Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jason Loh on Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate

The Cultural Mandate is the mandate to transform Creation and Culture, something which is supposedly to be found in Gen. 1:26. In this interesting paper, Jason Loh attempts to demarcate and interact with Calvin's view on the Cultural Mandate. An excerpt:

It is important to first establish Calvin’s distinction between Church and State and then only move on to discuss the implications this has for the “cultural mandate.” A distorted view of the Church and State will also lead to a distorted understanding of the cultural mandate.

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Benjamin Ho has reviewed this article by Jason as follows:

In his paper, Jason uses the role of civil government as a case in point to illustrate how the cultural mandate – in Calvin’s thought – is being articulated. This is an interesting paradigm – one that is not often explored – and Jason does a commendable job in teasing out some of the finer aspects of this relationship. Indeed, with the Western secular belief that God and politics are matters of separate and non-related realms, it is sometimes difficult to see – much less argue – how the role of civil government is related to God’s on-going sovereign rule over all of life.

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Jason's paper and Benjamin's review are now opened for discussion.

53 comments:

PuritanReformed said...

In Jason's paper, it is said:

>I have not been able to find anything specifically on the “cultural mandate” by Calvin in his Institutes. And I am not familiar with Calvin’s Commentaries; only the Institutes and Tracts.


One would think that somebody should at least have a working knowledge of Calvin to write a paper on Calvin's view on the Cultural Mandate, instead of pleading ignorance of all but Calvin's Institutes and tracts. It is furthermore horrendous scholarship to admit your ignorance of your subject matter at the start.

Slightly further down, Loh states that "The “cultural mandate” is rooted in and concerns creation. The civil government is a creation order, and thus inter-locks with the “cultural mandate.” " This however is an assumption that is wholly unsubstantiated. Kuyperian thought typically ground the Cultural Mandate on the idea of Common Grace, not the Civil government or Creation order. Loh is probably confusing the Reconstructionism of RJ Rushdoony or the related Dominionism of the NAR with the neo-Calvinism of the Kuyperians.

PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...

Loh states:
>The Church as an earthly institution

The Church, being derived from the Greek word ekklesia - ek-kaleo (called out), cannot be earthly at all.

PuritanReformed said...

>Granted that Calvin in this same passage understood the State to be also responsible in ensuring the outward conformity of the Church to orthodoxy, he was not advocating a theocracy in which the Church exercises a dual function of ecclesial and civil rule.

That may be what Dominionism teaches, but Christian reconstructionism do not teach the confusion of Church and State. Neither does Kuyperian neo-Calvinism teach this error.

For Dominionism, see C. Peter Wagner's book Dominion. For Christian Reconstructionism, see RJ Rushdoony's 3 volume The Institutes of Biblical Law, and the Chalcedon website also (http://www.chalcedon.edu/index.php)

PuritanReformed said...

Loh is correct on one thing though: The Church should stand in judgment over culture, rather than redeem it.

Luther Lim said...
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Calvin Chan said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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Luther Lim said...
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Calvin Chan said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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Augustinian Successor said...

Daniel,

I never outrightly rejected all editorial changes. Do you want me to produce our email exchanges?

I only told you specifically not to make any changes which would alter the meaning of the sentences. You said you wanted to "spruce up" my paper. That is NOT your job. Your job is only to edit.

That aside, you were free to make EDITORIAL changes. You had Americanised the spellings. Originally I saw no reason for you to do so. It was only when you explained to me that the proceedings were to be for publication, that I gave permission.

Lastly but not least, I had to told you that I will only supply the references to you later.

So stop your self-righteous attitude.

I say to you that it is you who display lack of charity and thus Christian witness, rather than your detractors.

Augustinian Successor said...

"One would think that somebody should at least have a working knowledge of Calvin to write a paper on Calvin's view on the Cultural Mandate, instead of pleading ignorance of all but Calvin's Institutes and tracts. It is furthermore horrendous scholarship to admit your ignorance of your subject matter at the start."

Yes, knowledge of the Institutes and Tracts is working knowledge. Do you consider yourself to be a Calvin scholar?

Augustinian Successor said...

"Slightly further down, Loh states that "The “cultural mandate” is rooted in and concerns creation. The civil government is a creation order, and thus inter-locks with the “cultural mandate.” " This however is an assumption that is wholly unsubstantiated. Kuyperian thought typically ground the Cultural Mandate on the idea of Common Grace, not the Civil government or Creation order. Loh is probably confusing the Reconstructionism of RJ Rushdoony or the related Dominionism of the NAR with the neo-Calvinism of the Kuyperians."

Fine and well, but remember this paper is about Calvin, not those who claim to represent him.

Augustinian Successor said...

"The lack of footnotes to substantiate what Loh claims Luther and Calvin to teach certainly does not help. How can anyone check if such and such a saying is true, since we have no references to check out the sources? Anyway can claim that Luther said this, Luther said that; Calvin said this, Calvin said that. That is why footnotes are so important."

Sure. I'll supply the footnotes later. In the meantime, do the reading yourself.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Firstly, how can we know that is what Luther actually taught?"

I tell you how: Go and read Luther yourself.

"Secondly, upon what basis can we say that the Church is the first "creation order" to be set up? The Church exists of individuals saved by Christ, being called out (ek kaleo) by Him from the bondage of sin and the fallen world, and thus our prelapsarian parents, being sinless, cannot be part of the Church yet."

On the basis that Adam AND Eve constituted the Church. Do you deny that the Church did not exists in the OT???

Augustinian Successor said...

"The Church, being derived from the Greek word ekklesia - ek-kaleo (called out), cannot be earthly at all."

You are confusing the old and new church. Read Acts 7:38

"This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us ..."

PuritanReformed said...

Jason:

I am not going to quibble about editorial stuff here. Obviously, your mind is fixed on this issue, and besides we are going to discuss your article, not you.

>I say to you that it is you who display lack of charity and thus Christian witness, rather than your detractors.

Pot, meet kettle!

>Yes, knowledge of the Institutes and Tracts is working knowledge. Do you consider yourself to be a Calvin scholar?

If you want to confess your ignorance and then proceed to tell everyone (contrary to your confession) what is CALVIN'S view of the Cultural Mandate, you are certainly free to do so.

PuritanReformed said...

>On the basis that Adam AND Eve constituted the Church. Do you deny that the Church did not exists in the OT???

That is a petiotio principii fallacy. The reason why the Church is the first creation order is because Adam and Eve constituted the Church? The Church exists in the OT - but AFTER the fall, not before it.

>You are confusing the old and new church.

Where in the Bible is there a difference made between the "old" and "new" church? There is only one church which exists in the Old and in the New Testament. OT saints are saved in the same way - by grace- as NT saints.

PuritanReformed said...

>Fine and well, but remember this paper is about Calvin, not those who claim to represent him.

Problem is: you have not properly defined the Cultural Mandate in your entire paper. So which "cultural mandate" are we talking about?

PuritanReformed said...

Are we talking about:

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Kuperian thought)

OR

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Reconstructionism)

OR

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Dominionism)
?

PuritanReformed said...
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Augustinian Successor said...

"That may be what Dominionism teaches, but Christian reconstructionism do not teach the confusion of Church and State. Neither does Kuyperian neo-Calvinism teach this error.

For Dominionism, see C. Peter Wagner's book Dominion. For Christian Reconstructionism, see RJ Rushdoony's 3 volume The Institutes of Biblical Law, and the Chalcedon website also (http://www.chalcedon.edu/index.php)"

Christian Reconstruction and Dominion THEOLOGY are the SAME thing. The civil government is called to enforce the Mosaic Law.

Read the following ...

"Today, it is the unique message of Christian Reconstruction that civil government, like family government and church government,
is under the Bible-revealed law of God and therefore is capable
in principle of being reformed according to God’s law." (page 31, Chapter I: The Nature of God's Kingdom - Source: http://freebooks.commentary.net/freebooks/docs/a_pdfs/gncr.pdf).

A more clearer statement is found in the following ...

"Yet this is what all those who oppose Christian Reconstructionism’s view of biblical responsibility do implicitly deny. They have forgotten that righteous CIVIL government is a legitimate means
of EVANGELISM, a testimony to the spiritually lost of the greatness
of God’s deliverance in history." (page 37, Chapter 2: The Pietist-Humanist Kingdom).

Sure they may plead small government and all that, but the bottom line is that the State is called upon to uphold and execute what they called biblical laws as a form of evangelism(!)

Here's a further definition of Reconstruction ...

"The continuing validity and applicability of the whole law of God, including, but not limited to, the MOSAIC case laws is the standard by which individuals, families, churches, and CIVIL governments should conduct their affairs." (page 81, "What is Christian Reconstruction - Source: http://freebooks.commentary.net/freebooks/docs/a_pdfs/gncr.pdf).

This is theocracy, not unlike Muslim theocracy.

Augustinian Successor said...

"If you want to confess your ignorance and then proceed to tell everyone (contrary to your confession) what is CALVIN'S view of the Cultural Mandate, you are certainly free to do so."

Yes, I confess MY ignorance of Calvin's commentaries.

Augustinian Successor said...

">I say to you that it is you who display lack of charity and thus Christian witness, rather than your detractors.

Pot, meet kettle!"

Not really.

PuritanReformed said...

>Christian Reconstruction and Dominion THEOLOGY are the SAME thing. The civil government is called to enforce the Mosaic Law.

Yes and no. Dominionism teaches that it is the CHURCH that is supposed to control the nations to enfore Christian principles; Reconstructionism teaches that it is the Christian government who is supposed to enforce the Mosaic Law. Thus, the church-state distinction is not valid against Reconstructionism.

Augustinian Successor said...

"That is a petiotio principii fallacy. The reason why the Church is the first creation order is because Adam and Eve constituted the Church? The Church exists in the OT - but AFTER the fall, not before it."

After the Fall? So the church has no earthly dimension at all?

The Church exists to WORSHIP God. Adam and Eve were worshipped God. Therefore, Adam and Eve were the first Church.

PuritanReformed said...
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Augustinian Successor said...

"Where in the Bible is there a difference made between the "old" and "new" church? There is only one church which exists in the Old and in the New Testament. OT saints are saved in the same way - by grace- as NT saints."

And this one church has TWO aspects - spiritual and institutional. Categorical confusion again.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Problem is: you have not properly defined the Cultural Mandate in your entire paper. So which "cultural mandate" are we talking about?"

NO, that is not the problem. Read my paper again.

PuritanReformed said...

>The Church exists to WORSHIP God.

No, even the heavens exist to bring God glory. Worshipping God is not the sine qua non of a church. Redemption is, as seen in the meaning behind the word ekklesia.

Taling about worship, the angels worship God too. Are they part of the Church?

Augustinian Successor said...

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Kuperian thought)

OR

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Reconstructionism)

OR

Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate (as defined by Dominionism)
?

Do yourself a favour:

What is this conference about? Is it about Daniel Chew's view of the cultural mandate?

Or is it about the Christian Reconstruction view of the cultural mandate?

And AD INFINITUM ...

Stop making yourself to be a fool ...

PuritanReformed said...

>And this one church has TWO aspects - spiritual and institutional.

Where in the Scriptures is this stated?

Augustinian Successor said...

So you are saying that you are a kind person who is misunderstood when you post nasty comments against me? Hmmmmmm..........

What nasty comments?

PROVE IT.

Augustinian Successor said...

I will make this one exception to respond to this. If you want, produce the email exchange between us. Just make sure you produce them accurately and with the different attachements; I have my own copy so errors can be corrected.

NO. You produce these for all to see.

PuritanReformed said...

>Stop making yourself to be a fool ...

Hmmm.... sombody was acusing someone of lacking charity? (cf Mt. 5:22)

Augustinian Successor said...

Daniel,

I say to you again: Stop being so self-righteous. Look yourself in the mirror rather than condemning your detractors as unloving. Ever wonder why people like AT and Co. treat you the way they do???

Augustinian Successor said...

"Hmmm.... sombody was acusing someone of lacking charity? (cf Mt. 5:22)"

That is not nasty, that is speaking the truth.

PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...
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PuritanReformed said...

>Ever wonder why people like AT and Co. treat you the way they do???

Because they are heretics. I do believe in the doctrine of Total Depravity btw.

Jenson said...

Dear Daniel and Jason,

I read this post and comments with sadness. Before this spirals out of hand and becomes an embarressment, please stop this.

Sincerely,
Jenson

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Jenson,

You are right.

Thank you for reminding us.

Daniel,

Listen to Jenson and others.

PuritanReformed said...

In the interest of calming this mess, I apologize to Jason for my part in perpetuating this conflict.

Mejlina Tjoa said...

Cyber discussion can be easily misunderstood. Happens even among people who supposedly have very similar views. Go discuss over a cup of coffee!

PuritanReformed said...

Hi Mejlina,

it is easier to discuss when both sides are open, you know. Going out for a cup of coffee does not solve all problems. =P

benjamin ho said...

ACTUALLY u'll be surprised...drinking coffee is an excellent form of fellowship. some of the best theological engagements have been over meals, ice-cream and latte. anywhere but on cyberspace...hehe

John said...

I agree with Mejlina and Benjamin,
My most enjoyable discussion is often at the coffee shop.

PuritanReformed said...

I have just finish a post on Dominionism:

http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-is-dominionism.html

As it can be seen, Dominionism's idea of the Cultural Mandate is different from the Reconstructionist's idea, because Reconstructionism does not have "workplace apostles" to create a form of "ecclesiocracy".

Sze Zeng said...

Hi friends,

I like and agree with what Mejlina and Benjamin proposed. Just go hang out for coffee and get to know each other better.

I guess the calling of each others 'fool' or 'hypocrite' will not help in any discussion, be it academic or casual informal chat.

Mejlina, Benjamin and myself disagree over many issues too, yet we never end up bashing one another. At times, I am grateful for them being the 'other' who are different from me and hence help me to be self-critical.

It's okay to disagree, but with do it with respect and dignity to the 'other', and certainly give the other the benefit of doubts.

:)