New Resource Page On The Twofold Kingdom

Arguably the one of the greatest challenges that the church has faced has been how to relate to the prevailing culture. This was true before Christendom, when Christians were mostly ignored. It was true when we were being actively persecuted and martyred in the mid-3rd century and it was perhaps and even more pressing problem under Christendom, when Christian orthodoxy was enforced with civil power. Now, after Christendom, we face the challenge of losing our favored status, renewed hostility, and ignorance from the neo-pagans.

The Reformed tradition has long taught what Calvin called God’s “twofold government” among men, namely the secular civil government and the sacred spiritual government in the church. It would be a great boon to Christians and to the visible church to rediscover this distinction and apply it our own age, after Christendom.

This distinction was largely ignored in the Modern period and its rediscovery has caused a certain amount of angst in some quarters, e.g., among those who favor the various neo-Kuyperian/transformationalist approaches—even though Kuyper himself made a threefold distinction between the spheres of church, state, and family—including those evangelicals outside the Reformed Churches who seek to appropriate a popular evangelical version of neo-Kuyperianism without the underlying Reformed theology, piety, and practice that informed Kuyper. It has also been criticized by theonomists and Reconstructionists, who rightly see this distinction as an alternative to their ethics and eschatology.

Here is a new resource page with resources on the twofold kingdom.

Some of these essays and sources go back several years. Originally, on the HB, I wrote and spoke about the “two kingdoms.” That is a fine way to speak but when I discovered that the Latin text of the Institutes used ‘twofold government” or “twofold kingdom” (duplex regimen) I adopted that expression as a way of signaling more clearly God’s sovereign government over all things.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    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.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. Dr. Clark,

    quick correction and can’t wait to dig through all the resources, thanks!

    “Arguably the one of greatest challenge that church has always faced”


    Arguably one of THE greatest challenge that THE church has always faced

  2. Dr. Clark,

    Not entirely unrelated, could you please address the subject of “kinism/kinist(s)” within Reformed circles? While only a niche group, there seems to be a growing appeal of ethnocentrism in these days of multiculturalism, mass immigration, etc. While I’m not certain, I believe many who teach kinism to be theonomic postmillenialists. If you have written of this already in the past, I’d appreciate your guidance toward those or any other resources you deem appropriate. Many thanks—

  3. Hi Scott,
    I have recently looked at some Lutheran resources online and
    noticed that the Pastor (Wolfmueller) talked about the Three Estates as
    opposed to speaking of the doctrine of the 2 Kingdoms, which I believe
    they do still hold,
    when I was a young christian reading the Scriptures, I had come across
    where it speaks of we having been delivered from satans kingdom and
    brought into (translated) the kingdom of his dear Son, from that time on
    when I had heard of the 2 Kingdoms had presumed that this is what was
    Is there anything similar in Reformed doctrine that speaks of the 3 Estates
    and in regard to the kingdom of darkness vs the Kingdom of God, being
    a spiritual parallel/antithesis, is this just part of the Kingdom of God

    Regards Robert

Comments are closed.