other blog, determined dissent equals slander, demanded that I apologize for slander, then deleted all my blog posts when I refused. I posted in the newest 2K thread, but when I returned it was gone. I was never emailed privately about anything. I guess that’s a ban. I’ve never been banned anywhere, so I don’t know how that works.

    I just sent you the exchange Meuther and I had.

  6. Bruce Settergren says:

    Todd, I can’t make sense of that list. Could you clarify for me?

  7. Bruce Settergren says:

    Did you mean Gnosticism = a refusal to publicly support the tactics of abortion clinic protesters?

    FWIW, I refuse to publicly support anything.

  8. todd says:

    Bruce,

    A bit facetious, but yes, the point is that it is much more about politics than religious heresy.

  9. David Cronkhite says:

    Zrim,

    On the bright side, the Bayly Bros must put high stock in your opinion. Calling a sermon a thinly veiled call for violence and insurrection is not slander just an opinion. They ‘protest too much’.

  10. Zrim says:

    David,

    Well, whatever the case on opinions, I can’t help but think they have been rooting around the Can. One of the most recent Bayly Brother posts looks a lot like one we had here a few weeks back. What makes it so curious is that I got that Wolterstorff quote from a friend at church who passed along some old notes from her Calvin days. I have no idea where the Bayly’s would’ve gotten that exact same quote. I’m just saying is all. But glad we agree on the import of Wolterstorff’s words.

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