Parenting Children for Two Kingdoms

Parenting Children for Two Kingdoms

I consider my role as a father one of the most important of my life. When my oldest child, Sarah, left home for an apartment of her own, it was a bittersweet experience that brought both pain and pleasure.

My relationship with Sarah, as father and daughter, is one of the closest of my entire life. So even though she moved only a few miles away it still hurt to see her go. Yet it is also a pleasure to see her transitioning into a more independent stage of life.

I spent many hours praying for all my children, asking the Lord to lead, protect, and equip them for His kingdom and glory. A Christian parent’s role includes preparing children to be good citizens of two kingdoms. Believers have responsibilities in the present age (call it the civil kingdom) as they live out their temporal destiny. At the same time, they have everlasting duties that impact the age to come (call it the eternal kingdom). Broadly speaking, these dual allegiances are sometimes referred to as the two kingdoms doctrine (see here for a three-part explanation of this doctrine).

All these things are now coming to pass in Sarah’s life. Her robust Christian faith stands at the focal point of her life. At the same time, she is a fine citizen of our great nation and a competent and skilled stenographer with a strong work ethic and desire to succeed in her career. She is also a deeply reliable and trustworthy person. I’m so proud of the wonderful woman she has become.

This Father’s Day, I encourage you also to prayerfully consider Christians’ civic and spiritual responsibilities and how to guide your children to deeper understanding of their roles in these dual kingdoms.

When it comes to contemplating a Christian’s duty before God and country, I recommend theologian David VanDrunen’s book Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture.