Sunday 18 December 2011

Michael Horton on Christ and Culture Once More

Michael Horton responds here to the recent post by Tim Keller on ‘Coming Together on Culture’. I suspect the ‘Once More’ in the title of his piece is either wishful thinking on his part or a complete misnomer.

He recognises that Keller is ‘encouraging healthier conversation’, yet sees ‘even in his post’ what he ‘would regard as some misunderstandings about the 2K [two kingdoms] position’. He thinks Keller’s description ‘makes it sound as if 2K folks are more neo-Anabaptist’. ‘On one point,’ he says, ‘I think that’s true. Neo-Anabaptists like Stanley Hauerwas and Scot McKnight argue that the church is called to be a new society in this fading evil age, not to create one. Beyond that, though, we are worlds apart.’ He then goes on to point out that Luther and Calvin opposed radical Anabaptists ‘who disparaged God’s common grace in culture’.

My blog entries over the years will testify to the esteem in which I hold Michael Horton and his work, but he has not convinced on this issue – even if I do feel as if I’ve been helpfully warned away by him and other 2K advocates from the worst excesses of a transformationist position.

For my own part, nothing he says here detracts from the essence of what Keller was outlining in the earlier post. Horton says he is ‘often baffled by the gross caricatures of the 2K position’ but, while he declares this isn’t the case with Keller’s interaction, he still looks as if he is trying to fine-tune what really is the 2K position. Fair enough, I think, providing the warning against building caricatures and the generosity to allow fine-tuning is allowed both ways.

He also notes that David VanDrunen, one of the main current proponents of the 2K position, has a new work in the pipeline, ‘defending the position with exegetical and biblical-theological depth’. I’ll look forward to seeing that. I’m very interested in what Luther and Calvin and the Anabaptists thought, and how we place ourselves in relation to them; but I’m so much more interested in Jeremiah and Jesus and Peter and Paul, and how we place ourselves in relation to them...

Meanwhile, we can expect this discussion to run and run...

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