Archive for July, 2012

This morning, I want to refer you to a most helpful blog post by Matt Tuininga, which you can find here.

This is why I think it is so helpful.

Matt clarifies an important distinction between representative neo-Calvinism and radical forms of neo-Calvinism. This distinction is so important, because it enables all of us to acknowledge that the former has always operated with an understanding of two kingdoms that seeks to uphold Scripture, honor the church, and respect the tension between this age and the age to come. Many criticisms of neo-Calvinism from some of today’s two-kingdom advocates apply only to radical forms of neo-Calvinism. Representative neo-Calvinism, by contrast, enjoys an international reputation for Scriptural fidelity, for historical rootedness, and for responsible churchmanship.

Matt is right: many of the goals and cautions envisioned in today’s advocacy of two kingdoms are shared by representative neo-Calvinism.

I want to thank Matt personally and publicly for this clarification, and want to commend his blog to our readers.

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. . . that I find extremely persuasive, and therefore attractive.

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One would have thought that sustained attention to an author’s work was itself an acknowledgement of the significance of that work. Such thinking lay behind my writing and serializing this review in the pages of Christian Renewal. To my knowledge, this series has not been met with substantive response dealing with its claims and analysis.

Not yet, anyway.

So we offer our  review in this ten-chapter, 82-page ebook, entitled Peering Into a Lawyer’s Brief: An Extended Examination of  David VanDrunen’s Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms.

Our purpose remains the same: to invite readers to reflect on the arguments, and if they are inclined, to join the conversation.

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Any ongoing defense of the binary analysis and false dilemma . . .

. . . that pictures the biblical position regarding Christian cultural engagement . . .

. . . to be comprised only of either (1) those committed to so-called “theonomy” or (2) those committed to one contemporary version of “two kingdoms,” . . .

. . . should pause to listen to this extremely timely conversation between two preeminent Christian philosophers of our generation.

In this conversation, Dr. Alvin Plantinga and Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff are giving expression to “the third way” in relation to Christian scholarship. Theirs is an alternative that has enjoyed an illustrious and ongoing development in the twentieth century and beyond, to our own day. These intellectual giants make bold to speak of disciplines like Christian philosophy and Christian psychology as part of Christian scholarship.

I found valuable Wolterstorff’s comments, beginning at 4:00, about combining professional programs with the study of liberal arts, with the aid of social analysis that seeks to integrate theory and practice. If you listen carefully at 5:14, you’ll hear how Christian education serves to equip Christians to live integratedly as citizens in God’s kingdom and as citizens in civil society—without identifying God’s kingdom with civil society. Equally valuable is Plantinga’s defense, beginning at 16:08, of the legitimacy of a Christian worldview starting point in philosophy and other disciplines.

At 25:49 you will hear Plantinga’s interesting discussion of how knowing that 2 + 1 = 3 fits within a Christian approach to philosophy.

Be alert for a very significant “but” voiced by Dr. Plantinga at 34:21, and at 46:47, some very timely advice from Dr. Wolterstorff.

Part of the enchantment of this conversation involves two retired Reformed Christian philosophers reviewing the pilgrimage made by Christian philosophers in North America during their professional lifetime.

(Naturally, although it should not have to be said, it nonetheless seems necessary to say: to appreciate this conversation about Christian scholarship is not to endorse everything else these thinkers have ever written or said.)


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