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Tim Rake

Give it up, Lee, and just come over to the dark side of Lutheranism...the light is so much better here.


Tim, missional thinking is penetrating everywhere. It crosses denominational lines, both mainline and conservative. It is reaching U.S. Lutherans and even making inroads in church growth segments of the LCMS. Take a look at these links:


You make me laugh.

Yes, my hope is in Christ's kingdom that is not of this world.


Thanks Lee. Really, from the bottom of my heart. A millions times thank you.

Celal Berker

I had occasion to re-visit my trek into (and then out of) the New Perspective on Paul when a friend informed me recently that a mutual acquaintance had been seduced by this novelty.

I then asked myself : why at the most fundamental level did i think NPP was wrong ?

I think the answer i came up with to my own question might also be applicable to Theonomism, Kuyperianism etc.

And it is this : The highest and best work done by anyone in the Universe is Christ's work on the cross. The Old Testament anticipates it in every story, in every book and in every twist and turn of Israel's history. The New Testament then tells it and settles on it with exclusivity.

That tells me that anything which diminishes the glory of the cross in any way is another gospel which means that it is no gospel at all.


I usually just read here without commenting but I couldn't let this pass by: "In the OPC, I was besieged by the Kuyperians of the right. Now that I am in the PCA, I am confronted by the Kuyperians of the left. Kuyperians to the right of me, Kuyperians to the left of me."

If you see Kuyperians all over the place, we must be doing something right. I know your comments weren't meant that way, but they're an encouragement to me that at least some of those who oppose Christian political activism think they're being "besieged" by Kuyperians.

chris hutchinson

I will. I will also affirm that Jesus is not NOW "making ALL things new," as is frequently claimed, or else why is my earthly body decaying? And why then II Corinthians 4:16-18?

Chris Hutchinson
Blacksburg, VA

Tim Rake

Lee--admittedly two-kingdom confusion has bled here and there into the LCMS, but has done so in direct opposition of the explicit rejection of it set forth in our symbols. The Reformed, on the other hand, have no such confessional prohibition against such views.

The one link you posted is from 2009 of an outfit that was happily defundedby the synod 2 years ago.

C'mon--leave the PCA to guru Keller and his wannabes and all their misguided devotees...I think with a few dogmatic adjustments you'd make a fine Lutheran.


Tim, the LCMS defunding action is interesting - can you share a link with us?

Re. "a few dogmatic adjustments" -- you make it sound so easy. Hardest for me to swallow are: (1) the Lutheran view of the Lord's Supper, not only the view itself (including its ubiquitarian Christology), but the far worse sin of denying communion to fellow believers who hold other views; (2) the Lutheran exaltation of the Lutheran confessions as the immutable law of the Medes and the Persians for all time; (3) the Lutheran understanding of apostasy and possibility of falling from grace.


Todd, so you regard the Kuyperians of the left as comrades in arms?


Lee, that's a fair question whether I view Kuyperians of the left as being comrades-in-arms.

The short answer is "it depends."

People can and do read their Bibles using the same basic tools and come to different conclusions. Being "left" in the PCA does not mean the same thing as being "left" in the PC(USA) or in the Christian Reformed Church. I have huge problems with the truly left-wing Kuyperians at the Institute for Christian Studies, or in the waning days of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in the Netherlands before the mergers that brought it into the broader Christian Democratic movement of Europe.

To be specific in applying that to a PCA context, while I don't agree with Tim Keller, I think he's generally asking the right questions (how do we as Christians seek to work out our faith principles and apply them to culture) but coming up with some seriously wrong answers to the right questions.

In dealing with people like Keller, it's somewhat analogous to dealing with pro-life rally combining fundamental Baptists, charismatics, Roman Catholics, confessional Lutherans, confessional Calvinists and a group of broad evangelicals. I don't agree with everyone at the rally, but we agree on enough things that we can work together.

I probably have more problems with a dispensational fundamentalist who thinks the world is coming to an end soon and therefore we ought not to do anything except evangelism than I have with Tim Keller, but I won't minimize my problems with either error. I can respect the old Southern Presbyterian "spirituality of the church" position as one historic interpretation of Reformed Christianity, but I disagree with it at a very basic level.

Does that help answer your question?

Terry M. Gray

Lee (and Darrell), I'm not sure Kuyperianism is Lee's problem. I am Kuyperian in that I think the kingdom of God encompasses the whole of creation is carried out believers acting in the culture and in their vocations as representatives of the kingdom of God. But I honestly don't see two kingdom theology as being that radically different. Here's how I've tried to argue on Darryl Hart's Old Life blog. One of the planks of Kuyperianism is sphere sovereignty. The church qua church is limited in its work. It rightly isn't to engage in "business, the arts, in politics, the academy, the home, and in all of life". But believers are. And they are to so engage as believers, subject to the Lordship of Christ. Is this theonomic? Not in this age...If you look at the work of Jim Skillen, a Kuyperian par excellence, you see not theonomy, but principled pluralism, an approach to civil life that sounds alot like the two kingdom "common" life. Common grace itself is a plank of Kuyperianism. And spirituality of the church is akin to sphere sovereignty.

So I'm not sure that the Kuyperians to the right in the OPC (we both know that they're not jokers) are really Kuyperians. They're more of the theonomist ilk.

And about the clowns--I mean Kuyperians--to the left. Not totally sure who you're talking about. I'm not necessarily going to criticize Keller. In Generous Justice, for example, he is carefully to distinguish between the church qua church and the broader work of believers in society and in their vocations. But there are other places where "all of life" transformationalism and common grace forget all about antithesis and Creation/Fall/Redemption/Renewal (especially the Fall part). These aren't really Kuyperians either. They are social gospelists. I've spent the last 10 years in the CRCNA and while Kuyper is claimed as patron saint, antithesis and sphere sovereignty are near forgotten ideas.

I've actually heard that two kingdom folks believe that "the earth is Lord's" and that believers ought to glorify God in whatever they do in all areas of life. Darryl keeps telling me about the old Calvinist and Lutheran idea of vocation, as if it's something different than "all of life" Christianity. I don't get it. Interestingly, David Van Drunen even says that Abraham Kuyper was a two kingdom advocate. Makes me think that two kingdom theology is a lot closer to Kuyperianism than the two kingdom folks want to say.

I've begun to pinpoint my differences with Van Drunen as I finally got to his chapter on Kuyper and Dooyeweerd. The city that Kuyperians build is not a lasting city of this world, but the city of the age to come, the city whose citizens are members of the church of Christ, but whose work and ministry are as wide as Creation itself. Yes, it has continuity with the original Creation, but not with the present, evil age--have we moved into a 2K version of "taste not, touch not, handle not"?) Indeed, as Christ inaugurated the new age and given the Spirit to work the leaven of the new age in this world, he is cosmically working his renewal. Those redeemed and renewed elements will endure into the eschaton and are not part of some lasting city in the present evil age, but are part of the city that is to come. No doubt, that city will come in fulness only at the parousia, but the "eschatized" (perhaps to coin a word) creation is the same creation (renewed, not recreated--realizing its (our) eschatological fullness (as Adam and the creation he represented would have realized had he fulfilled the covenant of works)). David V. says that our cultural and vocational life as Christians were not meant to bear the eschatological burden that Kuyperians have placed on them. I disagree. The Bible places more value (eternal value) on the renewed/eschatized Creation. [An aside to this is that if you give up this continuity with the original Creation then much of the OT prophets' language becomes super-spiritualized or we have some millennial pre-parousia state. As my Kuyperian OPC friend, Ray Commeret (now in glory), used to say, "the Bible doesn't talk about heaven, it talks about a new heaven and a new earth".

Stuck in the middle with you.



Some of this question boils down to how you define "Kuyperian"....which is why someone like Van Drunen can find things in Kuyper that are close to his own two-kingdom views when on the subject of 'sphere sovereignty' and yet also find 'transformational' threads in Kuyper that work against keeping the 'sacred' and 'secular' distinct. That's why Van Drunen can work along Bob Godfrey, who's basically committed to Kuyper's 'sphere sovereignty' (as I read him). Conceptually, I'm not really in agreement with Godfrey, but practically I can see how that might not look all that different from two-kingdom views.

It seems to me it's really the "children of Kuyper" -- the theonomists and the *neo-Kuyperians* -- that recognize the inherent problem of resting in a 'sphere sovereignty' mode -- it's not nearly aggressive enough to bring in the 'new creation' in the here and now. Something much more agressively and consistently transformational was needed if we were ever going to get around to eschatologizing soup kitchens, climate policies, and urban renovation projects.

The fact that things can go either 'Left' or 'Right' is quite telling about whether it's REALLY the Bible that's shaping one's theology....OR whether theology is getting sucked into whatever political philosophy is currently in vogue at the moment.


Thanks, Matt. That's helpful.

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