Can anyone give me a concise summary of Martin Luther's "Two Kingdoms" theology, and also provide some references back to his original works on the subject?

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    Interesting question! I live in a mainly Lutheran country and have attended Lutheran churches a lot, but can only remember explicitly being told about this once. – dancek Sep 24 '11 at 7:41

Without having understood the doctrine of the two kingdoms, it's not possible to understand Luther's theology in its full extent.

It's a misunderstanding to think that by the justification by faith alone all laws have lost their importance. As short as possible: a Christian lives under two completly different kingdoms, where the one is "God's kingdom under Christ"1 – here he lives by faith in the righteousness coram Deo2 – and the other is the world's kingdom – here he is man or woman, young or old, lord, servant, peasant, citizen etc.3 and has to do good works.

Accordingly, the human being is both: Christian person and secular person.

You see: the accusation, that Luther's justification by faith alone shrinks the room for the works that have to be done by us, is a misunderstanding. Especially Luther's theology shows people, how overfull of opportunities for good works the world and the way, which they follow in the world by faith, is.

1: "Gottes Reich unter Christo"
2: before God
3: WA 32, 440, 2
4: "Christperson" and "Weltperson"

  • The three uses of law really seem to include this idea. Lutherans seem to talk quite a lot about them... – dancek Sep 25 '11 at 11:05

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