Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Store Now - Martin Luther's Understanding of God's Two Kingdoms

One of the finest series produced by Baker Academic is the Texts & Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought.  The latest entry to that series is this work by William J. Wright, Martin Luther's Understanding of God's Two Kingdoms.  The catalog description follows:

"The concept of God's two kingdoms was foundational to Luther and subsequent Lutheran theology. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, that concept has been understood primarily in political terms. The most striking example is the Nazi corruption of the concept into a dualism that separated one's activities in the realms of church and state. But is a political reading of the two kingdoms a perversion of Luther's teaching?

Leading Reformation scholar William Wright contends that those who read Luther politically and see in Luther a compartmentalized approach to the Christian life are misreading the Reformer. For Luther, both kingdoms were under the laws and rule of God. Wright reassesses the original breadth of Luther's theology of the two kingdoms and the cultural contexts from which it emerged, showing the influence early Renaissance humanism had on Luther. He argues that Luther's two-kingdom worldview was not a justification for living irresponsibly or carelessly on planet earth. The book includes a variety of Luther's writings that reveal what the Reformer did and did not intend by the concept. These writings show how the two kingdoms converge in all areas of life: family, church, and society."

Some time ago Kevin DeYoung did a post on Two Kingdom theology which proved to be quite interesting.  This book will certainly provide a helpful perspective to that dialogue.  William J. Wright is professor of history and head of the history department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.   The book is a paperback with 208 pages and sells for $29.99. 

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