Once More: Resources on the Two Kingdoms

Judging from the sorts of comments and criticisms I read it seems clear that a good number of people who are writing or commenting on the “two-kingoms” (or the two spheres) ethic don’t really understand it. I’ve posted resource lists in the past but here is an expanded list of resources:


































    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Appreciate this list. The two Kingdoms is an issue I am reading a fair bit on. It is the position that seems to me to most closely reflect the biblical perspective. That said, I am reading Stellman’s Dual Citizens at the moment. While I agree with most that he says, I do not find he argues particularly persausively. This is not to say the book is not worth reading. It has much that is helpful, but I was expecting a much more closely argued case from the bible for Two Kingdom theology. In fairness, I am only halfway through so perhaps it will become more robust.

    • John,

      David VanDrunen has two books on this topic forthcoming. I think you’ll find them to be a little more substantial. Jason’s book was intended to be a popular intro to the topic.

  2. Can any of this Two-Kingdom stuff be described or analyzed using the very secular philosophical tools indicated by the terms “boundary-work” or “demarcation problem” ?

    As in the philosophy of science can parsimony be applied (e.g., Ockham’s razor apply) in a Two-Kingdom framework? Are their boundary objects? Is there a Two-Kingdom analog or analogs to the Draper-White conflict thesis?

    Am I missing something obvious based on the usage of my words here?

      • Then, how about historical analysis of 20th century Church/University interactions ? Can these be taken as Two-Kingdoms frameworks? For example, D.G. Hart’s The University Gets Religion: Religious Studies in American Higher Education (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1999).

  3. Scott: I’m struggling to know where to begin in my reading. I want to get a good handle on this:

    > First the exegetical base
    > Second the historical development
    > Third the modern reemergence

    This seems to be to be the only sound way of both developing my grasp and avoiding getting caught in the fart too often troll-like grip of opponents.

    Any advice?

    • Hi Reed,

      Well, first you have to know what the questions are. That’s why I posted the links and resources. It’s pretty hard to know how to answer a question until one knows what the questions are.

      In this case, I think it’s very important to get a grip on the history of the doctrine. We cannot read the bible as if we’re the first ever to do so.

      Then, I think it’s important to go back to Scripture to see if the arguments add up.

      The first thing to do is to listen to the interview with VanDrunen, Fesko, and Estelle


      There I asked the guys a series of questions to try to introduce the issues and walk people through the basics of the doctrine.

      It’s a difficult question but not impossible. In my view covenant theology isn’t that difficult but it’s made needlessly difficult either by revisionists or by incompetents.

      Here’s the big story:

      God instituted a probationary covenant of works/law/nature/life with Adam, the federal head of all humanity. Had Adam met the terms of the covenant he would have entered into eternal glory.

      After the fall God instituted an inviolable covenant of grace, which he republished repeatedly to Noah, and Abraham, and throughout the typological period. The covenant of works continued to demand perfect righteousness, but now, after the fall it is impossible for the fallen to meet the terms of the covenant of works/law/nature/life. The promise is of a coming covenant keeper, the seed, and in view of that coming covenant keeper, that second Adam, we are redeemed sola gratia, sola fide.

      Adam having failed that test, there was “no law between Adam and Moses,” which I take to mean that God did not republish the creational law in the same probationary way until Moses. Under Moses, God instituted a special, temporary, conditional national covenant with Israel. Reformed theologians since the 16th century have referred to that arrangement as at least a pedagogical republication of the covenant of works, not for justification but as a giant sermon illustration lasting from Moses until the cross. That’s it. That’s essentially what Paul says in Gal 3 and 4. The republication of the law was a “tutor” to drive sinners to Christ. That’s just the first use of the law.

      The main thing is to distinguish law and gospel. In my experience, the biggest critics of republication are usually the biggest critics of the distinction between law and gospel. They are also the biggest critics of the Reformation doctrine of justification sola fide. There tends to be a correlation between those who get the Protestant basics and those who understand the doctrine of republication.

      The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a perfect example of that correlation.

      I hope this helps.

  4. It does. Exceptional summary Scott. I appreciate how you carefully qualify here (e.g., “pedagogical” re-publication.)

    I’ve downloaded most of the links you have here (as well as most over at the Covenant OPC site), and formatter them into a half-page format for reading carefully (stuck ’em in a half-size) notebook.

    My daughter (Jr.) is ahead in her Worldview course readings (Augustine, Calvin), and so si reading these resources first. I’ll not get my hands on them until sometime after the first of the new year.

    Be sure to let us know when DVD’s book comes out. I’ve got Jason’s (I’ll read first), and would like to follow up with DVD’s more in depth treatment.

    Thanks for your efforts here.

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