Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought by David Vandrunen
Journal of Law & Religion, Vol. XXVI, p. 695, 2010-2011
6 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2011 Last revised: 29 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 26, 2011
For the better part of the last 100 years, followers and students of the Reformed tradition in Christian thought have understood the relationship between the reign of Christ and the contemporary socio-political order in terms of a single Kingdom of God. While the expression of this single kingdom has proved controversial, most in the Reformed tradition have decried any notion of a "two-kingdoms" approach in which a distinction between redemption and creation is maintained.
In his recently published book, David VanDrunen, a lawyer and theologian, has labored to demonstrate that various formulations of a two-kingdom approach predominated in Reformed though from the time of John Calvin until well into the nineteenth century. VanDrunen carefully develops the historical grounds for his thesis and shows the steps that were taken to move to the contemporary single-kingdom approach. Implicit in VanDrunen's analysis is a belief that not only is the two-kingdoms approach consistent with the long arc of Reformed thought but also that it better reflects the biblical data.
In this review I summarize certain highlights of VanDrunen's historical argument and describe three challenges that those who find the two-kingdoms approach congenial must address for it to enjoy a contemporary revival.
Keywords: Reformed theology, kingdom of God, David VanDrunen, John Calvin, Karl Barth
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