“We must obey God rather than men”: Lutheran-Calvinist theories of resistance
By Keir Martland
The theology of Luther, Calvin, and other sixteenth-century Protestants is similar in some respects to that of S. Augustine, and arguably in the case of Calvin, based on a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Augustine’s doctrine of predestination, with Harro Hopfl describing the latter as Luther and Calvin’s “favourite Patristic theologian.” Whatever the provenance of it, there is in the writings of Luther and Calvin a strong emphasis on the fallen nature of man. Now, earlier Christian thinkers with such a view of the impaired, flawed, even wretched nature of man, tended to also hold such a view of society as a whole. When thinkers such as Augustine or later ‘Political Augustinians’ applied themselves to political matters, because of their view of man and society, they gave no ‘naturalistic’ interpretation of government, authority, and power, no account of it independent of the source of all goodness, God, since man and society were, on this account, incapable of any virtue apart from Christian virtue. Their treatments of politics, then, left little room for theories of resistance or even for theories of ownership and political authority independent of the Church; rather, such thinkers tended to view all dominion as belonging ultimately to the Church and they expected at least passive obedience from the Christian to the established secular – delegated – and spiritual authorities. Yet there developed in the sixteenth-century a Lutheran-Calvinist resistance theory, or theories. It is, on the face of it, hard to see how the resistance theory as found in Theodore Beza or the Vindiciae contra Tyrannos developed from the writings of Luther and Calvin. Continue reading
Jerome and His Women
Black Quill Press, Sydney, 2015 (pb)
Review by Richard Blake
This novel explores the background to one of the most important events in history. When Constantine established Christianity as the preferred state religion in 313, he was saving Western civilisation. Until then, the religious settlement in the Roman Empire was divided both vertically and horizontally. The vertical division marked off the educated elite. For those at the top, the pagan cults were approaches to the concept of a Supreme Being and a universal moral law. Those at the bottom took these cults at face value, with their alarming or simply scandalous mythologies, and their frequent lack of mutual sympathy.
Christianity was a universal religion. For all its sectarian tendencies, it crossed every boundary of language and race and class. It was a way of life, and it had philosophical content. Once spread beyond the frontiers, it did much to humanise the barbarians, who would otherwise have invaded as pure savages. It also provided a check to misgovernment. The Jews aside, it is hard to think of any religious group that had been able to face down a determined pagan emperor. Once Constantine himself was dead, the clergy could rally the faithful as they pleased – usually for the Empire that they now dominated, but also against any emperor who in their opinion went too far. Continue reading
Open letter on behalf of the worldwide Catholic and Orthodox lay faithful in response to Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew on climate change
by Lord Monckton
A FALSE BALANCE is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight (Prov. XI:1).
Your Holinesses’ recent admonition to your flocks about climate and the environment, though it was at one level a practical attempt at rapprochement between two faiths whose religious beliefs are in essence identical, demonstrated a naïve, unbalanced, scientifically ill-informed, disfiguringly totalitarian and, therefore, environmentally destructive political partisanship that it was and remains Your Holinesses’ bounden duty to eschew. Continue reading
Keir Martland: In response to the violent white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, I thought that I would re-print the text of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s 1943 essay ‘Credo of a Reactionary.’ Kuehnelt-Leddihn was very far to the Right himself, which is what makes his own perspective on fascism, Nazism, and racialism so interesting. He was firmly of the opinion that an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” such as himself must abhor fascism and racialism. This essay is therefore a must-read for all open-minded ‘Alt-Right’ sympathisers, note in particular the distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Continue reading
It has become quite a widely-held position amongst the Alt-Right that fault for the loss of identity and in-group loyalty and even the self-sabotage of Western societies is the result (the inevitable result, as some would even have it) of Christianity. Some of those who hold this viewpoint even go so far as to attempt to resurrect or at least extract certain elements of the pre-Christian religions of Europe. However, I find this view to be mistaken and is based upon an historical horizon that stretches scarcely more than a single century into the past. Continue reading
Why was Charles I executed?
By Keir Martland
Today is the 368th anniversary of the execution of the Anglican Martyr King Charles I. 368 years ago, Charles I was executed outside the Banqueting House at Whitehall following two Civil Wars, also known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Charles had lost both Civil Wars and had failed to reach a settlement with the Scots, Parliament, or the Army, and eventually the latter took the initiative to break the deadlock, put him on “trial” following a royalist defeat in the Second Civil War, and murdered him. But why did this happen? Continue reading