I’ve written previously about “Two Kingdom Theology.” Jerry Falwell Jr. is a master of twisting this theology to excuse his bad behavior. The same bad behavior that would get any Liberty University student expelled. It is the same twisted theology that allows hypocrisy to run rampant and “Christian” leaders to lie, cheat, steal, and deceive in the name of God.
Alan Bean, in his opinion piece for Baptist News Global, explains how Two Kingdom Theology developed.
“The two kingdoms idea entered the Christian lexicon back in 410 when Alaric and the Visigoth hoards entered Rome through the Salarian gate and put the eternal city to the torch. How could such a horrifying outrage be explained?
Pagans were convinced that the gods were punishing the empire for embracing Christianity. In The City of God, Augustine offered a different explanation. The religion of Jesus had been a boon to the Romans, he said, but no earthly city, and no institutional church, can substitute for the City of God.
Augustine made a clear distinction between the Roman Empire, which protected the church and provided a rough measure of justice to Alaric and the Visigoths who promised only chaos and anarchy. Good government is a good gift from God, Augustine acknowledged; it just isn’t the kingdom of God.
In time, the medieval church developed a two-tier system of overseers, a lay realm that was free to use “the lower righteousness” of the sword (generals, magistrates and the like), and a monastic minority set aside for prayer and the higher righteousness of Jesus.”
A good government is desirable and is a gift from God, but let us be clear, it isn’t the same as the Kingdom of God. The Church of the Middle Ages took it further and decided that only a small minority of people are called to live out the ideals of the Kingdom of God.
In the 2016 American Presidential elections, Evangelicals were faced with a problem. After decades of demanding Christian character in Presidential candidates, they had a candidate that showed no Christian character whatsoever. In fact, Trump was an adulterer, didn’t go to church, didn’t profess to be a Christian, ran strip clubs and casinos, and was under constant investigation for fraud in his business dealings. Jerry Falwell Jr. gave Evangelicals an “out” by using Two Kingdom Theology. He argued that “We aren’t electing a pastor-in-Chief, we are electing a Commander in Chief.” In an interview with Joe Heim of the Washington Post, Falwell claimed, “There’s the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. In the heavenly kingdom, the responsibility is to treat others as you’d like to be treated. In the earthly kingdom, the responsibility is to choose leaders who will do what’s best for your country.”
The implication was clear that Christianity and the values of God’s Kingdom interfered with American interest. Falwell clearly believed that the Kingdom of God should not interfere with the secular kingdom.
This kind of thinking re-emerged during his sex scandal. In discussing his resignation as president from Liberty University, Falwell said that he was getting bored with his job at Liberty and had accomplished what he set out to do. He also said that he didn’t want what his wife did to hurt Liberty. His parting shot also included, “I was never called to be a pastor.”
His resignation is a perfect example of not taking responsibility for his actions, showing no sign of sorrow or repentance, and twisting Two Kingdom Theology. He doesn’t acknowledge his part in the sex scandal and says he was going to move on anyway. He was bored. He blames his wife for all the bother. She had an affair. It wasn’t him. He also tells us that the Bible, the Kingdom of God, and Christian values don’t apply to him. He wasn’t called to be a pastor. Oh sure, he was President of a Christian University. He frequently made statements condemning other’s behavior as non-Christian. He enforced policies for Liberty students that demanded strict adherence to a “Biblical Code,” but he wasn’t called to be a pastor so, none of that applies to him.
He claims he was doing a secular job to build and enlarge Liberty University, so he shouldn’t be held to the standards of Christianity. The call of Christ on individual lives is only for the very special minority of monks, priests, pastors and anyone else that isn’t him or the president.
Falwell’s excuse is exactly what compromise with the world looks like. I was raised as a Fundamentalist and Evangelical. I was constantly taught that I must not compromise with the world. I must not use worldly methods to get ahead in life. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew 8:36) was drummed into my head.
The Evangelicals of my youth have become drunk on their political power and will do anything to hold onto the wealth and power they have accumulated. Evangelicals have drunk the wine of fornication, and not only have they become drunk on it, but they have also become alcoholics. Anyone who has ever been involved with alcoholics knows that an alcoholic always has an excuse to blame others for their own personal failing.
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