• “God is Hidden in the Earthly Kingdom:” The Lutheran Two-Kingdoms Theory as Foundation of Scandavanian Secularity

    John Witte, Jr. (see profile)
    Law, Religion, Church history
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Martin Luther, Two Kingdoms Theory, Church and State, Protestant Reformation, Social Hierarchy, Law and Religion
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    Martin Luther’s signature “two kingdoms” teaching of the sixteenth century was an early and innovative theory of secularization that lies at the heart of historical Scandinavian culture. Defying the organic medieval models of Western Christendom, Luther separated the heavenly and earthly kingdoms, the saint and the sinner, faith and reason, church and the state, Gospel and the Law, as well as the spiritual and secular uses of law, government and authority. Though God is separated from day-to-day life, Luther wrote, God is still hidden in the earthly kingdom” and can be seen through various “masks,” “mists,” and “mimes.” Though the visible church is separated from the state and other institutions, religion remains pervasive in the common callings of every person to be God’s prophet, priest and king in every vocation and location of life. Luther’s two kingdoms theory is a complicated and controversial part of this thinking, but it is worth re-exploring today as pluralistic Scandinavia faces strong new pressures of both sacralization and secularization and seeks to discern anew “the hidden sacraliity of the secular.”
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    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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