My wife and I are members of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It was started in 1973 because of the liberal drift of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
The liberal drift isn’t everywhere, but like cancer, it can spread rapidly. The most recent cancer is something called Two-Kingdom Theology. There’s the kingdom of the church and the kingdom of the world. God’s Word only applies to the kingdom of the church. Issues like abortion, homosexuality, and civil government are to be responded to in terms of religious neutrality and some form of Natural Law.
Thus, the result of two-kingdom theology is that Religion (Christianity) is personal, restricted to the heart, and the rules for the body politic must not be determined by the Bible. In America all religions are equal, and therefore all religions are equally irrelevant in the public square. Religion is only useful in so far as it makes people good citizens who are obedient to the law of the land.
Natural Law forms the basis of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Of course, most advocates of Natural Law in the 18th century were formulating its specifics because of centuries of familiarity with the Bible. The Bible was pervasive, and people’s knowledge of it was comprehensive. Natural Law was mostly dependent on the Bible. This all changed in 1859.
Prior to Darwin, William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England was the standard legal reference work on the origin and nature of law.
Thus when the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be.
This law of nature . . . is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are in validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.
Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered [permitted] to contradict these.”
With the publication and adoption of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859, Blackstone’s moral and legal worldview became a logical impossibility. How could an immaterial law be derived from a purely material cosmos that had come into existence by chance? It couldn’t.
Charles Darwin destroyed natural law theory in biological science…. His successors destroyed natural law theory in social science. In the 1920’s, quantum physics destroyed natural law theory in the subatomic world. This immediately began to undermine modern legal theory.
Christian advocates of a Two-Kingdom approach to culture and ethics are living in the past. Secularists don’t care anymore for Natural Law than they do Biblical Law. They hate both. Recall Sen. Joe Biden’s grilling of Clarence Thomas on the subject during his Supreme Court nomination hearings. Law is in process. It evolves.
We’ve come full circle. Andrew White, a PCA elder and a Democratic candidate for the Governor of Texas, has fallen into the religious neutrality/Natural Law/Two-Kingdom approach to culture trap.
Larry E. Ball, a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, offers a helpful analysis of the issue. If Andrew Wright is the future of the PCA, the PCA won’t have a future…