18 June 2010

Two Kingdom Theology On Guard

Two Kingdom theology is not retreatist. It defines the nature of the Kingdom differently and in fact maintaining a proper antithesis makes us ACUTELY aware of what the other kingdom is doing. We should be very clued in to what is going on around us....teaching the church not to be deceived by the world system. If we're part of the world system (as a competitor) we have to use their paradigms and we are easily enough taken in by the world's means and goals. Our battles are defined by them.

For example, when we entrench ourselves in politics because we view it a holy duty to conquer the political sphere for Christ...rather than apply the Biblical Worldview...we end up incorporating the world's categories without even thinking about it. We end up worldly.

Theonomy touts itself by always claiming the 'Biblical' view for this...and 'Christian Worldview' for that...

But it is often quite amusing. Very often without realizing it, they are giving the modified American view for this or that....no longer able to recognize the difference....the mainstream view is so ingrained. Suddenly Capitalism is Biblical...views of taxes...gun laws...whatever.....

Many continue to suggest Lutheran Two Kingdom theology would allow for something like Nazi Germany to happen. The reality is Luther was never a consistent Two Kingdom advocate and the German Church certainly never followed through on that view. Lutheran Germany was not Two Kingdom....it was always Sacralist to the core. Not always unified in which Sacralism, but consistently Sacralist, always defining the Kingdom in terms beyond the Holy...beyond the Church...tying in the Kingdom with the state and culture. Their Two Kingdom theology tried to maintain the distinction between Church and World, but utterly failed.

In fact is was so Sacralistic that when the Prussian king unified the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in the early 19th century...most when along with it. Where was the cry of the Donatists....What has the emperor to do with the church?....a slogan of two kingdom theology was not heard.

The principle wasn't there. Germany had completely succumbed. The Third Reich happened for a host of complex reasons....issues of German insecurity based on their geo-political history....the legacy of Prussian culture and ideals... Calvinist and Lutheran Prussia being a prime example of a Sacralist state and adopting a national/cultural narrative....the legacy of Bismarck....the horrific error of the treaty of Versailles....but largely because the German people had a cultural legacy of Sacralism with a lot of racist Nationalism to go with it....Sacralism usually produces this by the way, something American Nationalists need to recognize in themselves.

You cannot divorce Nazi Germany from Prussian ideals, values, aspirations and history. Prussia was a Protestant-sacralist model state. Things went pretty wrong. This would be a dark application of the Reformation. Another would be South Africa. You can't understand what happened there apart from Dutch Calvinism and the Sacralism of Dordt and the Belgic Confession. I'm not saying American Calvinists defend South Africa or Prussia, though many defend the antebellum South. I'm just saying this has long been a part of the legacy of Protestant Sacralism. Holy Nationalism is bound to produce a mindset of superiority and bigotry.

So I argue if anything not Two Kingdom theology, but.... Sacralism/Constantinianism is what allows for something like Nazi Germany to happen and provides the milieu for the Church to largely support it.

To the Germans, they were Christian people obeying the government, being a good citizens (a good Christian virtue right?)....Germany was a Christian country after all...right? Wrong paradigm of course.

If they have been good Two Kingdom folks, they wouldn't have succumbed to Nationalist Passions, government propaganda, racial theories about minorities etc...

The antithesis which Sacralism seeks to erase would have protected them.

The Christian Right in this country post-9/11, especially under George W. Bush was remarkably similar to 1930's Fascist Germany. Fascism is nuanced and complex but at its core are two looming notions......Nationalism and Militarism......and the necessity of a powerful propaganda machine. Evangelical's practically beg for propaganda. They want news that tells them what they want hear! We're supposed to want the truth...even when we don't like it.

Militarism and Nationalism are incompatible with Christianity. Both militarism and nationalism are absolutely championed and revered by the Evangelical movement in this country.

Germans in the 1930's wanted to 'take back' their country too. And if those dirty Muslims and Mexicans would just go away... ah pardon me, of course I mean the Jews.

Constantiniansm is terrifying. It's the great enemy of the church both past and present.

What about Bin Laden? Shouldn't we be terrified of him? We need not fear destroyers of the body but the destroyers of the soul. Bin Laden is nothing. To me (as a Christian thinking in terms of the Holy Kingdom)... the terrorists of our day are or have been...

Osama bin Robertson...Osama bin Falwell....Osama bin D. James Kennedy.....

Bin laden can't hurt us....these others have and continue to do so through their followers.

Murderers of Souls....They too want a type of caliphate, a Babel, instead of the heavenly Kingdom of Christ

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