Two Kingdoms Index

Here are the posts reviewing William J. Wright’s Martin Luther’s Understanding of God’s Two Kingdoms:


Chapter 1- Interpretations of Luther’s Idea of the Two Kingdoms during the Last Two Centuries

Chapter 2- The Skeptical Challenge of the Early Italian Renaissance

Chapter 3- Northern Humanism: The Context of Luther’s Two Kingdoms

Chapter 4- The Two-Kingdoms Worldview: How Luther Used the Concept in Diverse Contexts

Chapter 5- The Reformer Applies the Two Kingdoms to the Christian Life

Martin Luther’s Understanding of God’s Two Kingdoms- A Review (Chapter 5)

Though insightful and historically faithful, the final chapter of Wright’s book is easily the weakest.  This really is too bad, as it would seem to be the appropriate time to get into the specifics of how Luther applied the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in particular (some interaction with Torvend, for example).  Wright mostly sticks with theory though, even as he titles the chapter “The Reformer Applies the Two Kingdoms to the Christian Life.”  Wright does, to be sure, assert that Luther applies the doctrine to the Christian life, and he explains why and what Luther means, but he does not give us particular examples here.

Wright does say that, according to Luther, “the Christian was responsible for his spiritual life before God, as well as his physical life before the world.  Luther applied the gospel to the Christian person before God.  He applied God’s law to all people in their offices and stations before the world, that is, in all institutional life” (147).  This is good, and I suspect that some modern proponents of the Two Kingdoms would shy away from affirming that “God’s law” is applicable to all “offices and stations” in the world.  Perhaps they would appeal to natural law at this point, but as we’ve said before, natural law is God’s.  What is helpful to note here is that Satan battles against natural law.  Wright states: Continue reading