Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Calvin's Kingdom Theology

At Westminster Seminary's recent conference on Calvin I picked a copy of David VanDrunen's essay titled The Two Kingdoms Doctrine and the Relationship of Church and State in the Early Reformed Tradition (a very catchy title, I know. Just rolls off the tongue). I hope to do a couple posts on it, but for now, here's a snippet:

Though many advocates of the transform-ationist view suggest they are following the lead of John Calvin and the Reformation, Calvin in fact offered a different theolgical foundation for thinking about social and cultural issues through his doctrine of the two kingdoms. By means of this doctrine, Calvin distinguished clearly between Christ's redemptive rule in the spiritual kingdom, experienced now in the church, and God's providential rule in the civil kingdom, comprising the state and various areas of life outside the church.

Contemporary Reformed transformationists recognize the importance of a theology of the kingdom of God for their vision, but affirming one (redemptive) kingdom that extends to all human activities and institutions presents a decidedly different vision from Calvin's kingdom theology.
As we jump into this essay I will be curious to hear from my Catholic readers how they understand the relationship between the two kingdoms, or "cities" as Augustine called them. And though this post is only a bare introduction, feel free to begin dialoguing now....