What is most important to me is that the Reformed community reaffirm the basic distinction between God’s two kingdoms—his common providential rule and his special redemptive rule—whether or not one agrees with all the ways I personally apply this distinction in exploring the Christianity-and-culture issues. This distinction is biblical and has very deep roots in the Reformed tradition. I would deem it a great blessing from God were the Reformed community as a whole to re-embrace it, and I see my efforts to defend the distinction as something I can do to serve the Reformed churches I love. The thing is, I struggle to think of any contemporary figure I have read or spoken to who either calls himself a neo-Calvinist or is commonly identified by others as a neo-Calvinist who does not speak of God’s kingdom in the singular. Possibly my own experience is just quirky, but ever since I began thinking seriously about this I have understood a one-kingdom view to be of the essence of what “neo-Calvinism” is. Thus I do not consider myself a neo-Calvinist. To me, the thought of a “two kingdoms neo-Calvinist” is like the thought of a “libertarian socialist.” It’s paradoxical, even contradictory.
And, of course, what makes the difference between the singular and plural of Kingdom important is how we live in this age (saeculum), a time between the advents of Christ, when believers live side-by-side with unbelievers. If kingdom is singular, what place do non-believers have in civil society? Do they have equal rights under the law, or do we put them in ghettos or treat them as dhimmi? And if Kingdom is singular, do believers learn from non-Christian philosophers, historians, and bio-chemists? Or do we bar non-Christians from universities?
Believe it or not, putting non-Christians in ghettos, treating them as dhimma, and denying them admittance to universities were all responses to making God’s kingdom singular.