by Dr. David VanDrunen
Authors are of course grateful when people read their books and consider their ideas worth discussing. Though it is disappointing that Professor Kloosterman has taken such a decidedly negative view of my little monograph, insofar as he is indirectly encouraging the Reformed community to think about natural law and the two kingdoms again after a century of neglect, I cannot be too displeased. In fact, far from his many critical remarks being a discouragement, the fact that a professor of ethics at a Reformed seminary can react so vehemently against A Biblical Case for Natural Law—and for the reasons that he indicates—offers additional evidence that a sustained effort to revive serious reflection on the Reformed natural law and two kingdoms doctrines is a worthwhile endeavor.
In his review article, Kloosterman does not exactly critique the argument found in my monograph. Instead, he critiques his own reconstruction of what he thinks my “programmatic answer” is to the question of Christianity and culture, termed “VanDrunen’s NL2K.” Kloosterman’s reconstruction is a rather distorted and caricatured interpretation of what my own views and my larger research project are all about. At the beginning of his New Horizons review he made sure to inform readers that I received my Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago and that my monograph was published by the Acton Institute, a “Catholic-Protestant think tank” (which, as far as I know, is not the way that Acton describes itself), obviously a not-so-subtle attempt to alert unwitting readers to my crypto-Roman Catholic propensities. In this Ordained Servant review article, Kloosterman adds the specter of the “post-Enlightenment” situation, against whose wiles Van Til’s apologetics has not sufficiently inoculated me. What constitutes this pernicious blend of Roman Catholicism and post-Enlightenment philosophy that apparently poses such a threat to Reformed Christianity? Kloosterman seems convinced that it involves “deriving a true code of morality from creation” without the help of Scripture, while denying or at least grossly underestimating the effects of sin upon human knowledge and ethics. Furthermore, it entails committing some basic logical blunders, the sociological and naturalistic fallacies, that your middle school children should be capable of debunking. If this is indeed what I have set out to do, I for one can hardly blame Kloosterman for coming to the aid of the OPC to warn it against the naïve “programmatic answer” of one of its own ministers.
Reconsidering The Historic Reformed Natural Law and Two Kingdoms Doctrines
Given the nature of Kloosterman’s remarks in my own church’s periodicals, I hope readers will indulge a few autobiographical comments in response. I think that they will be helpful in regard to the “conversation” that Kloosterman wishes to “continue.”