Pluralist Christendom and the Christian Civil Magistrate

17 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2006


The intersection of church and state today differs greatly from the symbiotic relationship of the past. This paper traces and critiques the advent and development of the Christian-government relationship down through the centuries to its current form. It finds that, and discusses how, current Christendom is split between a High Church attitude, which depicts the Church as above the state and outside of the state's limitations, and an Erastian approach, which views the Church as in dialogue with the state and as subject to the same limitations as other social institutions. Finally, the paper discusses the key differences between a "pluralist Christendom" understanding of our traditional freedoms and the secularist view of the same freedoms. It suggests the role which a Christian civil magistrate ought to play in light of such key differences. Pluralist Christendom allows for proper restraints to be enacted on the basis that freedom serves a transcendent purpose, whereas, secularists lack this central purpose and, ultimately, are placed on unsteady ground between extreme individualism and extreme collectivism. Accordingly, the Christian civil magistrate has a role to play in firmly grounding ordered non-vacillating principles of liberty into society.

Suggested Citation

Rodes, Robert E., Pluralist Christendom and the Christian Civil Magistrate. Capital University Law Review, Vol. 8, 1979; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 06-28. Available at SSRN:

Robert E. Rodes (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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