There has been a bit of back and forth between the Heidelblog and “He Who Anonymously Channels All Things Francis Turretin.” (I experience the same trouble submitting a comment at Tfan’s blog that RSC seems to have.) At this point, TurretinFan still complains that his questions have not been answered. Quoth he:
And it seems, after reading Prof. Clark’s reply, that he has left the important questions of the original article unanswered. Those questions were these:
This, however, would create an odd tension. Why? Because the Westminster Standards (in the American revision) as well as the Belgic Confession (in the American Revision) call for the civil magistrate to protect God’s church. Yet, the duties of the civil magistrate are always a political matter.
So, can the church speak to political issues or not? Or is there an exception for certain political matters and not others? If there are exceptions, it starts to look like the prohibition on political speech by the church is ad hoc. And if the church can speak to political issues, then why are the Escondido folks so upset when people like the Bayly brothers preach sermons on highly politicized topics like abortion?
Well as far as I have always understood it, amongst perhaps other worries, the concern of two kingdom ecclesiology and the subsequent doctrine of the spirituality of the church is for the unfettered gospel. It doesn’t want anybody unduly alienated from the gospel by any tradition of men, up to and including any man’s politics. I continue to be puzzled as to why any of this should be so controversial or perplexing amongst those who conceive themselves as theologically conservative, unless we have made relative peace with the progressive spirit of the age. And this is what all the upset is over the Bayly’s glorified rightist political speech: it goes a fair distance to alienate people from the gospel, every bit as much as any glorified leftist political screed from MLK’s pulpit in the 60s. People who don’t have rightist or leftist or middlist politics, or like me who are politically agnostic, stand a very real chance of being sufficiently alienated from the gospel when its wagon is hitched up to any political or social star. This can be done implicitly as well as explicitly, in fact doing it implicitly can much more potent.
Personally, I’m not much a fan of any ordained officer making political comment even on his own blog. It’s not that I don’t think he has a right to his views, he does. But more than that, it’s that I think he has a special burden to his office that an ordinary member just doesn’t have to hold certain views and opinions a little closer to his chest. And that is a burden that follows him everywhere, not jst when he is literally in a pulpit. Perhaps my view is even more conservative than some of the most conservative fellow 2kers, but I do have a rather odd tick that it’s more about responsibility than rights.