Living in God’s Two Kingdoms

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a few months now: Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010). David VanDrunen has been studying this subject for years, and this book is the fruit of his study aimed at the layperson.  In some ways, it is his scholarly work on the topic made easier for the general audience.  To introduce the book, I’ll quote a section of the intro which I appreciated.

“This two-kingdoms doctrine strongly affirms that God has made all things, that sin corrupts all aspects of life, that Christians should be active in human culture, that all lawful cultural vocations are honorable, that all people are accountable to God in every activity, and that Christians should seek to live out the implications of their faith in their daily vocations.”

“A Christian, however, does not have to adopt a redemptive vision of culture in order to affirm these important truths.  A biblical two-kingdoms doctrine provides another compelling way to do so.  According to this doctrine, God is not redeeming the cultural activities and institutions of this world, but is preserving them through the covenant he made with all living creatures through Noah in Genesis 8:20-9:17.”

“God himself rules this ‘common kingdom,’ and thus it is not, as some writers describe it, the ‘kingdom of man.’  This kingdom is in no sense a realm of moral neutrality or autonomy.  God makes its institutions and activities honorable, though only for temporary and provisional purposes.”

“Simultaneously, God is redeeming a people for himself, by virtue of the covenant made with Abraham and brought to glorious fulfillment in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has completed Adam’s original task once and for all.  These people are citizens of the ‘redemptive kingdom,’ whom God is gathering now in the church and will welcome into the new heaven and new earth at Christ’s glorious return.  Until that day, Christians live as members of both kingdoms, discharging their proper duties in each.”

There is more to it, of course – this was just a part of the intro.  I do think this is a solid Reformed way to look at the tough issue of Christians in culture.  I’ll blog more on it later; until then, let me say this book will certainly stimulate healthy thinking and discussions on this topic.  I highly recommend it.

shane lems

8 Replies to “Living in God’s Two Kingdoms”

  1. “God himself rules this ‘common kingdom,’ and thus it is not, as some writers describe it, the ‘kingdom of man.’ This kingdom is in no sense a realm of moral neutrality or autonomy. God makes its institutions and activities honorable, though only for temporary and provisional purposes.”

    Very nice! This really seems to be the concern of those who are wary of Ref2kT (notice how I hijacked that term … sort of like the drift from Habiru to Hebrew …) – i.e., that we’re just taking a sort of anabaptistic, hands-off approach to the culture. This will definitely be an interesting read!

    Like

  2. I just got my copy in the mail. Looking forward to reading it. I get very weary of some in our PCA church who are enamored of theonomy and some “Vision Forum” types who claim the mantle of Van Til to say that 2K is a “heresy” in their charming words.

    Like

  3. Interesting. So does he not believe in a “common kingdom” prior to Noah? The general approach I’ve seen before has the division of the two kingdoms go at least back to Cain and Able. (Kind of the Augustine City of Man vs. City of God approach). I’d be interested how his views would differ from those of other two kingdom advocates. Is he arguing for something slightly different from other reformed two kingdom theologians?

    Like

    1. Pat – he does go back to Cain/Able. This was just sort of his summary position in the intro. Should I bring it when I come your way Sunday AM? You can borrow it if you want.

      Like

      1. I think I probably should finish a few other books I’m reading right now before I jump into another one, but it sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for the offer! Are you going to be preaching at Grace this Sunday?

        Like

  4. Hi, would you say that one key difference between 2k types and transformationalists is that the latter virtually ignore the covenant with Noah?

    Like

    1. Pat: Yes, I’ll see you Sunday.

      Richard: The transformationalist books that I’ve read didn’t do much with the noahic covenant, but I can’t say if they all pretty much ignore it. Also, speaking of covenant, it seems to me like many transformationalists either ignore the covenant of works or deny it, which accounts for many differences in emphases.

      By the way, transformationalists include guys like N.T. Wright, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Brian McLauren, and others, so it’s tough to generalize, especially since these guys differ so much on other theological points.

      Perhaps someone else can answer your question better than me…

      shane

      Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: