It appears from your post that your beef is with Kline and Kline as understood by Irons. I don't see what I have do in this discussion at all. My theology is that confessed by the Reformed churches in the Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards. Have you read the two books I've published on covenant theology? Have you read any of the several articles I've published on covenant theology? Why do you assume that I agree with MGK or Irons on every point? Isn't that a gratuitous assumption?
Which misses the point. You deny that Baptists can be “Reformed” because, according to you, Baptist theology is contraconfessional.
Yet I don’t see you saying the same thing about Meredith Kline. So this presents a dilemma:
i) Either you think Kline, despite his contraconfessional positions, was still Reformed–in which case you need to explain why his contraconfessional positions remains within the bounds Reformed identity while the (allegedly) contraconfessional positions of a Baptist who, lets us say, subscribes to the LBCF, are out of bounds with Reformed identity,
ii) Deny that Meredith Kline and his disciples are really Reformed.
Horns of what dilemma? In a post-theocratic world (after the expiration of the Mosaic theocracy) no state is authorized by the Creator to enforce religious orthodoxy. Israel was unique in world history. No other state has ever been authorized to enforce religious orthodoxy. The primary function of the state, in the nature of things, is to keep citizens, as much as possible, from killing one another and to punish those who violate that law. That's the plain teaching of Rom. There's not a hint of theocracy in the NT. Never did the apostles ask the magistrate to do anything but enforce the sort of justice I sketched above. National israel was a supernaturally state. All other states before and since are not supernaturally constituted. This isn't a OT v NT but it is a recognition of the intentionally temporary nature of the Mosaic theocracy, something that is taught explicitly in WCF 19. It was the divines, not Clark, who gave us the word "expired." How is this arbitrary or inconsistent?
That simply ducks the issue which Lee raised. To restate the dilemma:
i) On the one hand, 2k opposes theocracy/theonomy
ii) On the other hand, 2k (of the type that you and others [e.g. VanDrunen] advocate) grounds the duties of the civil magistrate in natural law.
That, however, generates a dilemma. As Lee points out (which I already quoted above):
Since he [Clark] has appealed to natural law as the foundational principle of his theory of civil government, he is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Either he maintains his foundational principle (namely, that the civil magistrate has a moral obligation to enforce the moral law) and applies it consistently to the civil enforcement of the entire moral law, both the so-called first and the second table. Or he backs down and makes a much less dramatic claim: the civil magistrate may enforce parts of the moral law to the extent that it promotes good order and well-being in society. But then Clark would no longer be able to claim that the civil magistrate is morally required to enforce the creational boundaries concerning marriage. The civil magistrate could still enforce the creational boundaries concerning marriage, but now only on the softer ground that various sociological studies have shown that it is better for society, for children, etc., not because natural law requires it.
Accentuating the difference between Israel and the church, the old covenant and the new covenant, &c. does nothing to relieve the dilemma generated by your commitment to natural law, over against your opposition to theocracy/theonomy.
This is why all the American Reformed/Presbyterian churches have revised their confessions. The Dutch churches no longer confess and have positively rejected the old version of BC 36.
i) That’s irrelevant to natural law
ii) Moreover, once you pull that string, your effort to tie Reformed identity to confessional identity unravels. For at that juncture it’s no longer the confessions defining the church, but the church defining (or redefining) the confessions. The churches, rather than historic creeds, catechisms, and confessions, become the yardstick of Reformed identity. Reformed identity is whatever the confessions say, but the confessions say whatever the churches make them say. So your confessional grounding is viciously circular and relativistic.
If, tomorrow, the URC revises the canons of Dordt to accommodate the five articles of the Remonstrants, then that’s consistent with Reformed identity.