For the Reformers, their 17th-century successors, and indeed thoughtful Protestants right up through the last century, the vocations of minister and magistrate may have been strictly separate, but the accomplished theologian was usually a master of jurisprudence and political philosophy as well. Many wrote classic treatments in both the fields of theology and law, with a keen sense of both the distinctions of these disciplines and their unity. Today’s Protestants are rarely so fortunate, with most evangelical engagements with political theology betraying a painful naiveté and a profound historical myopia.
Together, the essays in this volume challenge us to recognize the breadth and depth of our heritage of Protestant political wisdom, and the complexity and contingency of civic life to which its principles must be artfully applied, which rules out any attempt to inscribe any particular instance of Christian politics as a model for all time. May they also provoke renewed reflection on how to faithfully apply our Protestant principles to the challenges facing our polities today.