Once More, From the Top

 

 

Therefore, the classic  Reformed theological paradigm suggests that Christians are citizens of two distinct kingdoms, both of which are ordained of God and under his law, yet exist for different purposes, have different functions, and operate according to different rules. In their capacity as citizens of the spiritual kingdom of Christ, Christians insist upon non-violence and the ways of peace, refusing to bear arms on behalf of his kingdom; in their capacity as citizens of the civil kingdom, they participate as necessary in the coercive work of the state, bearing arms on its behalf when occasion warrants. As citizens of the spiritual kingdom they have no patriotic allegiance to any earthly nation; but as citizens of the civil kingdom a healthy patriotism is certainly possible. As citizens of the spiritual kingdom they can make radical critiques of all theories, practices, and institutions that are not submissive to the redemptive lordship of Christ; but as citizens of the civil kingdom they can acknowledge the significant benefits that the state brings for earthly life, enjoy the amazing products of human culture, and seek common cause with non-Christians on a variety of social projects. As citizens of the spiritual kingdom they submit to the redemptive ethic of Scripture; yet as citizens of the civil kingdom they can engage in genuine moral conversation with those of other faiths through the universally accessible law of nature, without making adherence to Scripture a test for participating in cultural affairs. As citizens of the spiritual kingdom they can view the state and other social institutions as temporal and destined to pass away; but as citizens of the civil kingdom they can have a keen interest in promoting the welfare of human society here and now.

David VanDrunen, Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought (pgs. 13-14)

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5 Responses to Once More, From the Top

  1. Paul M. says:

    “As citizens of the spiritual kingdom they can make radical critiques of all theories, practices, and institutions that are not submissive to the redemptive lordship of Christ; but as citizens of the civil kingdom they can acknowledge the significant benefits that the state brings for earthly life, enjoy the amazing products of human culture, and seek common cause with non-Christians on a variety of social projects.”

    Make sure DHG reads this part, especially the sentence before the semiclon. (And please don’t say you don’t know what I mean.)

  2. Paul M. says:

    while I’m here, Zrim may as well read that part too. 🙂

  3. Zrim says:

    Paul, I had to read it before I transcribed it. But I just read it again. Yep, sounds good still.

  4. Paul M. says:

    Good to see you disagree with Hart, then. I just wish when we argue it you’d step in. Perhaps next time you can quote DVD.

  5. sean says:

    Well, I’m only a third of the way through DVD but I would imagine one way to view “redemptive Lordship” language would be those attempts by temporal institutions to be more than temporal, emperor cults, utopian statehood, illicit marrying of redemptive institutions (the church) with the state etc. Additionally, from an eschatological perspective one could critique temporal institutions for their being, well, temporal over against a better city a heavenly Jerusalem. They’re good but not holy kinda stuff. The surpassing glory of the one compared to the other

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