Monday, June 13, 2011

John Calvin's "Two Kingdoms" Theology

John Calvin
(author: Peter d'Aprix/CC-BY-SA)
The following quotes were originally posted by Benjamin P. Glaser at the Confessional Puritan Board discussion, "Was John Calvin R2K?" It shows that Calvin's "two kingdoms" view was much different than today's two kingdoms adherents who either deny, or minimize, Christ's lordship over the state.
“Now the doctrine laid down in the passage admits of being rightly applied to our practice, in this way, that what is here said of the two-edged sword, applies more especially to the Jews, and not properly to us, who have not a power of this kind permitted; except, indeed, that rulers and magistrates are vested by God with the sword to punish all manner of violence; but this is something peculiar to their office. As to the Church collective, the sword now put into our hand is of another kind, that of the word and spirit, that we may slay for a sacrifice to God those who formerly were enemies, or again deliver them over to everlasting destruction unless they repent."
John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms: Volume Five, "Psalm 145:9."
“To this must be added, that, if we are deprived of those benefits the communication of which Paul assigns to magistrates, that is through our own fault. It is the wrath of God that renders magistrates useless to us, in the same manner that it renders the earth barren; and, therefore, we ought to pray for the removal of those chastisements which have been brought upon us by our sins.  
"On the other hand, princes, and all who hold the office of magistracy, are here reminded of their duty. It is not enough, if, by giving to every one what is due, they restrain all acts of violence, and maintain peace; but they must likewise endeavor to promote religion, and to regulate morals by wholesome discipline. The exhortation of David (Psalm 2:12) to “kiss the Son,” and the prophecy of Isaiah, that they shall be nursing — fathers of the Church, (Isaiah 49:23,) are not without meaning; and, therefore, they have no right to flatter themselves, if they neglect to lend their assistance to maintain the worship of God.” 
John Calvin, Calvin's Bible Commentaries: Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, trans. by John King (Forgotten Books, 2007), 38, 39.

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