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Frame: Toward a Theology of the State April 17, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Christian Education, Christian Reconstruction, John Frame, Two Kingdoms.
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An interesting article by John Frame (Toward a Theology of the State) that traces the Biblical development of government and then explores the relationship of religion and the state.

The picture to this point, then, is that as Israel developed from nuclear family to extended family to clan to nation,  family authority became more elaborate and complicated. In time, God introduced new institutions. The heads of extended families were no longer exclusively responsible for prophetic and priestly ministries as were the patriarchs. Rather, God relieved them by assigning many religious duties exclusively to the priests, Levites, and prophets.

As the above quote shows Frame sees government developing out of family authority. Which leads him to draw the following conclusion:

I conclude, therefore, that state authority is essentially family authority, developed and extended somewhat by the demands of number and geography. Thus I believe we may eliminate from our consideration the views of the Lutherans and Meredith Kline, as well as others, who see the state as a distinct institution ordained by God, with powers and responsibilities different from those of the family.

I had never thought about government in this way (developing out of family authority) but Frame’s case makes sense and appears to do a good job of tracing the Biblical development of government.

Following his tracing of the development of the “state”, he then examines the relation of religion and the state. Among his insights:

God calls all human beings to repent of sin and to put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who have believed in Jesus are to do all things to his glory (1 Cor 10:31; cf. Rom 14:23; 2 Cor 10:5; Col 3:17, 24). Anything the believer does,
therefore, must be done according to God’s standards and out of a motive of love for him. This principle certainly bears on any human associations, whether for business, education, charity, worship, art, recreation, study, government, or whatever. The believer must press the royal claims of Christ in all areas of life. And to do that is, of course, to work toward Christian standards and practices in all those associations, so that there will be Christian businesses, Christian schools, Christian media, Christian charities, Christian churches, Christian art, Christian recreations, Christian scholarship, and, of course, Christian government. Why should government be any different from any other project in which the believer is involved? If we promote Christian schools because Christ is to be Lord of all of life, doesn’t the same argument apply to government? And once Christian standards become the norm in such institutions, why should that institution not formally recognize that commitment by confessing Christ?

He makes additional points on education and religious expression among others. I found the article helpful and encourage you to read it in it’s entirety.

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Iron Ink: Priest and King August 29, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Theology, Two Kingdoms.
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Here’s a link to a great post by Pastor Bret McAtee titled ‘Priest & King, Great Commission & Cultural Mandate.’ In it he examines the relationship of the cultural mandate with Christ’s office of king and the great commission with Christ’s office of priest.

à Brakel on the Two Kingdoms August 6, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Two Kingdoms.
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In part of the quotation a’ Brakel challenges us with:

You are neither neutral nor a subject of both kingdoms simultaneously. Therefore, to which kingdom do you presently belong?

Jazzercise vs. Praisercise July 30, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Podcasts, Two Kingdoms.
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‘Why does Jazzercise need to become Praisercise? Why can’t ladies doing aerobic exercise just be ladies doing aerobic exercise’ (Alistair Begg, Kingdom of God Part B, 7/30/08, Truth for Life Pod cast)

I just subscribed to the ‘Truth for Life’ pod cast and the messages for 7/29 and 7/30 have dealt with the Kingdom if God. There was a lot of challenging teaching in these two messages and I’m hopeful that as I continue to listen, Pastor Begg’s messages will often be this edifying.

The quote above really caught my attention because it’s both poignant and humorous. Now I’ve always been kind of uncomfortable with ‘Christian’ versions of things secular (do we really need Testamints?). Now I think this comes from a couple of things. First, I don’t like to see Christ or Christianity being used as a marketing tool and secondly because the unbelieving world can see it as foolish, which sometimes it really is. The Bible teaches that our message of Christ is “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23 (ESV) but that’s because fallen man needs God to save him through the work of the Holy Spirit not because people have made a mockery of it. Now that’s not to say that all Christian things are bad, I think contemporary Christian music can be good and Christian videos, like Veggie Tales, can be superior to much of the secular programming.

‘Why do we have to trivialize the sacred and marginalize our impact in the secular world?’ (ibid)

I have no ‘guilt’ over listening to secular music (not Harry Connick Jr. though), however I’ll admit I do filter it to some extent (using Lord’s name in vain, deliberate mocking of Jesus etc.). Talented musicians, singers and song writers are a gift from God, that all do not use it for his glory is a shame. We live in a fallen world and those are the facts. Do we really need to retreat into a ghetto or are we smart enough to listen and watch with a Christian mindset? Can we learn about the plight of the unregenerate without falling prey to his message? I think so but it is hard. We are depraved and the desire to sin is there for all Christians.

This means we should not jump into the secular world uncritically enjoying all it has to offer. First and foremost we need to make sure that our interaction with the secular does not cause use to sin. We also need to consider these things Biblically and think about their content in light of our Biblical knowledge. Here’s kind of an extreme example- most Christians if they read a book like ‘Open Letter to a Christian Nation’ by Sam Harris would not take all of its antichristian teaching as fact. In fact there have been some Christian responses to this book demonstrating how to examine what secular authors are saying (Letter from a Christian Citizen). Like I said that’s extreme as Harris is obviously out to attack Christianity, but what about typical prime time programming or the hottest summer film? I’ll leave that open. I’m really trying to learn how the Kingdom of God relates to the Kingdom of Man and what it means to be a Christian in both.

There is a link to the ‘Truth for Life’ website and pod cast under Audio/Podcast.