Monday, August 31, 2009

Helpful Interviews on the Church and the Public Square

Over at Letters from Mississippi, David Strain, a PCA pastor in Mississippi, has begun an interview with Darryl Hart concerning a Reformed understanding of two-kingdom theology/spirituality of the church. So far there are two installments with more to come. What I like about the interviews thus far is that they are dealing with practical issues and implications of applying 2k thinking in real life. It seems to me in my reading that this is where most of the controversy lies right now--a misunderstanding on what it looks like in practice.

As I have advocated here, Hart also suggests that though the church as an institution is not called to transform society, that does not mean that individual Christians, as they live out their vocations as Christians, don't have a positive influence in society:
. . . Individual Christians in their vocations are called to a host of tasks that do, I guess, contribute to social transformation. (I don’t like that language because it has a progressive political valence that I oppose for political and cultural reasons – both libertarian and localist and at times agrarian.) But the church doesn’t transform society nor should she as an institution (in distinction from her members’ callings).

This doesn’t mean that some of the aspects of social transformation, such as government, policy, and legislation are unimportant or “worldly.” They are worldly but in the good sense of the created order and the way that God superintends this world. Society is a good thing and Christians as citizens or in other capacities should be dutiful in their obligations to neighbors and magistrates. But social transformation is not where the kingdom of Christ happens.

So far the installments have been informative and practical--I would also highly recommend reading the comments under the second installment to see Strain's helpful comments. You ought to check them out.

Part I
Part II

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