Sunday, June 2, 2013

Response to a response to a response to a response (Part 1)

     On the website, Dr. Vandrunen wrote a response to Ryan McIlhenny's article that he wrote for DVD's review of Kingdoms Apart,  which is a book that McIlhenny wrote, here
     DVD's response to Ryan McIlhenny's response to DVD's review (confusing yet?) is here
     I found DVD's response very interesting and somewhat descriptive on the (R)2K debate and I thought to offer some meager comments. 

     First, regardless of the fact that I do not agree with some of DVD's formulations and conclusions, personally, he is a very charitable man. Years ago, when I was stationed in San Diego, I visited the OPC congregation that was in Santee (around the time that Escondido OPC was being planted), and he was there with his wife and his son. He invited me over to his house for dinner and I still remember how I was about 45 min late for that dinner appointment because I lost my way. I don't really remember the conversation, but I remember having a lot of fun and DVD's penchant for good beer. Sometimes, it is easy to demonize a person that you don't agree with, and so I wanted to put this little anecdote out there to put a somewhat personal aspect to this post.
     In the Ordained Servant post, DVD comments on natural law for a little bit. He says,

     "McIlhenny asks some questions about natural law and its relation to a Christ-centered perspective. To try to answer them briefly I believe it is crucial to make a basic distinction between, on the one hand, natural law itself as an aspect of God’s objective natural revelation and, on the other hand, the subjective response to natural law on the part of sinful human beings. As objective revelation, natural law is sufficient for the purposes for which God gives it. The same is true for all divine revelation: whether special or natural, God’s revelation is sufficient for the purposes for which he gave it and insufficient for other purposes. One purpose of natural law, I think we’d all agree, is to hold all people accountable before God’s judgment for their violations of his moral law. This is explicit in Romans 1 and implicit in many other biblical texts, such as Amos 1. This means that the substance of the moral law is revealed in natural law; otherwise, many people could stand before God’s judgment and legitimately claim excuse for their sins. Therefore, natural law must objectively reveal sufficient moral knowledge for a human being to live a blameless life in the present world. But immediately one must add that, subjectively speaking, no sinner could possibly respond to this revelation blamelessly. Natural law reveals God’s perfect law but does not convey the ability to respond without sin. Fallen sinners distort the truths that they know through natural revelation, as Romans 1 also teaches. So in response to McIlhenny’s questions regarding an advantage for Christians: Christians do not have, objectively, an information-advantage with respect to the moral law; Scripture reveals the same substance of the moral law that natural law reveals.[4] But Christians may be said to have a moral advantage in that Scripture clarifies many aspects of natural revelation for our dull minds and in that Christians’ sanctified hearts should be less prone to distort natural revelation"

     After having read DVD's Living in God's Two Kingdoms, I was a little disappointed because I originally thought that he would discuss natural law, but he in fact never even mentioned it in this book. His book was good in that it helped me to understand the (R)2K position much better, but without any mention of natural law, I would say that Living in God's Two Kingdoms was incomplete in providing a full picture of (R)2K. 

     First, I was always somewhat confused that he always seemed to be somewhat surprised that he was regarded as a chief proponent of the (R) two-kingdoms perspective. Between him, Dr Scott Clark and Dr Michael Horton, it actually seems surprising to me that he DOESN'T regard himself as one of the chief proponents. I would venture to say, ask any reformed believer who has any inkling of (R)2K and all three of these names will come up. 

     Second, sometimes, it is difficult to "pin down" (R)2K to a certain extent because certain people have very different interpretations and applications of (R)2K. 
For instance, Matt Tuininga (PhD student at Emory) and Dr Scott Clark would probably be the most "theonomic (my slang description, not theirs)" and "conservative" of (R)2K advocates in that they feel that ministers should be able to speak out on social issues (obviously from the lens of natural law) while Dr. Darryl Hart and Rev. Todd Bordow, and Dr. Michael Horton would probably be considered the extreme "liberal" of (R)2K advocates. It would be safe to say that Dr Hart and Rev Bordow couldn't care less if the world literally burned around them. However, even with these widely differing applications of natural law theory, they all appear to have commonality on what natural law is in relation to DVD's formulations, even though they may all differ on applications. For that reason, I am going to focus more so on DVD's formulations since this will be a fairly wide ranging coverage on what all (R)2K advocates would believe. 

Part 2 next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment