Monday, November 10, 2008

Five Kingdoms Theology

There is a difference between the church and the state. They are two different kingdoms, with different spheres of authority. The Bible gives us information on how each sphere properly operates. They are not, however, the only two spheres of authority, contrary to the impressions that some recent advocates of so-called "Two Kingdoms" theology.

There is also the kingdom of marriage. In that kingdom, there is husband and wife. As with the first two kingdoms, the Bible provides guidance as to how this kingdom should be run.

Another kingdom is the kingdom of family. In that kingdom, there are parents and children. As with first three kingdoms, the Bible provides guidance as to how this kingdom should be run.

Another kingdom is the kingdom of the workplace. In that kingdom, there are masters and servants. As with the first four kingdoms, the Bible provides guidance as to how this kingdom should be run.

Perhaps only in the cases of Adam and Noah (we might also add Abraham) can one find all these kingdoms together. Adam (and likewise Noah) was the spiritual leader, the civil leader, the husband, the father, and the master. We have different roles. Nevertheless, we should live our lives, in whatever roles we find ourselves, in accordance with the Word of God.

That means:

- In our church, we should look to God's Word regarding the elders, the deacons, and the brethren;
- In our state, we should look to God's Word regarding the king;
- In our workplace, we should look to God's Word regarding the masters and the servants;
- In our marriage, we should look to God's Word regarding the husband and the wife; and
- In the family, we should look to God's Word regarding the parents and the children.

In all things, we should seek to govern our lives in accordance with the Word of God found in Holy Scriptures. That is the sort of "theonomy" that I favor: a five kingdom theonomy. It is a theonomy in which we let the Word of God govern and instruct us in every part of life - in all seven days, not just Sundays - in all spheres of life - not only those designated "religious." There are many authorities that God has set up in various aspects of our life. When we serve as an authority, we must look to God's Word for guidance, and when we serve under an authority, we must likewise look to God's Word for guidance.

-TurretinFan

3 comments:

natamllc said...

TF,

I like the "order" you laid out here.

We recently, as in last week and weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, had a Scholar, a Doc. of Divinity, speak to us.

His order was something similar.

Here is how he laid it out:

one, the world
two, the flesh
three, the devil
four, the home
five, the church
six, schooling
seven, work

He then pointed out that during the days of Jesus and thereafter, the western culture asked and proffered five questions and answers.

The questions go like this:

one, what is death?
two, what is life?
three, how do I secure my future?
four, what is there worth dying for?
five, what is there worth living for?

Obviously the western culture does not see it as you laid out or as the scholar laid it out.

Our answers to the five questions will always end up at Christ.

Now, the difference, as I said, with regard to the "order", as I see it would be: one, God; two, Church; three, home; four, schooling; five, work, service to my neighbor.

It seems to me the answers to the five questions can be realized when we first and formost have God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost at the center of it all, first.

Anonymous said...

The more nuanced Two Kingdoms advocates suggest a civil kingdom - spiritual kingdom distinction, not at church-state one. The state (ie. the government) is recognized as being a part of the civil sphere but not the whole of it.

Also, in regards to thinking about two kingdoms matters you may find Turretin helpful (Vol. 3 pp.278-281).

Turretinfan said...

As to Turretin, I nearly always find his comments helpful. That should come as no surprise.

:)

"The more nuanced Two Kingdoms advocates suggest a civil kingdom - spiritual kingdom distinction, not at church-state one. The state (ie. the government) is recognized as being a part of the civil sphere but not the whole of it."

I'm not sure if those are more nuanced or simply a bit different from the "Two Kingdoms" advocates I've encountered.

Changing the distinction from church-state to civil-spiritual, however (with state being a subset of civil) doesn't help the "Two Kingdoms" guy, if the 2K guy wants to say that the Bible has nothing to say to the state. In fact, most 2K guys would (I think) be willing to admit that the Bible has something to say to family, to marriage, to masters, and to servants. To somehow carve out an un-normable kingdom requires imposition (as far as I can see) on Scripture, not exposition from Scripture.

-TurretinFan