Carl E. Braaten. Principles of Lutheran Theology 2nd edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007 Chapter 8 “The Two-Kingdoms Principle” pp. 151-166
The two kingdoms theology is difficult on the best of days. It is the means by which Lutherans approach human rights and civil government. Braaten observes that in the 19th century it was used to separate the civil world from the religious world, effectively removing the Church from any relationship to human rights or justice. In the 20th century we did not succeed in re-engaging with the civil realm, though there were attempts. In fairly recent times attempts to formulate statements of civil rights have failed to recognize differences among various groups of Christians, thus developing muddled groups of presuppositions. Finally, in many societies, law determines what is just rather than justice determining what should be lawful. Braaten urges Lutherans to recapture a concern for human rights, recognizing that the civil realm is inseparable from the religious realm. The two kingdoms actually function more like facets of one world rather than separate worlds. As we embrace this reality we find that Christ’s care for deliverance from sin and evil extends to rescue from many results of evil. This is a recovery of Luther’s view of two kingdoms.