INAUGURAL LECTURE The Two Kingdoms And The “Ordo Salutis”: Life Beyond Judgment And The Question Of A Dual Ethic -- By: David VanDrunen

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 70:2 (Fall 2008)
Article: INAUGURAL LECTURE The Two Kingdoms And The “Ordo Salutis”: Life Beyond Judgment And The Question Of A Dual Ethic
Author: David VanDrunen


INAUGURAL LECTURE
The Two Kingdoms And The “Ordo Salutis”:
Life Beyond Judgment
And The Question Of A Dual Ethic

David VanDrunen

David VanDrunen is the Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California. This article is a revised version of his inaugural lecture given at the seminary in February 2008.

No self-respecting theological tradition or doctrinal system can be unconcerned about the relation of Christian faith to Christian life, of theology to ethics. Certainly this is the case with Reformed Christianity. Two relevant issues that, for various scholarly, pedagogical, and ecclesiastical reasons, have become important to me are the doctrine of the two kingdoms and the concept of the ordo salutis (particularly the relationship of justification to sanctification in the ordo salutis). By the two kingdoms doctrine I mean, most basically, the idea that God rules over all things, but that he rules over his church (the spiritual kingdom) in a redemptive way that is different from the way of preservation by which he rules over the state and other institutions and activities of cultural life (the civil kingdom). By the ordo salutis I mean, again briefly, an articulation of the relationships among the various acts and processes by which the Holy Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ. In regard to the relationship between those two great soteriological benefits of justification and sanctification in the ordo salutis, I understand that justification stands in a certain priority to sanctification, such that believers are justified as the ungodly, without respect to any subjective holiness of their own, while believers are sanctified precisely as the justified, who are being transformed according to the new reality that justification has created.1 Even from this brief description it should be clear that one’s understanding of the two kingdoms and the ordo salutis promises to have significant implications for the way in which one thinks about and lives the Christian life.

Both the two kingdoms doctrine and the ordo salutis (with particular reference to the relationship of justification to sanctification) have venerable roots in the

Reformed tradition.2 Both, however, have come under critical scrutiny by Reformed thinkers in recent years, not only constructively but also historically. Though discussions about the two kingdoms and the ordo salutis have largely taken place independently, there seems to be an interesting, similar thread in both: ...

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