Introducing David Van Drunen to David Van Drunen


Introducing David Van Drunen to David Van Drunen
Thanks for highlighting this issue and writing most of this up Mark Van Der Molen.
Immanuel URCNA

In the below statement it seems that David Van Drunen is amazed by conclusions drawn and at the responses he received from Jeffrey Waddington and Cornel P. Venema.  He seems to indicate that there is no reason for their conclusions.  But the scholars I have spoken with seem to indicate that these two men of God do have a place to rest their heads concretely for the statements they have made.  They didn’t come to their conclusions by just pulling them out of thin air.  As Mark Van Der Molen suggests, maybe David Van Drunen needs to be reintroduced to David Van Drunen.

Here is what this is about.  David Van Drunen states, “Yet Jeffrey Waddington and Cornelis Venema, for example, think they know a lot about my views and offer bold critical comments; see Waddington, “Duplex in Homine Regimen: A Response to David VanDrunen’s ‘The Reformed Two Kingdoms Doctrine: An Explanation and Defense,’ ” The Confessional Presbyterian 8 (2012): 192–93; and Venema, “One Kingdom or Two?” 106–11. I’ll mention just one issue among several they raise: the unbeliever’s ability to profit from natural law. Waddington (193) states: “Clearly Dr. VanDrunen’s understanding of the efficacy of natural law/natural revelation is significantly different from the clear and unambiguous statement made in the Canons of Dort [3/4.4].” Similarly, Venema (108-9) also implies that I am at variance with Canons of Dort 3/3.4 and writes: “in the two kingdoms paradigm, non-believers are almost as apt as believers to profit from their discernment of the natural law.” Neither of them cite a single example from my writings to prove these claims; nor could they, I am quite sure. I agree entirely with the statement in Canons of Dort 3/4.4 and have never argued against it. And I cannot think of where I have said anything along the lines of Venema’s charge.” David Van Drunen, Footnote (5) Ordained Servant, July 2013


It appears that there are things that might indicate Dr. Cornel P. Venema and Jeffrey Waddington do have a just reason for their conclusions.   Here are a few quotes from David Van Drunen.

“The fact is the civil kingdom has been ordained by God as a common realm, a realm for all people of whatever religious conviction in which to live and pursue their cultural tasks, while natural law is God’s common moral revelation given to all people of whatever religious conviction.”  David Van Drunen, “A Biblical case for Natural Law”, p.38 (2006)
“Scripture is not the appropriate moral standard for the civil kingdom.” David Van Drunen, “A Biblical Case for Natural Law”,p. 38

“Biblical moral instructions are given to those who are redeemed and are given as a consequence of their redemption. The Ten Commandments, for example, provide not an abstract set of principles but define the life of God’s redeemed covenant people. David Van Drunen, “A Biblical Case for Natural Law”, (p. 39)

“Since membership in the civil kingdom is not limited to believers, the imperatives of Scripture do not bind members of that kingdom. These imperatives are not “directly applicable to non-Christians” (40).” David Van Drunen, “A Biblical Case for Natural Law,” p.40.

“Natural law is the only moral standard for which there is a common (though implied) indicative that grounds common imperatives: All people are created in God’s image and have this law written upon their hearts; therefore, they should conduct themselves according to the pattern of that image and the demands of the law.” David Van Drunen, “A Biblical Case for Natural Law”, p. 40.

“Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.” David Van Drunen, “A Biblical Case for Natural Law”, (p. 53)


Canons 3/4.4:”There is, to be sure, a certain light of nature remaining in man after the fall, by virtue of which he retains some notions about God, natural things, and the difference between what is moral and immoral, and demonstrates a certain eagerness for virtue and for good outward behavior. But this light of nature is far from enabling man to come to a saving knowledge of God and conversion to him–so far, IN FACT, THAT MAN DOES NOT USE IT RIGHTLY EVEN IN MATTERS OF NATURE AND SOCIETY. Instead, in various ways he completely distorts this light, whatever its precise character, and suppresses it in unrighteousness. In doing so he renders himself without excuse before God.” [Emphasis added].


John Calvin and the Mosaic Civil and Judicial Laws

Thank You Wes.


John Calvin

Today I’ll share one last excerpt from the Reformation Church History course.  This is a topic relating to John Calvin that I’ve been studying since my university years.  I was originally motivated to study it because of debates about theonomy in the CanRCs in northern Alberta.  Theonomy is a view in Christian ethics which states that the moral/civil law of the Old Testament is exhaustively and perpetually binding upon civil magistrates.  There is some overlap between that view and what John Calvin taught, but there are also some significant differences.  Some of those differences relate to the context, others to principles.  In what you’ll read below, I don’t deal with the question of the relationship of Calvin’s views to contemporary expressions of theonomy.  This is merely intended to be descriptive of the approach Calvin took.


Calvin was not only a theologian, but also a Christian political philosopher.  He gave…

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Persecution: Bring It On?

My Pastor Preached a wonderful Sermon to which the recording died half way through due a technology glitch. So I encouraged him to write a blog post on it. I was greatly encouraged to look back and beyond in prayer for the world by the thoughts expressed here.

This was published over at Gentle Reformation.



Persecution: Bring It On?

by James Faris on August 20, 2013

It is not uncommon to hear Christians say something like “Maybe persecution would be good for the church in our culture.” Certainly, the church of Jesus Christ in the West has too-often strayed from Biblical truth in recent decades and centuries, in spite of enjoying great peace and freedom. Now, we see the judgment of God in our culture in various ways as a result. Some people are bracing for intense persecution of the church as a presumed certainty. Would it be good for the church today? God alone knows, and he will accomplish all his holy purpose.

A better question for us to ask is “What kind of attitude should we have towards persecution and the future of the church in the West?” Some Christians almost seem to have a “bring it on!” attitude because of the purification that has come in past ages through such suffering. The motive is not all wrong; people want to see Jesus glorified, and they are willing to die for it. There is also a desire for purity and holiness.  However, those desires must be shaped by the pure and holy word of God. So, what kind of attitude should we have toward persecution and the future of the church in the West? Here are five truths that will help shape our attitude:

1.  We should expect persecution through the ages. Jesus said “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Paul affirmed the same when he wrote to Timothy “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). History teaches that persecution will vary in intensity. With the expectation of persecution, we should also know that God uses even the wrath of man to praise him (Psalm 76:10), that affliction will bring greater spiritual maturity in some (Psa 119:67, 71), and that the Lord will cause all things to work together for the good of his people (Romans 8:28).

2.  We should abhor the ungodliness and injustice that drives persecution. Proverbs 6:16-17 teaches that ‘There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him,” including “hands that shed innocent blood.” We are called to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We should not desire injustice on earth in any way. If our desire is truly for the glory of God, then we cannot desire the multiplication of sin on earth. We cannot say “Let others sin that good may come.” This truth should also lead us to pray for saints presently suffering and to “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3).

3.  We should pray against persecution. As noted, we are taught in the Lord’s Prayer to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Biblical examples of prayers for peace abound; here is a small sample:

  • The souls of the martyrs, in the symbolic imagery of Revelation 6:10, cry out “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They want the persecution to end.
  • The Psalmist repeatedly prays that he would be delivered from his persecutors (e.g. Psalm 6:4, 17:13, 43:1).
  • Paul asks the saints to pray that he “may be delivered from wicked and evil men” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
  • He also urges “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We are to pray for peace, because discipleship in all areas of life (i.e. in every way), and the conversion of all peoples is made the more possible when the church and state are working in harmony. The ordinary means of grace are able to operate where there is peace. Parents are only able to teach their children if they are still with them. Let us glory in and desire the normal operation of God’s grace.

4.  We should learn from history not to romanticize persecution, especially intense persecution. Sitting in a Roman jail, Paul confessed that his imprisonment had really served the advance of the gospel, because the whole imperial guard had heard the gospel and the believers had grown in boldness by watching Paul suffer (Philippians 1:12-14). He also recognized that if he would die and be with Christ, it would be better for him (1:23). But, he knew that it would be better for the church if he were not executed. He wanted to be released and continue to minister to them freely (1:19, 24-26). Paul saw God work through persecution, but he did not desire it because he knew that God’s ordinary design is for the church to grow when its preachers are not in prison or dead. The church loves Tertullian’s famous statement “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Too often, however, Tertullian is quoted flippantly, with the assumption that wherever blood is shed, the church will magically be stronger. Yes, God caused the church in Acts to spread through persecution (Acts 8:1), the church took the gospel to northern Europe through the collapse of the Roman Empire, and the Lord has used intense persecution for growth, but not always, and I daresay, not normally. Consider the following:

  • The church once flourished in lands such as Persia, North Africa, and China. It was then was largely stamped out through persecution, as documented by historians Samuel Moffett (A History of Christianity in Asia) and Philip Jenkins (The Lost History of Christianity). Summarizing Moffett on the persecution in Persia, David Calhoun says: “[He] talks about this fourth century persecution as the most massive persecution of Christians in history, unequaled for its duration, veracity, and the number of martyrs. One estimate is that 190,000 Persian Christians died in the fourth century in the Great Persecution. That may be far more than all the people who died in all the two-and-a-half centuries of persecution in the Roman Empire. And yet, as we look at the history of those suffering Christians in Persia, there appears to have been far more faithfulness. Far fewer numbers of people apostatized in Persia under persecution than those who apostatized under persecution in the West.” The Muslims nearly wiped out the North African church in the seventh century. China crushed the church there with the fall of the T’ang dynasty in the tenth century. No doubt, heresy, theological weakness, and political dependence were also factors in these lands, but not the only factors. Within the West, French Protestantism has been weak, especially since the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and subsequent persecution. The Lord is at work in these lands today, but usually through the reintroduction of the gospel from other lands. Recognize that the blood of the martyrs left essentially no church in some places for many centuries. Though the Lord is working today, the church is small, as a percentage of the total population in these lands.
  • Intense persecution purifies the church, but often only for a generation. Doctrinal depth is lacking in lands that have lost their teachers. One man from China pled with me and my seminary classmates to go to China because the doctrinal standards are so low, so much misunderstanding of Scripture abounds, and people are vulnerable to cults and other false teachings.
  • The church has grown in depth of doctrine most in times of peace. Paul was often protected by his Roman citizenship in order to serve the church. Augustine was free to think deeply and write profoundly because he was not on the run. John Wycliffe had his body exhumed and burned by the pope only after his death. He was not burned alive and was able to translate Scripture and train laborers because the House of Lancaster protected him. Martin Luther led the reformation as a wanted man under the safety Frederick the Wise afforded him. John Calvin fled persecution in France; the safe haven of Geneva became the incubator of his brilliant contributions and the training ground of Europe’s spiritual leadership. Though times were stormy, the Westminster Confession was composed because the greatest scholars were able to deliberate peaceably for months and years on end.
  • Missionary activity flows strongest from free lands. For example, the United States, which has been a relatively peaceful home for Christians for several hundred years, sends out more than three times as many missionaries as the next closest country, according to Christianity Today’s recent article. True, the United States spews out a lot of bad theology, but don’t forget to give thanks for all the faithful efforts in missions, publishing, and in other ways. Where there is peace, there is a platform for reaching the world.

5.  We should labor to minimize persecution through godly influence in civil government. The Scripture is clear that those who are leaders in every sphere are to bow to Jesus (Psalm 2:10-12, 1 Timothy 6:15-16). Christians are called to serve in such positions. We have had great freedom thus far because people have served Jesus as Christians this way – even if imperfectly. Difficult questions abound regarding how to serve and engage. Serving Jesus in the public realm has never been easy. It is not easy now. It never will be easy. But, we are not called to wait for a golden age in which to act. We ought to pray and labor for to see servant-leaders raised up to wield the power of the sword who will be a terror to those who do evil and a praise to those who do good (Romans 13:1-7). Our hope is not in men, but let’s not make pious-sounding excuses for abdicating our work in this realm. One question every Christian should ask is this: “How am I striving this week to see Christ honored in civil government so that those who do evil are terrified and those who do good are praised?”

God alone knows whether intensifying persecution would do the church in the West good. We simply know that we are to expect persecution but not to desire it or romanticize it. Be aware that if God brings suffering at the hands of wicked men, visible good could come in God’s providence. Or, it could remove the lampstand from our physical descendants, as he has done in other lands in the past.

From our perspective, we should never see intensifying persecution as the need of the hour. The need of the hour is intense prayer for mercy. Let’s pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And, let’s rise from our knees to labor for what we are promised will do the church good every day: greater faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

Objection to Establishmentarianism answered by John Brown of Haddington


Again, Joshua Hicks has noted another fine answer to an objection concerning Establishmentarianism.  The first one he noted is here.

Another objection commonly put to Establishmentarianism is the fear of tyranny on the part of a non Christian magistrate.  If we press a state established religion, what if a Muslim, Mormon, __________ comes to power? Relatedly, John Brown of Haddington has this to say (and, really, I think his last sentence is quite pithily to the point):

[Objection]:The Christian law of doing to others that which we would have them do to us, demands, That we should allow every man to think, profess, and act in religion as he pleaseth. If we think men heretics, blasphemers or idolaters, our proper method is to manifest the utmost kindness and familiarity to them, that we may gain them to the truth. Every other method is no less dangerous than uncharitable. If orthodox Christian magistrates restrain and punish the spreading of Heathen, Mahometan, and Popish errors or worship,—Heathen, Mahometan and Popish princes will be thereby tempted to restrain and punish the spread of gospel-truth in their dominions, and can plead the very same right for their conduct.
(1.) Strange! Did not God know the meaning of his own law of equity and kindness between man and man, and the true method of securing or propagating his own religion, when he made or encouraged the laws against seducers, idolaters, and blasphemers above mentioned;—when he commanded his people to avoid false teachers, and not so much as to lodge them in their houses.
(2) With all your pretended benevolence, Would you familiarly lodge in your in your family a notorious pick pocket or an harlot, along with your own children, in order to gain them to the ways of piety and virtue? You would not. Why then, in direct contradiction to the command of God, do you plead for familiarity with robbers of God, defilers, or murderers of souls!
(3) The Christian law of kindness and equity requires me to do all that for the real welfare of my neighbour, in subordination to the glory of God, which I could lawfully wish him, in like circumstances, to do for me? But, must I do evil that good may come, rendering my damnation just? Must I procure “my just liberty to believe and serve God according to his own appointment, by granting my neighbour an unjust, an authoritative licence to insult and blaspheme God, and worship the devil in his stead? Because I wish my neighbour to be helpful to me, in honouring God, and in labouring to render myself and others happy in time and eternity, Must I assist and encourage them in horribly dishonouring God, and destroying themselves and others. None but an atheist, who believes no real difference between moral good and evil, can pretend it.
(4.) When and Where have Faithful adherents to gospel-truth, got much liberty and safety by means of their friends encouraging and protecting gross heresy, blasphemy and idolatry?. . . .
(5) Ought Elijah to have spared, nay protected and encouraged the prophets of Baal, as a mean of securing for himself the protection of Ahab and Jezebel, or, because she was disposed to avenge their death? Must thieves and robbers be benevolently used, protected and suffered to pass unpunished, for fear of provoking their associaus to revenge the just severities used towards them? Let magistrates do their duty, and leave events to God.

(6.) Till you honestly profess yourself an atheist, who believes no intrinsical difference between moral good and evil, never pretend that magistrates, who have their whole power from God, have any power against the truth, or have a right to exercise that power derived from God for the good of mankind, to his dishonour and to the hurt of mankind. Astonishing! Because a power originating from God may be rightfully exercised in promoting his declarative glory, the spread or protection of his gospel, and the happiness of mankind,—May it, must it, therefore, in the hand of other magistrates, be rightfully exercised in promoting blasphemy and robbery of God, and worshipping of devils?—Because it may be rightfully exercised in punishing obstinate and notorious heretics, blasphemers and idolaters,—May it, must it, therefore be rightfully exercised in persecuting and murdering the faithful preachers and professors of Gospel-truths, and worshippers of the true God?—Because magistrates in Britain have a right to punish thieves and murderers, must these in France have as good a right to use Alms givers and skilful and diligent Physicians in the same manner?—Because that which tends to the highest honour of God, and temporal and eternal happiness of mankind ought to be authoritatively tolerated, nay established, every where,—may,—must, that which tends to his highest dishonour, and the most dreadful temporal and eternal ruin of mankind, be every where, in like manner, tolerated or established?—Because in a dearth, benevolent persons may be tolerated, nay highly encouraged in freely distributing wholesome provisions to the poor and needy, may, or must, malicious murderers be therefore tolerated and encouraged in distributing their poisoned morsels, especially if abundantly sweetened among the unwary infants or others?

(7.) The restraint or suitable and seasonable punishment of that which is contrary to God’s law, being commanded by himself, can never have any tendency to introduce corruptions in religion, or persecution for an adherence to gospel-truth. And if some will abuse their power, that must not hinder others, either in church or state, to use theirs aright.

Samuel Rutherford and Natural Law Question for Dr. Guy Richard


Dr. Guy Richard,
If you wouldn’t mind answering a quick question for me I would appreciate it. It might not be simple or be easy to answer shortly nor quickly.

I moderate the One of the Administrators on the Puritanboard Chris Coldwell and I were discussing Samuel Rutherford and Natural Law. We were looking at some of his thoughts on Natural Law in Lex Rex when and I found a quote from his Disputation Against Pretended Liberty that I considered to be his more definitive thought on the subject.

As I worked my way through examining Lex Rex he doesn’t ever seem to specifically define Natural Law but he does reference it and prove it is a Law in man by reason for preservation as I sum it up. In his book Disputations he writes what I would consider a more precise definition.

Of Conscience and its nature.
“Of this intellectual Treasure-house, we are to know these. 1. That in the inner Cabinet, the natural habit of Moral principles lodgeth, the Register of the common notions left in us by nature, the Ancient Records and Chronicles which were in Adam’s time, the Law of Nature of two volumes, one of the first Table, that there is a God, that he createth and governeth all things, that there is but one God, infinitely good, more just rewarding the Evil and the good; and of the second Table, as to love our Parents, obey Superiors, to hurt no man, the acts of humanity; All these are written in the soul, in deep letters, yet the Ink is dim and old, and therefore this light is like the Moon swimming through watery clouds, often under a shadow, and yet still in the firmament. Caligula, and others, under a cloud, denied there was any God, yet when the cloud was over, the light broke out of prison, and granted, a God there must be; strong winds do blow out a Torch in the night, and will blow in the same light again; and that there be other seeds, though come from a far land, and not growing out of the ground, as the former, is clear, for Christ scattereth some Gospel-truths in this Chalmer; as John 7.28. Then cried Jesus in the Temple; as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and whence I am. John 15.24. But now they have both seen, and hated both me and my Father.”

Now I don’t think his work in Lex Rex is in any way in conflict with his later work but it does seem he puts a more precise definition of what Natural Law is in Disputation. He also seems to indicate that Natural Law emanates from the moral law that was originally written on man’s heart and it consists of two tables. That would seem to indicate to me that he directly would logically link the Decalogue and this Law of Nature together.

We are discussing this in relation to Coffey’s book (which I have never read and don’t have) that Chris is quoting for me and how Rutherford might have seen a difference of application concerning the 1st Table from Natural Law for heathen kings vs. Christian kings (or whatever various form of Government he might be addressing).

I guess my question would be threefold. Is Rutherford’s definition more precise in Disputations than Lex Rex because he is addressing a different group or persons? Or am I reading too much into the definition of Disputation? Does he consider Natural Law to be fully revealing of the Decalogue? I understand you are the expert.

Thanks for your consideration,

Dr. Richard’s Reply


Sorry for the delay in responding to your email. But thank you for contacting me. I always enjoy talking about Rutherford. I feel like he is my mentor and close personal friend in many ways, as much time as we have spent together!

Regarding your questions, let me first say that the passage you found in Pretended Liberty is a very good representation of what Rutherford believed regarding natural law. He clearly believed that the whole of the ten commandments were written upon the hearts of all men “in deep letters.” But, apart from Christ and apart from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, “the ink is dim and old, and therefore this light is like the Moon swimming through watery clouds, often under a shadow, and yet still in the firmament.” Natural law is real. There is no such thing as an atheist, no one who ought to be able to plead ”not guilty” to breaking any of the 10 commandments. It is ”still in the firmament.” But it is oftentimes ”under a shadow.”

How this applies in the case of a person living within England or Scotland (or any other “Christian” nation) will be different many times than in the case of a “heathen” who does not have the same “Christian influences” around him/her. The one who lives within a Christian nation will have certain Christian influences (i.e., God’s Word, Christians themselves, the church, civil laws derived from the Christian ethic, etc). These things would serve to reinforce natural law in the case of the one living in a “Christian nation.” But the heathen would not have these influences. All he/she would have is natural law, which is the ten commandments written upon his/her heart “in deep letters” but with “ink [that] is dim and old” and “often under a shadow.”

I’m not sure whether or not that answers your questions. Feel free to email back if you’d like further clarification on anything.

Thanks again for contacting me. Blessings on your continued study!


Dr. Guy M. Richard

First Presbyterian Church


Dr. Guy Richard’s publications.


Just a quick question Dr. Richard,

Would it be okay to quote your response to my questions?  I will not use private messages without permission of the author in any way unless I am given permission.  It is matter of ethics and loyalty.  If not that is just fine.  I totally understand.


I’d prefer that you not publish them in print form. But if you would like to use them on line or something like that, that would be fine with me.


The King and His Kingdom (parts 2-4)


The King and His Kingdom


Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals



The Application of the Mediatorial Kingdom “And He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28b)

From Part II forward, the Kingdom discussed is the mediatorial Kingdom as defined in Part 1.

How does this Doctrine of the Mediatorial Kingship and Kingdom of Christ apply to:

The Individual (chosen of God)

The Family (basic unit of the Church)

The Church The Church—Civil Government Relationship

The Business and Life Walk

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Individual


When we begin with the Kingdom in the life of the Individual, we find that this is the plan and program that Christ builds down into the mind and life purpose of every soul who comes to know Him as Savior and Lord. It is this way of thinking that is that outline of Christian life which He can look forward to growing up into. When Christ saves a soul, He builds His particular life purpose down into that person’s life—His particular reason for dying on the Cross for that particular person. And that soul begins growing up into that purpose, through the three stages of kingdom development, that Christ described in Mark 5; 1) the blade stage, 2) the green ear stage, and finally 3) the full corn in the ear stage. He can grow up to realize that he’s been called by the King who is now His Lord and that he’s not been saved just to get his own soul out of Hell and into Heaven, but to be Christ’s witness on Christ’s earth so long as Christ chooses to leave him there. He has been saved to be a witness to others who do not yet know Christ as King and then to help them to grow up into spiritual maturity just as Jesus taught His disciples to “think” Kingdom and grow up into it. In the same way, the Apostle Paul taught Timothy not to be satisfied with just becoming a Christian, or even leading someone else to Christ, but to work and plan and pray two spiritual generations, beyond that to see a “faithful man” reaching “others also”. That is “kingdom-thinking” and an essential factor in Jesus’ long-range Kingdom plan for the evangelization of His world. That is true “apostolic succession” and an essential factor in glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Family


When we begin with the kingdom in the family, we find that Christ has also built this kingdom plan down into the “mind” or purpose of the Family. So that the man and woman, bridegroom and bride, who are thinking with the mind of Christ will know that their marriage and family are not just for the purpose of developing a new level of romantic “love” nor just for the purpose of the propagation of the family name, but that they would be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship that exists between any soul who comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord and the Savior Himself. So that, as the world sees the way He, as the bridegroom, lays down his life for his bride-wife, they would begin to understand what was involved in Christ (as the bridegroom and King) laying down His life for His Bride (i.e. the church whose every soul comes to know Him as Savior and King). And as the world sees how she submits her whole life to her husband and puts herself into his hands without reservation, the world begins to understand what would be involved in surrendering without reservation to Christ, as Savior and Lord. The two of them will be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship. When this kind of kingdom-thinking or “mind” is the foundation and long-range plan for the family, then that family will grow up into spiritual maturity. “Father” will be more than just the oldest male member in the family. He will represent the Father in Heaven and he will pray for his family the way Job prayed for his children. Mother will “remind” them all of the place called Heaven and of what Christ wants His Church to be. The children will understand “grace” because they see and receive the grace and acceptance and purposefulness that is being demonstrated by both father and mother on a horizontal level and they will understand confession and forgiveness because they see it being demonstrated in the day to day relationships and conversations between a father and mother who begin with the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ. And Paul’s prayers for the family of Philemon, Apphia and Archippus will apply (i.e. “that the communication of your faith may become effectual in every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus,” (Philemon, verse 6). Other believers will say, ‘every time I think of you and your home, I just thank God’, and the extent of that family ministry will carry on beyond the four generations described by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:2, from grandparents to parents to children and grandchildren to the end of time—wherever they may travel throughout His world.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and the Church


When we begin with the Kingdom, in our thinking and planning for the church, there have been those who, by accident, oversight, or by design, would limit the doctrine of the Kingdom to the church, saying that the Kingdom is the church or the church is the Kingdom. The Kingdom includes, as we have seen, far more than the church. But Christ intends that the (redemptive) origin and purpose of His Kingdom, rising as it does out of His work of atonement on the Cross, will determine the origin and purpose and message of His Church. The (spiritual) nature of His Kingdom will provide the standard of spirituality for His Church in all her “services,” especially her worship services, and that the (unlimited) extent of His Kingdom will be the “mission vision” for His Church. It is not that the Church defines and determines what the Kingdom is, but rather that the Kingdom determines and defines what the Church is, and what she will become. The Kingdom is that overarching dome, of which the Church is a reflection. Just as it is never the blue of the lake that determines the blue of the sky, but always the blue of the sky that determines the blue of the lake; so then it is the pattern of the Kingdom that determines the origin and redemptive purpose of every church; and the spiritual nature of the Kingdom that determines the standards of spirituality in all the “services” of the church; and the (unlimited) extent of Christ’s kingdom that determines the mission vision of each church.

I Will Build My Church


When Jesus, the Christ, made that remarkable promise, “I will build my Church”, over 2000 years ago, He had in mind a clearly-defined plan, a plan that He continues to implement throughout His world today. In Exodus 25:40, He had commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle according to “the pattern” which He had shown to him on the Mount. Throughout the Old Testament years, He led Israel and “the church in the wilderness” into the promised land. Now in the four gospels, He explains His Kingdom and His Plan for His Church in more detail and shows the relationship between His Kingdom and His church.

It is important to see how Christ begins in Matthew 6 with the command to “seek first the kingdom”, and then ten chapters later in Matthew 16:18 makes that remarkable promise “I will build My Church”. In Matthew 16:16-17, Christ first praises Peter with the highest commendation for making the kind of confession “thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God”, which is the rock of confession in every generation, upon which Christ’s promise to build His church is founded. When Christ proceeds to tell us about how He must be crucified in order to do this church building, and Peter begins to rebuke Him; saying in effect that he will find some easier way to do Christ’s work, Christ rebukes Peter with his sternest condemnation, calling Him Satan and saying the same thing to Peter that He had said to Satan on the Mount of Temptation. In effect, Christ is saying here to Peter and to all of us: Your responsibility is to “seek the kingdom”. I will build My church and when I do it My way then the very gates of Hell will not be able to hold out against it. You must learn to do My work , My way.

The Very Purpose of His Kingdom has been built down into His Church by the Lord Himself.

When we begin with the Kingdom, then the origin and purpose of the Kingdom become the origin and purpose of the Church. Both Kingdom and Church have arisen out of God’s sovereign will and redemptive purpose which is motivated by love to save souls. Once that decision had been made, then Christ was appointed and “became obedient unto death, even the death on the Cross, wherefore God also highly exalted Him” and gave Him the Kingdom (Philippians 2:5-11). Now He, in turn, builds His Church as a very important part of His Kingdom. Just as it was the primary and ultimate purpose of His Kingdom to glorify God, honor Christ Himself, and make it possible for Him to apply the benefits of redemption to His people and also meet their continuing needs for growing up into spiritual maturity, so now, these become the primary and ultimate purpose of His Church. Both Kingdom and Church are controlled and empowered by Christ and both are primarily concerned with the application of that redemption which He has worked out on the Cross. The Kingdom is not limited to the Church, but in these respects, they are the same.

There is a great difference between this and the idea that the Church originated in the minds of people as a voluntary spontaneous association who call themselves together in order to meet their own spiritual and social needs. This is Christ calling together His people, and ultimately it is not so much for man’s benefit as it is for God’s glory.

When we look at the Church beginning with the Kingdom, then there is a functional mission purpose that becomes very important. The Church becomes less “ours” and more “His”— not so much the place to which we come to add to our numbers and preserve ourselves, as it is the place to which He brings us, equips us, and sends us on to multiply into more congregations to evangelize His world.

On the one hand, there is a difference between the purpose Christ has built into an individual and a family and the purpose He has built down into His Church. Even a casual review of the works (erga) that Christ was reviewing in each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, will show that He has assigned a particular ministry to a particular congregation. On the other hand, all churches have certain things in common and when we review them, beginning with the Kingdom, there is less emphasis on drawing distinctions and more emphasis on ultimate purpose and mission. Beginning with the Kingdom brings less emphasis on what one church “has”, that another “does not have” and more emphasis on what Christ has designed and called all of us to do to the Glory of God.

The spiritual nature of His Church also has been “built” down into her by her Lord


Christ has also “built” the spiritual nature of His Kingdom down into His Church in such a way that the spirituality of the Kingdom provides a basis or standard for evaluating the spirituality of a particular congregation. Some churches are almost more dead than alive. They sing dead and pray dead and give and think dead. Others are “alive” in Christ and their services on earth can be seen as a kind of choir rehearsal for Heaven. That spirituality is also one practical basis for the Church’s independence of the power or control of all other organizations such as the civil government. Because she is a spiritual organization, she is not dependent on the State for her establishment or continuing existence. Her foundation is Christ alone. And because Christ has built her to be a spiritual organization, she is subject to Him alone. He is her only head and she is subject to Him as God has said, just as any person’s physical body is subject to the head. So the spiritual nature of Christ’s Kingdom built downward into His Church, provides the basis for 1) the spirituality of a church and especially the standard of spirituality for her worship services; 2) her independence to all other organizations and influences; and 3) her subjection to Christ alone. Also, as we shall see in a later section, this spiritual nature provides one basis for a healthy working relationship between Church and civil government.

The spiritual nature of the Church not only provides protection for Christ’s Church against the attacks of other organizations, like the civil government, from outside the Church but it also protects her against the attacks of the organizations from within the Church herself. It is clear in the records of history that the Church has been seduced or raped as often by those “legitimate” church boards (colleges, cardinals, assemblies, synods) that operate from within as she has been seduced and raped by emperors, kings, judges and other legislative bodies working from without. Whether it be hierarchical, congregational or Presbyterian form of church government, Christ has prescribed a form of church government simply because edification requires order and order requires government. The moment men begin to forget that their authority within His Church is not legislative but solely ministerial (the administration of the Word He has legislated), then they are usurping Christ’s authority within His Church. He never has permitted that and He never will. Whatever form of church government causes us to know that the Church is more “his” and less “ours” is what He was demanding and promising when He said that day to Peter, and to all the rest of us, “I will build My Church”.

When Christ built the unlimitedness of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He was establishing her unity, her universality, and her perpetuity. Today, we tend to think of unlimitedness in terms of the dimension of space but when we apply unlimitedness to the dimension of time, it means there never was a time when Christ was not a King with a Kingdom and there never will be. In the dimensions of space it means there is no “place” on the face of Christ’s world (or in outer space either, if we ever find souls in outer space), where we should not expect to find Him building His Church and using believers to do it. We catch a glimpse of the unity, universality, and perpetuity of His Church in that Passover-communion table stretching clear back into the Garden of Eden where we see Abel, the first man into Heaven, and then moving forward to include Job and Abraham and Isaac and Moses and the Prophets, all of them, looking forward through the Passover to the coming of the Messiah; and then, in the very center of that long table, Jesus the Messiah and His disciples; and then, Luther and Calvin and all the rest of the saints since then sitting at that same table looking back to the same Messiah/Christ to whom the Old Testaments saints looked forward. There never has been salvation in any other and never will be. All over His world! And universe from the beginning of time! His Kingdom will continue to grow and extend to the end of time and then on into eternity! And so will His church!

By building the specifications of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He provides his standards for:

1           Her purpose

2           Her spirituality

3           Her independence of all outward control

4           Her subjection to Himself alone

5           Her unity

6           Her universality

7           Her perpetuity

All this then translates into the order and program of His Church as she makes progress through time toward bringing His world into conformity to the regnum Christi totum. This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Kingdom projected downward into the mission vision of His Church promises to develop a strongly united, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church which will one day confront the State in such a way as to require their working together. But what is the relationship between Christ’s Kingdom-Kingship and the civil government?

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Civil Government


Everything Christ has been teaching us about His Kingdom provides reasons which imply that He is also Lord of civil government:

•   His being invested with the mediatorial dominion in no way supposes His abrogation of any of His Rights of Dominion as God.

  • His moral qualifications to rule over all things and especially “all flesh” would imply that such a vastly important thing as civil government would not be exempted from his mediatorial rule.
  • And without such power over nations, Christ would be seriously handicapped in overruling the rebellions of men in order to bring about that time when “the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Dominion gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is now King and Lord over all nations’ civil governments as well as Lord of the individual, the family, and the church.

But more important than reasons and implications such as these are the specific statements from the following Scripture. The commands of Scripture, e.g. Psalm 2, as quoted in Acts 4:25,13:33, Hebrews 1:4, 5:5 and Revelation 2:27. The Prophecies of Scripture; e.g. Psalm 47:2, 3, 8, 9; Psalm 72; Isaiah 49:22-23; 60:11, 12, 16; Ezekiel 45:17; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15; 21:24,26: And such designations in Scripture wherein the Mediator is addressed as “Governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28); “higher than the Kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27); “King of nations” (Jeremiah 10:6-7); “King of Kings” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). All of these assert Christ’s actual Lordship over civil government. To ascribe such titles to Him if they were not true, would be to mock Him.

We may summarize Christ’s Lordship over civil government under 8 topics, the eight things Christ does for civil government. These are followed up by 4 responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The very origin of civil government is in the Hands of Christ. Of the Church, He has said “I will build my Church”. There is, however, a difference between the origin of the Church and the origin of civil government because He says—“civil government is an ordinance of man” and “the powers that be are ordained of (by) God”. This means that the God of nature has put the desire into man for a voluntary social compact. Civil government originated with God morally not less than providentially. God not only permitted it, He caused it and since, as we have seen earlier, the matters of Providence have also been put into the hands of Christ, then He is, as Mediator, the one who instituted and constituted civil government. It can never be the ordinance of man in any sense in which it is not ordained by God.

2           It is Christ who continues to oversee the affairs of civil government. Throughout the history of the Old and New Testaments, we see him influencing the counsels of statesmen and the prowess of armies to set some up and take others down, in order to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

3           Christ issues those commands through His Word which direct civil rulers in promoting the public good, restraining evil, administering laws with justice, promoting and protecting His Church and doing all this in such a way that it will promote the plans and holy name of the Mediator.

4           It is Christ who overrules the rebellions of those who oppose Him.

5           It is Christ who executes the judgments of God on those rulers and people who refuse to be guided by His moral law.

6          It is Christ who also works through civil government to disseminate the Gospel throughout His world. As King of Kings, He authorizes those whom He has commissioned to enter and evangelize any nation on earth. So it is not only what He does for them and to them, it is also what He does through them that proves His Lordship over nations. He is Lord of “common” grace.

7           Christ works through civil government in such a way as to gather together and protect and promote His Church. Because of the character of nations as they now are, there could be no hope for the Church if it were not for the fact that Christ is Lord of the civil government as well as Lord of the Church.

8           Christ promises to bring about an entire change (reformation) in the character and constitution of the nations of the world and in Isaiah 9, He adds this promise, “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform it”.

In all these eight ways, Christ, as King, asserts His Lordship over His civil government, working through them to carry out the purposes of His Kingdom Plan. Conversely, at each of these points, civil government is thrust more and more up into the light and plan of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. One practical result of all this is that men are thus confronted in civil government, as well as in church with the mediatorial authority and plan of Christ. This is something more than Theocratic, it is Christocratic. Christ’s authority in the civil government becomes as absolute as it is in the Church. Everything here points to civil government being an ordinance of God—a moral ordinance, a divine institution. This is a very high doctrine of civil government.

Now what response can a nation make to Christ and His Lordship in civil government? There are at least four responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The Glory of Christ, her King, can and will be the chief end or highest purpose of the State. It is just not enough to be satisfied with the promotion of domestic tranquility, peace, social order, happiness among men or the patriotic good of our own community. Everything the civil government does, every constitution and law and treaty she writes, every home and foreign policy she makes, every appointment she makes, must be reviewed with an eye to the excellency of her Lord. Even indifference or neglect of this can be seen as an insult, dishonoring to the King. This tends to equate civil government with what is commonly known as moral government. It means that the best interests of God, government, and men are one. Government is intended to do more than guard, defend, and protect the civil rights and properties of her citizens, it is also intended to hold together moral and political truth.

2           The Law of Christ can and will be the rule of conduct. Since God has commanded His people in Old Testament times to use His Laws and Precepts as the basis for their governing and civil government, then less could not be expected of those of us in New Testament times who have access to the whole of God’s Revelation in Scripture. This means then that the State, by virtue of being an instrument of Christ, a moral ordinance, is not just limited to such grounds as common consent, protection of property, or physical needs as a basis for her laws. But she can, and therefore should, go on directly to God’s moral law in the Scriptures as the best basis for all her laws. Those who break those laws would be, disciplined not only because of what they have done against man, but also because of what they have done against God. In both legislation and the restraint of irreligion, the most important thing would be, what is most honoring for Christ as the Lord of Civil Government.

3           The standards that Christ demonstrated in His own character as King will be the base for evaluating or electing men for office in civil government. Using Christ’s character as the basis for our evaluation of the character of those seeking our vote, we would want to see in their lives:

• His kind of dignity or respectability

• His kind of “near relationship” to us

• His kind of knowledge and wisdom

• His kind of power—ability to get things done

• His kind of moral purity

• His kind of compassion

• His kind of authority

Throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has defined and described these character qualities as essential prerequisites for one who will be both “a terror to evil” and “a minister of God for good”. And because of Christ’s Lordship over Civil Government, Christians, in voting, are bound to rule out choice based on passion, prejudice or party and subject their choice to the character standards and policies found in God’s Word. Yes, the franchise is a civil right, but it is to be exercised to the will and honor of Christ. This does not mean that non-Christians will ipso facto cease to be magistrates but it does mean that in a nation that has received God’s revealed will, it is unfitting, even dishonoring to Christ to elect to office those who have rejected Him. At the same time, Christians who are elected to office need to remember that they are not just the servants of their constituencies, but are “the ministers of God” and regulate both their public and private conduct accordingly.

4. The authority of magistrates and the submission of Christian citizens in any nation which has access to the Gospel is dependent on these standards. Power and obedience in this nation does not arise out of either slavish fear of “my constituency” or from selfish motives but from love and respect for the Redeemer-King. It will include a respectful kind of fear, well doing, paying of taxes and customs, and giving of honor, as described in Romans 13. Disobedience become disobedience to Christ.

At this point, it becomes necessary to make a distinction between “power” and “authority”. God has invested people with democratic power in political matters and those people have the right to exercise that power. This is moral power as distinguished from physical-strength kind of power. It is the power to organize their own social relationships, agree on constitutions and laws, and to elect and invest certain individuals to rule over them. This is just the basis for the secular state. But we are going beyond this when we make a distinction between this kind of power, and the kind of authority which Christ as King has given to a Christian magistrate. Both moral power and moral authority come from God. But the moral power comes immediately from God as a natural thing. The moral authority comes mediately as an added thing. And there are two essential prerequisites for a person’s getting the right or title to this moral authority:

1           A moral capacity, i.e. he must have some age of maturity and a sound mind; and

2           A moral ability, which is not necessary for him to have moral power, but is necessary for him to have moral authority. For example, a man who is of age and a sound mind may have demonstrated his moral inability to rule his own children. And yet his (terrible) moral power over those children cannot be denied. Such a man cannot be said to have moral authority. And since God has not given such a man any such authority, then Christian citizens who desire to honor Christ as Lord of civil government should not attempt to give him any such moral authority by electing or appointing him to rule over them. It may not be the responsibility of a Christian citizen to investigate the moral authority of the man who makes his shoes, but before electing a man to rule over him, he must examine carefully his natural, moral, and spiritual qualifications by evaluating his qualifications against the very character of Christ the King of all civil governments.

Beginning with the Kingdom lays a foundation for the development of Christian influences in civil government and the purpose, nature, and extent of civil government. It provides a Kingdom-based initiative for the further study of church and civil government relationships, that would be honoring to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Kingdom and the Business and Life Walk


When we begin with the Kingdom in Christian Life, then we can see how surely some men are “called” into business just as directly as others are “called” to be pastors or missionaries. Those men will see a relationship between whatever they do or produce or build, and Jesus’ reason for dying for them on the Cross. The purpose or reason for their business will be directly related to the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom. The spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom will permeate the very character of their personnel and corporation and the honesty, integrity and dependability of their services and products. They will be as successful as was Job and Abraham and Joseph and Solomon and Lydia. The unlimitedness of the extent of Christ’s Kingdom will unlock the entreprenurial creativity and initiative of owners and employees. Their attitude toward the wealth of the world and their control of that portion of it which the King entrusts to their stewardship will be directly related to the fact that in one sense they do not “own” anything. Everything they “have” belongs to the King Himself and is to be managed by them as stewards of the Lord in such a way as is useful to Him in His building of His Kingdom.

Christ’s promise is the promise of the King Himself and these men who have been “called” into business have learned that when they seek first the Kingdom of God in their business, then all these other things will be added unto them. No man who has learned to do that has ever been known to “fail”.

PART THREE The Conclusion of the Matter


“Therefore since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:18)

Beginning with the King and His Mediatorial Kingdom does make a difference in the Christian walk.

The Individual Soul who comes to know God in the person of Jesus Christ discovers that the One who gave His life for him on the Cross is the King with all this Kingdom. Lordship takes on new reality. He has been “saved” or called, not just to get out of Hell, but to be a witness to this King so long as the Lord chooses to leave him on His earth, and then on into eternity. Something of the mind and purpose of Christ begins to “renew” his mind so that he thinks with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). He becomes a “spiritual” man with a sense of responsibility (vision) for what Christ, His King, is doing all over his world. He becomes a friend of Christ, not just a servant in His Family. He will have a redemptive purpose for living, a spiritual nature, and a world vision. He will see a relationship between his occupation or work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the cross.

The Family who learns to begin with the Kingdom will know and rejoice in the fact that their family relationships are not a do-it-yourself work. But “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1a) and that, as a matter of fact, the Lord is building their family and that the King who formed the first family in the Garden of Eden has also formed them into His family. He designed the father to be the demonstration or illustration of Christ’s kind of self-sacrificing love and the mother to be the demonstration of the submission of any soul to Christ as Savior, and all the family to demonstrate the spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom and the children, from generation to generation, to demonstrate the unendingness of Christ’s Kingdom. So Christ the King designs and directs the family to explain and demonstrate the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unending extent of His eternal Kingdom. It will keep on multiplying to the end of time.

The Church who learns to begin with the Kingdom will be a family of families. She will recognize that Christ is not only Her only King and Lord, but that He is Her beloved Bridegroom and She will be very jealous for all His Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives. She will want His purposes and plan to be the purpose and plan for everything She does. Since He is a reaching God who is always reaching out to evangelize, She will want to be a reaching church. Since He is an equipping and sending God, She will want to be an equipping and sending Church. She will reflect the nature of His Kingdom by the way she worships Him and the way she maintains her independence of all other controls and Her submission to Him alone as Her only King and Head. Her very unity, universality and perpetuity will be reflections of the spiritual nature of His Kingdom. Her growth and multiplication will be a reflection of the unlimitedness of the Kingdom and of Her King.

The Civil Government who would learn to begin with the Kingdom would find a God-given basis for working and for working together with the church. This would be more than a faith-based initiative, it would be a Kingdom-based initiative.  W. E. Gladstone (Prime Minister of England) had made a careful study of Church-State relationships in the light of Christ’s Kingdom and published a book titled The State in Its Relationship to the Church. His opponents condemned him for making a political blunder that almost cost him his political life (his election). They condemned him for believing that the State revolved around the Church. They insisted that churches came and went–revolving around the State.

They might have said the same thing about any one of the social units we have been looking at. Some individuals, dictators or emperors or even church leaders, have thought that everything and everyone else revolved around them. Some others have insisted that everything and everyone else; church, state, and individual must revolve around the family. Others have insisted that everything else, including the family must be sacrificed for the church. Pastors have sacrificed their children and family life “for” the church and some have chosen celibacy instead of family life.

The doctrine of the Kingship and Mediatorial Kingdom of Jesus Christ provides God’s answer to all this imbalance. The proper relationship between church and civil government and all these other social units rests on three foundations.

1. This doctrine of the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ “beginning with the Kingdom” provides ample basis for Church- State relationship. The spirituality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way as to provide a basis for resolving Church- civil government conflicts and the continuing close cooperation of the two. It is also the basis for the assurance that the Church will continue to remain independent of the control of the civil government and subject to Christ alone as her only King and Head and it will prohibit the Church from ever dominating the civil government. The unlimitedness or universality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has also been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way that the powerful principles of a multiplying ministry of the Gospel of Jesus are sending a closely unified, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church, moving throughout the world. It will, one day, require a coming to terms between Church and civil government.

In all this, the basic essential difference between Church and civil government will continue to be preserved. They are different insofar as their immediate origin, their immediate ends and their forms of administration are concerned. They are particularly different in their means of operation, their attitude toward their subject citizens or members, and the character or results of their work. But having said all this, the fact is that the origin of both is in the hands of Christ. His Word is the ultimate rule and standard for both. His Glory is the ultimate objective for both. Both are subject to Him, whether they know and want it or not. Both are subject to Him as King and distinction does not mandate hostility. Things can be diverse without being adverse. The Church-civil government relationship can be a practical working out of the spirituality of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. It is a reflection of the relationship between the regnum Christi and the regna mundi. There is a clear, sharp distinction, but that does not mandate a further separation of the two. In fact, it is the distinction which makes the “separation” of Church and civil government unnecessary. It is actually because of their differences as well as their similarities that the two are designed to work together to the glory of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. The fact which is seen so clearly in history that “help” given by the State to the Church has been misused, does not mean that it must always necessarily be misused to “secularize” and corrupt the Church, or otherwise blend and confuse Church and civil government anymore than it means that civil governments, by virtue of having suffered in history, especially the medieval years, from the encroachments of the Church, no longer have need for the Church. Both Church and civil government are ordinances of God and the fact that Christ has been made Lord of both, guarantees that the necessary distinctions can/will be preserved when they form a right Church-civil government relationship. It is the overarching dome of Christ’s unlimited Kingdom and in particular His moral Lordship over nations that provides the grand basis for the alliance of Church and civil government, as well as the motive for bringing these two historically unruly persons together. They are two different moral provinces but they are under the same King as separate departments of one vast moral empire. Ptolemy may have initiated the idea of the overarching dome of the kingdom, but he found it in the Scriptures.

2. The second foundation for this Church-civil government alliance is to be found in the Scriptures. God’s Word authorizes these kinds of working relationships. In the New Testament, God defines the magistrate as the “minister of God” who is a “terror to evil”, so he must necessarily be concerned with the suppression of irreligion and the discouragement of offenses against religion. And as the minister of God for good, he must necessarily be concerned with the promotion of the true religion. The important thing is that God put no restriction on either of the two words “evil” or “good”. That is God’s New Testament definition of a magistrate, and the Old Testament provides three kinds of God-approved examples of this principle.

A.) In the pre-Jewish patriarchal economy, Melchisidek demonstrated a combination of sacred and civil things which were pleasing to God.

B.) During the Mosaic economy, the Jewish kings demonstrated a combination of things civil and sacred which were pleasing to God.

C.) The Gentile princes, such as Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, who made contributions to the work of the Church helped to destroy the idea that such civil government support was purely Jewish, and therefore without God’s approval for any other dispensation. Scripture, when not limited to either Old or New Testaments, authorizes an alliance that produces a good working relationship between Church and civil government.

3. The third foundation for a good Church-civil government relationship is just to review again what the civil government can do for the Church (faith) and what the Church (faith) can do for the civil government. The civil government, on the one hand, can do more than just restrain irreligion and protect the work of Christ and His Church. She can carry out Her own part in that work by making Her own profession of faith in Christ and pledging Her loyalty to Him. She can demonstrate His standards of character and conduct in her magistrates and laws. She can contribute to the extension of the special work of His Kingdom through the exercise of Her official or diplomatic influences.

On the other hand, true faith, as taught by the Church is a very important factor in the establishment of that kind of a sound political economy which is most honoring to Christ and most conducive to the progress of His Kingdom and the welfare of her citizens. She teaches magistrates that they are “vice-regents” of Christ with real authority from Him and directly responsible to Christ as well as to men, for putting down all selfish temptations to dominate or tolerate, legislate, administrate, or judge in any way that will run counter to His revealed law. She teaches the citizens the value of true liberty and the real source of it—which results from their knowledge of the true faith. The Church teaches the citizens of the State to restrain natural tendencies toward anarchical licentiousness and indifference which are dishonoring to the Lord of the State and detrimental to the efficiency of civil government. The Church, as the teacher of true faith is also directly concerned with the natural wealth of the nation and, to some extent, responsible for securing new industry through the development of habits of honesty, industry, creativity and thrift without at the same time actually becoming involved in that industry or acquiring that wealth for herself. She is involved in the prevention of indulgence, waste, and poverty, and the establishment of the real “moral” prosperity of the nation. History and current events show that when this is neglected whole civilizations and nations have collapsed. The Church can use the means peculiar to her own nature to reach (far beyond where the State can go) into the very hearts and consciences of men to promote the cause of peace and go to the very sources of lawlessness, profligacy, and impiety, to points that lie far beyond the scope of civil law and its physical means. Beginning with the Kingdom does make a difference.

4. But what does Christ mean when he directs us to “think Kingdom”? In Philippians 2:5-11, God says it this way, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” and in Romans 12:1-2, he calls it being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. In Philippians 2, God continues to give us a detailed outline of the steps of incarnation, the thought processes of the Messiah in leaving Heaven to come to earth to that last step when “He became obedient unto death even the death of the Cross, wherefore God also hath mightily exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father”. That is the description of the Father’s appointment of the Son to His Mediatorial Kingdom and His statement of the extent of it. Now He says, in effect, I want you to think with the mind of Christ—the way He thought (and still does think) about leaving Heaven to come to earth to face death and then to receive this Mediatorial Kingdom. I want you to have that kind of love. To think Kingdom is a process. In Romans 12:1-2, God said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.

From the time of conversion, perhaps before that, God begins breathing through His inspired Word, His Kingdom Plan for each particular soul that He redeems—not only the general redemptive purpose and spiritual nature and unlimited mission vision of His Kingdom, but also the particular application of it all for that particular soul—His particular reason and life purpose for dying for that particular soul on the Cross. And the obedient soul will grow up into every day of that Life Plan.

That can be called “thinking Kingdom”. Understanding the redemptive purpose, the spiritual origin and the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom can sometimes help us to recognize where Christ will be leading us next—his next “development” in our life. Then seeking His Kingdom may mean that we will begin praying; asking him to show us more about his atonement; about greater spiritual maturity in working with others; and for more mission vision and understanding of what He is doing in other parts of His world. It was that kind of prayer and desire that He put into our hearts as a family that sent us to drive around the whole world in 1974-1975. That mission was directly related to this doctrine of the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom. We came back with a new sense of responsibility for what He is doing all over His world.

What does God mean when He promises to “give you the Kingdom”. (Luke 12:32)?

He means what He had kept explaining privately over and over again to his disciples—His long-range Kingdom plans for His world and how they will keep on working after He leaves them; what He was saying in John 15:15, “hereforth, I call you not servants (slaves) but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” This Kingdom will be yours—it is yours now.



The Author’s Personal testimony


“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy (2:1-2)

Allow me to step back for a moment to personalize all of this in the form of a personal testimony that the King might use to make someone reading it to be sure of his/her own relationship to the King. Let me be the “individual” that the King is bringing into His Kingdom and building down into my own life something of the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unlimited extent of His Kingdom.

I realize now that He is the King who loved me in a manner wondrous and divine, who caused me to be born in 1925. He took my Mother to be with Himself when I was just three years old. He put it into the heart of my Father to give me away to his sister, a maiden lady and schoolteacher who loved me and taught me to memorize God’s Word (especially Psalm 19, wherein God speaks so precisely about how the “line” of the sun, the moon and the stars speak without words, in every language all over the world). As King, He had put me into the U.S. Navy (1942-1946) and made me the Acting Navigator on board that aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Petrof Bay, where those stars and their timing made the difference between life and death. He kept me alive and then brought me to the point of knowing that things were not “right” between Himself and myself. I did not think or talk or live the way He did. There were big differences between us, and there was nothing I could do to make things right between us. At that juncture, He caused me to remember and to know what I had learned as a boy, that He Himself had come down to earth in the form of Jesus Christ and deliberately given His life on that Cross at the other end of the Mediterranean Sea in order to make things “right” between us—if I would but trust in Him. He put it into my heart to trust in Him and I did.

It was 1948. He began “breathing” the facts about His Kingdom down into my heart/life through the study of His Word. He sent me through three years of seminary, and then directly on to graduate school to begin study of the doctrine of His Kingdom (1948-1953).

In 1953, He brought me back to the United States and called, ordained and installed me to be Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana, home of Indiana University (40,000 students and 40,000 citizens), where He sent two friends who began to show me how to apply and communicate what He had been teaching me about His Kingdom—how to do His work His way. He then called me back to University (1960-1963) to study more of His Kingdom and then brought me to Indianapolis where He wanted to use me in His building of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. In the last 40 years, He has allowed me to be involved in the lives of a dozen or more other pastors who can do everything I can do, but better than I can do it. He lets me be close enough to His Church “building” to see Him build six other churches (and three or more developing) and twelve more men working to become pastors.

Readers: In Philippians 2:8-11 (NKJ), “. . . and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” Since this is the will of the Father for the Son, then why not join Him in that express purpose for your own life, that is the exalting of Jesus in all that you are, know, and do, in a prayer of personal commitment.

Father, whatever it was You committed Yourself to by highly exalting Your son Jesus, a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in Heaven and of those below the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. To Your glory, Dear Father, I hereby now commit myself to full obedience of this command and make this the ultimate purpose of my life in Your Kingdom. Amen.

In 1948, after a four-year stint (1942-1946) in the U.S. Navy as Navigator and Division Officer in the South Pacific and Atlantic theatres, Dr. Roy Blackwood obtained his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Geneva College in Ohio. Also in 1948, he married his wife Margie with whom he has three children. Roy obtained a graduate degree from RP Seminary in 1953 and became Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana. In 1961, Roy and his family moved to Scotland where he received a Doctorate in The History of Theology from New College, University of Edinburgh. Dr. Blackwood became Senior Pastor of the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1966 where he serves to this day.


The King and His Kingdom (Part 1)


Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals


Dr. Roy Blackwood


To Margie, my beloved wife of 57 years.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband

also and He praises her.” (Proverbs 31:28)

And to the King of Kings who has made us a “Kingdom of Kings and priests to His God and Father.” (Revelation 1:6)


In grateful appreciation for Bud Wilson without whose help it would not have been finished and whose persistence in editing and helping has made this possible.

This article was originally published © Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Inc, 1716 Spruce St Philadelphia PA 19103 USA

The Alliance calls the twenty first century church to a modern reformation by broadcasting, events, and publishing. This article and additional biblical resources can be found at

All rights reserved. Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, © 2005 ARALL009


I had just presented Friedrich Nietzche’s powerful and godless philosophy of the “Will to Power” to a recent class. Knowing that Nietzche had been declared clinically insane, and that he had lived his last decade in a vegetative state (probably related to his syphilis), a student nearly cried out, “How can people find his thinking powerful—when they know the tragedy of his life?”

The student was correct. Here was a philosopher who had praised the supposed “inner Superman,” yet was himself both weak in body and mentally out of touch with reality.

Dr. Blackwood and this book represent the diametrical opposite to Nietzche and his godless thinking. For Blackwood, there is only one King, only one Godman. There is one “super” Man— Jesus Christ the Righteous. Also, in contrast to Nietzche, those who know Roy Blackwood see in him the embodiment of this theology. While Blackwood is no Superman (even though it is at times hard to keep up with someone thirty years older!), Roy has been tireless in his efforts to communicate the nature of Christ’s Kingdom and to apply the lessons of this mediatorial Kingdom to believers’ personal walks—in our families, in the church, and in the state.

It is good that we have in our hands such a readable presentation of Dr. Blackwood’s life, thinking and work. For that, thanks go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

May our great Lord use this booklet to raise up many more who will take up the banner for The King and His Kingdom!

Richard C. Gamble


“Seek Ye First the kingdom,” because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all others in balance and because this is becoming of the crown rights and royal prerogatives of the king.


In His “Sermon on the Mount” [as recorded in Matthew], Jesus, as the King Himself, made His own inaugural proclamation of His Kingdom. In 3 chapters, He outlined in broad strokes the description of His Kingdom. In Chapter 5, He told us who the “blessed” are, the character of people who are citizens of His Kingdom. In Chapter 6, He explained the kinds of things they will be doing; e.g. giving, praying, and fasting, and why they are doing everything they do. In Chapter 7, He warned us never to “judge,” or try to relegate people, either into or out of His Kingdom, but to be careful to “know” all men and then build on the solid rock of His “sayings” to make five responses to His proclamation.

1. To seek first the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). So our highest priority in life will be:

Not the individual (Adam) whom He created in His own image, but who often “loves to have the preeminence”

Not the family, whom He formed out of man as the first social unit

Not the church, who is His bride, His darling, “the pillar and ground of my Truth,” the one of whom He said “I will build my Church”

Not civil government whom He has ordained to be “an ordinance of man”

But to seek first His Kingdom in all these other relationships of life, because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all the other priorities in balance and because this is “becoming” of the Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives of the King.

2. To pray for it – that His Kingdom come and His will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

3. To recognize, know and understand how His Kingdom grows as He teaches us in all His sayings throughout the Gospels and in the Old Testament as well as New Testament, especially:

a. What the origin, reason, and purpose for His Kingdom is. Why He “needed” to be a King and to have this Kingdom.

b. What kind of Kingdom it is – the nature of it?

c. What the extent of His Kingdom is in terms of both space and time.

4. To “think” Kingdom as well as to know the facts about it, because He said “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”. His “Kingdom” is more than just a well constructed, long range plan for His world and His Heaven, it is a way of thinking which will affect everything we say and do in personal, family, church and political relationships.

5. And to expect with confidence to find ourselves caught up in our own lifetime in the reality of His Kingdom because the King of this Kingdom has also said “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

So Jesus Christ, the King, directs us to seek, pray, know, think, and expect to be part of this Kingdom.


Defining the Kingdom “For the Kingdom is the Lord’s” (Psalm 22:28a)

What is this Kingdom? Three questions must be answered.

1           What is the source and origin? Why did Jesus Christ “need” to be King and to have this Kingdom? What is THE PURPOSE?

2           What kind of Kingdom is it, the nature of it?

3           What is the extent of Christ’s Kingdom? When did it begin? When will it end? Where is it? Who all and what all are included in Christ’s Kingdom? And where will this Kingdom be?

As God, the second person of the Godhead did not “need” anything. And so it is not an absolute legal necessity that mandates that Christ be a King and have a Kingdom. But it is a relative moral necessity rising out of Christ’s work of atonement that makes it “necessary” for Christ to have a Kingdom and to be a King. The doctrine of the Kingship and Kingdom of Christ must always be understood as the sequel to the doctrine of atonement. If God had never made the decision to save a number of souls, then there never would have been any “need” for Christ to die on the Cross, and no need for Christ to be a King with a Kingdom. But once God, motivated by a love, at once wondrous and divine, made that sovereign decision to save a number of the human race, then it became “necessary” for the second person of the Godhead to leave Heaven to become man, and to die on the Cross in order to make man to be at one with God and God to be at one with those souls.

That is also why it was a relative moral necessity for Christ to be a real king with a kingdom. Without the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom, everything Christ had done on the Cross would have been in vain. If He had simply returned to Heaven and “retired” from active duty, not one soul would have been saved. His blood would have been wasted. He “needed” the power and authority of a king with a kingdom to apply the benefits which He had purchased for us on the Cross. It is in this sense that He “needed” the power and authority that the Father appointed to Him and that He willingly accepted and proclaimed in that remarkable appointment statement which His dialogue stated so vividly in Psalm 2:6-9; John 17:1-3; and Hebrews 5:5. Armed with all power and authority, Christ, as “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” created His world as a platform in space to carry out His work of redemption. After the fall of man, the destructive influences of Satan and sin would have destroyed His world, but now Christ stepped forward to grasp the very pillars of the universe to hold these awful destructive influences in abeyance until those souls for whom He “ever liveth to make intercession”, shall have had time to repent and turn to Him.

In a more personal subjective sense, Christ the Messiah “needed” the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom to subdue your own will and then to apply the benefits He had purchased for you on the Cross in order to receive you to Himself; to make you able to trust in Him; to put His kind of life into your heart; and then to nourish and build you up into the accomplishments of His life’s purpose for you in His Kingdom today, and then on into those purposes which He has planned for you in eternity. All this is accomplished while defeating all His and your enemies. So it was for this purpose, to meet this need, that the Father appointed Him to this Kingship and Kingdom. The purpose of His kingdom can all be summarized by the one word–REDEMPTIVE.

But what is the NATURE of Christ’s Kingdom? What kind of Kingship and Kingdom does Christ have today? When Pilate, representing Caesar, asked Jesus about His Kingdom, Jesus answered guardedly, “My Kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight that I should not be delivered, but now is my Kingdom not from here”. When Pilate pursued his own question further by asking, “Art thou a King then?” Jesus answered more fully, “Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world. . .” This may have been why Pilate later insisted on putting the inscription on His cross, “Christ, the King of the Jews”.

Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and a series of comparisons or contrasts with civil political kings and kingdoms may help to explain and define what it means for a kingdom and kingship to be spiritual.

1           Christ was appointed to this Kingship and Kingdom by the Father, not just “born” into it through a royal family or elected to it by a willing people, nor did He conquer His way into it by spilling the blood of other people. The Father appointed Christ to be a real King with a real Kingdom and that Kingship and kingdom is here with us now. Of the four ways by which kings come to be kings; 1) taking it by force, 2) being born into it, 3) being chosen or elected, 4) being appointed; Christ Himself made it very clear when He said to us in Luke 22:29, “I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me”. That is what the prophecies had promised (i.e. Psalm 2:6,7). And this was true from all eternity. When the Council of the Trinity appointed Him the second person of the Godhead to this particular responsibility, it meant there never was a time when He was not King. But the announcement of that appointment came at His baptism and then His official investiture or actual induction came at the time of His Ascension.

2           The grand purpose of Christ’s spiritual Kingship and Kingdom is to save souls, and not just to administer public justice, preserve peace, develop the morals of men and establish social order.

3           The means of administration in Christ’s spiritual Kingdom includes the teaching of the Bible, the proclamation of the Cross, and the example (the tupos or definitive example) of the King who came to wrestle with the very consciences of men. All these means are in contrast to the other means used exclusively by other kings and kingdoms (i.e. fire, sword and physical violence).

4           The principles of operation in Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship are scriptural and righteous as well as ethical and legal.

5           Almost everything related to Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. Its King is from Heaven and its citizens are “born-again”, “spiritual” people. Its homage is of the soul and its service is according to the will of God.

These comparisons between the Kingdom of Christ, the regnum Christi, and the kingdoms of the world, the regna mundi, help to define the essentially “spiritual” nature of Christ’s Kingdom. They (as we shall see later) provide a base for the development of church-civil government relationships. These distinctions or differences do not necessitate separation. If some could misread these comparisons to mean “keep them separate because they are different”, then this doctrine of Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship would say “bring them together because they are different”. Christ’s spiritual Kingdom can and does include things that are physical and mundane. For example, when God converts a soul so that he becomes a spiritual person, He does not cease to have a physical body. So long as God maintains a visible, witnessing Church on earth, as one form of the Kingdom of Christ, it will involve the physical being part of the spiritual kingdom. Since Christ has told us He has “all power” and has been made head over “all things”, then we can know that in His (spiritual) Kingdom, there will be those things that are, in and of themselves, physical.

Even money, “dedicated” to the Lord becomes an important factor in Christ’s development of His spiritual kingdom. Anything which can, or can be made to have, a spiritual purpose can be seen to be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom. When Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world”, He had no more thought of excluding physical things and political and social-family relationships than when He said to His disciples “ye are not of this world” (the Greek phrase is identical).

When we ask on behalf of the Christian businessman or the man in civil government or the father in a family, “but how can these physical things which occupy so much of my time ever be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom?”, we must know the question is caused by the statements in Scripture and so God will answer it. The answer is to be found in the fact that whatever is connected with Christ’s Kingdom is connected in some way to Christ’s spiritual objectives–objectives that live beyond the time and space restraints in our world. It is the ultimate objective which determines the nature of a thing. When the businessman or man in government can see a direct relationship between his daily work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the Cross, then he will see how his physical job is part of Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom.

Reason for a moment about how things natural are subordinate to things moral and things moral to things gracious (i.e. things having to do with Christ and His Grace, His work on the Cross). Those things which are gracious necessarily suppose the subordination both of those things which are natural and those that are moral. So it is that the natural and moral classes are also under Him officially as the appointed King. The result of all this then is that the essential dominion of Christ (i.e. what He owned and controlled as God Creator) and the mediatorial dominion of Christ (i.e. what He was appointed to as a direct result of His work on the Cross) are never subversive of one another but are always supportive of each other and perfectly harmonious and yet never so blended as to destroy the distinctive character of either one.

So anything physical in the regna mundi which can or can be made to have a spiritual purpose or to make a contribution to Christ’s spiritual Kingdom will be part of His spiritual Kingdom. This is why Christ was appointed to be “head over all things” to the Church. That includes His being head over such physical things as family and civil government. It is as though the Father has said to the Son as the direct result of His work on the Cross,

“Thou hast established thy right to rule that rebel world. Go through it now subduing sin and Satan and all other kings and kingdoms, building up your own individuals, families, civil government and church to accomplish your own purposes in time and on into eternity.”

The nature of His Kingdom can all be summarized by the one word—SPIRITUAL.

Having established the redemptive purpose and the spiritual nature for Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship, let’s move on to the EXTENT of Christ’s Kingship and Kingdom. In many ways it is the most important because His Kingdom is unlimited.

In Matt. 11:27, Jesus said to us “All things (ta ponta) are delivered unto Me of My Father”.

In Matt. 28:18, He said “All power (exousia) has been given to me”.

In Acts 10:36, Peter said, after living with Jesus for five years,”He is Lord of All”.

In Eph. 1:22, Paul said, “And (He) hath put all things under His feet and made Him to be head over all things to the Church”.

In Col. 2:10, Paul said, (I believe with special reference to angel powers) “And ye are complete in Him which is head of all principality and power”. He is the King of all angels.

In I Cor. 15:17, Paul specifies the one exception which surely does “prove” the rule, “For He hath put all things under His feet. But…it is manifest that He (the Father) is excepted which did put all things under Him.

In Heb. 2:6-8, Jesus quotes the words from Psalm 8,“…Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him,” as does Augustine, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin.

Christ is God-Creator, (John 1:3). As such, He had certain essential power and authority over all He had created. This was His Essential Kingdom and His power and authority in it could not be said to have been given unto Him. You cannot give to a person something which he already has. And yet, in every one of the references above, the power and authority is said to have been “given or “delivered” or “put upon” or “put under” Him. It is this distinction that causes us to know whether a reference in Scripture is referring to the inherent Essential Kingdom which is Christ’s by virtue of the fact that He is God-Creator or whether it is a reference referring to that Mediatorial Kingdom which was bestowed upon Him as the direct result of His work on the Cross. (Using this method, you may wish to find other references which describe Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom). [It is] true that Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is as unlimited as is His Essential Kingdom. All that was included in His Essential Kingdom is now included in His Mediatorial Kingdom. The difference lies in the fact that the powers and things which He formerly used and ruled by inherent and original right as Creator He now uses and rules as Mediator for a new purpose, namely the salvation of souls and the best interests of all His people, the Christians or the church. very thing which He had formerly created and controlled as God-Creator, he now rules and uses for His redemptive purposes as God-Savior. Everything is—or must be made to—contribute to the salvation of souls. These things include:

1           Inanimate and irrational things such as sun, moon, stars, animals, fish and birds–anything which can be shown in Scripture to be made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes. Throughout the Gospels, we see Christ controlling all these things to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

2           Angels, both Holy angels and fallen angels (even including Satan himself) are made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes.

3           Men, “all flesh”, elect and non-elect, alive or dead–in their official and their private capacities–are under Christ’s Dominion.

4           Associations of people of every kind: family, civil or political, church, and business, because individuals by forming themselves into organizations or corporations, or societies may not get out from under Christ’s Lordship and Kingdom.

5           The very “wheels of Providence” are directed and controlled by Christ to serve His redemptive purpose.

So everything that exists, except the Father, has been put under Christ’s Dominion. Had it not been for that, the world never would have been able to survive the curse. With this unlimited power, he steps forward and grasps the very pillars of the universe to hold off the destructive forces of sin and Satan, until His redemptive purposes are accomplished. The extent of Christ’s kingdom can all be summarized by the one word— UNLIMITED.

Christ’s Kingdom then is:

• Redemptive in origin and purpose

Spiritual in nature and

* Unlimited in extent

Download pdf here.

“Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints


Over on the Puritanboard, we are having a discussion on the recent developments of what Two Kingdom Theology is and how it is understood.  Mark Van Der Molen, an Indiana lawyer and former Elder in the URCNA (United Reformed Church of North America) who has studied the topic for some years, worked out a series of “two kingdoms” propositions drawn primarily from the teachings of Dr. David Van Drunen.  The development of the propositions arose in Van Der Molen’s discussion with Matthew Tuininga on his blog  Christian in America in May of 2012.  The 27 Propositions were developed, refined, and agreed upon by both Van Der Molen and Tuininga as a starting point to discuss the topic.

At the Puritanboard, in response to some questions, Mark provided an updated series of responses/ counter points to the propositions.  Just as my own blog is still a work in progress, and some two kingdom proponents may have some disagreements in their exact formulation, this list of propositions, responses, and counterpoints could be beneficial in bringing some clarity to this ongoing discussion.

Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints:

1. The moral law is binding on all men everywhere.

No disagreement on this.

2. Natural law is the basic moral standard in the common kingdom.

The Reformed confessions recognize that natural law exists and is a standard, but it is insufficient to order the common kingdom aright independently of special revelation.

3. Natural law is the standard for the civil government’s use of the sword.

The Reformed confessions testify that natural law is a standard, but is insufficient to order the government’s use of the sword aright.

4. The Decalogue was given for the covenant community only.

The Reformed confessions testify the Decalogue was given “to” the covenant community, but is given “for” all men.

5. The provisional and ceremonial aspects of the Decalogue were binding on the O.T. covenant community only.

Generally agreeable, except that the Reformed confessions also testify that the “truth and substance” of the law and prophets and ceremonial law remain today.

6. The moral law as expressed in the Decalogue is binding on all men everywhere.

Generally agreeable, except to the extent this formulation is sometimes used to sever the moral law from its written expression in the Decalogue

7. Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.

The Reformed confessions testify that the moral imperatives of Scripture are binding on all men everywhere.

8. As an expression of the natural law, the Noahic Covenant’s principle of lex talionis retributive justice governs use of the sword in the common kingdom.

Reformed theology has typically not limited the use of the sword to simply the lex talinios principle, but recognizes that the use of the sword includes justice tempered by mercy.

9. The lex talionis principle is not exact but is approximate, flexible, imprecise, and tempered by forbearance according the wise judgment of those in authority.

This proposition suggests agreement with the counterpoint to #8, but the term “forbearance” does not appear to equate with term “mercy” by two kingdoms proponents. 

10. Principles of mercy and forgiveness do not govern the common kingdom.

Principles of mercy and forgiveness do operate in the common kingdom, if one understands the common kingdom to include families, personal relationships, etc.

11. Principles of mercy and forgiveness govern Christ’s spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed would agree, but add that principles of justice also operate in the spiritual kingdom. 

12. The civil magistrate is to enforce the natural law duties of men toward one another as expressed in the Second Table of the Decalogue, but is not to enforce any natural law duties of men toward God as expressed in the First Table of the Decalogue.

The Reformed confessions testify that the written expression of the Second Table itself is enforced in some respects (not just the natural law represented by the Second table) and further, testify that there are aspects of the First Table that are within the proper sphere of the magistrate.

13. As the Noahic Covenant makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers, the state should not require nor promote any particular religious commitment to norm participation in the social order in the common kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also recognized that the Noahic Covenant did make distinctions between believers and unbelievers (commands and gracious promises to Noah and his family vs. mankind in general) and have denied that the Noahic is strictly a “common grace” covenant with no particular religious commitment to be promoted in the common kingdom.

14. The church is the present institutional manifestation of Christ’s redemptive kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify that the church is the “chief” manifestation, but not the sole present manifestation of the kingdom.

15. Natural law alone is the sufficient standard for ordering the common kingdom aright.

The Canons of Dort and Belgic Confessions testify that natural law is insufficient to order things civil and natural “aright” due to the noetic effects of sin.

16. The Law delivered at Sinai under the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the Covenant of Works in effect only during the time of the Israel theocracy.

The Mosaic covenant is in substance and essence an administration of the one covenant of grace. The idea of the Mosaic as a republished covenant of works with a “works principle” actually operating in some mixed or subservient fashion, was an historically minority opinion not codified in of our confessions.

17. The principles embedded in the judicial laws of the Mosaic Covenant are not normative for public policy today, except to the extent they reflect the general equity of natural law.

Generally agreed, except that it would be better to substitute or at least include the word “moral law” for “natural law” for clarity’s sake.

18. The state has no duty or goal to aid the advancement of the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify to the contrary, in that the magistrate is ordained to restrain evil, to promote good, to protect the church, and aid the advance of the gospel. 

19. It is illegitimate to change the institutions of the common kingdom (e.g., the state) to make them conform to distinctively Christian principles (e.g., turn the other cheek).

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify that all men, in whatever station, are to submit to the Lordship of Christ, tearing down strongholds and taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Christ.

20. It is inappropriate to seek the gospel’s transformation of culture into a Christian culture.

See response to #19.

21. Our resurrected body is the only element of creation that will be carried over into the eschatological kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also said that our sanctified/perfected works and the renewed heavens and earth will be part of the eschatological kingdom.

22. The family is part of the common kingdom.

The institution of the family is formed by God and is to be directed to the glory of God. It is agreed that it is an institution shared by unbelievers, but unbelievers misdirect or suppress the direction the institution should take.

23. The Christian is a dual citizen, as a citizen of both the spiritual kingdom and a citizen of the common kingdom.

It is agreeable that we share and interact with unbelievers but the term “kingdom” could confuse if such activities are thought in spatial terms as some “realm” governed by some different king or different ethic. 

24. The unbeliever is a citizen only of the common kingdom.

This is generally agreeable, but with same caveat as #23 on the definition of “kingdom”. 

25. The Christian lives under a dual ethic, namely, the natural law-justice ethic governing life in the common kingdom and the grace-mercy ethic governing life in the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify we we live under a unified Biblical Christian ethic, not a dual- antithetical ethic that depends on which “kingdom” we are operating in. Thus, for example, the Christian family is not guided solely by an ethic of lex talionis justice, but also an ethic of mercy and forgiveness. 

26. The common kingdom pertains to temporal, earthly, provisional matters, not matters of ultimate and spiritual importance. It includes matters of politics, law, and cultural life more generally.

The Reformed confessions do not exclude the kingdom of God as being manifest in these earthly matters of law, politics, and cultural life more generally.

27. The spiritual kingdom pertains to things that are of ultimate and spiritual importance. Insofar as this spiritual kingdom has earthly existence, it is found in the church and not in the state or other temporal institutions.

See comment on #26.

You can read the back and forth discussion from the comments section at the link below to see how they worked the propositions out.

The comments, post, and link has been put away by Matthew Tuininga.  I saved them in a file at one time.

Foundations, Personal, National, and Global Repentance in Light of the Current Crisis.


Connecticut Crisis!

How can this Crisis not define or change all that are impacted by the devastation that happened in Connecticut? This is so incredibly terrible and saddening. As a Dad of three boys whom I deeply love I can’t imagine the pain and sorrow that is being experienced. I am praying for grace and mercy upon those souls. I thought divorce was crippling, I can’t imagine what they are going through.

Since yesterday’s murderous rampage of school children, family members, and total strangers people have been groping for answers.  I have one answer to the cause.  Here it is.

Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; …

I have been seeing posts about teachers who carry guns in their schools in other countries.  Supposedly they don’t have student killings. Just saw a picture of World War II German soldiers filling pits with dead citizens that had just been murdered.  Evidently the Government had outlawed civilian guns and became tyrannical. I saw a comment later that noted how the USA is a country with guns and how we are the country that is having all of the School shootings unlike other Countries that have gun restrictions. I later noticed that someone made a parody post.  The parody was about a young child asking God why the school killings where happening and why He wasn’t protecting the children. In the parody God answers the young child saying that he was kicked out of the Schools and that he no longer had authority in the School system.

Those posts show the frustration and desire to fix things.  But their observations and conclusions are missing the mark.  As I consider what has happened I am torn because I have seen great changes in our moral fabric as a Society and as a Nation.  When I was a child the foundations for our behavior were a bit more solid but they have been removed for the most part. We had a foundation for why we should go to worship.  We had a foundation for why we should obey our parents.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t steal.  We had a foundation for why we should honour the marriage bed and forsake adultery in heart, mind, and action.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t lie.  We had a foundation for why we shouldn’t lust after our neighbors wife or his stuff.  And if we did violate those things we knew we were expected to confess and repent.  There was a foundation for that also.  Yes, there was also a foundation for why we were forgiving.  I don’t think the foundation is gone but we have lied to ourselves and our children saying it isn’t there. We don’t want to be accountable for things or told how we should act or think. We desire freedom from what is right so that we can do and think as we please without God’s nose (or anyone else’s for that fact) being stuck in our business.  We have our rights and we demand them. But that is selfish anarchy and not freedom.

God did write the Ten Commandments and we have outlawed them. As Jesus noted, they are summed up in two Commandments. Love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself. But we have wanted God to go away and now our kids don’t have any foundation. The foundation we have given them to behold is that they come from lower life forms.  So why are we surprised when they want to act like them?All I have to say is we are guilty. We all are guilty and we need a Revival of Truth and hearts filled with Repentance.

Christ has sent good men and His word to tell us to repent. God is long suffering (patient), but his patience does have a limit and he will let us reap what we are sowing.Let us return to the God of our forefathers and seek reconciliation with Him. Maybe he will grant us repentance and change the hearts of our children to become what they should be, lovers of God and mankind.Christ came to the World for a purpose. He came to save His people from their sin. From the manger to the Cross his whole purpose was to redeem and reconcile us to God because He loved His Creation. Christ is our only hope both in the temporal and eternal.

Please, I plead with everyone reading this before all of Heaven, turn to God. Quit divorcing the Law of God from the Church and Society. We are reaping what we are sowing. Call upon God and repent so that we may be saved. For it is destined unto man once to die, then the judgement.  And how shall we escape both the temporal and eternal judgments if we neglect so great a salvation that the Lord offers. He paid a high price to reconcile us to Himself. What kind of judgment do we deserve if we turn away from God and count all he did as nothing?  The Eternal God of Heaven became a man to fix the problem.  What are we doing neglecting such a love and gift?  Our children will follow in our footsteps.  And that is scary.  If we don’t repent then their fall and sin will also be our fault.  We will be the ones to blame for leading them astray.  But for now at least we have space to try to get it right so they can have a chance also.

This is what we are and where we have come from. May we honour God and turn back to Him. May God increase our faith and knowledge based upon His Law and Historical Good News of His Kingdom. He is the source of all that is good. He proved it from the beginning of creation, to the cradle, to the Cross, and to His Resurrection. Those are historical facts.  May we fall upon them and call upon Him to be saved.

Please carefully consider the following link to a pdf download as it presents the person and work of Christ on your behalf.

The rest of the passage in Isaiah 53:6 states this…..

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

That was an Old Testament prophesy that God was going to lay on Christ, God the Son, the sins of the World.  As John the Baptist stated, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the Word.”

Pray for the suffering families.  But do more than that.

Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Randy Martin Snyder

(What is the Gospel?) Depraved Christianity might be Antinomian Christianity pt. 3


Rev. Phillips stated this in his first paragraph of his blog critiquing Rev. Tullian Tchividjian….

One of the most pressing concerns in Reformed churches today is the importance of getting the gospel right. Recently, Reformed churches have had to oppose the Federal Vision theology, which compromises justification by inserting good works into the definition of faith. Unfortunately, Christians tend to defend doctrines by erring in the opposite direction. So it is that Reformed churches are presently facing a corruption of the gospel by the virtual denial of sanctification and good works….

David Murray’s critique is very good…. Does Jesus + Nothing = Everything?  HeadHeartHand Blog
Does Jesus + Nothing = Everything? | HeadHeartHand Blog

Pastor Tullian’s quote from his book ‘Jesus Nothing Everything’…

I used to think that growing as a Christian meant I had to somehow go out and obtain the qualities and attitudes I was lacking. To really mature, I needed to find a way to get more joy, more patience, more faithfulness, and so on. Then I came to the shattering realization that this isn’t what the Bible teaches, and it isn’t the gospel. What the Bible teaches is that we mature as we come to a greater realization of what we already have in Christ. The gospel, in fact, transforms us precisely because it’s not itself a message about our internal transformation but about Christ’s external substitution. We desperately need an advocate, mediator, and friend. But what we need most is a substitute—someone who has done for us and secured for us what we could never do and secure for ourselves. (94, Kindle Edition)

Tullian Tchividjian sounds like Horton, doesn’t he? Remember the three minute video?

 Horton notes…

The term “gospel” is a very precise term, a particular kind of word, or kind of speech in the Bible.  It refers to God’s promise of salvation in Christ.  The gospel is a victory announcement.  It never tells us something to do.  That is the business of the law.  Rather, the gospel tells us something that has been done.

Consequently, those who speak of living the gospel or doing the gospel commit a category mistake.   More importantly, they make the most basic theological mistake a person could make, namely, confuse the law and the gospel.  And if we confuse the law and the gospel, then we will make ourselves partly your own saviors, adding to the work of Christ.

Is Horton Correct?  …. As a Pastor aquaintance has noted….

The most serious problem is that Horton’s indictment is based upon a shaky foundation.  Horton’s critique is predicated upon his narrow and strict definition of the term “gospel.”  But is that the only way the Bible uses or defines the term “gospel”?  The answer is no!  Romans 2:16 connects the future judgment with the gospel and 2 Thess. 1:8 and 1 Pet. 4:17 both speak of obeying the gospel.  The gospel is to be obeyed.  But how do you obey a victory announcement?  How do you obey what God has done?  So either the Bible itself confuses law and gospel or it uses the word “gospel” differently (at times) than Horton.  Since the latter must be true, then Horton shouldn’t make the strict definition of the gospel, the one and only definition of the gospel.  And he most certainly shouldn’t make any charges of legalism towards those who use a broader yet biblical definition of the gospel.

Fyi, the note on 2 Thess. 1:8 in the Reformation Study Bible is as follows:

§ 1:8 obey the gospel. The gospel must be accepted, believed, and obeyed (1 Pet. 4:17). Its divine command is for absolute surrender to God through the peace made by Jesus Christ.

Dr. David Murray writes…

I agree that the Gospel is certainly a message about Christ’s external substitution. But it does not stop there. The Gospel is also a message about internal transformation (a major part of sanctification). Christ saves us from our sins objectively and subjectively, from the penalty of sin and the presence of sin.

Guys, this is a problem. Others are seeing it. This is a truncated Gospel that is being proclaimed and one without the full truth and power of a message that has to do with the whole of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is about more than just justification before God.  The Gospel is about man’s reconciliation with God, totally.   The Gospel is about a restored relationship with God.  And this is Life Eternal that they know… (John 17:3)

Justification removes fear from Eternal Condemnation but it shouldn’t remove fear from chastisement or judgement from God when we are living in sin. That is what First Corinthians Chapter 10 is all about.  And it is precisely the Mosaic Covenant that St. Paul is referencing when appealing to how we should live as Christians in the Spirit of Christ.

In this Modern Reformed Thought some are weakening the sensitivity of the Conscience which needs to be awakened unto holy living. Sure we aren’t condemned before God in Eternity because Christ has removed the curse of the Covenant of Works, but we should fear our heavenly Father when we sin. That is something the World lacks.  It lacks a Heavenly Father who cares about how we live in His Kingdom.  Remember God chastises his children because He loves them.  If we had good fathers growing up they disciplined us because they loved us and wanted us to live peaceably with them.

This reconciliation thing is also about 1 John 1:9 and our daily life. It is about sanctification and our daily walk with our King in His Kingdom. This truncated gospel these guys are proclaiming is growing void of the part  that runs next to our justification in the Gospel.  It takes Sanctification and removes it from the Gospel because it is supposedly of the law, which is not a part of the Gospel. They say so themselves. That is antinomian because according to them we should look only to justification for all things according them.  Our Union with Christ is where we should look for all things.  Justification and Sanctification both proceed from that.  Their scheme divorces our daily walk with God from the sanctifying grace of reconciliation.  The law is opposed to us soteriologically because the law opposes the Gospel.  The Law only Condemns in the scheme of soteriology according to them.  It is not a part of the Gospel or salvation.  The Gospel is only about justification and not about sanctification in their understanding.  The Gospel and Reconciliation have a a two fold benefit though, Justification and Sanctification.  Both are made realities by the Spirit of God in our Union with Christ.

The Gospel is about our Adoption and our living with God daily.  We should look to our Union with Christ which brings a two-fold Grace as Calvin put it. This Modern Reformed Thought Gospel that is only declarative is a subtle moving away from the Gospel of the Kingdom.

I will say this.  At least these Modern Day Reformed Thought guys get justification correct.

Edited to accommodate those whom want to defend Horton.