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In this essay, Hermann Sasse describes the theology of the “two regimens” (more commonly called “two kingdoms”) of the state and the church. Sasse addresses the widespread misunderstanding of the kingdom of God.
We are all citizens of two kingdoms. One is the kingdom of this world. Christian citizenship will advance the cause of movements that strengthen the guarantees of order and law, keep separate church and state, keep sacred the institution of marriage, and protect the morals of youth.
Every person is a subject of two kingdoms — one spiritual, the other earthly. Both the godly and ungodly are citizens of an earthly kingdom or country. However, Lutherans are not always as great a blessing to their country as they should be.
In Martin Luther’s teaching on the dual existence of the Christian, we observe a connection with the teaching of the two governments or two kingdoms. The Christian does not seek to escape or withdraw from the world as in monasticism, but rather he lives out his calling in the particular place where God has located him.
Luther puts it strongly: Vocations are “masks of God.” On the surface, we see an ordinary human face — our mother, the doctor, the teacher, the waitress, our pastor — but, beneath the appearances, God is ministering to us through them. God is hidden in human vocations.
Every Christian — indeed, every human being — has been called by God into a family. Our very existence came about by our parents. Martin Luther said, “God has given this walk of life, fatherhood and motherhood, a special position of honor, higher than that of any other walk of life under it.”
Every Christian has a particular calling from God. With the doctrine of vocation, ordinary relationships, the 9-to-5 routine, taking care of the kids, the work-a-day world — the way we spend most hours of the day — become charged with the presence of God.
Marriage benefits are starting to go to those who are “shacking up.” As marriage becomes unnecessary — not just for job benefits but for adopting children, inheriting property, and being socially acceptable — the whole nation will be “living in sin.”
Christians dare not opt out of the culture wars, especially while influential culture makers are trying to normalize sex with children. If Christians let the world go its merry way into the black hole of depravity, we will be putting their children in genuine danger.