The Sword and the Keys: The Relationship between the Church and the State Since the Reformation

It is generally much easier to identify discontinuities resulting from an epochal event in a historical narrative than the continuities existing prior to, and remaining subsequent to, that event. This being the case, it is common to make the mistake of attributing subsequent historical developments back to the epoch-making event. Arguments about the increasing power of the state often make the mistake of confusing correlation for causation in attributing this phenomenon to the Reformation. An ideal depiction of decentralized medieval life is contrasted to the post-Reformation, modern era in which the independent authority of the church was effectively neutralized and the seeds of the totalitarian, secular state were planted. A reasonable conclusion drawn from this contrast is that the Reformation was at least a cause, if not THE cause behind the rise of the modern state and the decline of the church. By tracing out a brief history of the relationship between the church and the state, we may conclude that the rise of the modern state can best be attributed to the rise of the New Monarchies during the Renaissance prior to the Reformation and the emergence of the Enlightenment long after the Reformation.

It must be acknowledged that the rise of the new centralized states in Europe preceded the Reformation and was not an effect of the Reformation. It is in the nature of states, as wielders of the sword, to expand their powers when presented with the right conditions, and absent effective resistance or a limiting principle, they will naturally do so. A concatenation of economic, social, and political factors contributed to the rise of the New Monarchies in Europe in the late Middle Ages. First, the Black Plague that devastated Europe in the mid-14th century left behind conditions for rapid economic growth and expansion in its wake. Demand for labor increased exponentially giving rise to a higher standard of living for peasants enjoying greater political leverage and economic bargaining power.[1] Combined with stronger immunity to diseases, improved diets, and broader trade, the conditions in Europe were perfect for a population boom. In the two centuries after the Black Plague, Europe witnessed a demographic explosion.[2] Larger populations meant a larger tax base for monarchs who never had any trouble finding ways to spend their revenue. In France, revenues were expanded further through the sale of titles to a growing merchant class with expendable income that served the dual purpose of diluting the older aristocracy’s power, vis-a-vis the king. In England, Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, stepped into a situation ripe for the exercise of enhanced monarchical power due to the three-decade-long dynastic struggle of the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York, in which the aristocracy was depleted, and the populace was war-weary and desirous of orderly administration. The Habsburg emperor, Charles V, inherited an unprecedentedly large realm through the marriage of his parents, Philip the Fair, through whom he acquired the Holy Roman Empire, and Joanna the Mad, through whom was bequeathed Ferdinand and Isabellas’s vast Spanish Empire, which largely controlled the Atlantic Ocean. The rise of the merchant and banking class also contributed to increasing state power. Growth in commerce and trade led to the church’s repeal of its medieval prohibitions on usury and allowed for the emergence of the banking system. Monarchs found willing lenders in new banking families who deemed it adventitious to lend large sums to individuals and institutions with a large tax base that could compel greater revenues to repay the loan.

This growth of state power was not, however, inversely proportional to a decline in ecclesiastical power, for though the church’s reputation deteriorated in the late Middle Ages, its power also increased. The church often utilized the rising tide of state power for its own aggrandizement. The so-called Babylonian Captivity of the church in Avignon beginning in 1309, far from being a time of suffering for the church hierarchy, saw the largest growth in size and legal reach of the papal curia.[3] While the Great Western Schism of the late 14th century proved to be an opportune moment for the assertion of state power as various secular authorities took sides in the ecclesiastical civil war between competing papal claimants, this was an ecclesiastical, self-inflicted wound rather than a power grab by the state at the expense of the church. Owen Chadwick makes the important distinction in pointing out that the power assumed by secular magistrates had already slipped from ecclesiastical hands.[4] Even with this newfound power vis-à-vis the church, nationalist monarchs were still often hesitant to limit the pope’s power within their realms for papal power proved to be a mixed blessing: what the pope could diminish in terms of state authority, he could also enhance by granting special dispensations and exceptions to the enforcement of canon law, which the monarch desired.[5] Thus, considering the socio-political factors, we see that church and state in the late Middle Ages tended to feed off one another, both growing in size and scope in the period. It then becomes quite clear that the modern state was not the creation of the Reformation, rather it was the Reformation that was born within the context of a pre-existing centralized state that was closely allied with the Roman Church. The most that can be said about the Reformers’ contributions to this process is that they at times justified the pre-existing trend.

The exercise of coercive power by the state was often defended by the magisterial Reformers because they believed that ministers of God’s justice had an equally important role in maintaining a godly society as the ministers of God’s grace. Furthermore, they believed that the sword and the keys of the kingdom should not be wielded by the same man or institution. Thus, the Reformers sought to restore the role of the godly magistrate from the exercise of mere derivative authority granted by the church to exercising authority delegated to him directly by God. Since both institutions, church and state, were representatives of God’s authority both had the power to check abuses of religion. In his letter to the German Christian nobility in 1520, Martin Luther argued that civil magistrates who have been baptized and are members of Christ’s church belong to God’s spiritual kingdom no less than clerics and priests. Temporal authorities then are not precluded from involvement in spiritual matters, for all baptized believers are priests of necessity. In the event of an emergency, civil magistrates are not obliged to turn their heads and ignore ecclesiastical corruption:

Would it not be an unnatural thing, if a fire broke out in a city, and everybody were to stand by and it burn on and on and consume everything that could burn, for the sole reason that nobody had the authority of the burgomaster…? if the enemy attacks a city, he who first rouses the others deserves honor and thanks; why then should he not deserve honor who makes known the presence of the enemy from hell, awakens the Christians, and calls them together?[6]

John Calvin was in agreement with Luther, seeing the Psalmist’s designation of magistrates as “gods” in Psalm 82 as uniquely representative of God’s temporal rule and reign:

Since those who serve as magistrate are called “gods”, let no one think that their being so-called is of slight importance. For it signifies that they have a mandate from God, have been invested with divine authority, and are wholly God’s representatives, in a manner, acting as his vicegerents.[7]

The German-Swiss reformer, Heinrich Bullinger, argued from the Old Testament that kings and civil rulers were often tasked with reforming the worship and piety of God’s people, and therefore, civil rulers also should take on this task because Jesus in the New Testament did not alter this normative role of the state established in Deuteronomy:

The men, which are persuaded that the care and ordering of religion doth belong to bishops alone, do make an objection and say that these examples, which I have alleged, do nothing appertain to us which are Christians, because they are examples of the Jewish people. To whom mine answer is: the men of this opinion ought to prove that the Lord Jesus and his apostles did translate the care of religion from the magistrate unto bishops alone, which they shall never be able to do. …Joshua, David, and the rest were Christians verily and indeed, and that therefore the examples which are derived from them and applied to Christian princes, both are and ought to be of force and effect among us at this day.[8]

Though the Reformers denied the right of magistrates to preach the word, to administer the sacraments, or to formulate doctrine – roles reserved exclusively to ministers of grace – they did believe that godly civil magistrates were to serve as fathers to their people. In his commentary on Isaiah 22:21, Calvin states, “Those who wish to be regarded as lawful princes, and to prove that they are God’s servants, must therefore shew that they are fathers to their people.”[9] Peter Martyr Vermigli also affirms that “princes owe unto their subjects a fatherly love.”[10] Luther, in his commentary on Psalm 82, writes, “By…the administration of just laws, he supports all his subjects, as a father supports his children.”[11] Moreover, given that the church had gained its powerful position by which it was corrupted through the power of the state, it was absolutely necessary that secular power would also be utilized to restrain the church and clean up its abuses.[12]

Even if we were to grant that the magisterial Reformers overreacted to the abuses of Rome by unduly elevating the state with the aim of containing the radical masses, we must also recognize that it was the Protestant tradition that developed a theory of lawful resistance to a tyrannical magistrate. Rather than engaging in attempts to assassinate an unapproved or excommunicated monarch and seeking the forgiveness and blessing of the church,[13] Protestants based their resistance on the doctrine of the lesser magistrate. After some initial hesitancy, Martin Luther threw his support behind the League of Schmalkalden in 1530, convinced that resistance to the Holy Roman Emperor by the empire’s Electors was justified when the emperor overstepped or abused his authority. Since the Electors had chosen the emperor, they had the right to resist imperial breaches of their constitutional system for they too were God’s magistrates and had a duty to uphold the law and peace of the empire.[14] The League of Lutheran Princes in combination with Charles V’s international distractions fighting his rival, Francis I of France, as well as the expanding Ottoman Empire to the East, was ultimately successful in securing the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, establishing the principle of cuius regio, eius religio, which allowed for the public practice of Lutheranism within the empire.

The Reformed tradition drew on the principles of the Schmalkaldic League. The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572 carried out in Paris by order of the young Charles IX, king of France, and his mother Catharine di Medici, resulted in the deaths of up to ten thousand French Huguenots causing Protestant theologians to reevaluate the hesitancy of their predecessors to defy civil authorities. The restoration of the civil magistrate to the position of a minister under God in his own right provided a standard by which the state could be held accountable. According to Calvin’s successor in Geneva, Theodore Beza, civil rulers had a telos that justified their existence. Failure to live up to their high calling of deacon of God’s justice allowed for lesser magistrates to call civil rulers to account on behalf of the people.[15] While affirming that God appoints even wicked rulers for the chastisement of the people, as Calvin had, Beza argued that God’s appointment did not nullify the right of the people to lawfully resist under the authority of the lesser magistrate. Thus, resistance to tyranny in the Protestant tradition grew out of the understanding that a magistrate had a duty before God to administer his justice and promote the true religion. Should the magistrate begin to punish the good and praise the wicked, he would not be able to hide behind the claim of divine right, nor claim he was doing God’s will simply because he had the approval of the pope. For a minister of God’s justice to protect the guilty and persecute the righteous would make a mockery of the term and expose such magistrates for who they really are: “forged intruders and bastard kings and judges, in so far as they give out the sentences of men, and are not the very mouths of the King of kings to pronounce such a sentence as the Almighty himself would do, if he were sitting on the throne or bench.”[16]

In his book The Unintended Reformation, historian Brad S. Gregory makes the argument that Martin Luther’s distinction between the “two kingdoms”, the earthly kingdom ruled by God through the civil magistrate and the spiritual kingdom ruled by God through the Holy spirit, provided the framework for the dominance of the modern state over the church.[17] The brutal religious wars of the confessional states of the 16th and 17th centuries are held up as evidence of the negative effects of the state’s role in religion beginning with the Reformation. This argument suffers from two defects. First, it fails to draw a substantive contrast to the extensive warfare, religious or not, prior to the Reformation. There is more continuity when it comes to warfare pre and post-Reformation than Gregory acknowledges. More importantly, Gregory’s thesis that the Reformation was the source of this unprecedented religious conflict does not appreciate the extent to which political motivations, particularly the desire for national sovereignty and independence was perhaps a greater motivation for what are deemed the “wars of religion.” Several examples will be sufficient to support this point. The civil wars of late 16th century France, in which the house of Bourbon replaced the house of Valois on the throne, were dynastic struggles as much as they were a fight between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The Protestant prince, Henry of Navarre, who emerged victorious over his rival contenders, Henry of Guise and Henry Valois, even converted to the Roman church in order to solidify his claim to the throne, believing “Paris is worth a mass”, which suggests the dynastic issues were weightier than the religious. Henry’s success in those wars can be attributed to the broad support he received from both French Protestants and moderate French Catholics, who saw him as representing the interests of France rather than the personal aspirations of the Valois monarchy or the international aims of the Catholic League.[18] The Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs, beginning in 1568, revolved around the common Dutch culture in the Low Countries and the desire to be ruled locally by one of their own rather than a Spanish emperor. Furthermore, William of Orange, the stadholder leading the independence movement of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was a Roman Catholic fighting against fellow Roman Catholics from Spain. According to historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, Orange “had exercised considerable tact in gathering a variety of urban oligarchies into his anti-Spanish alliance, and his efforts meant that more towns were persuaded to adhere to the Protestant cause than doctrinaire Calvinist clerics might have won over by their own efforts.”[19] This is not to deny the religious aspects of the war, for “Calvinism had become inextricably linked with the Low Countries’ fight for independence from Spain.”[20] However, the fact that the Netherlands became a bastion of tolerance for Roman Catholics, Jews, and Mennonites in Europe, and not another Geneva, undermines the attempt to frame the 80-year-long struggle between the Netherlands and Spain as a religious war to establish a strictly Protestant state. In England, though the feud between the Puritans and the high church Anglicans certainly contributed to the rise of tensions within the Church of England in the early 17th century, the English Civil War in the 1640s was ultimately fought over the rights of Parliament asserted against the absolutist claims of King Charles I as spelled out in the Petition of Right (1628) and the Grand Remonstrance (1641). There were religious implications to the war, but again it would be inaccurate to frame the struggle as a religious war rather than a political war, as if in the absence of religious motivations, the war would not have been fought. Finally, the Thirty Years War, the quintessential disastrous religious war, cannot easily be categorized as such as the last thirteen years of the war were dominated by a struggle for European supremacy by Roman Catholic powers between Bourbon France and Habsburg Austria. Moreover, the leading Protestant state, England, stayed out of the war, looking to its national interests rather than seeing the conflict as an ideological struggle in which they had a duty to intervene, despite the fact that James I’s daughter and son-in-law were the key figures setting off the war by taking the throne of Bohemia. Therefore, we may conclude with good reason that the Reformation did not lead to the formation of tyrannical and war-crazed confessional regimes. Europe was witnessing the onset of a trend that would only continue to pick up steam in the coming centuries: the popular desire for representative government by a state concerned with the national and cultural interests of a common people.

Regardless of the nuances and complexities of political motivations for war in the post-Reformation era, religion would receive the lion’s share of the blame. Such a scapegoat served as a perfect foil to “reason” in the narrative advocates of Enlightenment were attempting to construct. If superstition served as a veil to provide legitimacy for the regimes of the past, empiricism and rationalism would claim to pierce that veil while at the same time undergirding the modern political economy and providing the basis for rule. The state would exert more control over society in general and the church in particular during the Enlightenment era in an attempt ostensibly to unify feuding religious groups so as to advance human progress and promote social harmony. Machiavelli, considered to be the first modern philosopher, sought to bring down the aim of politics from the pursuit of noble or spiritual goods to the securing of power and the acquisition of physical pleasures. Thomas Hobbes, writing nearly a century later, reduced the role of the magistrate to maintaining public order in a chaotic world where the pursuit of natural rights led inevitably to endless conflict in a war of all against all. Hobbes sought to provide a rational basis for absolute monarchy as a cure for the political chaos, civil war, and regicide from which he fled in mid-17th century England. The sovereign, in Hobbes’ view, existed to prevent a return to the “nasty, poor, brutish, and short” life that existed in the state of nature and did so by assuming all the individual natural rights that existed in that state. John Locke, while advocating for greater individual rights and constitutional limitations on monarchs, in effect reinforced the Hobbesian scheme in affirming that the state’s role was to protect property and leave speculative questions to the private interests of the individual. This modern view of the state gave rise to the Enlightened despots of the 18th century. In the words of Gerald Cragg, “monarchy was justified by its effectiveness as an instrument of government…if he faithfully discharged his duties, he could safely ignore religious sanctions.”[21] Official churches continued to be upheld and protected in various European countries, but it was because they were deemed to be useful for promoting national unity and morals. The church could operate within its own limited sphere, but it played less and less of a role in terms of informing policy. Concerns about doctrine had been pushed to the periphery of public life. Belief in God was only necessary to provide a first cause that set natural laws in motion. An Incarnation was unscientific and superfluous as man was no longer deemed to be in need of a Savior with the increasing abandonment of the doctrine of original sin. Belief in the natural goodness of mankind meant that the solution to social problems could be found in better education.

Thus, the state set its sights on promoting and controlling public education, a domain that for most of history had been the responsibility of the church. Enlightened despots could allow a measure of tolerance for the church when the state controlled education. The Prussians were the first to implement a mandatory public school system as a means of preparing soldiers to take orders.[22] Joseph I of Austria also implemented a uniform public school system with the aim of promoting secularism and ridding the country of backward superstition. Imitating the Prussians, the paragon of enlightened despotism, Napoleon Bonaparte, perfected this strategy. Napoleon was not hostile to religion. His Concordat with the Pope in 1801 restored Roman Catholicism as the religion of the majority, if not the official religion, in France, and his civil code upheld traditional morality in family life. However, with control of the educational institutions, Napoleon could shape the society of the future and continue to advance the vision of the modern state. “Education…in France and in Europe generally, came to be an important determinant of social standing”[23] as they prepared young minds to be reconciled with the new normal by instilling a deep fear of the religious world that existed prior to the Enlightenment. “[E]very French child would be inoculated in republicanism and immune to the lures of monarchical restoration.”[24]

Feeling itself suffocating under the rationalist state, significant factions within the 19th-century church sought to break away from the state control that was increasingly accommodating itself to the modern age and corrupting its doctrine. While these breakaway movements sought renewal and served to purify the church in various ways, they also tended to privatize religion, simultaneously removing the official status of the church within their respective nations. The most orthodox voices abandoned the public square and in effect gave the state an even greater role in preserving religious liberty and equality. At this point, the state did not uphold religion as a useful good as in the 18th century but sought to limit all religions such that they would not trample on conflicting religious claims. While the early Enlightenment rationalists had seen religion as useful for social cohesion, the beginning of what would become the postmodern age saw no use for religion at all. Upholding religion during the Enlightenment kept the nation together and ensured the stability of the state. Keeping religion divided and promoting pluralism is now what empowers the state.

Though the French Revolution had long since ended and Napoleon Bonaparte had been defeated for the last time in 1815, revolutionary liberalism and Romantic nationalism had a lasting effect. England was able to avoid the violence and chaos of the times by negotiating a moderate course of reform, which shifted power from the nobility toward the growing middle class. In 1828, the Corporation and Test Acts were repealed, which had effectively barred British subjects from holding positions of political or military power for roughly a century unless they received communion in the Church of England. In conjunction with the Emancipation Acts passed in the following years, these actions created a situation in which Parliament would be populated by Protestant dissenters, Roman Catholics, Jews, and agnostics who had the power to legislate for the Church of England, but who did not seek the best interests of the official church. In 1832, Parliament passed the Reform Act that, among other things, extended suffrage and reapportioned the seats of Parliament such as to make the institution more democratic. The reform of the church desired by an increasing proportion of the liberal populace was to make the church more democratic, accountable, and practical. “The fashionable utilitarian philosophy required that the Church like everything else should be submitted to the test of usefulness as an agency in contributing to the happiness of the nation.”[25] In reaction to the pragmatism that continued to make inroads into the Church, the Oxford Movement was born. Known as Tractarians, the adherents of this movement sought to resist Parliament’s control over the church as well as bring the Church of England into greater unity with the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” by appealing to the authority of apostolic succession. The church did not get its marching orders from the state, but from the deposit of faith handed down from the apostles and church fathers. Recognizing they “were at the beginning of a secularizing process which, if not impeded, would end in the humanitarian pseudo-religion advocated by the Utilitarians”,[26] The Tractarians sought to free the Church of England from political control and argued for a more spiritual view of the church that had the effect of marginalizing its political influence.

Likewise, the Evangelical party led by Thomas Chalmers separated from the Moderate establishment in the Church of Scotland and founded the Free Church. Evangelicals believed that the official church was in desperate need of reform, having been corrupted by political patronage. Furthermore, the Moderates who dominated the official church were more likely to maintain their cultural influence by accommodating themselves to the modern ideals of the age by compromising doctrine. The separation of the two parties, known as the Disruption, occurred in 1843. Though the evangelicals did not intend to privatize the faith, for they strongly believed they were purifying the true Church of Scotland, they in effect were pushed to the margins as they lost the apparatus by which they could directly influence the civil realm. In the words of historian Alec Vidler, the “unhappy result of the Disruption was that the Free Church with all its vitality was separated from the main sources of Scottish culture, especially from the universities, and its theology remained narrowly and rigidly Calvinist.”[27] The Free Church retained its internal health and vitality in the separation, but cultural costs for the nation were no less real.

In the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper helped to establish the Reformed Church, which split from the official Dutch Reformed Church. Kuyper worked to maintain orthodoxy in the face of modernism and pluralism, but in some sense accommodated both. His political solution known as “pillarization” sought to grant equal access to state funds for differing religious groups without the state controlling or dictating to any of them. Protestants, Catholics, and secularists could in theory all have their own state-funded schools that reflected their own doctrinal beliefs. However, this compromise ultimately yielded control of education to a secular state claiming neutrality and religious institutions became increasingly dependent on state funds so as to compromise their principles, while also having ceded status as an official church with the political and cultural influence that entails.

This trend was not unique to Protestantism. A similar phenomenon occurred in Roman Catholic France. A strange alliance was forged between the political Liberals and the religiously conservative ultramontanes both of whom desired the independence of the church from the state. The Liberals sought a secular state where the rights of freedom of speech and association could be enjoyed and a liberal church, stripped of its special privileges and political patronage and willing to reconcile its doctrine with modern science. The ultramontanes desired closer ties with the Roman pope and out from under the authority of the French government. Both groups cheered the Revolution of 1848 in Europe as it promised to dispose of a common enemy, the established order. However, the alliance could not hold when it came to the question of what was to replace the state-run, Gallican church. Ultimately, the ultramontanes would reject the libertarianism of the Liberal cause and supported the Second French Empire under Napoleon III in 1852 because of his decision to reign in the excess liberties exercised by the most thorough-going revolutionaries.[28] Roman Catholicism was unable to recover its position as the official religion in France, though it would remain the nominal religion of much of its population. It lost its central role in French culture as France became a secularized state.

The turning point for church and state relations was not the Reformation, but the Enlightenment. It was the Enlightenment that effectively used religion as a foil from which to distinguish its own project. By contrasting the superstitions from the past with the scientific verities of the present, the future looked bright and harmonious. The language of natural rights displaced the normative, Christian concept of natural law, transforming the state into the protector of the individual as the measure of all things rather than the preserver of the civic order. Greater religious freedom in our world is predicated on the idea that doctrine is not worth fighting about and that truth cannot be known, harkening back to those early religious dissenters who appealed to the conscience. In the words of James Kalb, “advanced liberalism becomes freedom to make choices that are not permitted to matter.”[29] As Christians, we need to take off the blinders that reinforce the notion that liberalism has weakened the state and strengthened the church by allowing for toleration. The state has merely traded its right to promote true religion and virtue for an ability to prevent people from acting consistently with their religion. The state’s power is not as deep, but it is much wider. Recognizing the way in which the state exercises power today and to what end is invaluable in aiding the student of history’s understanding of its origins.


  1. John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, Fourth Ed. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2019), 13.
  2. R. Palmer, Joel Colton, and Lloyd Kramer, A History of Europe in the Modern World, To 1815, vol. 1 (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education, 2014), 51.
  3. W.A. Panton, “The Fourteenth Century,” in The English Church and the Papacy in the Middle Ages, 159.
  4. Owen Chadwick, The Reformation, (London: Penguin Books, 1990), 68.
  5. Chadwick, 11.
  6. Martin Luther, “A Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520)” in Reformation Theology: A Reader of Primary Sources with Introductions, eds. W. Bradford Littlejohn and Jonathan Roberts, (Lincoln, NE: The Davenant Institute, 2018), 145.
  7. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. II (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 1489.
  8. Heinrich Bullinger, “Decades: Of the Magistrate” in Reformation Theology: A Reader of Primary Sources with Introductions, eds. W. Bradford Littlejohn and Jonathan Roberts, (Lincoln, NE: The Davenant Institute, 2018), 425.
  9. Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, trans. William Pringle, vol. II (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Book House Co., 2009), 136, [on Isaiah 22:21]
  10. Peter Martyr Vermigli, Commentary on Judges, (Reformed Retrieval, 2021), 702.
  11. Luther, Commentary on Psalm 82.
  12. Chadwick, 377. Chadwick argues that excommunication carried many civil penalties with it and thus became a more effective tool utilized by the church to exercise civil power.
  13. Assassination attempts by Roman Catholics against monarchs include the Ridolfi Plot (1571) and the Babington Plot (1588) against Elizabeth I of England, the assassination of Henry III of France (1589), The Gunpowder Plot against James I of England (1605), and the assassination of Henry IV of France (1610).
  14. Glenn S. Sunshine, Slaying Leviathan: Limited Government and Resistance in the Christian Tradition, 101-102.
  15. Theodore Beza, “De Jure Magistratum (On the Rights of Magistrates) 1574,” ed. Patrick S. Poole, trans. Henry-Louis Gonin, Constitution Society, Question 6, accessed August 14, 2023,
  16. Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex, Question XXIII.
  17. Brad Gregory, 159-163.
  18. Merriman, 141-142
  19. Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation, (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 370.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Gerald Cragg, The Church in the Age of Reason, 1648-1789, (London: Penguin Books), 215.
  22. Murray Rothbard, Education, Free & Compulsory, (Auburn, Al: Mises Institute, 1999), 24.
  23. Palmer, et al., 409.
  24. Rothbard, 30.
  25. Alec R. Vidler, The Church in an Age of Revolution: 1789 to the Present Day (London: Penguin Books, 1990), 46.
  26. Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot Seventh Revised Edition (Washington DC: Gateway Editions, 2016), 281.
  27. Vidler, 61.
  28. Vidler, 77.
  29. James Kalb, The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2008), 98.


Jared Lovell

Jared Lovell is a deacon in the Reformed Episcopal Church serving Grace RE Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Jared is a classical educator, teaching European and American history at Memoria Press Online Academy, and is a teaching fellow at the Wayside School.

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