Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Two Kingdoms: A Definition

What is the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms?

A succinct statement would go something like this: While God is the sovereign Ruler over all of creation, his Lordship is exercised in two distinct kingdoms, the one civil and earthly, and the other spiritual and heavenly.

This distinction has been stated in various ways. Calvin spoke in terms of the "civil" and "spiritual" kingdoms. Luther referred to the former as "the kingdom of God's left hand," and to the latter as "the kingdom of God's right hand." OT scholar Meredith Kline has described the earthly, civil kingdom as creational, secular, cultural, and profane, while to the spiritual, heavenly kingdom belong the categories of redemptive, sacred, cultic, and holy.

Christians today find themselves in the often awkward position of having dual citizenship, belonging to the temporal kingdom of this present age, and to the eschatological kingdom of the age to come. This tension is seen all over the New Testament, and it effects our lives in a myriad of practical and unexpected ways.

This is the subject of this blog. So stay tuned....