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Here a kingdom… there a kingdom

22August2011

I have debated about posting a long treatise on Luther’s Doctrine of Two Kingdoms – but then I realized that out of all of Luther’s doctrinal writings that may be the most misquoted, misused, and misinterpreted one of all of his writings.  Luther gets credit for being James Madison’s inspiration for the understanding of “Separation of Church and State” in the United States Constitution and vilified for being the cause of the German Church standing aside while the Nazis seized power in the 30’s in Germany.  See, different folks – different interpretations – differing opinions.

In short, Luther stated that God rules in two ways.  The left hand or earthly kingdom are all of the things that we can see – The Church, government, law, rule, order.  The right hand or heavenly kingdom deals with all things regarding the soul – Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Word Alone.    Much of what Luther wrote in that time dealt with how the Church (The Holy Roman Empire) controlled not only the world of faith, but also the controlled the sword – the mighty Roman army.

Are you confused yet?  GOOD – maybe we are supposed to be.

We live in a world where, in my opinion, the Church is out of control in the political sphere.  Now, let me be clear – the INSTITUTION of The Church is out of control on both sides of the political debate in this country.  In a bid to become relevant (though I’m not sure how the Gospel is ever irrelevant but…) the institution has tried to wield undue influence on its members that threaten to undermine the very Message she is commissioned to proclaim.

Clearly – the Gospel MANDATES that Christians be active in their community (as you have done to the least of these my brothers and sisters you have done so unto me…MT 25:40).  The Gospel MANDATES that Christians be active socially (look after orphans and widows… JAMES 1:27).  The Gospel MANDATES that Christians participate in government (render unto Caeasar… MK 12:27)

Many of our Presidents, on both sides of the aisle have been Christians.  Agree or disagree with their political positions and the way they carried out their office, we can not deny that Jimmy Carter *D* and George W. Bush *R* were both men of faith.  I believe both sought to live out their faith to the best of their calling, even though politically they could not have been more opposite of one another.

However, what I have noticed lately is that this calling for individual action on the part of Christians within the world has been replaced with the Institution attempting to influence its people on HOW they should respond to God’s call in their lives.  Whether it’s “Voter’s Guides” put out by denominations more to the right of the political spectrum or liberal leaning social statements put out by more left of center denominations there is an attempt at institutional influence and control.

As you may have guessed, I vigorously disagree with this approach on BOTH sides of the aisle.  Please hear me, I WANT, I BEG, I PRAY that the folks I serve are active politically.  I PRAY they write to their legislative representatives.  I AM THRILLED to see them working in the polls, or actively campaigning for things they feel their faith has called them to be involved in.  However, it is not my role as pastor, nor the role of a denomination in assembly, or a judicatory leader to set the agenda for people of faith.

Let the GOSPEL call you, shape you, mold you, and send you into the world to live your faith – and may the Holy Spirit gag the ecclesial bureaucracies that seem to confuse the two kingdoms.

Go ahead and let the arrows fly. . .

DWB@CCD

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott permalink
    22August2011 09:42

    I love the notion of a HS issued gag order. Come Holy Spirit. Well said.

  2. 18September2011 20:41

    I like you article,thank you very much!

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