The World the Reformation Made

Paperback. 197pp. $17.95

Our world is obsessed with stories about Protestantism and modernity.

Are Protestant societies dynamic, progressive, and free? Or are they godless, Erastian, and libertine? Thinkers and theologians once argued we should rejoice in Protestantism's creation of societies grounded on reason, freedom, and the individual; now, many are quick to pin the blame for modernity's ills squarely on the Reformation. But these are two sides of the same coin, united by a shared assumption: that Protestantism necessitates revolution, and with it the dissolution of religious and metaphysical bonds which once united generations, nations, a continent, the Church, and even heaven and earth.

But what if these accounts are wrong? What if Protestantism is more than this, or something different altogether? The burden of this book is to illuminate Protestantism's historic vision of society, culture, and governance, with the aim of applying its rich legacy in our own day. Collecting and expanding essays originally published in the journal "Ad Fontes", this book deals with the issues of church and state, politics and culture, and economics and justice, and proposes that Protestantism's own vision for these things is worth seeing afresh, on its own terms.

If you are willing to ask "A Protestant Christendom?", you may be surprised by the answer.

If you are interested in a bulk order, we offer a 40% discount and $10 shipping for orders of 10+ books OR orders containing 5+ copies of a single book. We also offer a 50% discount and free shipping for orders with a gross retail value over $500. To place a bulk order, please contact [email protected]org.

The Editor

Editor: Onsi Kamel (MA, University of Chicago) is the Editor-in-Chief of The Davenant Press and the Senior Editor of Ad Fontes. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.


"If you're looking for a thoughtful and accessible volume on Protestant political and economic thought, look no further. Historically and theologically rich, spanning a range of different protestant traditions, and exploring a variety of contemporary issues, 'A Protestant Christendom?' challenges many of today's reigning orthodoxies."

- Dr. Ryan T. Anderson

President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center

"Too long have Protestants the world over suffered under strawman caricatures and - worst of all - believed them themselves. Here in this anthology of essays is some much needed antidote to the simplistic historiography of Protestant social and political thought - villain or hero - or, even worse, vacant and listless. What these authors bring us is the magisterial richness of Protestant theology, not merely defended, but put to work on the crucial questions of our day. Here is a tradition with fire and vitality, alive in its genius and catholic fidelity, and urgently needed in this moment."

- Dr. Robert Joustra

Associate Professor of Politics & International Studies,
Redeemer University College

"'A Protestant Christendom?: The World the Reformation Made' comes at just the right moment for all those who care about the tradition of Christian political thought. With maturity and elegance, the excellent essays untangle, deepen, and reconstruct aspects of Protestant political reflection that will enrich and one hopes enliven conversations too often prone to slogans and shortcuts. I am deeply grateful to the editors and authors for their excellent work that allows, as the introduction says, Protestantism "to speak to us anew." Catholic political reflection in particular benefits from these analyses that complicate and challenge an over-simplified narrative about Protestantism's responsibility for the faults of modernity."

- Dr. Joseph E. Cappizzi

Ordinary Professor of Moral Theology at The Catholic University of America
Executive Director, The Institute for Human Ecology

“Recovering the Reformation is as much about political theology as it is about justification by faith alone. A failure to see this is a failure to understand the public implications of the gospel. The Davenant Institute has played a key role in retrieving the Magisterial Reformation’s political theology with its emphases on the two kingdoms, natural law, and the right relation of church and state. 'A Protestant Christendom?' provides a richer and deeper next step in Davenant’s project by showing us that the world that the Reformation made is one we need for today. In this fine collection of essays we are treated to topics like Luther’s doctrine of the three estates, Reformed interpretations of Romans 13, prudence in politics, Protestant classical education, Bucer on the welfare state, Luther on taxation, a right understanding of social justice, an apologetic for the common good and more. Anyone interested in developing a politics that is shaped by the bible, that is informed by theology and history, and is sane, should carefully read this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

- Dr. Ian Clary

Assistant Professor of Historical Theology,
Colorado Christian University


Introduction Onsi Kamel
I The Freedom of a Christian Nation Bradford Littlejohn
II Inhabiting the Places of Promise: Martin Luther’s Teaching on the Three Institutions Michael Laffin
III “Nursing Fathers”: The Magistrate and the Moral Law E.J. Hutchinson
IV The Promise and Peril of Disestablishment: Baptist and Reformed Political Theology in the New Republic Miles Smith IV
V James Wilson: America’s Natural Law Architect Ethan Foster
VI The Neglect Craft: Prudence in Reformed Political Thought Adam Carrington
VII The Art of Protestant Learning Roberta Bayer
VIII Retrieving John Donne: Poetic Companion for Conflicted Protestants Rhys Laverty
IX Against the Infinite Stimulus of Greed: Martin Bucer’s Reformation of Welfare Bradford Littlejohn
X What is Work For? Joseph Minich
XI Martin Luther and Tax: A Protestant Perspective on Redistributive Taxation Allen Calhoun
XII Who’s Afraid of Social Justice? Brian Dijkema
XIII Why We Need the Common Good Jake Meador


The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.

Below are some of the works we've published towards that end.