The Two Kingdoms

A Guide for the Perplexed

By W. Bradford Littlejohn
About this book

What does it mean to say Christ reigns in two kingdoms?

What does it mean to live as citizens of this world and of the world-to-come? How can we render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s? In recent years, fresh controversy has erupted over these age-old questions, and especially over the meaning and relevance of the Reformation’s “two-kingdoms” doctrine. At stake in such debates is not simply the shape of Christian politics, but the meaning of the church, the nature of human and divine authority, and the scope of Christian discipleship.

In this concise guide, Reformation scholar and Christian ethicist Bradford Littlejohn first sketches the history of the doctrine and clears away common misunderstandings. He then shows that the two-kingdoms doctrine can offer a valuable framework for thinking about pastoring, politics, and even financial stewardship.

Paperback | 118 pages | 5×8 | Published April 11, 2017 | ISBN 978-0692878170

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From the Introduction

“Human life is not a two-dimensional map onto which the two kingdoms are drawn as a dividing line between spheres of jurisdiction; it is rather a three-dimensional reality of which the whole horizontal dimension is coterminous with the temporal kingdom, with the spiritual kingdom forming the third dimension—the vertical God-ward relation which animates all the rest. At every point, the Christian must be attentive to the voice of God as he speaks in his word, and the face of God as he presents himself in his world, through what Luther calls ‘masks.’”

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  1. Introduction: Which Two Kingdoms?
  2. The Two Kingdoms from Luther to Calvin
  3. The Two Kingdoms from Calvin to Hooker
  4. Contributions of Two-Kingdoms Thought
  5. Two Kingdoms in The Church
  6. Two Kingdoms in The State
  7. Two Kingdoms in The Market
  8. Conclusion


About the Author

Dr. Bradford Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the Founder and President of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute-Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and Has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, SC with his wife, Rachel, and four children. Follow him on Twitter at @WBLITTLEJOHN

Praise for this work

The Two Kingdoms: A Guide for the Perplexed is short, good, and clarifying. It steers a middle course between the “Radical Two Kingdom view” (which doesn’t think distinctively Christian beliefs should shape culture), and the “Cultural Transformationist view” (which believes Christians should take power and read social policy right out of the Bible). His conclusions are similar to mine, but Brad reaches them through a close reading of Luther’s and especially Calvin’s teaching on the two kingdoms. This subject is more relevant today than ever. I recommend this short, little volume.”



The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness. Below are some of the works we’ve published towards that end.

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