The Two Kingdoms: Understanding the Kingdom of God and the Fallen World

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It is fruitful to read this book on the basis of those central essays.

In those three essays, which address God as the Trinity, Hart makes clear that phenomenology, as he understands it, is not purely a philosophical approach or method. He reads the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, in particular the parables, as exercises in such a reduction to the Kingdom. This involves for Hart a conversion, a turning away from our enthrallment with the world towards God.

There are two movements here: kenosis , or self-emptying, and epektasis , or stretching out into love of God and neighbor.

However, he is less concerned than Marion with keeping a clear boundary between theology and philosophy. A theological phenomenology must begin with revelation as actuality. While Marion remains at the level of eidetic possibility, Hart insists in effect on the necessity of faith in theology. In telling a parable, Jesus and his listeners including those who read the testimony of others bracket the world, loosening their captivity to the world and live in terms of the Kingdom. If this is the case, the phenomenological question is, how does the father manifest himself in the story.

The father as manifest in this story is both like and unlike fathers we know: he manifests fatherly love and compassion in ways which exceed fathers in the world.

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The question then becomes one of how the Kingdom relates to the world. In Augustinian manner Hart makes clear that at issue is not a turning away from the world but rather a turning away from enthrallment by the world. It is a rhythm of kenosis and epektasis. The double sight which is necessary here, one which sees the world in its worldliness and yet sees in it the Kingdom as anterior and posterior to it, Hart describes as contemplation contemplatio , prayer and borrowing from Augustine evening and morning knowledge.

Each involves a movement beyond captivation in the world to receptivity for that which transcends the world. In the evening, according to Augustine, the angels were given knowledge of things as they are in themselves; in the morning they were given knowledge of the relation of created things to the Creator 50, Throughout Hart explores divergent texts, working through the different ways in which the tension between the world and Kingdom are negotiated. Stressing the heritage of Augustine in Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason, he shows how the Christian for Kant lives in two societies, the earthly and the heavenly, hoping for the day when the earthly society will pass away Significantly, however, as Hart points out, Kant differs from Augustine in affirming that as citizens of the divine state on earth human beings are both legislators and subjects In both he stresses the intervening of the Kingdom on earth and the interplay of activity and passivity on the part of human beings in this event.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Modern movements such as neo-Calvinism, the New Perspective on Paul, and the emerging church have popularized a view of Christianity and culture that calls for the redemption of earthly society and institutions. Many Christians have reflexively embraced this view, enticed by the socially active and engaged faith it produces. Living in God's Two Kingdoms illustrates how a tw Modern movements such as neo-Calvinism, the New Perspective on Paul, and the emerging church have popularized a view of Christianity and culture that calls for the redemption of earthly society and institutions.

Living in God's Two Kingdoms illustrates how a two-kingdoms model of Christianity and culture affirms much of what is compelling in these transformationist movements while remaining faithful to the whole counsel of Scripture. By focusing on God's response to each kingdom--his preservation of the civil society and his redemption of the spiritual kingdom--VanDrunen teaches readers how to live faithfully in each sphere.

Highlighting vital biblical distinctions between honorable and holy tasks, VanDrunen's analysis will challenge Christians to be actively and critically engaged in the culture around them while retaining their identities as sojourners and exiles in this world. Get A Copy.

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Paperback , pages. Published October 6th by Crossway Books first published October 1st More Details Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Living in God's Two Kingdoms , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Living in God's Two Kingdoms.

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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 15, Jeremy marked it as to-read Shelves: religion , politics , non-fiction , transformation , culture , law. See Keith's Matheson's review here. While I appreciate Vandrunen's concern with legalism as I appreciate the concern with human-centered effort to transform culture , some of the 2K arguments sound eerily similar to some of the we're-not-antinomian-but-seriously-stop-trying-so-hard messages of people such as Tullian Tchividjian and Barbara Duguid.

See a helpful review here. One positive Goodreads review actually said, "The problem with [a transformational approach] is that it's exhausting to red See Keith's Matheson's review here. One positive Goodreads review actually said, "The problem with [a transformational approach] is that it's exhausting to redeem every square inch. The aversion to power seems to come from a preference for being an armchair quarterback: It's too difficult to lead well, and it's much easier to remain in a position of perpetual "exile" or "pilgrimage. It's difficult, although not impossible, to defend biblically based policies; it's easy to sit back and complain about how bad things are and how triumphalist certain Christians are.

Dec 09, Josiah rated it did not like it Shelves: theology , christ-and-culture. When I first picked up VanDrunen's book, I was hesitantly optimistic about his thesis. I had read a lecture by him before about the biblical foundation for civil government, and had appreciated some of his thoughts. So I was fairly open to his suggestions. His decision to lump Kuyperianism in with the New Perspective on Paul and the Emerging church in his introduction was alarming, but I was willing to hear his actual argument. I mean, I get the appeal of 2K application, but the rationale for that application?

I honestly don't understand it. After finding 80 separate places where I disagreed with the author, I could write for a long time about the various problems I've found in this book, but I've attempted to reduce my disagreements in the below section to a few main points.

Heaven & Earth

VanDrunen places a lot of emphasis on the cosmic aspect of the Fall--but seems to strangely ignore the primary effects of the Fall: the guilt that we all have and our need for a personal Savior. The primary tragedy of the Fall was not that Adam's cultural task was unfulfilled--it's that he rebelled and separated himself from God! VanDrunen's attempt to re-focus the salvation narrative on cultural tasks rather than on our personal sin and need for a Savior was therefore extremely concerning and undermined a large portion of his argument.

Christ's coming obviously did influence how we are to interact with culture see: Matthew 28 ; however, interpreting passages that are clearly dealing with Christ's victory over sin as really being about Christ fulfilling cultural tasks as VanDrunen argues Hebrews is was concerning to me and an interpretation that I could not see justification for. Page references: 47, 51, 55 Second, in VanDrunen's historical walk-through of the Old Testament, he very much seemed to interpret biblical passages with an agenda, instead of letting biblical passages set his agenda.

When dealing with Old-Testament Israel, VanDrunen's argument seemed to basically be that Old-Testament Israel didn't fit well with his pre-determined thesis that Christians are ONLY sojourners into the land; therefore, it must not be relevant to the current discussion.

The Two Governments and the Two Kingdoms in Luther' Thought

This might work if not for the fact that this is a pretty biased look at the evidence. It honestly felt like VanDrunen was just trying to force these biblical passages to fit his thesis, instead of fitting his thesis to these biblical passages. On a side-note, his treatment of Daniel's work in Babylon was likewise confusing. VanDrunen claims that Daniel and his friends weren't trying to transform Babylon into a different society. But he conveniently ignores the fact that Daniel and his friends' influence made all the princes abstain from meat, convinced them to stop bowing down to idols, and even led to the king himself commanding all men to pray to the true God!

VanDrunen tries to say that Daniel had to either serve Babylon, or try to transform it. But this kind of dichotomy is nowhere found in Scripture. Page references: 88, Third, VanDrunen's distinction between moral commands that are applicable to everyone, and commands that are only applicable to God's people was also very alarming.


VanDrunen claims that some parts of God's moral law, such as the Sermon on the Mount, are only applicable to God's people and are not universal moral commands for all people. Even ignoring the fact that Jesus wasn't only teaching his disciples in this passage like VanDrunen claims he was teaching the multitudes , this sort of dichotomy is an extremely dangerous dichotomy that has no foundation in Scripture unless you're willing to read things into the text which VanDrunen, unfortunately, seems willing to do.

There are no special moral laws that are only given to God's people.

God's moral law is universally the same for all people. Page references: , Fourth, VanDrunen seems to believe in an individualized-interpretation of biblical wisdom which means that the Church should be silent on matters of Christian wisdom. VanDrunen argues that when the application of biblical teaching is a matter of discretion, that churches must be silent. And, to a certain point, I'm ready to agree with him. But VanDrunen defines "matters of discretion" way too broadly. Laws against abortion are not simply matters of "political analysis" and thus matters that churches should be silent on.

While VanDrunen clearly argues that churches should oppose abortion as a moral sin, his argument that churches should be silent on it politically is honestly foolish. When you're arguing that laws against abortion fall into "matters of discretion," then we have a problem. Page references: , , Finally, VanDrunen doesn't seem to understand Kuyperianism. Apart from the fact that he lumps it in with NPP and the Emerging church movement, he also seems to think that Kuyperians want Christians to set up their own financial markets, view the church as secondary to the Christian life, think that pastors should tell business owners whether or not to fire difficult employees, and claim that Scripture instructs us on the technical aspects of our jobs.