Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought

Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought

Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought

Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought

Synopsis

Conventional wisdom holds that the theology and social ethics of the Reformed tradition stand at odds with concepts of natural law and the two kingdoms. This volume challenges that conventional wisdom through a study of Reformed social thought from the Reformation to the present.

Excerpt

As a law student and then a doctoral student in ethics, I often wished that I could read a book explaining the fate of natural law in my own Reformed theological tradition. As far as I could tell that book did not exist, and I was left to my own resources, with the vague sense that the rhetoric of many recent Reformed theologians did not match that of Reformation and postReformation Reformed writers that I was running across. After I finished my studies and got settled in my teaching position I decided to try to write the book that I had wished to read.

When I was a good way through my research, the appearance of Stephen Grabill’s Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics made an excellent contribution to this area of study. It seemed to me, however, that there was still more of the story to tell. For one thing, Grabill focused upon sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed writers, while I hoped, perhaps too ambitiously, to follow the story into the present. But I was also coming to the conviction that the two kingdoms theme could provide very helpful insight into Reformed thinking on natural law. the fates of natural law and the two kingdoms have been interconnected in the Reformed tradition, and examining these two ideas simultaneously provides a useful window into broader questions about evolving Reformed perspectives on Christianity, culture, and social ethics.

I am very grateful to ages and for his encouragement to submit it to the Emory University Studies in Law and Religion. It is a privilege to participate in this fine series, and I thank Amy Wheeler for her kind assistance through the review process and thereafter. My thanks also to the staff at Eerdmans for their support of the Emory series and for guiding my book to publication.

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