Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California, has some impressive theologians–Michael Horton, David Van Drunen, and other Calvinists of the sort who appear on White Horse Inn. I know some of these guys, think highly of them, and appreciate how some of them are being influenced by Luther and Lutheran theology. But though they speak of the distinction between Law and Gospel, have a stronger influence on the Sacraments, and teach about vocation, they are still Calvinists and their use of Luther is still within a Calvinist context.
A controversy has broken out in Reformed circles about the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, as formulated by these Escondido theologians, particularly David Van Drunen in his book Living in Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision of Christ and Culture. He is developing an alternative to the “one kingdom” model of the Dominionists and to the Abraham Kuyper’s “neocalvinism” with its notion of “sphere sovereignty” over every dimension of life.
This is a worthy project, but Van Drunen’s version of the Two Kingdoms is NOT the same as the Lutheran view. Yet the two are being confused. As other Reformed theologians push back against this so-called “Escondido theology,” they are saying that Van Drunen’s view is the official position of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I’ve heard that Dr. Van Drunen’s book is being taught in courses on Lutheran theology. And, to top it off, I’m told that I am even mentioned in at least one book on the subject as advocating this Escondido theology!
At that Two Kingdoms conference I participated in, Jordan Cooper gave an important presentation entitled “Escondido Theology: An Evaluation and Critique.”
After the jump, I’ll sum up some of the differences and post the video of Jordan’s presentation. [Read more…]