Monday, March 2, 2009

2K Theologies

Part 1

The conversation over at GreenBaggins has sometimes drifted into a discussion of the relationship of Church and State. Among the different positions is what has been termed "Westminster 2-Kingdom Theology." With Reformed roots back to Luther's 2-Kingdom theology, the Westminster variety springs from a consistent application of Kline's structure of the Covenant.

One of the foremost advocates of W2K is Dr. Darryl Hart, adjunct at Westminster Seminary, California, and author of A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors The Separation of Church and State (Ivan R. Dee, publ.; distributed by Amazon and others). He has agreed to share his views here.

Dr. Hart, for the sake of your time and to keep things decent and in order, I would like to propose the following format.

  • First, I would like to explain my own contact with 2K theologies and W2K in particular. This will, perhaps, expose misunderstandings on my part; certainly, it could be a point of departure for the conversation.
  • I am hoping that you can then provide a clear Scriptural exposition of the W2K position.
  • Then, I will respond with concerns and/or points of agreement.
  • And you can have the last word.


Does that format work for you?

JRC

6 comments:

heidelblog said...

Hi

David VanDrunen has argued extensively, in print, that the 2K ethic is NOT distinctively Lutheran but has deep roots in historic Reformed theology.

You can find references to the lit on the Heidelblog at http://heidelblog.wordpress.com

Jeff Cagle said...

Hi Dr. Clark,

That's a fair statement. I would not dispute Dr. VanDrunen on this point. Rather than say that 2K is "distinctively Lutheran", I would say that "it was first articulated by Luther." For me, having roots back to Luther is a positive statement of Reformed heritage, not a pejorative dismissal.

Of course, we could trace the history back further, to Augustine. And no doubt 2Kers would want to push it back to the New Testament as well (with some justification).

Likewise, 2K theology is not monolithic. The Anabaptists have their own version, clearly different from W2K!

So yes, the 2K family of theologies is not peculiar to Luther; but it was given original Reformed expression by him.

JRC

P.S. Welcome!

steve said...

Jeff,

Re the (confused) idea that 2K is "distinctly Lutheran," what I think sometimes can be helpful is to point out a very simple matter of nomenclature. The language of "two kingdoms" is typically what Lutherans employ, while Reformed have really always spoken of "the spirituality of the church" (SOTC). These are two ways of speaking about the same thing, really, and whatever differences may lie between Lutherans and Reformed is negligible from my reading.

Also, Luther seems to have begun with an Augustinian notion of the kingdoms (or cities), but he eventaully developed a superior understanding of the natures of the kingdoms and their relationship to one another:

"The idea of the two kingdoms originally comes from St Augustine, one of the great theologians of the western church. He developed the idea in order to defend the church against the criticism that it was to blame for the fall of the Roman empire because it refused to participate in the state religion. He said that there are two cities or two kingdoms: the kingdom of God (the heavenly city) and the kingdom of Satan (the earthly city). Christians belong to the kingdom of God and unbelievers to the kingdom of Satan. These two will continue to be locked in conflict until the end of the world when the kingdom of God will prevail and the kingdom of Satan will be destroyed.

Luther initially accepted this dualism but later rejected the idea that the world is to be identified with the kingdom of Satan. He rightly insisted that the world is God’s world and that Satan is at work in both the earthly kingdom (to destroy law and order) as well as in the heavenly kingdom (to stop people believing in Christ and the gospel). God uses the resources of his two kingdoms and two reigns to bring about his defeat.

Let us repeat, in the two kingdoms doctrine, the two kingdoms are not the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, but the heavenly realm and the earthly realm. It is wrong to identify God with the former and Satan with the latter. The fact is that God and Satan are both at work in both kingdoms. Once Luther recognised this, he began to gradually reconceive the whole idea of the two kingdoms, putting it on a sound scriptural basis, as he wrestled with various social and political problems of the day."

Fuller context here:

http://www.lca.org.au/resources/csbq/twokingdoms.pdf


Anyway, my ticket has been ripped, popcorn is in hand and I await your exchange with DGH.

D G said...

Jeff, The format is generally agreeable. I am not sure I can produce the scriptural argumentation that will look like careful exegesis. My own reflection on this stems from my study of history combined with thinking through the implications of different aspects of Reformed theology. Plus, I'm not sure that this is the setting in which to elaborate a position that might need at least an article if not a book. But I'm willing to start.

Jeff Cagle said...

Hey, perfection is certainly not required, nor will it be exhibited by me! My aim is not to nit-pick but to engage. I'll put up the first part ASAP.

JRC

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