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  • Two Kingdoms

    This topic branches from here: https://forum.lounewton.com/forum/in...0161#post10161

    Monergism's Two Kingdoms page (at the end of this post) has this invigorating summary:

    "[The] absolutely theocentric character of the kingdom of God in Jesus’' preaching …implies that its coming consists entirely in God's own action and is perfectly dependent on his activity. The kingdom of God is not a state or condition, not a society created and promoted by men (the doctrine of the 'social gospel'). It will not come through an immanent earthly evolution, nor through moral action; it is not men who prepare it for God. All such thoughts mean a hopelessly superficial interpretation of the tremendous thought of the fullness and finality of God's coming as king to redeem and to judge."
    --Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom

    Below are links to a very easy primer, two recorded series (by Kim Riddlebarger and Tim Conway), two visual aids, and Monergism's Two Kingdoms collection.

    Keep in mind both of these, Riddlebarger and Conway, are Calvinist. I haven't assessed if there is content that would puzzle a non-Calvinist (monergism, sovereignty in election, and/or limited atonement are what generally give non-Calvinist's the most trouble).

    Here is a primer by Riddlebarger. I haven't read this, but it is a primer and probably offers a good 5000 ft view.
    http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.c...ms-primer.html
    And two visual aids: the model and the eschaton:
    http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.c...e-model-chart/

    (Audio) Series 1. Here is Riddlebarger's lecture series, it is in many parts, and quite long. This was my introduction and it is excellently explained.
    http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/two-kingdoms/

    (Video) Series 2. Here is Conway's sermon series which is really outstanding. It is not just a retread of Riddlebarger's content. Riddlebarger is more thorough, but I think this one could stand on its own if you can't invest the time in Series 1.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...9BlKGX_rrEllpq
    And a follow-on sermon, Understanding the Book of Revelation:
    https://youtu.be/fl3ykP-Wm7M

    Here is a Two Kingdoms collection on Monergism.com if you want to bounce around some.
    https://www.monergism.com/topics/kin...d/two-kingdoms
    Last edited by Baruch; January 29, 2018, 11:46 PM. Reason: fixing pesky "smart" quotes; sp

  • #2
    You are referring to the Reformed theology on the two kingdoms known as monergism.
    When thinking two kingdoms my head was thinking periods of time.
    Monergism conforms in all of its tenets to Reformed theology which means divine sovereignty is absolute in that the definition of sovereignty requires complete control. It is the hyper view of omnipotent which means not only God can but that God does.

    My foggy recall provides:
    One kingdom relates to the spiritual conduct the other to the temporal conduct.”
    One relates to the conscience and eternal life the other to instruction as to our duties in the present concerning religious, social or political matters.

    God rules the world in two related but distinct ways.
    One is the way Christ rules over his church
    The other is the more general way he rules over all things.
    It is by natural law God rules are administered in the secular world.
    The function of the state is to operate under natural law.

    I see monergism as a theological tool to provide an explanation of the Christian life in a less than perfect environment which in such an environment the power and nature of the Reformed theology sovereign God would otherwise be required to do something about. Theologically, it is the Reformed theology's tool to explain away the problem of evil.

    Unless debaters are both of the reformed theology the discussion stalls from the beginning because of different presuppositions about divine sovereignty.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, Glen, Reformed Theology. And what you just wrote I think agrees with what's in the primer; except for the paragraph on monergism and explaining away the problem of evil (a very complex topic for anyone): I don't understand this assessment.

      There are plenty of debates, easy to find, two and three hours each and much better quality than I could produce. I don't intend to try and bring that here. I know I'm now in a minority, and there is one thing that became abundantly clear to me about the Reformed view: you can't argue, badger, push, or cajole anyone through this door unless God prepares him. I can confirm this right out of my own experience, because I used to argue from a bunker on the other side.

      What I'd like is for those interested, when you're ready to think about the scriptures and their Author from a different angle, remember this material is here and come have a look at some of it. I went into it with a skeptical mind, expecting to be able to handily dismiss it. But I was deeply surprised. It is true this view is not new; but it's also not antiquated. Nor is it strange in the way you might think of something that is alien. Even if it doesn't agree with your present theology, I think you'll be able to see it is very compatible with scripture.

      Comment


      • #4
        There was a period when I felt comfortable with Reformed theology. It was recognizing Reformed theology depended upon rationalism that first made me look at it more critically. Reformed theology makes perfect sense if you accept the presuppositions since it is very rational. The five points of TULIP are developed rationally from each other. One cannot believe in a partial Reformed theology without being logical inconsistent. Some less than informed believers will claim to believe one or the other while denying another. One of two things has occured. (1) logically inconsistant or (2) not correctly understanding TULIP. My comfort with Reformed theology is because I like it, it is rational, and works very well for Christians who believe in total surrender without doing it. Therefore, my comfort.

        Theodicy address the problem of evil and suffering.

        The post reads: I see monergism as a theological tool to provide an explanation of the Christian life in a less than perfect environment which in such an environment the power and nature of the Reformed theology sovereign God would otherwise be required to do something about. Theologically, it is the Reformed theology's tool to explain away the problem of evil.

        Explanation-
        In the spiritual kingdom there is absolute divine sovereignty. Everything works or will work according to divine will or the divine spiritual will.

        In the secular kingdom there is evil, suffering, and death. So how can things be working according to sovereign divine will? Here in the secular kingdom a different sovereign divine will or divine law is in force which is the divine law of nature which allows for natural evil, natural suffering, and natural death while there continues a absolute divine sovereignty but working under different divine rules.

        In my limited reading of Reformed theology I have not seen monergism expressed this way by proponents. How monergism is described above is how I see the implications for theodicy. I suspect there are those voicing this position with much more sophistication because the major issue against Reformed theology has always been how to address the problem of evil.

        If presenting the Reformed defense of the secular kingdom of divine natural law the use of verses about obeying governments and that all rulers serve under God would be my text.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ah, and thanks. Reformed Theology doesn't explain away evil. Far from it. :) The problem of evil is exceedingly difficult for everyone, even the unbelieving. Theodicy is a huge subject (so are all the others pertaining to God; why should this be different?)

          If it were not for evil, I could not rejoice that evil does not trump our sovereign Lord. Who can defeat such a giant, but David? Not even the most evil one trumps Him; not even if all of humanity and the heavenly powers stand against Him, while He is in the form of a man, does evil stand a chance.

          Our Lord could explain evil to us, and tell us that He is greater than evil; and we should believe Him because He is the Creator and does not lie. But He chose to make it manifest, and even raised up, so that by His triumph over it we know; and in the manner He did it we see the fullness of His greatness, in that He defeated it even by things deemed weak and foolish.

          If we are in Christ we are assured of salvation: God said it. A wise man said "if I could lose my salvation, I would". I rejoice that not even my worst can cause me to fall from His loving hand; if I did I was never His. It is only by the promise of a sovereign God, working in the lives of each of us, overcoming the armies of evil arrayed against Him, indeed even our own trespasses against Him, that we can enjoy any assurance of preservation.

          I'm glad you mention presuppositions. You say one needs to accept the presuppositions of all the doctrines of grace in order for them to hold together; this is true, and you adeptly frame the consequences of not doing so. Yet, before I received the doctrines of grace I had strong presuppositions that prevented me from considering them, even though I consider myself open-minded. My folly. Everyone has presuppositions. It works every which-a-way. Right up until I was convinced of the Reformed doctrine of sovereignty, it opposed my presuppositions. I was just willing to consider them that time, a situation I cannot explain by the doctrine of free will even in retrospect; rather I was made willing in the hands of the Master Potter, bless Him. :) Prior to that, I did not know how to rest in Christ, and I see many, many who profess Christ who are afflicted like that. What a blessing, and I wish most to share it.

          Probably not much of this is new to you, Glen. But I expect it may be to others. The Reformed position speaks to the problem of evil, but doesn't explain it away. Evil is still bad and must be defeated, and much about it is mysterious. So even though this topic wanders a little away from Two Kingdoms I think and hope it is seen as both relevant and beneficial.

          The conclusions expressed in TULIP can be difficult, precisely because of the presuppositions of one's present theology. All I can say is there's a lot of bad theology out there, and somebody's presuppositions are wrong. So we ought to take time to identify and examine the truths we hold onto. It is our walk which we're called to, ever reforming and being conformed to the image of Christ.
          Last edited by Baruch; February 3, 2018, 02:32 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I submit there is not an introductory class in theology in heaven.
            If everyone recognized their own presuppositions it would make discussions more relevant, therefore useful.
            If a person cannot get past their presuppositions meaningful discussion is impossible.
            Only acquiescing or ignoring is left.

            I think ever saved person feels like your wise man, "If I could loose my salvation, I would."

            Do you think the two kingdom theology addresses theodicy?

            You might find the following interesting if you are not already aware.

            The novel Robinson Crusoe published on 25 April 1719 marked the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. In the eight months before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning so many imitations, not only in literature but also in film, television and even in the old days of radio.

            The author Daniel Defoe was a Puritan moralist. His brand of Puritanism was Reformed theology. The main character of this novel, Robinson Kreutznaer becomes closer to God spending time alone amongst nature with only a Bible to read. Throughout the novel Defoe has Robinson giving sermonettes and devotionals based upon the Reformed theological perspectives much like what you just posted . The Puritans were not the first to link the study of theology to piety and the character Robinson shows how Reformed theology is not some cold, dead, theology but is about grappling with issues of being human and spiritual.

            The cultural influence of so popular a novel is enormous. The positions held by the character enter into the thoughts of the reader. The novel is much more than an adventure story for it addresses aspects related to theories of civilization as well.

            The influence on culture can be observed through its impact upon the language. Such an impact does not measure the degree of influence or even the importance, but is a observation of popularity. To impact language the adoption into the vernacular must be by a significant portion of the populace. Crusoe usually referred to his servant as "my man Friday", from which the term "Man Friday" (or "Girl Friday") originated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by glen smith View Post
              I submit there is not an introductory class in theology in heaven.
              If everyone recognized their own presuppositions it would make discussions more relevant, therefore useful.
              If a person cannot get past their presuppositions meaningful discussion is impossible.
              Only acquiescing or ignoring is left.
              Yes. I expect in heaven all our lofty theology will be like crayon scribbles on scraps of paper, although it is invaluable to us now. For the present we're seeking the face of the Lord, whence forms our theology: study of God, the One so infinite it takes all of creation and history to express Himself to the mind of man and angel.

              1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

              I do think that while the Lord tarries there will be denominations. Rome had her day, and the Lord delivered His people out of her whorish tyranny. She may have another sprint in her before the end, but she will not enjoy another global usurpation over the Kingdom. As the Babel transgression was answered by a scattering, so was Rome's tower. This is an example of the Lord using evil for His good purpose.

              It appears to me, that we are divided not of our own will, and if we are of Christ then we are united in one Spirit. What is not manifested on earth is in heaven: Spirit. (This is perhaps an easy window into "two kingdoms".) If we are one body, we should not be at war among ourselves, but extend grace and respect our differences, and care for and protect one another. Imagine visitors in the early days who traveled a long way to visit brethren in a neighboring assembly, both taught by different apostles and living in different cultures. I think their differences would have been greater than ours, and yet we have record of them receiving the brethren in love. I don't know how much local doctrine was shared, but at least the visiting brother got to witness how the neighboring assembly believed, and though there must have been marked differences there was the recognizable Holy Spirit common to them.

              I think ever saved person feels like your wise man, "If I could loose my salvation, I would."
              This realization is liberating. Liberation from the yoke of legalism, the roller-coaster torment of striving for performance, from dark clouds of doubt, and more. All those things tell me I might lose my salvation, and try to keep me away from the Lord; to do penance until I'm fit to approach Him again. No, I cannot make myself clean. I am never so fit as when I desperately need Him. We should be quick to run to Him with all our cares, Him who told us, "I will in no wise cast you out". There is His blood, and there is the throne of grace. What hinders me? It is the Father who draws me, and His goodness which leads me to repentance. There is nothing in the way, and if I cast about there is the security of Christ's pierced hand as far as the eye can see. I've been redeemed out of the jaws of sin and death. Shall God throw me back? Absolutely not, for the Lamb shall have his full reward! Amen.

              Do you think the two kingdom theology addresses theodicy?
              I think the doctrine of the sovereignty of God does that. It adds weight to many scriptures. Evil doesn't just happen. It is the will of devils and man who are slaves to sin, and calamity is its fruit. On its own sin leads to destruction. But God uses evil for His own purposes, which work towards good to those who are His. It's the working of God, for example, to use evil to cause His people to turn to Him (Psa 107).

              I expect however that because Two Kingdoms reconciled some difficult core theological issues for me, it may do the same with this topic. At least, surely it couldn't be as narrow and convoluted as a man-centered philosophy (which describes some "gospels"). Evil proceeded from the Fall, and this was the accursed ground in which YHWH purposed to toil, in a land that brought forth thorns and thistles, to husband a vine Whose branches--once dead and unfruitful, and scheduled for the burn pile--were grafted into new life, and the highest reward: Himself, face to face, forever.

              You might find the following interesting if you are not already aware.

              The novel Robinson Crusoe published on 25 April 1719 marked the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. In the eight months before the end of 1719, the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning so many imitations, not only in literature but also in film, television and even in the old days of radio.

              The author Daniel Defoe was a Puritan moralist. His brand of Puritanism was Reformed theology. The main character of this novel, Robinson Kreutznaer becomes closer to God spending time alone amongst nature with only a Bible to read. Throughout the novel Defoe has Robinson giving sermonettes and devotionals based upon the Reformed theological perspectives much like what you just posted . The Puritans were not the first to link the study of theology to piety and the character Robinson shows how Reformed theology is not some cold, dead, theology but is about grappling with issues of being human and spiritual.

              The cultural influence of so popular a novel is enormous. The positions held by the character enter into the thoughts of the reader. The novel is much more than an adventure story for it addresses aspects related to theories of civilization as well.

              The influence on culture can be observed through its impact upon the language. Such an impact does not measure the degree of influence or even the importance, but is a observation of popularity. To impact language the adoption into the vernacular must be by a significant portion of the populace. Crusoe usually referred to his servant as "my man Friday", from which the term "Man Friday" (or "Girl Friday") originated.
              That is very interesting. I haven't read it, and didn't know that background. Now I must, someday. And I think I will appreciate it more. :)
              Last edited by Baruch; February 4, 2018, 03:47 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Baruch, again I appreciate your thoughtfulness in theology and brotherly love.

                Another tidbit about Robinson Crusoe. My favorite section is after he is rescued and returns to southern Europe. He must travel over the Alps in winter to reach England. The harrowing experience with hundreds of starving wolves puts in perspective the poisoning of wolves in more recent centuries. As an avid outdoor and nature reader I have read of similar events in Canada where wolves tore off roofs of cabins to get at humans. There is not much sympathy with the restoration of wolves in cattle country or in areas occupied by humans. Such stories help frame the perspective of past generations. It is just another example of only the ignorant of the past claim they are not influenced by all that has gone before them.

                From what I think and of what I have read, it is the Reformed view of the sovereignty of God which raises the degree of contradiction in theodicy. If you see how the Reformed view of the sovereignty of God is the best answer to the problem of evil would you explain?

                In my thoughts, you have the right perspective on the study and debating of theology. It is the process which better illuminates God for human understanding and worship. Even when there are differences these difference mark the parameters of the God we understand. I am yet to meet a believer for whom some aspects of Reformed theology does not match their experience. So, I see one theology from those who see themselves coming to God and another theology once with God. The first is my choice while the second is all grace. Being in the Divine Presence changes not just our justification and sanctification, but at a primary level the Divine Presence changes who we understand we are and what we cannot accomplish on our on. Divine Holiness always humbles creation as being an act of God. In His Presence there is only Divine Sovereignty and never human will.

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