Beware of two-kingdom theology

March 31, 2018 — Leave a comment

Donald Trump and the rise of Pietism

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The election of Donald Trump has given a particular expression of Christianity renewed attention. The Pietist and Anabaptist tradition, with its emphasis on heart over head and deeds over doctrine, have become the purveyors of a counter-Trump Christianity. See an example here (opens in a new tab).

This renewed interest sometimes implies that such a Christianity is the only valid form of the faith in the “age of Trump.” We are told to beware of two kingdom theology since such belief is essentially to be seen as a construct to justify social injustice.

I disagree.

I am not a Pietist. I am a Calvinist.

My Christian tradition marries the heart and the head such that true, biblically-derived doctrine is both intellectually satisfying and heart-stirring. 

Do I expect POTUS to “embody the values of the Sermon on the Mount”?

No.

Do I expect the government to cite concern for “the stranger and the alien” and rely on the Bible?

No.

Do I understand that God governs the world through secular magistrate and the church?

Yes.

Did I vote for Donald Trump?

No.

Did I vote for Hillary Clinton?

Yes, reluctantly.

The alternative is not be Reformed and pro-Trump or an Anabaptist and oppose Trump.

It is possible to espouse a classically Lutheran understanding of God’s economy and yet find Mr. Trump unqualified for the office.

In other words, just because God rules society through the civil magistrate and that the role of civil magistrate differs from that of the church does not give the magistrate freedom from God’s law.

Read this essay (opens in a new tab) by Michael Horton for more information about this theological perspective.

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