Duplex Regnum Christi: Christ’s Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology

Jonathon D. Beeke

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis – Research and graduation external


For centuries the Christian church has wrestled with the question, “How must the Christian’s activity relate to the surrounding culture?” While answers abound, this debate has only intensified over the past decade as a renewed interest in the Reformed “two kingdoms” (R2K) doctrine has gained momentum. This two-kingdoms reading challenges the neo-Calvinist or transformationalist response, and yet both claim to be operating from a Reformational perspective. Although this study does not seek to referee this debate, it does ask the question, “How was the doctrine of Christ’s twofold kingdom expressed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?” The research concentrates on select Reformers of the sixteenth century and representative intellectual centers of the seventeenth century (notably, Geneva, Leiden, and Edinburgh). A primary concern is to trace the development of this doctrine over the two centuries in question.

The overarching argument is that the Reformed orthodox portrayal of the twofold kingdom of Christ stands in continuity with that of the early Reformers, and yet there is significant doctrinal development extending into the seventeenth century. Three primary factors stimulated this doctrine’s refinement: (1) new theological challenges, combined with a desire for more precise terminology; (2) the exegesis of particular Scripture passages describing a transfer of authority to/from Jesus Christ; and (3) development in other doctrines, especially covenant theology. Interesting for today’s context, the varied political climate of the seventeenth century had relatively little influence on this doctrine’s development.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen
  • van den Belt, Henk, Supervisor
  • van den Brink, Gijsbert, Co-supervisor
Award date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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