In the past two decades, a small cottage industry of important new scholarship has emerged documenting the distinctive Calvinist contributions to the development of Western theories of law, democracy, and human rights. In this engaging volume, David Hall offers a crisp distillation of the latest scholarly findings and a clarion call to reclaim the Calvinist pedigree of some of our most cherished political ideas and institutions.
David W. Hall is right. Calvinism is more important for a well rounded understanding of western democratic evolution than some would think. Hall presents a very well researched account of Calvins thoughts on important political ideas. He provides insights and a historical account Calvins influence that is relevant for both the church and political thinkers today. One learns a lot reading Hall, as he carefully traces the development of Calvins ideas and their impact. He makes an important contribution.
In this work, David W. Hall provides the reader with a thoughtful introduction to an important line of Christian political theology that reaches from Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century to Abraham Kuyper in the early 20th. This line of thought is most readily associated with the French theologian Jean Calvin. But, it is not Calvin's well canvassed theology that Hall narrowly illuminates here, but rather the authors living in Switzerland, Scotland, England, Holland, and the New England British colonies who followed and further developed it's political overtones. His coverage of those writing immediately before and after the 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and their support of what is known today as the right of resistance to tyrannous rule is, in particular, where his deep learning is best put to use. But the reader should also look forward in this work to the surprising, even counterintuitive, core of Hall's argument in which he finds that the theologically reactionary Augustinian, Calvin, and those who followed him did much to shape modern democratic and liberal political thought. This is especially true of American political institutions and norms. Hall's portrait of Calvinist political theology and its powerful role in the construction of modern political thought is an argument that readers, including those who may ultimately disagree with it, need and must give full consideration.
What a fantastic book that presents a great historical and theological overview of Calvinism regarding government. Hall shows how this theology of government reform works beyond Calvin, the reformers, and eventually becomes the foundational fabric of colonial America. This book brings to light the remarkable integration of Calvins work into the hallways of government that were ordained of God. Jesus the King is not confined to cathedrals but is a real part of the people, laws, and rulers. Calvins work as a reformer inspired and molded hearts of people, their cities, and many nations of numerous generations.
David Hall has presented John Calvin and those who took up his mantle in a powerful and compelling manner. Calvin in the Public Square is essential reading for reformed believers who serve in elective office and those who are considering public service. Dr. Hall presents a historic foundation for those who seek policies and principles rooted in Reformation Theology. In Calvin in the Public Square, David Hall makes the case for a renewed understanding of the need to limit the power of those in authority. Hall demonstrates that a proper understanding of the nature of God and man in governance is our only protection from tyranny. If you are concerned about the current direction of Western Civilization, Calvin in the Public Square will lead you to a biblical understanding of the challenges and opportunities before us. Dr. Halls writings are essential reading for a church that needs to reengage in the fight for liberty and freedom.