A Tale of Two Kingdoms
Periodically, the Church has a conversation with itself about the role that the Christian faith should play in the temporal world. Augustine spoke of the City of God and the City of Man. The Reformers often spoke of the spiritual and temporal realms, as they dealt with the impact of Reformation in civil society. Today, the debate is in full swing, once again.
In this issue, we look at two professing Christians, and how they reconciled—or divorced—their faith from their roles in civil society. Our lead story is prompted by a recent biography of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This powerful work by Eric Metaxas has led to a revival of interest in Bonhoeffer and the church struggle leading up to, and during, the Second World War. Although a Lutheran, Bonhoeffer was moved to break with the official state Lutheran Church over its silence, and in many cases, complicity with the Nazi state, which literally took over many church districts during the infamous “Brown Synod.”
In particular, we are interested in Bonhoeffer’s tenure as a seminary student in America pre-war, and his relationship, and affection for, African-American Christianity. But be advised, it is only a foretaste of what lies in store for those who buy and read Metaxas’s book, which we heartily recommend.
By contrast, we look at the life of Clement Vallandigham, one of America’s most controversial political figures, who managed to defend countless causes he disagreed with out of a severe and narrow constitutionalism. Draw your own conclusions, but your editor believes his story may prove a point—that we have not really embraced the principle unless we are willing to slay the demons that dwell in its shadow.
On the Cover
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, mixed media by Tobias Stanislas Haller.
The January-March 2013 issue includes these articles:
- Bonhoeffer in Harlem
- Bootleggers and Baptists
- Clement Vallandigham
- Antietam: Church of Misery
- Germans in America
- What a Friend He Had in Jesus