1.Some readers may find my position confusing. The explanation is that, when it comes to the sacraments, I’m closer to the Baptists, but when it comes to politics, I’m closer to the Presbyterians. So why don’t we split the difference and classify me as a Bapterian?
2.Did I take umbrage at being called a theonomist? No. If someone wants to call me that, I can live with that. Doesn’t bother me.
3.Am I a theonomist? Is that what I’d call myself?
I suppose that’s a matter of definition. It’s true that my views aren’t much different from those of Bahnsen and Rushdoony. So I suppose you could call me a theonomist.
But, then, my views aren’t much different from those of John Frame, John Murray, and B. B. Warfield. So I suppose you could call me an old school Presbyterian.
And my views aren’t much different from Kuyper or van Prinsterer. So I suppose you could call me a Kuyperian.
And my views aren’t much different from those of John Cotton, John Winthrop, Cotton Matter, and William Bradford. So I suppose you could call me a Pilgrim.
And my views aren’t much different from those of Oliver Cromwell, John Owen, and Samuel Rutherford. So I suppose you could call me a Puritan.
And my views aren’t much different from Calvin, Knox, and du Plessis Mornay. So I suppose you could call me a Calvinian.
In terms of historical Reformed theology, my position is pretty mainstream. It’s the idiosyncratic and contraconfessional views of Meredith Kline and his epigones that are out of the mainstream of Reformed tradition.
That came out loud-and-clear in the Irons’ trial. Lee Irons is a brilliant and consistent protégé of Meredith Kline. Now, there were many twists and turns to that trial, but setting to one side all of the evasive, hair-splitting nuances, it came down to two things:
i) Irons is of the opinion that redemptive-historical theology has superseded the traditional Reformed view of the law as it bears on believers and unbelievers alike. And he also embraces, with a vengeance, Kline’s desacralized view of common grace.
On the role of the law and, relatedly, church/state relations, Irons is of the opinion that traditional Reformed theologians did the best they could, but they were children of their time, and did not have the benefit of the revolutionary insights afforded by redemptive-historical theology. The work of Vos and especially of Kline is said to have rendered that paradigm obsolete.
Kline’s position on the role of the law is no more confessional than Shepherd’s. It’s just counterconfessional in a different way.
ii) And if you want to tabulate the cash-value of this paradigm-shift, just look at Lee’s tacit endorsement of same-sex marriage--which was what got him into hot water in the first place.
And if the state doesn’t have the right to draw the line then and there, where, if at all, does it draw the line?
4.The problem I have with Chad is that he is doing the same thing as the liberals do. The liberals substitute labels for arguments. If you disagree with then over, say, sodomy, they brand you as a homophobe, end of discussion. Chad is resorting to the same tactic.
And his proof-by-labeling isn’t limited to disciples of Bahnsen or Rushdoony. Notice that Jus denied he was a theonomist. Instead, he identified his own position with the position of the Westminster Divines, which—incidentally—is the position taken by Paul Helm, the Reformed Baptist philosopher and theologian.
But, for Chad, that makes him a theonomist. And, for Chad, once you’ve assigned the label, then that absolves you of having to defend your position from Scripture.
Notice that Liefeld comes in for the same silent treatment. Now, in some respects, Liefeld is decidedly left of center. On the one hand, he’s no Calvinist. On the other hand, he is an egalitarian. And he also denies church office. This hardly puts him in the same camp as Bahnsen or Rushdoony.
5. Speaking of “camp,” is Camp an Anabaptist? Well, he doesn’t live like an Anabaptist. On the other hand, what I’ve quoted from him sure sounds like classic Anabaptist theology on church/state relations and the role of the law.
So it’s six of one and half a dozen of another. Either he’s a confused Calvinist or else he’s a confused Anabaptist! Either he’s a Calvinist with an Anabaptist view of the law or else an Anabaptist with Calvinist view of grace. Take your pick since his inconsistencies don’t select for one classification over another. I’ll leave others to sort that one out.
6.Finally, forgive me for interjecting a reality check, but I can’t help noticing the disconnect between the airtight bubble into which Camp and his defenders withdraw and the world out the window, where child molesters and suicide bombers are running amok.