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Defining the Two Kingdoms

One of Luther and Calvin's Great Recoveries

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Two eschatologies, or views of history and creation's destiny, clashed in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. One was rooted in the triumphalism that marked Anglo-American Protestantism since the Spanish Armada's defeat in 1588 and produced the courageous confidence of the New England Puritans. The other was rooted in the disillusionment with society's gradual improvement that so characterized nineteenth-century Evangelicalism. Postmillennialism and premillennialism (see definitions on page 46) are the terms most commonly used now to delineate those two distinct approaches.

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1 [ Back ] Josiah Strong, "Our Country," in William G. McLoughlin, ed., The American Evangelicals, 1800-1900: An Anthology (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1976), p. 196.
2 [ Back ] Quoted by Josiah Strong, op.cit.
3 [ Back ] Cited in Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 38.
4 [ Back ] George M. Marsden, The Evangelical Mind and the New School Presbyterian Experience: A Case Study of Thought and Theology in Nineteenth-Centry America (New Haven: Yale, 1970); and George M. Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), especially chapter 3.
5 [ Back ] Ibid., 222.
6 [ Back ] Ibid., 208.
7 [ Back ] Institutes, 2.2.15.
8 [ Back ] Ibid., 4.20.1-2.
9 [ Back ] Mark Noll, ed., Confessions and Catechisms of the Reformation (Vancouver, B.C.: Regent College Publishing, 1997).
10 [ Back ] Institutes, 4.20.8,14.
11 [ Back ] Ibid.

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Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "Why Two Kingdoms?: Dual Citizenship On the Eve of the Election" Sept./Oct. 2000 Vol. 9 No. 5 Page number(s): 21-25, 28

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