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We are pleased to announce the launch, today, of our completely redesigned website and blog. (My warm thanks to Chris Engelsma for his assistance!)

We have moved everything under the umbrella of one site now, which you can find here.

As an accessory to our blog, “Cosmic Eye,” we have introduced our Twitter feed, called “Cosmic Blink.”

If you’re new to WRI, please consider subscribing to  “Cosmic Eye” (via RSS) and following “Cosmic Blink” on Twitter. If you’ve been with us for some time, please review your bookmarks or linked feeds to ensure that you’ll not be missing anything.

Featured on this newly launched site is the first of three chapters from our translation of Woord, water en wijn: Gedachten over prediking, doop en avondmaal, by C. Trimp (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 1989; ET: Word, Water, and Wine: Thoughts about Preaching, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper). This first chapter deals with preaching.

Please enjoy . . . and spread the word!

(User alert: we’re still working on linking and activating a number of audio files.)

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Here is a rather provocative post commenting on the “bishop bans Biden” Roman Catholic controversy involving the Vice President’s political position on abortion.

What interests me here is the hopeful possibility of constructive engagement regarding the particular brand of what is known as “two kingdoms theology” (or NL2K, or R2K, or Escondido Theology), a novel construal of the relationship between Christ(ianity) and culture that has received a careful analysis and clear response in the newly released volume, Kingdoms Apart: Engaging the Two Kingdoms Perspective.

The blog post reviews the Biden controversy, along with some Roman Catholic casuistry (a good word, by the way!) for advising church members about voting for candidates who support abortion. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) offered some distinctions relating to evaluating the way in which a candidate’s toleration of abortion functioned in his political activity.

I’m fascinated by the author’s concluding praise for the Roman Catholic Church’s position:

The concern [of Ratzinger’s advice] is clearly to place the church in opposition to an evil so grave that it may never be tolerated. For that, I think, the Catholic Church should be lauded. There are some principles of moral obedience binding on a disciple of Christ that simply cannot be compromised, even if (or especially if) that disciple is a civil magistrate.

If we should applaud the church that advises its members regarding political responses to candidates who favor abortion, then by this logic we should also applaud the church that encourages its members—whether citizen or magistrate—to seek effective legal means that will eliminate “an evil so grave that it may not be tolerated.”

This encouragement should be applauded as being something distinct from the church endorsing, or requiring its members to endorse, one or another such legal means to eliminate this evil. (We are not arguing that the church-as-institute should endorse, say, a particular constitutional amendment relating to defending life at conception.)

This encouragement should be applauded because eliminating this evil is also required by “the principle of moral obedience binding on a disciple of Christ that simply cannot be compromised.” We would be troubled if our applause for the church-as-institute were permitted by our NL2K friends to be one-sided—applauding the church’s opposition toward intolerable evil, but not the church’s promotion of the good over against that evil.

Historically, it is exactly this kind of encouragement by the church-as-institute for the church-as-organism that has fueled Christian, Calvinist cultural engagement that seeks to express (not “extend”) the Lordship of Jesus Christ within the field of politics.

Historically, it is exactly this kind of encouragement by the church-as-institute that has identified Christian activity (something distinct from activity by Christians) in various cultural spheres as serving the coming kingdom of God (something distinct from building the kingdom of God).

Historically, this kind of encouragement arose from biblical preaching and teaching that presented the Cosmic Christ as having royal claims upon all Christian activity, as well as all activity by Christians, within cultural life.

Historically, this kind of encouragement from the church-as-institute motivated the collaborative application by Christian believers of biblical principles and perspectives to spheres like labor and management, citizenship and justice, education and nurture, science and art, and more.

If the institutional church should be applauded for opposing the evil of legalized abortion on demand, why should it not be applauded for promoting the elimination of that evil? And if the latter is valid, then on what biblical and theological basis should the institutional church be forbidden from promoting the good—pursued by believers laboring together beyond the activity and competence of the institutional church—in other areas of cultural life?

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This fresh translation by yours truly was edited by Jordan Ballor and Stephen Grabill and published by Christian’s Library Press. For information about the content and purchase of this new volume, you can go here and here and here.

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You may be interested in listening to three addresses on Turning the Church Inside Out (scroll to the bottom of the page).

These were delivered at the Second Annual Conference of the Chicago Area Reformed Study Society, held on September 30 – October 1, 2011, at Hope Presbyterian Church, Grayslake, IL. They deal with a Reformed missional ecclesiology and practice.

  • Session 1: The Bible’s Story: Election for Serving
  • Session 2: Christ’s Demonstration: Obedience in Suffering
  • Session 3: The Church’s Calling: Exhibiting the Gospel Culture

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You’ll find an essay opening up that rather cryptic title here.

For me personally and professionally, this essay has been among the most formative, life-changing, and vision-inducing treatments I’ve encountered.

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Announcement

Press Release
21 July 2011
St. John, IN

Dr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Executive Director of Worldview Resources International (WRI), has been received as a member and teaching elder by the Chicago Metro Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

In December 2009, Dr. Kloosterman formally announced his plans to leave teaching at Mid-America Reformed Seminary to begin theological translation, consulting, and church leadership training as Executive Director for WRI. He will now do this as a “theological missionary” under oversight within the PCA, a church family eagerly committed to speaking the gospel into today’s culture. The church with which he and his wife will be associated is the Lincoln Square Presbyterian Church of Chicago.

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“Who is Jesus Christ?” remains the perennial touchstone question for both the church and the world. Hence the timeliness of the theme of the recent Gospel Coalition conference: preaching Jesus Christ and the gospel from the Old Testament.

The identity of Jesus Christ lies at the heart of the church’s understanding of his cosmic sovereignty and rule today.

Over at The Sword and the Ploughshare, Brad Littlejohn has published a post entitled, “Is Christ Divided? Christology and the Two Kingdoms,” available here

With considerably more depth and detail, Littlejohn analyzes the same issue identified in our most recent installment of an extended review of the NL2K debate. That issue is Christology. Some of Littlejohn’s concluding observations follow below. You will not want to miss his final three sentences!

Enjoy!

[As Richard Hooker {?} insisted], the second person of the Trinity, by virtue of his divinity derived from the Father, is creator and ruler of all things.  However, there is an important corollary:

“As the consubstantiall word of God, he had with God before the beginning of the world that glorie which as man he requesteth to have.  Father glorifie they Sonne now with that glorie which with thee I enjoyed before the world was, for there is no necessitie that all things spoken of Christ should agree unto him either as God or else as man, but some things as he is the consubstantiall word of God, some thinges as he is that word incarnate.  The workes of supreme Dominion which have been since the first begining wrought by the power of the Sonne of God are now most truly and properly the workes of the Sonne of man.  The word made flesh doth sitt for ever and raigne as Soveraigne Lord over all.  Dominion belongeth unto the Kingly office of Christ as propitiation and mediation unto his priestly, instruction unto his pastoral or propheticall office.”

Although there may well be “no necessitie” that the two dominions should be united, the Father’s gracious glorification and exaltation of the Son ensures that they are.  All that the Son worked as God he works now also as man–the two natures are united in one agency, one dominion, a dominion over not only the Church, but all creation, following 1 Cor. 15:20-28.

This is stated even more clearly back in Hooker’s Christological discussion in Bk. 5, which he is clearly drawing on at this point:

“that deitie of Christ which before our Lordes incarnation wrought all thinges without man doth now worke nothinge wherein the nature which it hath assumed is either absent from it or idle.  Christ as man hath all power both in heaven and earth given him.  He hath as man not as God only supreme dominion over quicke and dead.  For so much his ascension into heaven and his session at the right hand of God doe importe….Session at the right hand of God is the actual exercise of that regencie and dominino wherein the manhood of Christ is joyned and matchet with the deitie of the Sonne of God….This government [over all creation] therefore he exerciseth both as God and as man, as God by essentiall presence with all thinges, as man by cooperation with that which essentiallie is present.”

And so he says again, contra [Thomas] Cartwright, “And yet the dominion wherunto he was in his humane nature lifted up is not without divine power exercised.  It is by divine power that the Sonne of man, who sitteth in heaven doth work as King and Lord upon us which are on earth.”

The basis of all worldly government, then, is not merely from God the Creator, but now also through the God-man, the redeemer, who as man sits on the throne at the right hand of God, as redeemer of the world exercises his rule over creation.  One therefore simply cannot say that Christ rules over creation as God and over redemption as man; or over creation as God merely and over redemption as God-man.  All that the Son has and does by virtue of divinity, his humanity is made sharer in, and all that Jesus Christ has and does by virtue of his humanity, the divinity is made sharer in.  This is the orthodox doctrine of the humiliation and exaltation of Christ.  One cannot say then that as divine Son, the Word exercises a dominion in which the man Christ Jesus has no part, or that as redeeming man, Christ exercises an office in which the divine Son has no part.  Rather, all things on heaven and earth are made subject to the Word made flesh (italics added, NDK).

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