Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I wrote this to a friend:

As far as transforming the culture, I agree with what you said: gospel first. However, I think Kuyper's emphasis on transforming the culture very quickly can turn into a kind of Pharisaism. I am a testimony to this fact. And I think many evangelicals and Reformed folks are as well.

On the surface, Kuyper's idea of "there is not one single square inch of creation where the Lord Jesus does not say 'it is Mine'" sounds good. But the way it comes off I think is incorrect. It sees the natural order or the civil kingdom as essentially redemptive, instead of ruled by common grace/natural law. Natural law is quite akin to the covenant of works, so I think it is no surprise that many who deny the two kingdoms view end up with a social gospel and a kind of moralism. They conflate the covenants of works and grace, and they conflate justification by faith alone with justification by faithfulNESS alone.

I am truly beaten down by the Law. Indeed, we are told to strive, but this is the standard. The Law is a guide for sanctification, but only a guide. Only the gospel can truly sanctify. The Law will only rouse sin.

I found myself confessing sins to God and to Angela only so I could feel better about myself, and not because "against You and You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight." It was not a true love of neighbor, and it was not a true love of God. I was a Pharisee (and of course we all are in many ways).

I think the normal Christian life is one that keeps our sinfulness always at the forefront. The normal Christian life is Romans 7. Paul calls it the law of sin, and he says that when he wants to do good, evil is right there with him. A law is a norm. In Romans 8, he discusses our sufferings with Christ, which in context are our struggles with sin. And he dares to say that if you struggle with sin, ***that's because you are saved!*** Hallelujah!

This glorious gospel is foolishness to the world. You mean we are completely passive in our justification? You mean we do nothing? It is sovereign, free grace? Free? Amen! Yes, and Amen!

Kuyperianism, I think, is dangerous because it leads to a works-righteousness and does not see just how sinful we really are.

I am worn out by the Law. Give me the gospel! Give me more of Christ!


Anonymous said...

Read this when you get a chance. Let me know what you think.


Do you think that an amillenialist can be a theonomist or are postmillenialism and theonomy directly tied together? I hope I'm not getting off track here.


Josh Brisby said...


Bahnsen even wrote an article arguing that postmillennialism and theonomy do not logically require each other. I posted it on my blog some time ago. You might find it by googling "do postmillennialism and theonomy" or something like that. I'll see if I can find it.

Logically speaking, yes, someone can be amil and theonomic since theonomy is a *prescriptive* concern and amil is a *descriptive* eschatology of what will happen. Theonomy says "should," amil says "will" or "won't."

Josh Brisby said...


Here is Bahnsen's article:


Josh Brisby said...


P.S. I posted that article when I was postmil, but I am no longer postmil and I am reconsidering amil.

Anonymous said...


It sounds as though you are beginning to tread in the waters of antinominism. Careful, brother, with your disdain for the Law.

Hoyt Matthews

Josh Brisby said...


Welcome to The Reformed Oasis!

It depends on what you mean by "antinomian." The term itself just means "against law." I am indeed "antinomian" when it comes to using the Law to justify ourselves before God, as was the apostle Paul.

I am "antinomian" when it comes to using the Law to sanctify us as well. Indeed, the Law serves as a guide, but only the gospel can sanctify.

I am pro-Law only if someone *desires* to *truly* obey the Law of God from the heart. The only way this will ever happen is if it is done with thankfulness for Christ's keeping of the Law for us.

True obedience is *not* borne from obeying out of fear. That kind of "obedience" is only external formalism. It's like my kids obeying me because they are afraid I will spank them. The goal is to have them obey me because they love me and they truly want to.

The only way we will find God's Law a delight is when we revel in the gospel.