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[Rev’d Dr.] Glenn Packiam @gpackiam
, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Let’s talk abt the “Two Kingdoms” theology that seems to underlie the way some think abt politics—separating a “heavenly kingdom” from an “earthly one”, allowing governments to do what they think is best for their people while the church just worries abt saving souls for heaven.
First, nowhere in the Bible is the Kingdom split in this way. Jesus’s “Render unto Caesar” may be better understood (in the light of the Gospels using all the imperial names and claims for Jesus and not Caesar) as saying, “Sure, pay your taxes, but nothing is *really* Caesar’s.”
Furthermore, if there is some sort of split, it isn’t one that divides the Kingdom into two realms, but rather into two Ages—and those Ages overlap. This is what is often called “inaugurated eschatology” or the “now and not yet”. Jesus is King now, and one day all will bow.
Secondly, the Gospel declares Jesus’s Kingship as absolute and total; he is King over All. The point becomes abundantly clear in the final book of the NT (Revelation), where Jesus is revealed to the true Sovereign of the Nations, and one day all kingdoms will be His.
Thirdly, the apostles came to understand the church as a community formed in recognition of Jesus’s Kingship— the ones who are living under His rule now in advance of the day when all will finally & fully see that He is King. (cf. Hauerwas, NT Wright & Douglas Campbell, etc.)
Fourthly, though the church is indeed a separate “body politik”— a “Christian City”, if you will—it’s separateness is meant to be a *witness* to what Jesus’s reign is like AND a *critique* of all other kingdoms. The separation is NOT a license for nations to do as they please.
Finally, to misuse the separate identity of the Church vs a nation-state as a way for political leaders to say to Christians (or for Christians who want to endorse their candidate/agenda to say to other Christians), “That doesn’t apply here!” has historically bad consequences.
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