The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Monday, October 15, 2007
This Should Be Interesting
Doug Wilson has begun a series of posts critiquing D.G. Hart's book A Secular Faith.

Hart's book argues not only for the separation of church and state (which Wilson and I heartily agree), but also the separation of religious belief and state (which I find baffling for a reformed thinker). For Hart, culture is first and foremost a secular actity.

While we are on this topic, it is worth looking at this quote from an amicable review of Meridith Kline which recently appeared in the Ordained Servant:

Dr. Kline argues that, since the work of God during the six days of creation was a "holy kingdom-establishing activity," the work of Israelites during the six days must be the same. "This means that sabbath observance requires a theocratic as well as a covenantal setting, that is, a setting in which culture as well as cult is holy kingdom activity" (190). And we see only two historical situations that would fall into that category: Eden and Sinai. "In the New Covenant era ...in which the common grace principle is uniformly operative, the theocratic context prerequisite to the six-work-days component of the sabbath ordinance is missing" (190). Thus, the cultural activities of God's people in the New Covenant are not holy kingdom activities, they are common grace activities (194). So now "only one day then has a special significance in the covenant week under the New Covenant" (194). The covenant week under the New Covenant is "no longer a cultural-cultic sabbatical week" (196). Thus we cannot identify the sabbath with the Lord's Day. "And this means that contrary to traditional Sabbatarianism the distinctive first day of the new, dominical week is not a modified residue of the sabbath day of the fourth commandment, governed by the rules for sabbath observance, such as the prohibition of various non-cultic activities" (196). Thus the first day of the week is not the Lord's Day, as in the whole day set apart for us, but "simply the set time for believers to come together to meet with the Lord" (194).

It seems to me that if cultural activities are merely "common", they will never be taken really seriously. Kline and Hart and all other Two-Kingdom takes on culture will always gradually lead to cultural impoverishment.