The doctrine of the two kingdoms is most often applied to the Christian's obligations to the state, but it also illuminates the cultural controversies which are causing so much confusion in today's church.
I was reading a thread on another post having to do with addressing students by their new chosen names or pronouns. I think it's probably true to say that pronouns are much more problematic than names, as names have always been able to cross certain lines. Who can forget the boy named Sue? Pronouns though strike at the heart of reality. Some have laughably hid behind the concept of "pronoun hospitality." Now, I suppose, we might say that if a madman says that he is Abraham Lincoln, we might address him as Mr. President, and advise him not to go to the theater. But with pronouns, it's different, for we are dealing with a different kind of madness that has less to do with the person who claims a different identity than it does with the society that is enforcing it.
The Chamber of Commerce is not our friend. Indiana is such a good example of this. RFRA was responsible legislation that simply protected the liberty of the little guys, the folks who wished to live their lives and run their businesses according to their consciences. I remember being brought into the office of a major Republican leader and being told perhaps they could offer up compromise legislation that would protect very small businesses. The idea was abhorrent, as if liberty were some sort of special exception and not the American rule.
No matter what day 9/11 falls upon each year, the events of that Tuesday morning in 2001 will be forever be burned into my memory. On that second Tuesday in September, I was confronted by the scenes of New York City’s burning towers on TV in California just before 6:00 a.m. We had just moved from New York City to Irvine, Calif., that summer. Ironically, I had stood on the observation deck of the Towers just two months before. And, even more ironically, had we still been living in New York that day, I would have been downtown leading a Bible study on Wall Street at 8:00 a.m. Then, after the study at 8:45 a.m., I would have been walking to the subway station under the Twin Towers to venture back to the Church for All Nations just as the first plane hit.
That's the line. But how would he know what it feels like to be a woman? Especially since he's not a woman. I might feel like I'm all sorts of things, but that doesn't change who I am. I might feel tall, which is less of a stretch than feeling like I'm a woman. I might feel like I'm Native American, and find out I'm only 1/1024. But the gender ideology is stranger still. Male and female is written into every single chromosome of our bodies. XX or XY. It's a binary.
The two kingdoms doctrine in Lutheran theology is not just distinction between the church and the state, the sacred and the secular, or the spiritual and the physical. Luther often described them as the “temporal kingdom” and the “eternal kingdom.”
I remember well holding my youngest daughter in my arms the day after she was born. But I do not remember thinking, This is not bone of my bones or flesh of my flesh. My only thought was that the Lord had given me this girl and that I was her father.
It’s back to school time in America. That used to be a joyous occasion. Remember the days when teachers would send home “supply” lists of things that students needed to prepare them for the rigors of learning reading, writing, and arithmetic? Remember your children getting their textbooks which helped them critically think, do math and geometry, and learn science and religion so as to become the adults that our culture needed to carry on the experiment of virtuously living “free” lives faithfully and rigorously for the sake of the next generation?
This brief Bible study is designed to provide a firm biblical and confessional setting for Lutherans to learn and study how God uses His two-fold authority both in the church and the world for our good. It is a foundation upon which pastors and people can build as they grow in the knowledge and blessings of God’s Word.
Along with insuring “domestic Tranquility” and providing “for the common defence”—all necessary duties of a government that would “form a more perfect Union”—the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution reveals that, at its center, the purpose of our Constitution is “to secure the Blessings of Liberty.”
We recently celebrated the Fourth of July, a time when Americans still publicly cherish and celebrate the freedoms that they’ve been privileged to possess. It’s a time when we honor the things that make America special and, in fact, unique in this world. It’s a time when we come together, in spite of our country’s failures and our many differences, and honor what makes our country different. And what would that be exactly? Many today are trying to sell the notion that nothing about our country makes us “unique” or honorable. But is that true? Of course it isn’t! In fact, I’d like you to take the time right now to be thankful for a country that did some incredible things for you.
Independence. Freedom. Autonomy. Self-determination. We salute these values as we wish our country another “happy birthday.” And we don’t just celebrate these priorities on a national level; they’re personal, too. Our culture insists that we should strike out on our own, find ourselves, and define who we are. But what if all of this isn’t as great as it sounds?
It’s the July 4th weekend and, delightfully, this year the 4th falls on a Sunday. That should give us all pause. Why? Because the American celebration of our temporal freedoms, such as the freedoms of liberty, the 1st Amendment, the 2nd Amendment, and all of our constitutional protections, falls on the same day that we Christians celebrate the eternal liberty that God in Christ earned on behalf of the whole world. We have a saying here at the LCRL that we, as Two-Kingdom (2KG) Christians, are “to put our temporal liberties to work for the sake of the eternal liberties of Christ.”