The name of this blog—Between Two Kingdoms—is a reference to the Lutheran “doctrine of two kingdoms,” by which Lutherans affirm a distinction between spheres of sacred and secular authority. As theologian Hermann Sasse wrote in 1930, “the secular and the spiritual are indeed to be dearly distinguished and must not be mixed one with the other, but as good gifts of God, as true orders given by God, they belong together, just as creation and redemption belong together as works of God.” Sasse went on to argue that “Lutheranism is opposed to any attempt to draw the kingdom of God into this world, be it the attempt of the Roman Church to ecclesiasticize the world, or the attempt of fanaticism and Protestantism influenced by fanaticism, to Christianize the world.”
Certainly there’s a sense in which this “two kingdoms theology” raises more questions than it answers. For one thing, it’s certainly not a comprehensive template for political theology: “rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” isn’t always an easy distinction to draw, particularly within a cultural milieu where religious liberty is a wedge issue. And for those of a more philosophical bent, it’s not hard to see in this doctrine the seeds of secular modernity: doesn’t such a distinction between kingdoms necessarily “disenchant the world”? I think there’s validity to both these critiques, but am ultimately not convinced that either Scripture or reason offers a compelling alternative to the two kingdoms paradigm. Our human knowledge is frequently incomplete, and Lutherans are unafraid to acknowledge such gaps in our own understanding. In that spirit, this blog is put forward with the goal of seeking truth across both kingdoms, and exploring areas where the kingdoms seem to intersect.Much of my educational and professional background is in law and public policy, so the commentary on this blog will likely reflect that (even if indirectly). Over the years I’ve also written a lot about movies for various outlets, so reviews and commentary on current films will likely show up here from time to time. Additionally, longer-form articles will continue to go up at Conciliar Post and elsewhere.
Thanks for reading.