NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST - September 9, 2022 - A Unique Public Voice of Blessing for All: Part 2


The differentiation, yet honoring of the legal, public authority of the Church from the State can be persuasively argued to have been a creation of the Christian Western worldview.[1] The notion of the “two established sovereigns” in culture, historically transformed the concept of citizenship from the notion of a person being a “subject” of a regime who is granted rights, to one where people are free, public agents with unalienable rights, privileges, and responsibilities before the law. The proper differentiation of the realms of the church and the state, rooted in a 2KG understanding of God’s work in human history, has had real, historical implications for people of all faith perspectives even today.


Ideas matter. Ideas in history matter. People with ideas, acting faithfully in history towards those ideas for others, matter. James Madison noted the American government’s inspiration with respect to this biblical, Reformation teaching of God’s Two-Kingdoms in a letter to Rev. Schaeffer, Dec. 3, 1821, saying:

It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations.[1]

The genius and courage of Luther did indeed lead the way. But it was the uniqueness of the Gospel, the biblical proclamation of the certainty of God’s saving work in the world, differentiated from His temporal, preserving work, that made Luther, Luther. Today, similar confidence and courage in the uniqueness of God’s 2KG engagement of the world can help Christians exercise their citizenship in a way that is in preserving the culture in which we live, even as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus so that people can receive eternal life and salvation as His gift of grace. Morever, from the mission perspective of the Concordia Historical Institute, “We are to remember and honor the past efforts of those who practiced this theology in our culture so that we might be inspired in our own mission and ministry today.”

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.

If you missed Part 1 of this series regarding the two ways in which God is at work in the world and how we as Lutherans are given to embody that message anew for the world in which we live. CLICK HERE TO READ

Be Informed

Does religious freedom have anything to do with U.S. diplomacy? Thomas Farr of the Religious Freedom Institute explains.


Be Equipped

Learn more about the Supreme Court case in which the court sided with a football coach regarding his right to pray on the field. Click here for the story and to read more of the summer issue of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Free to Be Faithful newsletter.


Be Encouraged

“For the core of abortion supporters, this is a religion for them. I remember hearing an abortion supporter yelling, ‘This is my body! This is my body!’ But Christ says those words, too, and He uses these words for life rather than for death. They are four words, spoken from opposite ends of the universe. This is a battle of these words, and at the core, it’s a spiritual battle.” – Father Frank Pavone, summer issue, News and Notes, LCMS Life Ministry


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[1] See John Witt Jr., Religion and the Constitutional Experiment. (Westview Press, 2000), where he argues that the Western world which contained two sovereigns, namely the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope, whose tussle over the limits of their authority over their “subjects” actually created the space where “individual citizenship” was born. See also Lyman Stone, “Two Kingdom Theology in the Trump Era,” (First Things,  April, 2018)

[1], also James Madison, Letters and other writings of James Madison Fourth President of the United States (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co, 1867 Vol III), 242.

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