Saturday, February 09, 2008

Greschat on Bucer

I'm still working on my Bucer paper, so here's another quote on Bucer's view of the relationship between the church and the state:

Further, as the Kingdom of Christ subjects itself to the kingdoms and powers of this world, so in turn every true kingdom of the world (I say kingdom, not tyranny) subjects itself to the Kingdom of Christ, and the kings themselves are among the first to do this, for they are eager to develop piety not for themselves alone, but they also seek to lead their subjects to it.

Again, on the role of the state with regard to families:

Thus, because the authorities are a father, they must truly and even zealously ward off every trouble from their community, just as a particularly conscientious father is duty bound to keep all trouble away from his house, because the authorities are subject to a higher command and in a wider sense are fathers of the fatherland. They should therefore take responsibility for what individual fathers neglect or are unable to accomplish by way of Christian discipline and urgings toward piety.

Both of these are cited by Martin Greschat in his chapter on 'Church and Civil Community' in D.F. Wright's book on Bucer.


Rusty said...

Please write an intelligent and well-researched piece on the reformational understanding of "state." You use "state" where Bucer uses "kingdom." I'm not sure this is unfair, but it probably wasn't until Machiavelli that the word state was used in an abstract fashion (helpful to think of kings impersonally when your purposes are the same as Machiavelli's!). While you're at it, I'd also like to hear how, in your opinion, the reformation contributed to Machiavelli's state abstraction. Later today would be great.

Toby said...

That's fair. I probably should have used the word 'civil magistrate' or something like that.

Not sure if this answers your question (and it certainly isn't well-researched), but it's the Anabaptists who are constantly trying to rid themselves of political rulers. They are the uber-conservatives, pushing for small or non-existent civil government. Bucer and the Reformers tended to push back against both the centralized power of Rome and the radically decentralized power of the Anabaptists and seek to closely align their reforming work with the civil magistrates. Hence the term 'magisterial reformers'.

Sorry, that's all you get for today.

Rusty said...

Not too shabby. And good to leave your audience wanting more.