Friday Fun

Or “VanDrunen in the Hands of an Anxious Kloosterman.” Either way it’s good reading to decompress on a Friday afternoon, perhaps even most of all for those of us who live and move mostly amongst the pagans in worldviewitisville.

This entry was posted in David VanDrunen, Two-kingdoms. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Friday Fun

  1. RubeRad says:

    That looks like a great read!

    Not to change the subject, but here is another new resource for people that love DVD and/or me!

  2. Anonymous says:
    T-Fan has a Kloosterman commentary, too.

  3. RubeRad says:

    This is priceless:

    What constitutes this pernicious blend of Roman Catholicism and post-Enlightenment philosophy [that Kloosterman not-so-subtly insinuates] that apparently poses such a threat to Reformed Christianity? Kloosterman seems convinced that it involves “deriving a true code of morality from creation” without the help of Scripture, while denying or at least grossly underestimating the effects of sin upon human knowledge and ethics. Furthermore, it entails committing some basic logical blunders, the sociological and naturalistic fallacies, that your middle school children should be capable of debunking. If this is indeed what I have set out to do, I for one can hardly blame Kloosterman for coming to the aid of the OPC to warn it against the naïve “programmatic answer” of one of its own ministers.

  4. RubeRad says:

    This, I think, is Very Important:

    I will say again that I do not teach courses in apologetics, and A Biblical Case for Natural Law is not a book on apologetics. These are significant facts. Apologetics is important, but it is not everything. Van Til was an apologist and he wrote books on apologetics. Van Til was not a social theorist and he made only occasional and usually passing comments on broader issues of the Christian’s responsibilities in daily cultural affairs. Van Til’s task in, say, The Defense of the Faith and my task in A Biblical Case for Natural Law are two very different things. I see no reason why one cannot be Van Tillian in apologetics and think that natural law should have an important role to play in the Christian’s daily cultural work. Van Til emphasized that we should never view nature as an autonomous or neutral realm; the Reformed natural law tradition, which always affirmed that the natural law is God’s law, did not view nature as autonomous or neutral. But if one tries to apply Van Til’s apologetical method to every aspect of the Christian’s daily cultural work, there is trouble brewing, I fear, and I do oppose that sort of move (a move that Van Til himself made on occasion).

  5. Zrim says:

    Yes, that made me think of Paul.

    But this, though recycled from a previous piece, made me think of you:

    There are many more things that Kloosterman said that I might respond to, but I must address just one more before making some concluding remarks. Kloosterman says: “Illustrative of the problematic two-kingdom construction being advocated by VanDrunen is the question: To which of the two kingdoms, worldly or spiritual, must we assign marriage and the family?” He apparently thinks that he has me locked on the horns of a hopeless dilemma, but I reply unambiguously: to the “worldly” kingdom. Marriage and family are part of the original creation order, they have been sustained by common grace, and my unbelieving neighbors’ marriage is just as valid in the sight of God and society as mine. Christ’s redemptive work is not the origin of marriage. The church did not establish the bearing of children. Marriage and family are institutions common to believers and unbelievers alike. The church recognizes these institutions, commends them, and gives some general instructions about them, but it does not create them.

  6. RubeRad says:

    Yes, I agree with that, but there is some sense in which Christianity “baptizes” a marriage, because it is only a “Christian marriage” that bears fruit that is holy, and subject to baptism. But I totally agree that the church “does not create” marriage (hear what WSCAL student and WHI staffer Ryan Guyer has to say)

  7. Zrim says:

    Rube, I understand his point. But t think the suggestion may go over about as well as the suggestion that education is also a facet of creation, and so if ministers have no business officiating marriages then maybe churches have no business urging parents to “godly schooling” (as in the URC CO Art. 14), and certainly no business taking up offerings “to help defray the costs of Christian education.”

  8. "Michael Mann" says:

    The discussion of 2k or not-2k isn’t about heresy or not, but there are pretty extensive and profound differences between the two. So extensive and profound are the differences that it’s not overkill to call them dueling paradigms. Some authenticating tests of a paradigm include whether it explains the pertinent data and whether it answers the vexing questions of the field. I would also add the test of whether it can correct prevalent errors. The more I overlay the 2k position over the data I see, the better I like it. It does very well by these criteria.

    I’ll explain with respect to your excerpt, Zrim. As I understand DVD’s 2k position, he would say that there may be some “big picture” differences and the Christian may have some unique precepts, but the family is essentially of the common kingdom. Now, if this is the case, we would, when comparing Christian and non-Christian families, see a difference in Christian families attempting to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord by, e.g., giving them properly religious instruction. But, since the family is of the common kingdom, we would often find non-Christians understanding and applying some basic principles of the family, and often doing so better than Christians. We would see some earnest Christians doing a poorer job of raising their children in areas like self-discipline, respecting authority, vocational accomplishment, intellectual development, etc. And this is just what we see.

    Some have asked the vexing question of why Christians have a high divorce rate, why their kids are as wild as non-Christian kids, etc. Well, it’s because, James Dobson books notwithstanding, Christians are not inherently better at family living than non-Christians. Now, this might bug a lot of people because we have mesmerized ourselves into thinking that we are so much better in this regard. But look around a little bit – there are some fine families that are not Christian and there are some train-wreck families that are Christian. There are non-Christian families that are tight-knit and mutually supportive while there are some Christian families that are splintered. Why? There are common kingdom skills involved, skills that Christians can no more claim inherent superiority than they can claim inherent superiority in the triathlon.

    So the two kingdom paradigm explains these things quite well.

  9. Zrim says:

    Agreed, Michael, though I would tend to emphasize the reality of abiding sin to explain the imperfections of those (believing or not) doing common kingdom skills. I can see the family-values crowd nodding at this, but I tend to think that if they really understood the reality of abiding sin they’d be much less vociferous as their rhetoric suggests that believers really are better at the common kingdom activity of people making.

  10. RubeRad says:

    Hey, I wouldn’t mind some defrayment of the costs of Christian family. Food prices is goin up. And have you ever bought a house in southern california?

  11. "Michael Mann" says:

    Then let’s test the paradigm on cultural pursuits, including jobs. Now, if the paradigm of worldviewism were true, Christians would have greater insight into nearly all aspects of culture due to the superior Christian worldview, and would consequently perform better. But that’s not what we see; “we” are perplexed as to why Christians aren’t doing superior art, superior music, etc. Worldviewism says they should be better.

    But if the two kingdom paradigm is true, these are substantially activities of the common kingdom. Christians would not have an advantage in art, music, basketball, heart surgery, etc. because the level of competence is dependent mostly upon natural talent, knowledge, and diligence, three things that do not inherently divide the Christian from the non-Christian. So we would do not expect Christians to be superior in such things. This is exactly what we see. Moreover, the two kingdom paradigm explains what is often the inferior performance of some goofy Christians (you know what I mean, you have seen them) who try too hard to turn such things into an explicit Christian “witness” – they are distracted from the task at hand, and, in a state of kingdom confusion, actually perform worse than the non-Christian.

    So, again, the Two Kingdom perspective explains the data and answers questions better than what I am calling “worldviewism.”

  12. Zrim says:

    Michael, as you know, I’ve no interest in making things safe for worldviewism. But when I look around I do see Christians also doing common kingdoms activites well, even superior work. The unfortunate and altogther too common mistake seems to be in drawing a straight line from heavenly citizenship to superior earthly performance, instead of saying that good creational work is the result of cultivating creational goods (as you suggest, natural talent, knowledge, and diligence).

    IOW, redemption doesn’t imply creation, rather creation explains creation. And everyone, redeemed or not, has equal access to that creational reservoir. So the more I think about it the more worldviewism seems a way of eliminating creationa l categories instead of exalting them. Which, I don’t know, just seems really ironic.

  13. "Michael Mann" says:

    Zrim, you live in an area dominated by the reformed. I live in an area dominated by evangelicals. And, yes, it’s possible that their numbers are relatively small, but my experiences with well-intentioned evangelicals trying to turn their jobs into a “witness” have been prominent enough to get my attention as a problem that needs solving. That’s the goofiness of which I speak.

    For example, there is a quiet integrity that ought to be involved with being a lawyer. But over-the-top, “look at me, I’m a Christian” integrity looks like Dudley Doright with a briefcase. And then, projecting Mr. Doright into an oral argument doesn’t assist the client as much as it creates a spectacle.

    Again, I don’t want to make too much of this, but surely other people have seen this kind of thing in their service providers or coworkers.

  14. "Michael Mann" says:

    Interesting article, but there are so many counterexamples and the article has the feel of a “puff piece.” Chris, I wonder if you yourself are commited to the principle. Do you ever utilize “Christian Yellow Pages?” Are non-Christians inherently inferior in their vocations? If you needed delicate surgery, would you prefer a Christian surgeon?

  15. "Michael Mann" says:

    For this last look at 2k as a paradigm, I’ll consider a couple “theological facts:” that the first day is a day set apart as the Lord’s Day and the church is an institution central to the well-being of the Christian with special blessing attached to membership, sitting under its preaching, and receiving its sacraments.

    How does the cultural transformationalist paradigm affect the view of these facts? I maintain that it tends to obscure and diminish them. This paradigm tends toward a view of worship services as something akin to a huddle or preparation for the more important activities that take place the other six days. And, with that emphasis on cultural impact, it becomes harder to see Sunday as a special day since, after all, setting that day aside takes one away from the more important business of changing culture. The cultural transformationalist paradigm, on the whole, tends against having a special day, yielding to the mandate to take every square inch for Christ. As for the church, yes, it is still a good thing to attend its services, but, since cultural institutions are so important, the institution of the church is not quite as prominent as the theological facts demands. Think of a mountain range: the church is a mountain, but other mountains (other institutions) are nearly as tall and maybe even taller.

    The 2k paradigm, on the other hand, is centered on the redemptive kingdom and its central institution the church. It sees the things we do six days per week as good, but tells us not to put our hope there, and to realize that such things have an expiration date. This paradigm leaves a space for the Lord’s Day to be important as we especially attend to the things of the redemptive kingdom. It draws our focus more toward the church and sees its ministry not as a means to effective living the other six days, but as our duty and privilege, and our Lord’s special way of sanctifying his people, out of which there is ordinarily no possibility of salvation.

    So the two kingdom paradigm accommodates and emphasizes these important “theological facts.”

  16. Chris Sherman says:

    Michael, don’t read too much between the lines. Christian yellow pages? I didn’t know yellow pages could be Christian. Maybe if I was looking for a divorce lawyer, I would look there.

    My daughter actually did need delicate surgery a few years back and we did consult a “Christian neurosurgeon”, but not because he was a Christian, but because he was one of the top neurosurgeons in the country at the time, and we liked the fact that he gave thanks to God for his skillfulness. By his recommendation, we ended up going to another surgeon, not even sure if he is a Christian or not, but he was a good pediatric neurosurgeon.

    I guess my point in post the link to that article was just to point out that maybe Christians can actually be good businessmen and maybe for good reason, maybe God has something to say about how we conduct ourselves in the civil kingdom (Colossians 3:23 for example). I’m not for turning my job into a”witness” for anything, other than that I can do what I do well (hopefully), and I’d be happy to do the job for you.

    I came from those circles where if everything you did wasn’t “for the Kingdom” then it wasn’t considered worth doing. If you had a yard sale, all the money had to go to missionaries. They used to wait to see where the “Spirit” was telling them to go eat after service. It’s been a long, sometimes painful journey out of that. So so so refreshing to go to Sunday service now and hear Law and Gospel preached and not confused.

  17. Chris Sherman says:

    To be clear, I don’t agree with most of that Chinese “Christian Factory” model.

  18. "Michael Mann" says:

    I mentioned “Christian Yellow Pages” because I have actually seen them in my area.

    Certainly, Chris, there are subjective things that set Christians apart in their vocations. The Christian is to work as unto the Lord and not simply to the visible boss. We strive to do all things in faith and have the glory of God as a motivation.

    I posed the goofy extreme of “Christianizing” common kingdom tasks as an example of something the 2k paradigm can potentially solve more readily than the competing paradigm. It’s a corrective to thinking that we are either at an advantage due to our worldview or that we must make common kingdom activities redemptive, thereby being distracted by focusing on something other than the task at hand, and even mystically thinking our performance will be better if we “give it to the Lord.”

    Is it just me? Hasn’t anyone else had a coworker who is scrupulous about wearing religiosity on his sleeve to the apparent detriment of the task at hand?

    Your skilled Christian neurosurgeon became skilled by a combination of common kingdom skills and diligence that can be and are accessible to the non-Christian. He probably doesn’t witness to the nurses during surgery or skip medical research because he figures good devotions will be enough to procure the favor of God in his occupation. That would be kingdom confusion.

  19. Zrim says:

    Michael, I think that view of the Sabbath and its resident activities is called “worship as homeroom.” You know, check in now and then, get your marching orders and a little pep, then go out and win one for the Gipper.

  20. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, you said this:

    I see no reason why one cannot be Van Tillian in apologetics and think that natural law should have an important role to play in the Christian’s daily cultural work.”

    made you think of me.

    Question: since I agree with it, what do you mean?

  21. RubeRad says:

    Is it just me? Hasn’t anyone else had a coworker who is scrupulous about wearing religiosity on his sleeve to the apparent detriment of the task at hand?

    Apparently, that’s what the movie The Big Kahuna is all about. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s been waiting on the DVR for a couple months now…

  22. Zrim says:

    Paul, I didn’t say it, VanDrunen did. I think he’s right, but probably only because I agree with him.

  23. "Michael Mann" says:

    I understand the desire to be delicate when discussing VanTil, a man held in such high regard in the OPC. He did some good work and, based on his recorded lectures, could be very endearing. But it’s a mistake to take one man and say he is the final word in apologetics. It’s a field of study prone to substantial development and change – much more so than theology proper. It’s not realistic to think an application of Kant to the task of apologetics is going to be the final word.

    With that in mind, the fact is that there is a tension between 2k and VanTil. Yes, someone can pull out CVT quotes that might seem compatible with 2k, but his project as a whole is not built on 2k. He is sharply critical of the “traditional method of apologetics;” that method is very 2k-ish.

    Just keepin’ it real.

  24. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, I didn’t say *you* said it. I said you said that *the statement* i.,e the referent of “this,” made you think of me.

    So the question’s back on the table and your dodge has been put down. Since I agree with it, what do you mean?

  25. Zrim says:

    Paul, sorry. It wasn’t a dodge but hurried reading on my part.

    But what actually made me think of you wasn’t that part of the quote. It was this: “Apologetics is important, but it is not everything.”

  26. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, okay, good, we’re getting somewhere. So, you said this:

    “But what actually made me think of you wasn’t that part of the quote. It was this: “Apologetics is important, but it is not everything.”

    Here’s the facts, though: I have always (as friends of yours’ like Rube and Jed can attest) said that a broad and diverse approach is best. That is, I have always championed teaching the confession and catechisms, basic exegetical techniques and tools, systematic theology, biblical theology, apologetics and Christian philosophy. I have always said a well-rounded approach is best. And, I have said that in the context of both you and Darryl Hart mocking me while saying that teaching apologetics seems to deny the perseverance of the saints. Who’s lopsided now?

    Again, I appreciate the opportunity to correct your constant untruths uttered about me.

  27. Zrim says:

    Paul, I feel your ire from here. But you might recall that I once suggested an addition to the categories of Reformed pietists, culturalists and doctrinalists–philosophers. Actually, that’s on top of another suggested category: Reformed liturgicalists. In doing so, I’m trying to make room for all in the Reformed family. We liturgicals love you philosophers, but some of you have to learn how not to take yourselves as seriously as your ideas.

  28. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, appreciate the dodge (is it a dodge this time?), but I’m not seeing a substantiation of your claim about what I supposedly do. However, you added a new charge. How would you substantiate your charge that I take myself too seriously. In any case, I do appreciate the enlightenment. I never would have guessed, given some of your comments, that you “love” us philosophically inclined types.

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