Analysis Of Luther's Doctrine Of The Two Kingdoms

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In On Secular Authority, Luther outlines his famous “Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms”, where he argues for an understanding of two realms of authority and action; the realm of God and the Kingdom of the world. For Luther the Kingdom of God exist in the lives of Christians and the church, and is to be understood in terms of spiritual authority and commands of Christ. The Kingdom of the World exists for non-Christians, and consists of magistrates and secular authorities. It is these authorities that passages such as Romans 13 and 1 Peter address for the Christians. In this conception of the Two Kingdoms, Luther writes that the sword and secular authority have no claims to authority over Christians. He does, however, make it clear that within government …show more content…
Luther understands Christ’s commands to not kill or resist evil in terms of within the Kingdom of Christ, not the world. So, he writes that if a Christian sees vocational need that profits the whole world, such as a civil authority or executioner, it is the duty of every Christian, out of love for their neighbor, to “serve and further the sword by whatever means you can.” Civil authorities are not without their checks. Luther writes that though their likely are limits within the realm of civil authority, he has no time or expertise on law and government. He does however make clear that the division between the two kingdoms is a strong one, dividing even people from each other. He argues that man-made laws cannot be applied to the human soul and that secular governments should allow humans to determine their own beliefs apart from being threatened. For Luther the civil authorities must maintain their control within their own realm and not attempt to gain control within the realm of Christ and His …show more content…
This is in order that men may not think it sufficient and an excellent thing if they follow the written law or the legal advisers; more than that is required. A ruler must not depend on either dead books or his council, but cling only to God. He must pray to God for understanding, above all books and people, on how to rule his kingdom and subject. There is no law prescribed to a ruler on how to rule his kingdom but simply instruct him what attitude his heart and mind should be to respect all laws, counsels, decisions and actions, so that he may govern himself by God’s will and that God may give him the power to carry out all laws, counsels, and actions in a proper and godly

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