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By | September 4, 2021

Three. I ambition to absorb abundant added of my time on VanDrunen. I do acquisition abundant of what he says to be advantageous and on point, although I do not accede with all that he writes. Consider aboriginal his advance of Two Kingdoms theology, of which he is a somewhat added abstinent representative. Obviously not anybody in Puritan and Reformed circles absolutely concurs with this position.

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Many, such as Frame, Sproul, Gamble, Kloosterman, Littlejohn, et. al., beg to differ, and some accept apprenticed absolute books to appraisal Two Kingdoms commodity (see for archetype John Frame, The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Acknowledgment to Two Commonwealth Canon – Whitefield Media, 2011). And some, like Douglas Wilson, accept at atomic criticised added abolitionist versions of it.

As to the 2020 VanDrunen book: it has had assorted analytical reviews, alms some areas of disagreement. So he has both defenders and critics. But let me accord with a few things he says in the book. As to ambrosial to Jeremiah, he says this:

Jeremiah 27 and 29 accommodate conceivably the abutting Old Testament counterparts to the absolute descriptions of government angary and its agnate obligations begin in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. . . . Appropriately a abundant abounding pieces of New Testament teaching about the angary of civilian ascendancy acquisition antecedent here: God’s appointment, the court as all-powerful servant, and the peoples’ obligation to abide to their magistrates and adjure for them. (pp. 27-28)

And in Ch. 6 he looks at Israel’s banishment and states:

Compared to Abraham’s sojourn, Israel’s acquaintance in banishment is a added attainable antecedent of normative advice for abreast Christians, for the astrologer Jeremiah wrote a letter giving the exiles specific instructions for activity in Babylon (Jer. 29:4-14). Jeremiah’s letter, supplemented by a cardinal of narratives about banishment life, provides a advantageous account of what godly behavior in banishment looked like. Three things angle out. . . . These instructions in Jeremiah 29 and their appliance in Daniel are constant with the ambit of Christian political canon laid out in affiliate 1. (pp. 154-156 – accent added)

Um, it seems to me he is conflating things actuality and allurement the question. That Jeremiah gave specific instructions to the Israelites as to how they should animate in their alluringly appointed banishment is clear. But that these accurate instructions again are commodity normative for Christians today is far from clear.

As I declared above, that would be to accept that every time some avaricious adjudicator or angry nation invades some added country, this is not alone God’s accurate will, but it is commodity the accountable bodies charge readily abide to, because it is all-powerful acumen aloft them. Again, appearance me the ‘prophets’ today who are cogent us these exact all-powerful boot orders about such situations.

They may exist, but I doubtable that they are wrong. These statements actuality fabricated by VanDrunen do NOT abode how Christians – or anyone abroad – today should acknowledge to imperialism, wars of aggression, and all-embracing conquest. By conflating affairs he robs believers of a abounding biblical canon of such things, including the issues of self-defence and aloof war principles.

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But abroad he does say things that assume abundant added accessible in this regard. In his penultimate affiliate on “Government Authority” he writes: “Scripture, of course, states on a few occasions that God has advancing civilian magistrates and that bodies should abide to them. But on abounding added occasions, Scripture exposes their pride and bribery and brings them beneath all-powerful judgment.” (p. 324)

Yes absolutely so, and I accept accounting several accessories attractive at abundant examples of this: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/03/24/12-biblical-cases-of-civil-disobedience/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/05/24/more-biblical-cases-of-resisting-the-authorities/

In that affiliate he says this about Calvin:

Civil attrition has been a contested affair in the history of the Christian church. Opinion was disconnected in the aboriginal years of my own Reformed tradition. One of its arresting figures, John Calvin, captivated a abundantly austere appearance of people’s obligation to abide to government authorities. . . . In contrast, several of Calvin’s adolescent French Reformed leaders answer a abundant broader apperception of accepted attrition to tyrants. They appealed to age-old built-in rights, covenants amid adjudicator and ruled, and the like. My own sentiments run abundant afterpiece to the angle of the latter. (pp. 348-9)

And so do mine. In a animadversion he mentions Theodore Beza, Stephanus Junius Brutus, and Francois Hotman. I acknowledgment such abstracts in a allotment I did some time ago on key attrition thinkers. I accept already apprenticed some accessories on alone proponents of attrition theory, and I plan to awning the blow in the canicule ahead: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/04/12/on-resistance-theory/

Also, VanDrunen alike goes on to allege about the achievability of such things as aloof revolution: “Is there a point at which a government becomes so corrupt, and redressing its injustices through allowable agency so futile, that anarchy is permissible or alike required? Accustomed the arguments appropriately far, I do not see why not.” (p. 356)

I too accept argued this way, although we both accede that believers charge to be absolutely alert here: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/07/11/is-revolution-ever-justified-part-one/

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And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/07/11/is-revolution-ever-justified-part-two/

But let me accession one added point on this amount of seeing Jer. 27 and 29 as somehow actuality archetypal for Christians today. It involves commodity VanDrunen says about Pharoah and the accouterment of services. He writes: “But this can hardly be a model, back the affairs depended on God’s appropriate adumbration of approaching contest to Joseph, ability bare to government admiral today.” (p. 345)

And yet do we not accept appealing abundant the aforementioned affair actuality said back he tries to use Jer. 29 as a model? Artlessly change a few words about here: “But this can hardly be a model, back the aggression depended on God’s appropriate adumbration of approaching contest to Jeremiah, ability bare to government admiral today.”

VanDrunen argues that actual specific and abundant instructions accustomed to Joseph about advancing contest appear by God should not be acclimated as a arrangement for today, yet he says that actual specific and abundant instructions accustomed to Jeremiah about advancing contest appear by God should be acclimated as a arrangement for today. While the two situations are agilely different, I accede with what he says about the aboriginal case, but not the second.

Four. I appetite to draw aloft aloof two commentators who altercate the passages in Jeremiah – one an evangelical and one not. As to the former, J. Andrew Dearman says this about Jer. 27 in his 2002 NIVAC commentary:

A avant-garde appliance of this bulletin charge be quick to abjure that all peoples who languish beneath backbreaking regimes or that all individuals who ache affecting and concrete banishment are apprenticed in these altitude by God’s judgment. Scripture gives no absolute accreditation for such a claim. Some bodies (including some Christians) acquisition afflictive any anticipation of abuse and banishment as God’s adorning judgment. Scripture gives no accreditation for that affirmation either. The issues with which Jeremiah 27 are anxious are those of God’s timing and the beyond architecture of his actual purposes in basal a bodies for himself. It is artlessly accurate that God’s timing is generally not “our” timing and God’s means are not our means (Isa. 55:8). What Jeremiah calls his aeon to accept is that their aboriginal actuation is wrong. They accept yet to see the absurdity of their ways, and until God has dealt with that, there will be no acknowledged liberation from political abuse or annihilation else….

God is added anxious with the fate of his bodies and the adorning acumen they charge undergo. Ultimately God will accompany a merciful end to Babylonian supremacy and in the action will restore his people. His ambition is (and remains!) to accomplish his bodies fit argosy for his service, a commonwealth of priests and a angelic nation (1 Peter 2:9).

My non-evangelical analyst is OT academic Walter Brueggemann. I could draw aloft his 1998 commentary, but will instead adduce from his 2007 The Canon of the Book of Jeremiah. He writes:

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YHWH’s massive ascendancy is consistently alone provisionally affiliated with any alluvial power. Thus, in 27:5-6, there is no agnosticism that all-powerful ascendancy is committed to the success of Babylon. In ballad 7, however, that all-powerful charge is for the abbreviate term; in the end, YHWH’s ascendancy apropos alone YHWH’s aphorism and YHWH’s glory, and no alluvial ability cartel brainstorm it will assuredly allotment in the all-powerful splendor. The “until” of 27:7 anticipates that, by all-powerful decrees, Babylon will be bargain to servitude. The “until” of ballad 22 additionally anticipates that YHWH will about-face fields and “give attention” to the Jews in Babylon. In ballad 8, the “until” indicates that Babylon’s assignment is alone to complete the abolition of Jerusalem. After that, YHWH has no added business to conduct through Babylon, who is after of no added use. In 29:10 the “until” of affiliate 27 is bargain to a accepted blueprint of “seventy years,” but that conception alone serves to specify the agreement of “until.”

Five. Back the pastor who beatific in the animadversion aloft the issues of Covid mandates and the like in his reflections on Romans 13, let me say two quick things. First, I accept of advance accounting able-bodied over 100 pieces on the virus, and how governments are application it as a affectation to added consolidate ability and ascendancy over the masses. Statists adulation crises and emergencies, and they adulation ramping up the fear.

And second, I and others accept approved to acquaint about the apocalyptic parallels we acquisition in the West today in its agitated and fear-laden acknowledgment to Covid with all the restrictions on abandon and basal animal rights – all to ‘keep us safe’ – and what we saw accident in Germany in the 1930s.

Even some bodies who survived the Holocaust and are still animate today accept acicular this out and are actual abundant anxious about what they are seeing today. They care to know. Assorted heavy-handed mandates and restrictions, from abbey closures to vaccine passports, are cases of bright government overreach, and believers should accurately be abundantly anxious about area we are branch with all this.

To be honest, I am not alone absorbed in abundant apostolic battles in what is an baleful agitation amidst assertive sections of the abbey (or what VanDrunen refers to as “parochial Reformed debates” – p. 38). I am additionally actual abundant anxious about the actual absolute war on abandon – and the war on religious alternative – that I see everywhere occurring because of accompaniment agitation and overreaction to the virus.

So while lengthy, boring apostolic debates accept their place, so too does recognising what array of apple we are now active in – or bound becoming. That is a actual big allotment of my affair as a Christian, abnormally so over the accomplished 18 months.

Six. By way of summation, attrition approach is additionally a actual important allotment of both Reformed and Puritan history and thought. Calvin does not accept the aftermost and final chat on all these matters. I accept a cardinal of accessories on this with added on the way. They action a somewhat altered booty on these sorts of issues. For those who are interested, see the 50 pieces begin here: billmuehlenberg.com/category/politics/resistance-theory/

Part One of this commodity is begin here: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/08/23/scripture-government-submission-and-resistance-part-one/

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