Two Kingdom Theory & The Reichskanzler

In an effort to stifle the opposition, Hitler invited 40 prominent church leaders to meet with him on January 25th. He said, “You leave the care of the Third Reich to me and you look after the church.” That sounded good, but Hitler still planned to control the church through Reich Bishop Müller.

The story of the confessing Church in Germany is somewhat known among Christians in America. One reason that I explicitly and vehemently reject radical Two Kingdom Theory is because of some deep and heavy research while an undergraduate in the relationship between Church and State from 1933-1945 in National Socialist Germany. In this culture the Church had been co-opted by the State to the point that only a very small percentage of German Christians were willing to stand against the patriotic and nationalistic fervor that swept over Germany. Luther’s Two Kingdom Theology had been preached throughout the German Lutheran Church and it was this theology that made it easier for the National Socialist regime to compromise any resistance that might have arisen in the Church.

While Luther’s Two Kingdom Theology is not exactly the same as that being pushed by Radical two Kingdomists today (it had more of a flavor of State over the Church), I still am concerned about the radical two Kingdom theology that is being advocated today by the faculty at Westminster West since it is not difficult to see similar conditions being created within the Church in These United States as existed in the Church of National Socialist Germany from 1933-1945. After all, according to the Radical Two Kingdomists the Church as the Church is not to speak to the civil realm since the civil realm is to be spoken to by individual Christians citing not God’s revealed word (Scripture) but rather using God’s creation word (Natural law) as authority. Could a Church saturated in radical two Kingdom theology (R2kt) find it within themselves enough of a spine to stand athwart the wicked intentions of Machiavellian Statist magistrates? Could a Church saturated in R2kt find it within themselves the ability to protest the actions of the magistrate in any action except an attempt to control the Church? (And the question begs being asked as to why any Magistrate living in the same culture as a R2kt Church would bother to worry about the Church since it could be no threat whatsoever to his {or Her — HRC} designs.)

Now the account cited above has an encouraging ending.

As the clergymen were leaving, Martin Niemöller addressed Hitler: “Herr Reichskanzler, you said just now, `I will take care of the German people.’ But we too as Christians and churchmen have a responsibility toward the German people. That responsibility was entrusted to us by God, and neither you nor anyone in this world has the power to take it from us.”

Niemoller is an interesting case. First, theologically speaking he was hopeless, embracing the tradition of Karl Barth (as Dietrich Bonhoffer did as well). Second, Niemoller initially supported Hitler only later realizing the danger of Hitler’s movement. Third, even well into the conflict, Niemoller sought to oppose the policies of National Socialism while taking great pains to communicate that he wasn’t opposing Hitler. Still, to his credit Niemoller spoke more directly on this occasion to Hitler than he was accustomed to being spoken to. Finally, to his credit Niemoller was eventually arrested.

Given R2kt it is difficult to see how any minister would ever be arrested for speaking Biblically revealed truth to authority.

One final word that is somewhat ancillary to all this. American Christians should heed the lessons of the vapid, empty, and unwarranted patriotic and nationalistic fervor that swept over German Christians from 1933-1945. American Christians should realize that all because something is wrapped in the flag of one’s national origin that does not make that policy, law, or view sacrosanct. While we should all love our country, there are times when love for country means we are against our countrymen because we are for our countrymen.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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