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Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture + Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought (Emory University Studies in Law and Religion (Eerdmans)) + The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (October 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433514044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433514043
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“For those interested in a Reformed two-kingdom model, I can think of no better book to start than Living in God’s Two Kingdoms. Redemptive-historical in scope, heavenly minded in emphasis, and gentle in tone, David VanDrunen has made a great contribution to the ongoing discussion of the relationship of Christianity and culture.”
Danny E. Olinger, General Secretary, Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

“Any Christian perplexed by the Bible’s challenge to live as a dual citizen of God’s eternal and temporal kingdoms will find VanDrunen’s wise and charitable book an indispensable guide in sorting out the confused thinking that entangles the church today. This succinct and timely alternative to neo-Calvinism’s transformationist vision lays the groundwork for a wide-ranging and urgently needed discussion about two-kingdom theology’s implications for education, the workplace, and politics.”
Richard M. Gamble, Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Professor of History and Political Science, Hillsdale College

“For some years now, I’ve been asking students to read works by Prof. David VanDrunen of Westminster Seminary California. VanDrunen has a gift for recovering themes from the political theology of the Reformation and demonstrating their continuing relevance. In this book, VanDrunen shows that the Reformation’s two-kingdoms theology allows Christians to faithfully navigate a course between, on the one hand, investing excessive hope in earthly government or, on the other, retreating from political life into isolationist enclaves. Particularly welcome is his emphasis on the liberty of biblical Christians to reach differing conclusions about how our political engagement might glorify God.”
Randy Beck, Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law

“Evangelicals today, including those within the Reformed community, have become annoyed by the competing (and, in a few cases, embarrassingly inadequate) ‘transformationalist’ programs offered by leading Christian thinkers. With clarity and concision, David VanDrunen has offered an alternative perspective that liberates the Christian conscience to sincerely engage society without relegating the sovereignty of God over ‘every square inch’ of it. Living in God’s Two Kingdoms will certainly stimulate debate and force Christians to reevaluate the relationship between Christ and culture.”
Ryan McIlhenny, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Providence Christian College

“The Apostle Peter writes that Christians are God’s own people, sojourners and exiles in this age. What does this calling mean for the way in which believers work in their jobs, raise their families, educate their children, and vote at the polls? In Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, David VanDrunen addresses these questions and more, offering a robust and reasoned alternative to transformationalist understandings of Christianity and culture. Whether or not readers agree with every argument in Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, they will find themselves engaged and challenged to think constructively and biblically about a critical issue in the life of the church. VanDrunen has done a great service to the church in promoting continued reflection on Christianity and culture, and in offering sound practical counsels to Christians eager to serve God in their pilgrimage heavenward.”
Guy Prentiss Waters, Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary

“Over the past century, evangelicals have jumped out of the frying pan of quietism into the fire of worldliness. Taking his cue from Scripture rather than merely responding to cultural trends, David Van Drunen outlines a biblically grounded theology of cultural engagement that reflects both the lordship of Christ over all creation and the special mission and calling of the church. This book, bold and unapologetic, provides some extraordinarily helpful categories for thinking clearly about what it means to live faithfully and wisely in the present age.”
William S. Brewbaker III, Professor of Law, University of Alabama

About the Author

David VanDrunen is Robert B. Strimple associate professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, California.


More About the Author

David VanDrunen is Robert B. Strimple associate professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, California.

Customer Reviews

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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Griffiths on December 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture by David VanDrunen was released recently by Crossway Books and presents a readable, comprehensive view of two-kingdom theology. I'm just a youngster in terms of theology, especially that of a reformed flavor, so I was excited to dive in with VanDrunen and stretch my brain.

The main premise is a counter to the "transformationist" view of culture that seems to be pervasive with emergent theologians, those who ascribe to the New Perspective on Paul and neo-Calvinists (depending on your definition of neo-Calvinists). In transformational theologies, the church and Christians are about the work of restoration, as we march across creation and culture putting things back how they were meant to be before all this sin and death entered the world.

Whilst that can sound all well and good, the ramifications of that worldview are twofold:

1) When Scripture asserts that this world will be put away and a new heaven and a new earth will come, we have to reject any of the cataclysmic language that accompanies such claims. Instead, the new heaven and earth will come by a restoration to utopia.

2) VanDrunen states that when we embrace a transformationist view of culture, we cling to the work of Adam in the common kingdom rather than living in the grace of the redemptive kingdom which Christ has already won for us by living the life Adam, and each of us, should have lived.

This concept of resting in grace with regard to cultural activities was a refreshing exhortation, and one that could easily go unnoticed for many of us as we seek to understand the implications of the gospel in our everyday lives.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ekk on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is easily the clearest teaching on Reformed Two Kingdom Theology. VanDrunen surveys the main covenants associated with God's rule over the common kingdom (Noahic covenant of Gen 9) and the redemptive kingdom (Abrahamic covenant). He builds his argument as redemptive history progresses from the Old to the New just as the book's subtitle suggests. The reader is able to follow how the Bible shows God's sovereign rule over these two distinct spheres. He sheds light on the misguided tendency to revert back to the cultural mandates given in the Garden of Eden which have already been fulfilled in Christ. The Last Adam has already completed the task of obedience as a federal head which the First Adam failed to accomplish. This has lasting and profound ramifications for today's Christian sojourner. Key to his argument is the place of the church. The accomplished work of Christ leads to his high view of the church because to her has been given the mission to advance the redemptive kingdom and not the common kingdom. Both the common kingdom and the redemptive kingdoms have their separate purposes. VanDrunen does well to explain these differences and to shed light on the Christian's involvement in both.

Whether you agree with Two Kingdom Theology or not, this should be the first text you read on the subject. His clarity on the matter makes this book highly accessible if you are new to the topic. Great read because it's both introductory and definitive.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Wright on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book on how not to over-Christianize our normal affairs. Argues that this world is passing away, and we are to do our work here, not in an effort to redeem this world for the world to come, or to do Adam's work (accomplished in Christ), but simply because we are humans & we are called to do certain things. (This is a gross over-simplification of the book's arguments). Basically - the author tries to achieve a good balance between two issues he views Christians as having: either viewing this present world as completely useless & therefore ignoring or disdaining our vocation, cultural endeavors, politics, etc on the one hand, or on the other hand thinking that the good (redeemed, Christian) culture, politics, etc that we do here & now will last into the new heavens & new earth. He points out that believers are to engage in all these activities hand-in-hand with unbelievers, and that often, unbelievers will be better at them then believers are. He draws from the imagery of the patriarchs and Israel in Babylon, viewing our path in this world as he shows that the New Testament does - as sojourners, citizens of another world, who are nevertheless to strive for the good of this world, while we inhabit it.

One of the strongest parts of this book I think is how he is very clear on the role of the church & its centrality to the believer's life. He carefully defines the role of the church, its extent, and tries to draw boundaries where there is scriptural reason to do so. He does this for the family and the government as well, but to a lesser extent.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Camblin on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture is by David VanDrunen, who is Robert B. Strimple associate professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics, Westminster Seminary California. The book is published by Crossway.*

This book falls into a very large category. Christ and culture is a hot topic in modern evangelicalism. In my estimation, this is a good thing. The fact that a lot of young christians are earnestly desiring to engage the culture at large in a christ-like manner is exciting. Since there are a lot of people contributing to the conversation, there are several competing perspectives for how best to engage the culture. Dr. VanDrunen represents the Two Kingdoms perspective.

Summary

The book is broken down into four parts. First there is an Introduction, where VanDrunen introduces not only the two kingdom perspective, but here he also surveys three other camps within what he calls the "Redemptive Transformation of Culture" movement. The Neo-Calvinist, New Perspective and Emergent camps are surveyed for what they say regarding Christ and Culture. The next section is Part One, where VanDrunen examines the two adams, Adam and Christ. Part Two examines how both Old Testament and New Testament believers lived as sojourners as way to determine how we as modern believers ought to live. In Part Three, VanDrunen begins to flesh out what the Two Kingdom perspective might look like in the realms of Education, Vocation and Politics.

Review

I would give the book 3.5 stars (out of 5). The main gist of the book is that there are two kingdoms in this world. There is the common kingdom, in which all of humanity lives and there is the redemptive kingdom, in which only the church lives.
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