Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Two Kingdoms Escondido Theology Wrap Up

I ought to come back and offer some concluding thoughts on the Frame book.  Let me start by just stating again that if you are wanting a book to deal with 2K in a serious way from a Transformational view point this is NOT your book.  If you are looking for a book that is a deep insight into Frame's hostility toward his former employer then this book is worth the money.

So in my quest to look into 2K deeper this book was not all that helpful.  It did point out one very big problem in trying to learn more about 2K Theology, and that is Westminster West itself.  Let me explain.

The book is called Escondido Theology, and it is a common name for the 2K teaching because those guys are pushing it and publishing about it.  However, it really clouds the issue.  Mainly because the Westminster West guys teach and push other things that are not necessary to 2K theology, and often not even related to 2K theology, yet because it is often called Escondido Theology they get mashed up together.

The full title of Frame's book is "The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology".  The problem is the Escondido theology and Two Kingdoms really can be two separate issues.  And in my opinion, often are.  Go back to the introduction.  No, not the first introduction.  Not the second or the third.  The one entitled Author's Introduction.  Frame gives a big list of grievances.  They include several points that are what we would call Redemptive-Historical Preaching.  A few more are simply about traditional worship.  There is at least one about the interpretation of the Sabbath.  And a couple more about the "absolutizing" of a certain traditions and declaring them to be the only Reformed tradition.  He does actually have a few about 2K such as whether or not the cultural mandate is fulfilled in Christ or by us still today, and whether or not the Christian has a mandate to seek change in the political order.  But the majority are simply lies like saying that Escondido teaches "We should take no interest in our inner feelings" or that "Jonathan Edwards and Martin Lloyd Jones are not Reformed".
Frame does not prove most of these points, and thus his book should be considered a failure.  But more importantly, Frame spends a lot of time on the worship complaints and the Absolutizing complaints.  These have nothing to do with being a "Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology" as the sub-title advertises.  Frame does not deal enough with the Two Kingdoms.  And it needs to be separated out from some of this other stuff.  Horton's book on worship has nothing to do with Two Kingdoms.  And I can agree that Recovering the Reformed Confessions seeks to absolutize certain positions that the Reformed world has never agreed upon (no hymns for example and framework creation).  I can agree that Redemptive Historical Preaching is off in its understanding of preaching (although I think Frame does not deal with it fairly in this book).  So, in a lot of ways, I am not in line with the Escondido Theology.  But Frame does little to convince me to be a transformationalist.

If anyone out there knows of a decent book criticizing Two Kingdoms, let me know.


Protoprotestant said...

It's ironic because many would say Frame falls short of the Reformed label. Have you ever read his book on Worship? Classic Lutheran/Anglican position totally contrary to Historic Reformed positions.

That said, your comments are interesting. I will have to get this book. I've been meaning to. I don't like Frame but he's always thoughtful and a worthy read.

He definitely had some problems with Westminster West and the Klineans in particular....that may be some of it.

Two Kingdoms is a broad term that's used in very different ways. That's part of the confusion. Those (mainly Theonomists) who really hate the 2K theology coming from the Klineans, Horton, and people like Van Drunnen are calling it Radical Two Kingdom or R2K.

The Kingdom, the Cultural Mandate/ Dominionism....these are the real issues. These play out in terms of history, the state, the culture etc...

I like Dennison's statement that "Transformationalism has become the New Orthodoxy".

It's very true. Unfortunate but true.