The Resonant: Living under Two Governments

I’ve made a big deal about the fact that all creation is composed of two kingdoms – the right-hand spiritual kingdom of God, and the left-hand kingdom of God’s authority as expressed in society’s civil government.  I found a good article on the topic entitled “Living under Two Governments” written by Pastor Michael Schutz over in BC.

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4 thoughts on “The Resonant: Living under Two Governments

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  1. Reading Pastor Michael Schutz’s article makes it clear that while Lutherans may talk about the “two kingdoms – the right-hand spiritual kingdom of God, and the left-hand kingdom of God’s authority as expressed in society’s civil government,” there is a major difference in thinking (at least between Lutherans in Canada and the United States) about the understanding of “government.”

    Rev. Schutz sees government as the “governing structure which includes national entities like Parliament, Senate, Prime Minister’s Office, as well as provincial entities like Legislative Assemblies and Premiers, and municipal entities like City Councils and Mayors.”

    For U.S. Lutherans, the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution make it clear that We the People are the government, as well as being the governed, under such “governing authorities”. We the People govern in a representative republic form of government as defined in our federal and state constitutions (the form of government) and at the same time we are citizens governed under that form of government. This understanding has been demonstrated numerous times, most famously on July 4, 1776, and later in 1781 and in 1789, when We the People changed our form of government. Since then we’ve also altered our form of government with various constitutional amendments.

    Regarding the separation of the two kingdoms, it is ironic that even in Luther’s day, and since then, some rulers in the Kingdom of the Left have also had rulership (in some cases only titularly) in the Kingdom of the Right. For Lutherans this is reflected in the signatories of the Lutheran Symbols. Canadian Christians recognize this in their monarch’s sovereign title, Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

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    1. Thanks for your response, Mr. Vehse. ( 😉 )

      I get your point, and thank you for expounding. Of course, Canada has some different dynamics in the precise structure of our civil governing than does the USA. In a colloquial way, people most likely refer to “government” as our elected representatives, which is the track I took in my piece. Yes, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. In day-to-day practice and general understanding, though, we operate largely as a democratic republic in a similar manner to the USA; the House of Commons and Senate in Canada are largely analogous to the House of Representatives and Senate in the USA, as well as similar structures in states/provinces and municipalities. (And yes, there are significant differences, but those aren’t the concern in the context of this piece. I was writing from a Canadian perspective using a colloquial approach.)

      So, yes, more precisely speaking, “we the people” also have a say in the affairs of our civil life together in Canada, though of course that phrase doesn’t appear in our Constitution Acts. But almost no one in Canada (nor in the USA?) would *immediately* think of “the government” as describing the general voting population of the country, which is why I wrote as I did in the piece.

      ANO is right that ultimately, no matter which specific structure is used in any geo-political nation on earth, the civil government is still God’s way of ruling in the world, albeit in a different way and with a different purpose than the spiritual government, which was the point of my piece. Christians in Canada (and in every country) need to be aware of the distinction and have some knowledge of the relationship between the two in any given nation, as well as wisdom to know how to live within that relationship.

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  2. My response is that all forms of government – regardless of where they claim to originate – trace their source of authority back to the Almighty. Whether in the Left or the Right hand kingdom – all will have to give an account to the One True God.

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    1. Here’s an example from Jeremiah 43:10 – Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them.

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