Tuesday Feb 25, 2020

Two Kingdoms, 16th Century Edition

You think it's obvious to keep religion and government separate—but for nearly all of human history, it's been anything but that! In this episode Dad and I sort through the landscape of 16th century Europe to scout out the source of Luther's distinction between the "two kingdoms": the lefthand kingdom where God rules by law, coercion, and public authority, and the righthand kingdom where God rules by the gospel of Jesus Christ through word and sacrament. There are so many ways to do church-and-state wrong that we barely scratch the surface! So stay tuned for the next episode, when we'll bring the two kingdoms into the 20th and 21st centuries to see what mischief (to say the least) has come about by failing to distinguish them properly closer to our time.


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1. Ulrich Duchrow, Christenheit und Weltverantwortung

2. Augustine, The City of God

3. Martin Luther's writings on this topic include: On Temporal Authority; Admonition to Peace; Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved; On War against the Turk. See also his eight Invocavit sermons on returning to Karlstadt's violent reforms in Wittenberg while Luther was impounded in the Wartburg. All available in the Luther's Works series.

4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Heritage and Decay," in Ethics

5. Paul R. Hinlicky, Luther vs. Pope Leo

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