In our last program we began thinking through issues about what we’re calling rather broadly, God and Government. And in that first program, after reviewing the Apostle Paul’s statements about government in the Bible’s book of Romans, chapter 13, we looked at a number of issues arising out of those passages from the lens of the 1644 book Lex Rex, by Samuel Rutherford. That book, which considers the relation of Law to King – that is, the relation of law to political leadership – had a formative influence on the development of the government of our nation – a constitutional republic in which the laws of the land are to take precedence over the views or the authority of any political party or individual. Rutherford presented his tightly argued case with material from the Old and the New Testaments, ancient Greek and Roman law, and what is often called “natural law” – the belief that certain rights are inherent in human nature because of the work of God or some other transcendent source.
This week we want to continue to think through God and Government – but doing that a little more practically. How should Christians think about public policy? How should our Christian faith help us think through political issues under the Lordship of Christ? How do we “think Christianly” about the political issues that are always before us – especially in election years?
My guest today is Dr. David VanDrunen. Dr. VanDrunen was trained as a minister before he received his formal training in the field of Law. He knows pastoral work, having served as an Orthodox Presbyterian pastor in Illinois for two years before beginning his teaching at Westminster Seminary in California in 2001. Since that time, he has given much attention to the way systematic theology, biblical studies, ethics, and legal and political theory intersect. He has developed his thinking in many scholarly books and articles, and in popular treatments like his very helpful Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions. While Samuel Rutherford draws insights from Natural Law, Dr. VanDrunen has delved deeply into the Natural Law theory and made a biblical case for that approach. He’s also done much work on how Natural Law entered into the social and political thinking of the Protestant Reformers. If you’re interested in that deep subject, you’ll want to look into Dr. VanDrunen’s various writings on Natural Law.
But it’s not that heady stuff that we’ll be wrestling with on today’s Visit to the Pastor’s Study.
When I read Dr. VanDrunen’s book Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture I confess that I had some big problems with his view of “God’s Two Kingdoms”. But when I came to the very end of the book (pages 194 – 203, to be exact), and I read his treatment of “Politics”, I found myself agreeing with almost all of it – and writing “good” in many places on those rich pages. While we may differ on our view of “God’s Two Kingdoms”, the way Dr. VanDrunen opens up ways for Christians to think about public policy is immensely helpful. And I want him to help us work through some of those things on today’s Visit to the Pastor’s Study.
Dr. David VanDrunen of Westminster Seminary, California, welcome to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study. Here’s a link to the full program:
Yours in the King of Kings,