The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part II: Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism, And Social-Political Ethics -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 21:62 (Spring 2017)
Article: The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part II: Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism, And Social-Political Ethics
Author: Bruce A. Baker


The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part II:
Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism, And Social-Political Ethics

Bruce A. Baker

* Bruce A. Baker, M.Div., Ph.D., pastor, Washington County Bible Church, Brenham, Texas

The first part of this series noted how it is often difficult to understand the arguments of inaugurated-kingdom proponents due to inadequately stated assumptions and only cursory explanations justifying their proposals. Further complicating matters is the fact that much of what they affirm could be said with equal fervor by those that do not hold to an “already/not yet” understanding of the kingdom. Therefore, the second part of this article series will evaluate inaugurated-kingdom political action.

Evaluation Of Inaugurated-Kingdom Political Action

Understanding The Argument

Often it is difficult to understand the arguments of inaugurated-kingdom proponents due to inadequately stated assumptions and only cursory explanations justifying their proposals. Further complicating matters is the fact that much of what they state could be said with equal fervor by those that do not hold to an “already/not yet” understanding of the kingdom. Therefore, one must determine what is genuinely “new” in this understanding of socio-political action and what is merely a restatement of what has long been held by others.

Pyne, for example, concedes that the efforts of the church will not accomplish a utopian society, any more than evangelistic efforts will effect the salvation of the world. Nevertheless, he does think “we can bring a taste of the kingdom into human experience.”1 He cites the poverty in India

as a case study. He harbors no illusions about transforming that society because the “needs are simply too great.” Still, a local school with an orphanage and medical clinic are cited as examples of “a taste of the kingdom of God.”2

If this is what is meant by social reform it is difficult to see any difference between this and mission work that has persisted for quite some time. One wonders what is “new” or even “political” about this. Schools, medical clinics, seminaries, orphanages, and the like are common expressions of the church in general; it is Pyne’s understanding of such established mission applications that is puzzling. In fact, his explanation is just another example of the widespread incoherence of the “emerging consensus” in general. On the one hand, Pyne, following Niebuhr’s Christian realism, affirms “social progress takes place not through t...

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