Classical two-kingdom theology distinguishes the merit of each kingdom. Civil merit is, to put it simply, the ability to lead a civil community to its natural end. The order of this civil realm then is a hierarchy of sorts based on the order of civil merit, at least in theory. The order of the spiritual kingdom is determined by spiritual merit, which is produced by internal piety. The spiritual order is eschatological and to be realized in the eschaton.
Since these principles of order are radically different, the first in the spiritual kingdom of God is not necessarily first in the civil kingdom. Likewise, the first in the civil realm need not be first in the spiritual. The pious, lowly, and perhaps uneducated grandma is not on account of her piety, suitable to be the civil leader, though she might be fit to be the first (on account of her piety) in the spiritual/eschatological kingdom of God. These two types of merit are not opposed to each other, but they are still radically different. The civil hierarchy of earth does not easily map onto the future hierarchy of the eschaton, and for good reason.
Evangelical SJWism tends to blur the line between the two kingdoms (or even collapses them into each other) and thereby blur the line between spiritual and civil merit. The consequence, to follow the logic of two-kingdom theology, is that civil leaders are in a better position for piety on account of their civil roles, for the distinction between civil and spiritual merit is undermined. This would produce a two-tiered religion based on civil station. Those with the means for constructive civil action have therefore an additional means of achieving spiritual merit while those without the means for the former have less potential in the latter. Civil/social station or hierarchy contributes to spiritual station or hierarchy. Of course, no one wants that, especially God’s social warriors.
So in their conflation of the civil and spiritual, E-SJWs form a priesthood-of-all-believers civil-spiritual merit accessible to all and achieved by fighting some civil/social cause on behalf of the kingdom of God. Instead of internal piety as in classical 2k theology, which is achievable by all apart from civil action, your spiritual act of worship is standing in the streets for justice. Even the lowliest of people can recognize these “obvious” injustices and act, so civil-spiritual merit is democratized and universally attainable. Even that grandma in a wheelchair can shout from a bullhorn. Since civil-spiritual merit is the Christian duty and achieved through the bold and courageous fight for justice, every Christian ought to seek out some issue for which to be bold and courageous. Your spiritual worship depends on it and resistance against your civil-spirit action is your faith persecuted. The conflation of civil and spiritual merit allows them to demand that everyone fights for the Cause(s) or the “gospel issues.”
This understanding of merit shapes their approach to church (a center for good-works resources), worship (worship begins on Monday, refuels on Sunday), their persuasion tactics (the injustice is so obvious all can see it and feel the need to act), their shaming of others (you are on the wrong side of Jesus) and their view of the Gospel (politically and socially revolutionary).
In my view, it’s all rooted in a failure to properly distinguish the two kingdoms.
I always wondered, wouldn’t this make neo-Calvinists, Piperites/Kellerites, TSGC folk and hipster-Calvinists, despite their protestations, NOT 2K and essentially NOT Calvinist?
Or is 2K necessary to be called Calvinist (and I believe it is)?
And yes, I know those various groups could all be lumped under one term, but I like being precise.
“These two types of merit are not opposed to each other, but they are still radically different”
I think Luke 22:25-26 fits in here, and there Jesus is pretty clear that they *are* opposed to each other. Could you address that text in terms of this schema? Is Jesus talking about something other than civil merit when he discusses gentile rulers and benefatcors?
If Christianity ACTUALLY influences a civil order, won’t there be a transvaluation of values causing the humble pious folks to be held up civilly as great exemplars?
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