Monday, April 18, 2011

Sola Fide and Two Kingdoms

Jason Stellman has a new post up here, in which he quotes a few portions of David VanDrunen’s book Living in God’s Two Kingdoms and then asks the following provocative question:
if it would be legalistic for a pastor to tell an individual to comb his hair and tuck in his shirt so that God will accept him, is it any less legalistic to essentially say the same thing to an entire culture?
Then, in the comment section, he brings out his point even clearer.
The issue is not whether we should obey the moral law or encourage-slash-work for obedience to God's standards in society, and nor is the issue whether fewer abortions and a greater appreciation for marriage would be a good thing or not.

The issue is whether the church as such (1) should make it her errand to promote these things, and whether the church (2) should label this "kingdom work."

If we do not distinguish between the earthly civil kingdom and the eternal heavenly one, we have no way to protect the Great Commission from being coopted by some political ideology or another (and imagine if the issues were different, as in, the church begins to fight against capitalism and war--would that make you uncomfortable?).

The kingdom of man is not the church's job to build. When we confuse the church's role of fulfilling the GC with the betterment of the culture, we have screwed up sola fide, pure and simple. That's the point I'm trying to make.
I, for one, think that Stellman has hit the nail right on the head. It comes down to the issue of what is the church to be about. Kingdom work is promoting the gospel through the means of grace God has given to the church.


  1. Yes, the Church has, to borrow a friend's analogy, a small tool box to work with. The tools in that small box are three:: the preaching of the word (and all necessary and ancillary elements), the sacraments and church discipline.

  2. Michael,

    It is small, but powerful!


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