Martin Luther’s Theory of “Two kingdoms” and Its Practical Dimension
Keywords:Martin Luther, “two kingdoms” theory, theology of spirit, soul and flesh, Latin American liberation theology
Luther’s “theory of two kingdoms” outlines “the kingdom of God” governed by “spiritual government” and “the kingdom of the world” governed by the “secular government”. It also emphasizes the obedience to the secular rulers regardless of their tyranny. Luther’s solution to the problem of their tyranny made him controversial, especially after the oppression of civilians and Jews by the extreme power politics in Auschwitz tragedy in World War II. Some scholars argue that it has kept religion indifferent to society and politics. To address this issue, Niebuhr and Moltmann proposed a political theology that focuses on the reality of human conditions in this earthly life. Latin American liberation theology further applied secular theology to practice, but it eventually shifted to spiritual construction in the face of the spiritual crisis of the loss of theological identity. The relationship between the two kingdoms can be explored from the perspective of spirit (πνευματικῶς pneumatikoos), soul(ψυχήν psychēn) and flesh (σαρκίνοις sarkinois). This paper aims to demonstrate the inherent affinity between the two kingdoms and respond to the criticism of the “two kingdoms” theory.