The varieties of Christian politics

Over at Wedgewords, a long series on politics and Christianity has finally concluded. It is well worth reading, in that if you read the whole series of posts, you will get a very elaborate and clear contrast of several basic positions on the relation between Christianity and politics: Roman Catholic, magisterial Reformation, jure divino Presbyterianism (along with the now-popular version of “Two kingdoms theology”), and Anabaptism.

Here are the posts in the order they were published. The comments are also essential reading:

Two Kingdoms Critique
Darryl Hart’s Response to [Wedgeworth’s] 2 Kingdoms Essay
Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 1)
Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 2)
Apostolic Succession and Civic Freedom (pt. 3)
Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (pt. 1)
Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (pt. 2)
Neo-Anabaptism and the Kingdom (Part 3)

There were also two responses from other sites involved in the discussion in various ways:
Darryl Hart’s response to Wedgeworth’s original essay
Two Kingdoms or Two Cities?

From the final post at Wedgeworth’s blog (written by Peter Escalante):

Our present situation is one of amnesia, not of antithesis. The origins of the civic order of the old Christian nations has been suppressed. Now, that civic order was never anything close to perfect; it was and is a world of sinners. But it was and is the best thing going, and to agree with secularism that the Christian civic order was never Christian, as neo-Anabaptism does, and as several other supposedly radical Christian schools of thought do, is simply to be complicit with the project of suppression. Only secularism gains by that.

Neo-Anabaptist exaltation of the saving visible “Church,” is in fact denigration of the actual Christian people, and of the actual legacy of reformed Christendom which was the creation of the Christian people. Worse, such rhetorical exaltation is an idolatry. Only Jesus saves us from sin and death, not the Church- the Church is the community of the saved, it is not itself the savior. And neither does the visible Church save us from politics, or save the polis from its problems; the problems of the polis will show up in the visible Church, for they are made up of the same constituents.1 We are not to be saved from the polis, nor to save the polis; we are rather to serve in it. And the traditions of our fathers, for all their imperfections, are a school of service, and themselves a work of service.

They’re all well worth reading.