The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
One Giant Step Back
I have been looking over De Regno Christi blog that I first discovered at Greg Baus' blog (and see his comment below). There could be an opportunity for an interesting discussion from those of varying Reformed positions regarding Christianity and the Civil magistrate, and, secondarily, of culture in general.

As I read through the various posts by the members of the blog, I was taken aback by the position of David Van Drunen, which seems even more negative on cultural redemption than the White Horse Inn crowd. In fact, Van Drunen's position seems to be virtually anabaptistic on its view of culture:

...But I would suggest that as far as the nature and role of civil government and the Christian’s attitude towards it, the work of Christ’s first coming has meant simply the abrogation of the Israelite theocracy and a return to the days of Noah, Abraham, and the Babylonian exile for God’s people as far as civil affairs go.


The purpose of civil government as discussed in the Old Testament (looking at non-Mosaic theocratic contexts, for numerous reasons) is to avenge great wrong-doing by the power of the sword (e.g., Gen 4:15; 9:6) and, more generally, to provide a measure of peace and prosperity in the world (e.g., Jer 29:7). The New Testament provides nothing remotely resembling a political (or other social/civil/cultural) program, but what it does say echoes the OT teaching very closely. It’s still about avenging wrong-doing by the power of the sword (Rom 13:1-7) and providing a measure of peace and prosperity in the world (e.g., 1 Tim 2:2). Nowhere is there any command for Christians to seek a Christianized state or other social institutions, but they are commanded to look to the state for those same basic functions that the (non-theocratic) state was always supposed to provide.