You are hereThe “Two Kingdoms” Tyranny

The “Two Kingdoms” Tyranny

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By Virgil - Posted on 26 March 2010

by Joel McDurmon
The tyranny of the Welfare States we currently live under (throughout the world, but the West especially) is a direct outfall of “two-kingdoms” style theology. By setting up a false division between heavenly and secular matters, the Church has consistently mismanaged its wealth and abdicated its social responsibilities. Then, when the poor—even the poor within the Church—come into need, they are told, or it is assumed, that their needs shall be met by the civil order (which is presumably not Christian, or quasi-Christian at best). How’s it look for Christian charity when the Christians direct their own to the pagans for charity? And when the pagans got their funds through theft to begin with?

The reason why things like the recent health care debacle always eventually get passed—just as Social Security, Medicare, welfare, food stamps, and subsidies galore, galore—is because the Churches have consistently failed to meet these needs when they should. And they have failed because they never try. And they never try because they believe these things do not pertain to the function of the church. And they do not believe these things pertain to the function of the church because their theologians have assured them for centuries that the Church’s only job is to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments. The Church is the “Heavenly Kingdom,” we are told. Everything thing else—all those “worldly” matters—pertains to the “Earthly Kingdom.” Thus we have “Two Kingdoms,” and never the twain shall meet until Christ returns.

Meanwhile we have a world filled—and churches filled—with people who have needs: financial needs, health needs, debt needs, old age needs, etc., etc. These are all things addressed by both 1) Old Testament law, and 2) New Testament teaching (which is usually based on Old Testament law). But the “Two Kingdoms” mentality tells us that 1) Old Testament law no longer applies, except maybe the Ten Commandments in a vague moral sense (what you do in your private life!), and 2) all social and civil matters will fall out according to God’s will in the realm of nature and under the rule of earthly governments. Que sera, sera! So they ignore the vast majority if not all of the Bible’s social teaching. Then they direct their people to the pagan Welfare State for social needs.

So, for example, when Paul gives very clear directions to the Church on how to take care of needy widows, the Church today would largely ignore this teaching. If a Christian widow over sixty with no money, no family, and no prospects came to the church, what would the church do? Would it pour over 1 Timothy 5 for matters of principle? Would it be prepared to support her indefinitely if necessary? Or would it assume she should live off of the State instead? For most, sad to say, the question of supporting her would not even arise.

Social issues like these have pressed the Church all through history. Social grievances lay behind the Peasants’ Revolt in 1525, which Martin Luther himself at first supported as God’s cause, but then vehemently opposed when their violence threatened his own job. It was Luther’s one-time colleague Andreas Carlstadt who appealed to the Bible for the church and the nobles to address the social problems. Luther had the “Two Kingdoms” mentality; in fact, he did more to popularize it among reformers and subsequent protestant theology than anyone: Moses does not apply at all, and the Bible does not apply to social and civil affairs. Against Carlstadt’s church Luther blurted: “We don’t want to see or hear Moses. How do you like that, my dear rebels? We say further, that all such Mosaic teachers deny the gospel, banish Christ, and annul the whole New Testament.”[1] For Luther, no biblical law applied or could apply to the civil realm. The civil realm by definition lay outside the Kingdom of Christ. There could be no Christian or Biblical civil order. The rulers were left unshackled by any law except, as Luther would argue, whatever was necessary to keep the peace. So the rulers expanded their powers, annexed more land, and raised taxes. The taxes went to help support nobles and then place State-sanctioned clergymen in the churches. These clergymen, dressed in fine clothes, on State’s payroll, then preached that the people should submit to the State’s payroll and not challenged it from the Bible. This was their way of ensuring “peace”—peace of mind for them.

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Islamaphobe's picture

I recently read a couple of short essays bearing on the issues raised here by Ali Allawi, a Shiite intellectual who is not the political leader challenging Maliki but is a nephew of Ahmad Chalabi. Like Ahmed Allawi, the politician, he is said to be a relatively secular Shiite. It is Ali Allawi's lament that what he thinks of as the spiritual aspect of Islam, which he regards as having a compassionate set of ethics, has lost out to the political aspect, which he sees as being bloodthirsty and corrupt. He tends to ignore the fact that those who emphasize Islam's political aspect and who proclaim its destiny to achieve world domination by conquest and subversion quote copiously from Islamic scripture and from the record of Muhammad's life to justify their acts of barbarism and suppression of Infidels.

One might think that Ali Allawi should be attracted to Christianity since there is much in it that corresponds with what he regards as Islam's spiritual aspect. He rejects Christianity, however, because of the separation between church and state that he thinks it sanctions. In doing so, he reinforces the points made by McDurmon in this article.

Anyway, while I may differ somewhat from Virgil and some of the other posters here with regard to the proper role of government, I completely agree that it has succeeded far too well in replacing the proper role of the church in much of our life.

John S. Evans

rfwitt's picture

"But they still pass the plate. They still want the giving. They still dress finely and build enormous buildings. This is not bad per se, but the Church building and the pastors’ salaries are historically the greatest portion of the Churches’ budgets. And when the church grows, what do we do? We take in more money and build yet a bigger building, sometimes borrowing millions—thereby pledging future tithes to the building. Money is drained and drained for these purposes. And what return do we get on these investments? What stewardship? A building that sits empty up to six days a week. And should someone in the church turn up with long-term health, insurance, or dependency issues, they get directed to the extorting State for their help: “There’s no program here for that.”

Not to long ago I attended a church that fit the description above. The building was rather new (seating about 600). There were multiple pastors on the payroll. Meanwhile in the pews there were numerous young couples and others struggling with finances. Years before the original mortgage was paid out the "pastors" decided, because of growth that a larger church (and staff) was needed. They not only asked for the "tithe" but also for an additional 6% (16% weekly). All this was to expand the ministry (i.e a larger building and more staff). Meanwhile many people were losing there jobs, or were making low wages. Financial and physical issue were on the back burner. As the author of the article related - the Christians were to look to the state not the church for a bailout.

If Christians want to be a force for smaller government they can start with there congregation and address the needs of the people (which will not be cured by bigger buildings and more staff).

The Christian Reconstruction movement was teaching this years ago. The advise was not heeded and is still not heeded in most evangelical churches.

kingdomsaint7's picture

Each "megachurch" represents a city dying in poverty somewhere in the world. Indulgences were paid to the Vatican to fund their embellished architectures and the people were told that for contributing they got a sure ticket in to heaven. Sans purgatory, is today any different?

The brainwash here, however, is that real Christians aren't feeding and helping and sacrificing. Of course they are. And when they do so, they do it in modesty and secrecy as Jesus commanded when the one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. The brainwash is because the Pharisees have turned into OUR government, boasting about the gnats they strain and condemning those that are charitable in secret. But tax is not charity done out of love, just as usury and interest are not lawful.

Moreover, those who do not wish to pay these taxes are threatened with mandatory jail sentences. I guess the poor are just out of luck on this one and will be jailed unless they work simply to stay out of it. How is this not socialism/slavery?

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