The two-kingdom resurrection of Christ lacks "policy implications"....
(David) I've been looking through Heidelblog, Modern Reformation and several of Darryl Hart's books trying to discern the dividing lines two-kingdom pastors observe in preaching and shepherding--and after several days of reading I'm more confused than when I began.
How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ's Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God's Law so that the Christian understands God's demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ's? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ's Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?
The two-kingdom concept seems simple enough initially. Two kingdoms: the kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Two forms of authority: divine and eternal; human and temporal.
In one sense it's elementary, so basic I doubt any Christian would deny it. There are human kings and the King of Glory, kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of God.
The problem comes in knowing how to deal with the inevitable collisions between kings and kingdoms. When a family hires a gardener, does the gardener have authority over the garden? Certainly. Should the children of the family heed the gardener in the garden? Of course. But when parents say one thing and the gardener says another, who wins? Does gardener authority trump parental authority in the house? Of course not. But what about in the garden?
For most of us, the answer is clear: there are two kingdoms but one lasting King, two spheres of authority but one final Source of authority. We obey the gardener in the garden because our Father tells us to. Parental authority establishes and thus limits gardener authority.
But in the two-kingdom view of Westminster West things aren't so simple. God rules the house. There His children acknowledge His authority by heeding His Word and actively obeying Him. In the garden things are different. In the garden God rules by providence, expressing His will only by natural revelation. Edicts in the garden flow from the gardener and when the gardener's edicts contradict their Father's express will, though they may seek to alter the gardener edicts, the children may never do so by referring to their Father's will or authority.
It's as though life is a floor on which the Christian bride dances: there's a secular sphere of the floor where the bride follows the lead of secular authority and a religious sphere where the bride follows the lead of God. Life is a series of crossings. Though the bride hears the music of the religious sphere in the secular portion and longs to return permanently to the squiring of God, as long as the dance floor's divided between eternal and temporal, sacred and secular, God allows His bride to be led by His enemies.
In Westminster West's two-kingdom view Christ steels Himself to the droit de seigneur of earthly kings over His Bride--a form of suffering His Bride could accept as the cost of discipleship if she only had a good idea of where the limits of her submission lie. But such submission in the absence of any clear explanation of its limits--without any understanding of when and where faith calls us from meek submission into Caesar-defying lives of obedience to our King--is impossible. And no one I've read in the two-kingdom camp seems willing or able to explain where those boundaries lie.
The situation in the Westminster West camp is so bleak that in a post on Heidelblog entitled "Christ is Lord of All But....", Scott Clark writes:
I don’t think the resurrection, however, has great public policy implications or even implications for how we do science. That wasn’t the point of any of the great redemptive miracles. Nevertheless, as Christians we should insist that the resurrection is a public, historical fact and it should be preached as such. Paul appealed to it in his defense of the faith at Mars Hill, but he didn’t claim that he had peculiarly Christian insights into art or sculpture (other than to imply that idolatry is sin!) or as to exactly how the resurrection worked. He only claimed that it had happened.
Can you imagine it, the resurrection preached as "historical fact" but lacking any "great public policy implications?" How can you divide life so cleanly that the fact that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection has no implications for public policy? Isn't it strange that the earthly kings Herod, Pilate and Caesar deemed the resurrection to have deep implications for their reigns--and feared it? Perhaps Nero's persecution of the Church wouldn't have taken place if only Peter and Paul had been taught by Drs. Clark and Hart.