Two Kingdoms doctrine

As We Consider the Witness of the Lutheran Church on Church and State

[1] In my experience as a scholar and teacher of American constitutional law, I have frequently resorted to our Lutheran tradition as a guide for understanding why we place emphasis on, and how we distinctively understand, concepts such as the rule of law and the separation of church and state.  In American constitutional classes, we […]

God and Justice: The Word and the Mask

“The so-called ‘Two Kingdoms Doctrine’ is the label under which a particular framing of the relationship between God’s grace and everyday life in the midst of its institutional realities has been presented in 20th century Lutheranism. For over half a century it has been the way Lutherans framed the relationship between justification and justice. How did this “doctrine” come to be regarded as a central piece in Lutheran theology when it has such a remarkably short history as a doctrine and has for the last decades even faded into oblivion? The reasons for this phenomenon are closely connected to a particular modern (Western) agenda fraught with the crisis of legitimacy of modern institutions.”

Luther’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms

An Ecumenical Problem [1] The question of the two kingdoms is one of the most pressing and delicate in contemporary religious and theological thought. No other aspect of Luther’s theology has been so fiercely attacked as this doctrine. Where Luther drew a clear line between spiritual and temporal authority, and expressly emphasised that under no […]

The Twofold Rule of God

[1] Perhaps the most difficult element in Lutheran social ethics, yet one of the most important, is the doctrine of the twofold rule of God, sometimes called the “two kingdoms” doctrine. This doctrine has also been the most vulnerable to distortion. Karl Barth was the first to call this Lutheran teaching “the two kingdoms doctrine,” […]

The Two Governments and the Two Kingdoms in Luther’s Thought

Copyright © Scottish Journal of Theology, Vol. 34, pp. 321-337. Used with permission. [1] The facet of his thought commonly referred to as the doctrine of the two kingdoms has provoked some of the most intractable confusion and bitter controversy in post-war continental Luther scholarship, and the ripples of this debate which reached these shores […]