On first glance, Karl Barth seems an unlikely witness for public theological 'bilinguality'. Yet he off ers substantial clarifi cation for theology's double responsibility within the context of the church and within the context of its contemporary public(s), especially in his lecture ' e Christian Community and the Civil Community'. Barth there develops a sophisticated interpretation of bilinguality avant la lettre. He proposes that the civil community and the Christian community are two diff erent analogies for the eschatological kingdom of Christ. Each of the two has its own way of testifying to Christ. The church needs to respect the autonomy of the civil sphere in its proclamation. us emerges a clear notion of the two languages intended by the concept of bilinguality. The secular and the ecclesial proclamation of Christ complement each other.