We often speak of God’s presence in vocation, of His providential “providing” for His creation, of His care for non-believers as well as believers, and other manifestations of God’s love for the world. But how is that possible? The world is fallen. God is holy. Holiness cannot abide sin. So how is it that God can love the world?
I’ve been studying the Lutheran doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, which has some interesting applications to our controversies today. Christian defenders of Donald Trump are saying that his sexual transgressions show that he isn’t a saint. But he is well-suited to the pragmatic, rough-and-tumble world of secular government, and that’s what we need in a presidential candidate.
Well, according to the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, God’s spiritual Kingdom is ruled by the Gospel, but His earthly Kingdom is ruled by the Law. That is to say, morality does apply precisely to secular government.
UPDATE: Specifically, the first use of the Law, the civil use, which curbs external vices. Though it cannot justify or get at our internal sinfulness, it restrains the outward expression of that sinfulness. Such restraint and self-control can be practiced, to a certain extent, by all members of society, which depends on some kind of moral order.
A number of prominent Christian leaders are threatening civil disobedience if the Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is constitutionally mandated. Here is the statement and here are the signers. I’m curious what acts of civil disobedience they have in mind. An account of the pledge after the jump.
I didn’t notice any Lutheran signers. Why would that be? What would a Two Kingdoms approach to the current controversy look like? [Read more…]
The Orthodox Rod Dreher, who quoted Bonhoeffer in an essay on Christians separating themselves from the world, quotes another Lutheran, Søren Kierkegaard. In his Attack upon “Christendom”, his devastating critique of the Danish state church and “cultural Christianity,” Kierkegaard argues that inherent to the faith is “a relationship of opposition” to the world. He also makes the point that the final apostasy will not be when everybody renounces Christianity but when everybody claims to be a Christian. [Read more…]
July 11 was the 210th anniversary of the death of Alexander Hamilton, who was killed in a duel with the sitting vice president Aaron Burr. Hamilton was one of the important founders, having written most of the Federalist Papers, being a key aide to General Washington, and organizing the foundations of the American economy. He well deserves to be on the ten dollar bill. But, according to [Read more…]“he also wrote one of the most important texts on the place of religion in American public life.”