State, Church, and the Reformational Roots of Subsidiarity
Jordan J. Ballor
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty; Journal of Markets & Morality
June 10, 2011
The Myth of the Reformation, ed. Peter Opitz (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 148-159.
I trace here some (although certainly not all) of the antecedents in the Reformation and post-Reformation eras that stand behind more contemporary expressions of the doctrine of subsidiarity. This study focuses on two basic areas, or roots: the civil and the ecclesiastical. In the former case I examine thinkers identified in the so-called “Erastian” tradition of church-state relations, particularly the Reformer Wolfgang Musculus (an older contemporary of Erastus). On the ecclesiastical side, I examine the view of confessional documents in the Reformed tradition, particularly that of the Belgic Confession (1561). At issue here are what I have called the “Reformational roots” of subsidiarity, the antecedents to more contemporary and explicit expressions of the principle. This is a pre-press version of the article that does not include a few minor corrections.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: subsidiarity, natural law, reformation, political thought, ethics, theology
Date posted: December 5, 2012 ; Last revised: December 11, 2013