Ken Myers and Two Kingdom Theory

Over at Justin Taylor’s blog, he offers a transcribed interview conducted with Ken Myers of the great Mars Hill Audio.  I want to talk about this part:

Question: One of the arguments out there by what I am going to call a “high two-kingdoms view,” is that there is not a distinctively Christian way of doing “X” vocation, even that we should resist that because that would be to mix the kingdoms, and if you were to, for example (this would be the anti-Abraham Kuyper position), be a politician, your Christian thought should not come in. Could you interact with that a little?

Myers: First of all I would agree…I am a believer in natural law. Let me put it this way. Let me say for the sake of the argument that I’ll agree with that, there isn’t a distinctively Christian view of politics and art, or anything. But there is a distinctively human view; that is there are de-humanizing possibilities in those spheres; Christians we are necessarily humanists. That is, Christians are necessarily interested in sustaining the best for human beings as human beings.

What I take issue with, and not in a pugnacious way, is the statement that “there isn’t a distinctively Christian view of politics.”  I feel quite certain there is such a thing.  Contrast, for example, some of the Christian socio-political values that took the place of their Greco-Roman predecessors.  Mercy becomes desirable rather than contemptible.  The church becomes a brake upon the state’s unrighteousness rather than a servant of it (thinking Ambrose and Theodosius here).  The exposure of unwanted children to the elements and wild beasts goes way, way out of style.  The gladiator games cease.  Constantine closes the courts on Sunday unless there is a slave to be set free.  He ends the practice of branding criminals’ faces.  We could go on.  A Christian politics is a distinctive thing.  I suspect we think it is not only because of the degree to which the world now accepts many of those ideas and values as the correct ones.

UPDATE:  I want to make it plain that I am not necessarily trying to rebut Ken Myers so much as to go against the perspective he chooses to inhabit in the course of this particular interview.  I don’t think he agrees with that position so much as he proposes it for the purpose of consideration.

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2 thoughts on “Ken Myers and Two Kingdom Theory

  1. Hunter,

    I am the one who transcribed this from the interview. Myers isn’t necessarily saying this. He is responding to the other position and assuming it for the sake of argument. I think you need to clarify this. The title of your post and the way you address it seems to imply this is Myers position. It isn’t. He says: “Let me say for the sake of the argument that I’ll agree with that, there isn’t a distinctively Christian view of politics and art, or anything.”

    Even a comment at the First Things blog seems to assume Myers is only arguing for a “Christian humanistic” view of culture. Myers wasn’t giving his view but responding within the framework of a two kingdom view.

    James Grant

  2. I think it is clear from the transcription that he is speaking in the way you suggest. I’m taking issue with the statement more than with Ken Myers, which is why I talk about not being pugnacious.

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