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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Two Kingdoms Theology and Ecumenical Contradictions




Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." (John 18:36 NKJV)



The Two Kingdoms Theology and Ecumenical Contradictions

At the risk of being considered an isolationist, a fundamentalist, and a divisionist I have decided to write this article to discuss what I consider to be self-contradictory in regards to the two kingdoms theology of Michael Horton and others. While these theologians make strong statements about the separation of church and state and the two kingdoms, namely the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world, these same men continually make ambiguous statements about what the kingdom of God actually is and who belongs to that kingdom.

The real issue comes down to this: who is in and who is out? Mike Horton did an entire campaign a couple of years ago about Christless Christianity and said that much of Evangelicalism is essentially pelagian due to the influence of Charles Finney. I applauded his efforts. But when Horton came under fire for his views by the wider Evangelical community he backed off that statement and said that Arminians are not really semi-pelagians or pelagian. In fact, Horton has had William Willimon, an Arminian, on the White Horse Inn and he has had David Virtue of VirtueOnline on the program as well. Virtue is an open advocate for Anglo-Catholicism, though he pretends to be an “Evangelical”. If Evangelicalism includes Anglo-Papists, the Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics in addition to the semi-pelagian Arminians, then for all practical purposes the term “Evangelical” is meaningless. The great Anglican Reformed minister, Augustus Toplady called Arminianism, The Road to Rome. If the syncretism of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement with Christian Science, the prosperity gospel, Word of Faith movement, oneness Pentecostalism, and charismatic Roman Catholicism is part of Evangelicalism, then we are in a world of trouble (2 Corinthians 4:4). Some theologians in the Reformed tradition claim to be non-cessationists. Unfortunately most of them compromise with the errors mentioned above in some way or another. (See Mike Horton: Reformed and Charismatic?).

In light of what I just pointed out above, I am wondering how Horton could appeal to a village green or a big tent if he really believes in the two kingdoms theology? Who actually belongs to the kingdom of God? According to Horton to belong to the village green or the big tent all you need to believe is that the Bible is inspired of God and that it is inerrant and that God is three persons in one divine nature, the statement of faith of the Evangelical Theological Society. (See Doctrinal Basis). Is Horton equating Evangelicalism, the village green, and the big tent with “the kingdom of God”? If so, what is his justification for universalizing what should be particularized by a systematic confessional theology based on a wholistic biblical theology? If all “Evangelical” religion leads to God and Evangelicalism is so heterodox as a whole, then how can it be anything other than a secularizing movement in the church, as Edmund P. Clowney put it in his article, The Politics of the Kingdom?

But this sort of reductionism on the part of Horton and other advocates of the 2k view is troubling. If he thinks that there are two kingdoms, would not the kingdom of God be defined by a systematic confession of what Scripture teaches as a whole? Horton's view of the village green reminds me of the Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888. That statement was drafted by the Anglo-Catholics and reduced essential doctrine to four main points:

1. The Holy Scriptures, as containing all things necessary to salvation;
2. The Creeds (specifically, the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds), as the sufficient statement of Christian faith;
4. The historic episcopate, locally adapted.


Obviously the Protestant Reformers, being committed to the Scriptures as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, would not have reduced the principle for fellowship and communion to the two utilized by Horton and the Evangelical Theological Society. Most Evangelicals reject apostolic succession and any sacerdotal interpretation of the two Gospel sacraments. The Tractarians, however, accept all seven of the papist sacraments whole hog. Evangelical and Reformed Anglicans totally reject the Anglo-Catholic interpretation of the 39 Articles of Religion, the sacraments or any other Papist spin put on the English Reformation.

Even the National Association of Evangelicals has for all practical purposes become just another liberal ecumenical organization and is dominated by Pentecostals and Charismatics. Practically all the Reformed churches immediately after the separation from Rome formulated detailed confessions of faith, not short, pithy reductions to minimalist requirements. If the Scriptures contain everything a Christian is required to believe, then obviously reducing it all down to “Jesus wept” is unconscionable. (John 11:35).

Some Evangelicals and some Reformed pastors and teachers say that the basis for fellowship should be the ecumenical creeds. But this is simply a reduction of the Lambeth Quadrilateral into a more tolerable form. Although the ecumenical or catholic creeds are essential to saving faith, they are not the only essentials for saving faith. Additionally, a proper understanding of the five solas of the Reformation and the Law/Gospel distinction are absolutely necessary to a proper understanding of soteriology. Calvinism and Arminianism are mutually exclusive of one another and cannot be teaching the same Gospel message since for Arminians man saves himself ultimately by his own efforts to cooperate with God.

It seems to me that the only true basis for fellowship is to adhere to one of the Reformed standards consistently and along with that to affirm the catholic creeds. Everything else leads to either liberalism or to Rome or worse. (Anglican Formularies; Three Forms of Unity; Westminster Standards).




--
Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

5 comments:

Jireh8 said...

I had recently listened to a sermon on Amil...and the teacher referenced the 2 kingdoms and then it came up in this blog post.

Do you have some additional material about 2 kingdom theology/thought/position?

Thanks

Charlie J. Ray said...

Jireh8, the link I gave to Edmund P. Clowney's article, The Politics of the Kingdom, is an excellent article explaining the view.

Here is another resource:

Resources on Two Kingdoms Theology: For and Against

Charlie J. Ray said...

The problem with those who emphasize the role of the church as transforming culture is that the eternal aspect of the Gospel and the Kingdom is forgotten. Culture winds up influencing the church and politicizing the church rather than the church standing on the truth that souls need to be saved from an eternal hell. Where will you spend eternity? is still a valid question.

My problem with Horton is that he is not always consistent with the doctrine of the two kingdoms. Ecumenicalism is more a part of the worldly kingdom since to compromise the truth for the sake of unity is to undermine God's eternal Kingdom and the Gospel itself. It is to secularize the church.

Jireh8 said...

Thank you. I will review the links you provided. I mis-quoted the reference, he stated the age that is and the age to come.

Which when I reflect upon, would seem to indicate something different from the 2 kingdom info I have recently viewed.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Yes, the Reformed view is not dispensational. There are only two dispensations: old covenant and new covenant. The two ages are the now and the not yet. The end will come at the return of Christ. But we don't know when that will be since we have been in the "last days" since Jesus ascended into heaven. The book of revelation was meant to speak to 1st century Christians under persecution so it is only predictive of the future where it specifically refers to the future. Not everything in the book of Revelation is in chronological order.

In Christ,

Charlie

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