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Protestant Reformation and Modern Law



1. Protestant mainstream and dogma.

1.1. Augsburg Confession.
The primary confession of Protestant faith, the Confession of
Augsburg (1530), affirms the supremacy of the Word of God (the
Gospel) over the hierarchical organization of the Church, sola
Scriptura 1; and the free redemption of man by the Cross of his Savior,
without attributing to his own merits the liberation from sin, sola

In the controversies of the late Middle Ages, it was frequent to assert the
supremacy of ecclesiastical power over the civil authority. Against this pretended
supremacy reacts OCKHAM, all authority comes from the Scripture and from the
universal Church, and not from the Roman pontiff. MARSILY OF PADUA
conceives a universal ecumenical and democratic Church, based on the supremacy
of Scripture as a source of authority, which should only be interpreted by councils in
obscure cases. These same ideas, are found in the fourteenth century by WICLIF and
HUS: simony and ignorance have diverted the spirit of the Church. (Tavard,
Ecriture or Eglise, Paris, 1963, in particular pp. 10 and 133, 53 ff.). According to
SKINNER (The foundations of modern political thought, Cambridge, 1978, II, 11),
LUTHER repeats the idea of medieval heretics (Waldenses, Wiclifitas) who
identified the papacy with the antichrist. From another perspective it is emphasized
that the Reformation was an essay of return to the Augustinianism in the High
Middle Ages, against a new rationalism triumphant by scholasticism, in the context
of the schism of Avignon, and the corruption of some Roman Popes. LUTHER,
writes NIETZSCHE, "was indignant at the rebirth of Rome, instead of
understanding, with the deepest gratitude, the extraordinary event which had taken
place: the defeat of Christianity in its own headquarters." (Antichrist, Madrid, 1982,
119). NIETZSCHE, considers LUTHERO a German fool who does not understand
the refinement of the Roman Church.

Nominalism, with its radical voluntarism, had come to the notion of a capricious
God, a tyrannical God, despot, remote and distant, who saved for unknown reasons.
This vision of God shakes LUTHER ( MATEO SECO, Martin Luther: on slave
liberty, Madrid 1978, 11). LUTHER is presented as a tributary at this point Of
medieval mysticism. On the theology of the Cross: GARCIA VILLOSLADA Martin
Luther, Madrid, 1973, 1, p. 363; GHERARDINI Theologia crucis l`heredita de
Luther nell'evolutione teologica della Riforma, Rome, 1978, 399. Protestantism, as a
religious phenomenon, is based on the notion of sin, as a radical corruption of
Human nature; by sin man is radically estranged from his God (Deus absconditus)
and deceived by his reason. The invincible concupiscence is ussualy identified with
original sin (GARCA VILLOSLADA, p. 361)..

According to LUTHER, man is directly and individually related

to God, and the Catholic Church, ruled by priestly breed, is the
Babylonian Captivity of the people of God, who imprisons and
enslaves the believer. The Gospel is the truth and foundation of
Christian freedom; and by the truth (authentic faith) the righteous can
judge Popes, Holy Fathers and doctors.
The Lutheran doctrine of sola Scriptura formulates the notion of
universal priesthood, origin and foundation of a catholic, evangelical
and communal Church. Faith is not linked to the passive acceptance of
a dogma proclaimed by the hierarchy of the Church, but is concretized
in Scripture, testimony of revelation. LUTHER makes this principle
salvation by faith alone the ontology of the catholicity of the
evangelical Church, and the main juridical questions of Christian
religion, especially the notion of universal priesthood and the structure
of the Church, are its consequence and development.
1.2. Luther and the Christian Reformation.
LUTHER3, a professed Augustinian, with his whole life centered
on the presence of God, explains in one of his "table talks", his "tower
experience", a conversion, which leads him to proclaim the principle
of sola Fide, faith alone4.

The main works of Luther are published online in English:
can also be found at In Castilian some works
of Luther in
Recall that Saint Augustine opposes the Pelagian heresy that affirms that man is
saved by his works. The accusation of Pelagianism has always been used by
Protestants against Catholics, and acquires special virulence on the eve of the French
revolution in Jansenism. However, in view of this thesis of Lutheran "conversion" or
"enlightenment", Luther's theological maturation seems to present a process due to
his biblical studies, which could have begun in 1511 or 1513, and only incidentally
Would be generated by strong criticism of the riches and corruption of the Church,
or by the scruples of a monk tortured by death, predestination and impossible
chastity. Other authors disagree with this early genesis and to date the Lutheran
secession remains another date after 1518, related to the controversy over whether
the definitive rupture of LUTHER was prior to his condemnation by the Church or
whether the dogmatic pressure and the escalation of the debates forced him to
assume radical positions, being the condemnation of the Church that ultimately
caused the rupture. On the discussion (B. LOHSE, Martin Luther's Theology,
Minneapolis, 1999, 87 et seq.).

He felt despair before the justice of God, tried to avoid it by

means of fasting and prayer, but failed; returned to read St. Augustine,
but this only confirmed him his impotence; he doubted and trembled
for predestination. After years of deep anguish, while working in the
tower of the monastery of Wittemberg, he was suddenly illuminated
by Psalm 30: in iustitia tua liberame; the justice of God lost its
disciplinary sense and took a comforting sense. His soul lights up. The
righteousness of God does not mean punishment, but grace that saves
and justifies; it is not the sinner who saves himself, but the faith of
God. Man can not claim the pride of presenting his merits before God
Scripture and Faith pose a dilemma: identify Scripture, the true
word, and the object of faith. It is answered that the question is
defectively formulated: the authority does not define the Word, but the
Word generates the authority; man is not saved by his faith, but Faith
saves man. The Church is not called to witness the truth, but the truth
testifies the true Church5.
Luther, in coherence with his approach on Faith and Scripture,
did not have in his first Scripture a dogmatic concept of the Church,
he prefers to refer to the Christian community or holy people of God;
the Church as the gratuitousness of grace, which is granted to man by
faith. But this unformal approach to an institutional Church produced
bewilderment in basic questions of the Christian beliefs, such as the
evangelical canon, the dogmatic principles of faith, the meaning and
content of the sacraments (baptism, eucharist), election and function
of ministers or pastors, funeral rites, calendar, festivals, prayer,
charity, Christian education. So Luther understands the necessity to
institutionalize his ideas and outlines the Church as a legal and
institutional being.

Despite the brilliant response, which seems to be Melanchthons, the problem of the
identity of Scripture has not ceased to be controversial in the development of
Protestantism. To justify the canon of the Old and New Testaments, Lutherans and
Calvinists seem to lean on tradition and sacramentality of the Church, trying to
avoid a sharp rupture. For Luther, therefore, Faith is not a simple personal
adherence, but rather the sign of participation in a Christian community, redeemed
by the blood of Christ and founded on grace. The 5 Solos: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,
Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria. Protestants in general do not accept
the canonicity of books of the Old Testament that are not in the Jewish Bible, and we
will observe an effective approach of Protestants, especially Calvinists, to Judaism.

In the discussions with the Anabaptists of 1524/5 he affirms that

baptism is a divine institution and not a subjective faith of the
believer. In opposition to the Anabaptists and to the sacramental
theology of the Calvinists, Luther underlines that the dogma of Sola
Scriptura can not despice the mystery of the incarnation and sacrifice
of Christ, and should not understimate the real presence of Christ in
Three signs identify the true Church: baptism, gospel and
Eucharisty. They represent Christ foundation, the tradition of living
according Scripture, which constitutes the authentic apostolic
succession, and a communitarian fulfillment.
In the debates on the nature of Eucharisty, Luther emphasizes, as
distinct from the faith of the individual believers, the corporeal reality,
providential design and mystery of the Church, and the importance of
tradition of the Church. In his discussions with the Reformed,
especially the colloquium of Marburg (1529), affirms that the
Eucharist, without ceasing to be bread, is the same body of Christ 7. It

The radicalism of the Anabaptist affirmation: no authority (no prince, no Pope)

but Christ, acted as a revulsive, and led the reformers to institute an authority for a
new Church. The insults that LUTHER devotes to MNTZER and the Anabaptists
are probably harder than those he devotes to the Catholic Church and to popery. Also
the first references to the visible Church of Calvin, in the edition of the Christian
Institution of 1539, are followed by a long diatribe against the Anabaptists.

The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist does not mean that bread ceases to be
bread (theory of consubstantiation, in the face of Catholic transubstantiation), which
means a paradoxical dual nature visible and invisible, carnal and celestial, sinful and
redeemed (More in detail: B. GHERARDINI, Creature verbi, La Chiesa nella
theologia di Martin Luther, Rome 1993). In his famous Babylonian captivity of the
Church Luther denied that confirmation, marriage, priestly ordination and final
anointing were sacraments; Penance is the promise of exculpation received by faith
(the essence of penance is the absolution of sins, and this is freely received by faith),
penance is conceived as an experience of the covenant that recalls baptism, and is
not a sacrament (on the vacillations of Lutheranism on the sacramental character of
confession, and on the tensions between community public confession and private
confession.) RK RITTGERS, The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience
and Authority in sixteen century Germany, Cambridge, Mass., 2004). The central
point is the negation of the sacramental character of order, which is due to the
supremacy of the word as the constitution of the Church. The concept of universal
priesthood, is concretized in the famous letter of 1520 to the Christian nobility of the
German nation. The Church is God's people, and the distinction between laity and

is the divine and human duality of the Eucharist that also constitute
the dual nature of the priestly office (which apparently contradicts the
universal priesthood, as emphasized by the Anabaptist critique).
When he is accused of a new dogmatism and historical rupture,
he justifies himself by saying that he never wanted to leave the
Church, but only to reform it in the evangelical sense. His radical
opposition to the Roman Church does not mean to break tradition, but
to rescue the real tradition of Church from abuse and corruption, in
particular, deliver the Church of ecclesiastical hierarchy, celibacy, and
ritual practices by which man feels deserving divine predilection8.
Tradition is thus defined as a decisive component of the identity
and organization of the Lutheran Church, called evangelical, that
intends to represent the presence of Christ in the world and history9.
people is pure hypocrisy. The Church as a social form may, according to
Melanchton, be mistaken, but it is infallible as writing and word. TAVARD,
Ecriture, cit., 135. The priesthood is an office: all Christians participate in the same
priestly state (Stand), and the priesthood is no more than a function (Amt). For
Luther the priesthood should not be conceived as a sacrament, but instituted for the
teaching of the word and administration of the sacraments (see GONZALEZ
MONTES, Lutheran Reformation and Catholic Tradition, Salamanca 1987, p. 29
ff.). A duality: conversion, institution by Christ and by the Christian community, not
a simple vocation (berufung), or a choice for the people, But a vocation ordained by
the Church, which distinguishes the minister from the preacher. And in fact, Luther
seems to have evolved from the most spiritualistic early positions to emphasize the
importance of ordination in the face of the Anabaptists (see CL GREEN Change in
Luther's Doctrine of the Ministry "The Lutheran Quarterly" May 1966, http: //

In his 1539 treatise on the councils and the Church, he maintains that the Roman
Church has separated from the early Church tradition by dogmatically affirming
papal authority. He examines the principal councils and resolves that the council is
not an authority by itself, since it only concretizes the truth in the face of heresy: In
Nicaea before Aryan he affirms the divinity of Christ, in Constantinople the divinity
of the Holy Spirit, In Ephesus against Nestorianism the divine and human double
nature of Christ, and in Chalcedon the unity of Christ. Thus seems to have reversed
his initial radicalism (A. LAUBE, Radicalism as a reserch problem in the history of
the early reformation, in "Radical tendencies in the Reformation", Kirksville, 1988,
p. 128 et seq.).
LUTHER does not seem worry, as in the Calvinist world, the problem of the first
election of the Jews, and the integration of the Jews in the New Covenant. Lutheran
thought manifests itself anti-Semitic, especially in his book on the Jews and their
lies (1543), accusing them of usury and magical practices. He advises in that writing

And there is, beside this eclessiatical renewal, a second political

institutionalization of the Evangelical Reform. LUTHER, deeply
conservative, does not intend to achieve a revolution in political or
social life, and proclaims a scrupulous respect to the constituted
secular authorithy, directly appointed by God. He asserts firmly that
the prince's authority must be strictly obeyed, and that natural orders
(family, economy, politic) rule the secular world. According to
LUTHER, God has instituted two governments: one spiritual, acting
by the Holy Spirit, and another temporal, violent and sectarian,
destined to destroy by violence the ungodly and rebellious.
And Lutheran theology, by relying on the authority of the prince
in the struggles against the Papacy, the peasants, the Calvinists, the
Anabaptists, the Jews (and even to establish discipline within his
Church), represents the assertion of an strong and centralized
organization of secular authority, which will prevail in Germany, and
in general in the European culture, in modern age. The enlightened
rule of Law created out of printing and propaganda, new methods of
making war, in which gunpowder prevails over armor and medieval
castle (technique is more important than individual virtue), sustained
by the centralized modern banking, acquires, in addition, a religious
legitimacy due to the evangelic exaltation of the providential mission
of the secular authority10.
to bring fire to the synagogues or schools, and "to bury and cover with dirt
everything that we do not set fire to, so that no man will see them again stone or
ashes", "if the authorities are reluctant to use force and contain the diabolical
indecency of the Jews, the latter should be expelled from the land and sent to their
land and their possessions in Jerusalem". And Luther plants in the German soul a
deep anti-Semitic seed (L. KAENNEL, Luther, tait il antismite?, Genve 1997),
presents the Scripture of Luther in the context of his Biblical readings and in spirit of
his time, and refers to the failure of the Dialogue between Lutherans and Jews in the
earliest times of the Reformation, which radicalizes Luther's discourse, which
changes his first affective and hospitable declarations regarding the Jews.
LUTHER's alleged responsibility in German anti-Semitism (WL SHIRER, The Rise
And Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, New York, 1960, p.236).
The protagonism of masses in the political arena is another novelty of modern
age. LUTHER creates a new style of religious preaching that will serve as model for
the Protestant preacher and the political demagogue (simple, rude and direct
sermons, full of images, with popular and often vulgar texts and terminology
seeking a Familiar and emotional treatment). Manipulating the masses makes
theology, a theatral activity. The printed books and press opens the doors to
propaganda. Probably LUTHER ideas would not have spread without his

1.3 Calvin and the Christian Reformation.

Throughout the sixteenth century, in what we call the second
phase of the Reformation, a new Church, which will be called
Reformed, becomes the main Protestant current in the Christian world.
It is very difficult to establish a precise origin for this movement.
In Zurich ZWINGLIO declares the Bible to be the sole authority, it
organizes the Church as an ecumenical meeting of the faithful, without
a mediating function between man and his Creator, with a Eucharist
commemorating the Last Supper; and with a rigid sexual and social
morality, controlled by a Consistory11. In a similar sense, BUCERO in
Strasbourg, and contemporaneously, other reformers, such as
restore, from the principles of sola Fide and sola Scriptura, the
authentic Church of Christ.
This second phase of the Reformation is outlined over by the
outstanding personality of CALVIN12. Calvin's distinct influence is not
indisputable bestsellers throughout Europe (see USHER CHRISMAN Books and
social change in Strasbourg 1480-1599, New Haven 1982).

An ecclesiastical court born to discern matrimonial matters, but which later

extends its authority to the moral and social life of believers. The court is constituted
in 1525, it discusses the scope of its faculty of excommunicating the sinners, and the
participation in its procedures of excommunication of the civil authorities, as
instrument for the radical transformation of the customs, guarantee of an austere
Christian life (BENEDICT, Christ's churches purely reformed, social history of
Calvinism, New Haven, London, 2002, p. 30 ff.). Inspiring precedent of the
CALVIN Reformation in Geneva. The nomenclature "Calvinist Church" probably
had a derogatory meaning, identifying Calvin as the head of a new "popery". The
most modern historiography emphasizes that the new ideas can not be attributed
exclusively or principally to Calvin, and studies are abundant emphasizing the
importance of other reformers; underlining the nature of the Reformation as an
inspired collective effort to restore the Church of Christ ( BENEDICT, p. 50 et seq.).
Some authors also point out that if in the first phase of the reform the influence of
ex-priests and ex-religious is decisive, in the second phase there is s
institutionalizing work of laymen, especially jurists, such as CALVIN.

CALVIN was born in a family of the French high bourgeoisie closely linked to the
nobility. He receives a careful education as a child, where he stands out for his
intelligence. Studied bachelors in arts in the school of MONTAIGU of Paris,
celebrated by its rigor; and Law in Orleans, where taught ALCIATO, famous

only due to his energetic leadership in Geneva, but mainly because his
doctrine is presented in a clear and systematic way in the Christian
Institution, the most influential writing of the Reformation. CALVIN
spent his whole life re-editing and perfecting it13.
From the Lutheran principles of sola Fide and sola Scriptura, the
decisive event for the institutionalization of the Reformed Church is
the rupture with LUTHER, which occurs at the Marburg colloquium
in 1529. CALVIN refuses to accept literally "This is my body", which
underlies the sacrament of the Eucharist, a sign of the Church.
CALVIN does not place the accent on the Church as the presence of
the body of Christ, and maintains that the sacrifice of Christ is a
unique and unrepeatable historical event; Christ is seated at the right
hand of the Father and not in the Eucharist, as a bodily presence. The
humanist jurist of the Renaissance. After his conversion he flees the Catholic France
and it sits in Strasbourg. Called to Geneva as pastor, it culminates the most
ambitious and prestigious of Christian reforms. See GANOCZY (Calvin, Theology
de l'Eglise et du Ministre, Paris, 1964). CALVIN, in 1536 he completes, at only
twenty-seven years, the first edition of his Christian Institution. This is explained, of
course, by CALVIN's extraordinary intelligence, capacity for work and personality,
but also because his theology is closely inspired by LUTHER, which he adapts
through his jurist's eyes. (See BIELER, La pense conomique et sociale de Calvin,
Genve, 1959, p. 130 et seq.). It seems to me that since the first edition of the
Christian Institution CALVIN attempts to reconcile Lutheran theology using
"common sense", in the face of the disorder and dogmatism of the first reformer.
CALVIN is not a monk tortured by the presence of God, but a jurist, who attends to
practical problems of social identity of the dogma and organization of the Church.
As LEONARD explains, CALVIN, twenty years younger than LUTHER, belongs to
the second generation of the Reformation, which does not have to create
Protestantism, but to consolidate and organize it (General History of Protestantism,
1, 1967, p. 294).
The Christian Institution is called the summa of Protestantism: C. HUNT, Calvin,
London 1933, p., 177. Calvin's work contributes to the formation of the French
language, just as the Lutheran translation of the Bible contributes to the formation of
the modern German language. Had sucesive editions, each of which extends the
previous one. Written in a characteristic language, with classic resonances,
especially of CICERON, clear, brief, simple (MC NEILL, Calvin, on the Christian
faith, Indianapolis, 1957, page XVII of the introduction) AUTIN, L'institution
chrtienne de Calvin, Paris , 1929, studies the successive editions and their
particular historical avatars, as well as Gillmont, Jean Calvin et le livre prints,
Genve 1997, page 63 et seq. AM MC GRATH, Reformation thought, 3 ed Malden
1999). The full text in English at On
this website are digitaly published the main works of Calvin, in English, Latin and

Eucharist, the reality of the Church, is not a material participation of

the body of Christ, but a mystical union (the elevation of the heart).
Calvin admits the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, his death
and resurrection, but as a spiritual reality, not as a bodily presence. To
explain the sacrament of the Eucharist, as to explain the dogmatics of
the Church, the supremacy of Scripture over the flesh leads CALVIN
to deny Catholic transubstantiation or Lutheran consubstantiation14.
The supremacy of Scripture, his comitement to the Church as an
experience of the word, rather than as an immediate presence of
Christ, leads him to emphasize the study and preaching, and thus to
simplify the liturgy, with suppression of images, condemnation of the
pomp, dress, incense and traditional imagery15; with a peculiar
concern in ecclesial discipline, which emphasizes introspection and
the social control of morals and customs16.

CALVIN since the first edition of the Christian Institution criticizes the Lutheran
doctrine of the ubiquity of Christ; Christ is incarnated with a finite humanity and this
prevents him from being present bodily in the Eucharist (D. Steininetz, Calvin in
context, New York-Oxford, 1995, p. 172 ff.). It develops a Trinitarian explanation of
the Eucharist: Christ is present in the Eucharist in his divine nature, as a
participation of the Holy Spirit, but not in his human nature. In 1549 the consensus
Tigurinus was signed, and unifies the Calvinist and Zwinglian Churches: BOYER
(Calvin et Luther, accords et diffrences, Rome, 1973, p. 168 et seq.), E. ISERLOH
(Compendium of History and Theology of Islam, Brescia 1990, p. 191). The famous
jurist Rudolph SOHM, Kirchenrecht, Berlin, reprint 1970, interprets this Calvinist
Church and its emphasis, on a visible, legally organized Church, especially after
1541, as a return to the Roman Catholic model. However holding the real presence
of Christ in the Eucharist, and other ceremonies and rites of the Babilonian Church,
from the reformed ranks Luther is also accused of enduring the errors of Roman
Catholicism (MUELLER, Church and State In Luther and Calvin, New York 1954) .

Baptism and the Eucharist are signs of the Church admitted in the Reformed
Church, although reinterpreted from scriptural presuppositions. The relationship
between theology and liturgy, especially referred to the Eucharist, is examined
recently by L. P. WANDEL. The Eucharist in the Reformation: Incarnation and
Liturgy. Cambridge, 2006. The Calvinist liturgy is no longer founded on
highlighting transubstantiation but on its commemorative character, and the
shepherd's garments no longer emphasize his special mission. The variety of liturgy
is explained by the very different theological interpretations of the Eucharist within
the Reformed movement.
In the strict Puritan congregations, except for psalm singing, music is hardly a part
of Christian worship, nor is the exaltation of the experience of the presence of the
Lord. After emphasizing the severity of Calvinist societies and pondering the classic
study of E. Durkheim, which states that suicide is much more prevalent in Protestant

2. The political and social institutionalization of the Protestant

The first step of Reformation is ussualy taken by the municipal
councils or by the prince or lord of a territory, which imposes the new
orthodoxy, adapts worship to reformed beliefs, exercises jurisdictional
authority over all assets of the Church and suppresses monasteries.
The abolition of the Catholic Mass is normally the formal act that
implies the adoption of the Reformation, imposing simplified liturgy
and in the vernacular.
Evangelical worship establishes firmly in Denmark,
Sweden and northern Germany17. However, after the initial explosion,
the Reformation is diluted in many ramifications and disputes; and at
the thrust of Calvinism, the evangelical cult acquires a predominantly

countries than in Catholics, R. POCHIA HSIA (Social Discipline in the Reformation,

London-New York, 1992, p. 162) underlines the recent studies of the canton of
Zurich at the time of the Reformation, where the crime rate declined with the
introduction of Calvinist but dramatically increased suicide, due to individual
conscience, guilt, discipline, self-examination and the asceticism of self-denial (p.
164). The study of the ecclesiastical investigations or files on suicides (to determine
their right to be buried in a Christian cemetery) shows that the great majority of
them were honorable persons, Bible scholars, diligent and fulfilling in the daily life.
And in fact the exponential increase of suicides towards 1680 raised a crisis of
conscience to the own ecclesial authorities, that in general terms admit the Christian
burial of the suicides (Page 166).
A fundamental difference between the Evangelicals Norse and the German
evangelicals is the pretension of the first ones not to have lost the apostolic
succession. For this reason the 1995 Porvoo agreement establishes, with certain
limitations, the communion of the Church of England, already clearly identified with
episcopalism, and the Lutheran Churches of Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania,
Norway and Sweden. Outside the Scandinavian countries, most Lutheran Churches
consciously interrupt apostolic succession and translate the Greek texts of the
Gospels which refer to the episcopal, from which the modern bishop comes, as
superintendents or inspectors, to underline the lack of sacramental sense of the
charge, which acquires a purely functional or functional sense; justifying the
episcopate not in tradition but in the service of the Christian community. The
twentieth century nevertheless assists in a revival of the pastoral function of
priesthood within the evangelical Church (B. REYMOND, Entre la grce et la loi,
Introduction au droit Ecclsial Protestant, Genve, 1992, p.152), which insists on
the necessary independence of the Church from the State, as a reaction to the
excesses of the so-called German Christians, in the National Socialist era.

Germanic fragrance18. It can be said that Prussia is the Lutheran

kingdom par excellence, and on Lutheran bases reunification and
religious freedom is acomplished in Germany (more in detail in
chapter II)19.
The Calvinist stream of Christian Reform is prevalent
throughout the second half of the sixteenth century century onwards.
In its first years Reform was the political imposition of authority, but
in its consolidation, so France, England, Holland, the United States,
Reform is established in a doctrinal and popular way, as opposed to
constituted power, and in direct confrontation with Royal absolutism.
Briefly summarizing, it extends to Switzerland, Scotland, Holland,

LUTHER has been seen as the awakening of the Germanic identity. The birth of
the Germanic spirit against the double and nuances of the Latin hipocresy,
represented in the refinement of the Roman court, and in the subtleties of
scholasticism. LUTHER has been frequently presented as the hero of German
nationalism, complexed in the face of the Latin and Roman world (R. SEEBERG,
Textbook of the history of doctrines, Eng. Grand Rapids, 1952, ALVAREZ
GUTIERREZ, Luther in History, " Revista Agustiniana, 75, 1983, p. 306). HITLER,
considered LUTHER ancestor of his movement. The Reformation hymn (letter and
music of LUTHER: our God is a solid fortress), in their version of BACH, were
indicative of the German special communiques in World War II. Before reunification
the German Democratic Republic, which had officially considered Luther
reactionary due to his position in the wars of peasants, changed official doctrine on
the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of his birth, and considered him
progressive (for its struggle against the papacy ). The Reformation is then presented
by the German democratic authorities as the first battle of the bourgeoisie against
feudalism (see, T. EGIDO, Luther from History, "Journal of Spirituality", 42, 1983,
Page 383) SUBILLA, Interpretationi di Luther, "Protestant" 1, 1983, p. 17 ff).
Primary mystical or religious experiences contrast Religions periodically, and are
difficult to digest by constituted religious authority. Pietism, the most characteristic
heresy within Lutheranism, originated in the eighteenth century, and advocates a
more emotive religion. For its part, Lutheran orthodoxy emphasizes that antidogmatism is destined to end in pseudo-millennial mysticism and indifferentism.
The Pietist movement is strongly influenced by the Spanish mystic of the golden age
and then influences the romantic movement and the poetic, literary and cultural
awakening of the German 19th century. It inspires also, in a decisive way,
Methodism in the Church of England. It reaches God fundamentally through
emotion (cf. SUMBILIA, il Pietismo, "Protestant", 1, 1963). By the strange principle
that an assertion is also the affirmation of its opposite, there are shocking affinities
between Pietism and the development of the philosophical trio of Wurttemberg:
Holdering, Hegel and Shelling. Pietism, in an unusual contradiction, coincides
historically with the development of the rationalist institutionalization of the great
German State, strong and reunified, national and xenophobic.

England and France, and then decisively influences the formation of

American national identity. In the XIX developes an important
missionary activity, and extends in Latin America:
A) SWITZERLAND, CALVIN during his exile in Strasbourg
conceives his Presbyterian system of government for the Church, and
introduces it later in Geneva. After the Consensus Tigurinus, the
presbyterial system is introduced or accepted by most of the Swiss
Protestant churches.
B) SCOTLAND. KNOX, fleeing persecution, studies Calvinism
in Geneva and implants it on his return to Scotland, where he
decisively influences the evolution of the Anglican Church.
C) NETHERLANDS finds national identity in Calvinism
(Confessio Belgica, adopted in Antwerp in 1566), and by its influence
extends later to South Africa and the Dutch Colonies. Arminianism is
the most characteristic heresy within Dutch Calvinism and postulates
free will against Calvinist dogma of predestination. Arminianism was
condemned by institutional Calvinism at the Synod of Dordrecht, 26
April 161920. The Socinian or unitary heresy, which denies the Trinity,
also extended with force in Holland in the seventeenth century21.


The Works of James Arminius, trans. By James Nichols and William R. Bagnall at On this decisive Synod in Calvinist history S.
ROSTAGNO, I predestinati. Torino 2006, in particular, p. 56 et seq. Arminian
heresy is a decisive factor in the secularization of the Calvinist world. The essays
compiled by R. PO-CHIA HSIA, H.VAN NIEROP, Calvinism and Relegious
Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age, Cambridge, 2002. The Union of Utrech
guarantees freedom of conscience, although with restrictions for Catholics; Holland
receives the exiles of the European wars of religion and the Spanish and Portuguese
Jews (Marranos). In this context is initiated Dutch natural law, which advocates
valuing the person above his religious beliefs.
R. De MATTEI, A sinistra de LUTHER, Rome 1999, p. 77 ff. The most known
Spanish antitrinitarists are Juan de Valdes and Miguel Servet. The main Italian
antitrinitarians took refuge in the Poland of Sigismund, a calvinism in decay, and in
Rakov, between 1603 and 1605, they write Cathecismus recoviensis, on its dogmatic
principles. The counter-reform in Poland forces them to emigrate by settling in the
Netherlands and England, where they constitute a singularly influential stream of
thought. We will see that the English revolution and restoration condemns them
expressly. It constitutes a current within Calvinism and baptism, a denomination
more than a proper Church.

d) The Calvinist movement was also felt in GERMANY, being

the most notorious the palatine elector Frederick III. From 1560,
Calvinism displaces Lutheranism among the Polish, Magyar and
Bohemian nobility22.
e) FRANCE. Calvinism spreads irregularly through Catholic
France, forming the current of the Huguenots23.
Since its first Synod in Paris, in May 1559, the French Reformed
Church formalizes a confession of faith, which would definitely be
fixed at the Synod of La Rochelle in 1571, taking the Geneva model,
and under the direct inspiration of Calvin24. After the general slaughter
of Huguenots on the night of St. Bartholomew (1572), freedom of
worship was recognized in France by the edict of Nantes (1598),
Calvinism becoming the most important religious minority.
f) ENGLAND. Queen Elisabeth I institutionalized an
authoritarian Reformation sui generis, of Calvinist influence, although
preoccupied to preserve the traditional rite. The monarchy, defined as
head of the Church, preaches religious tolerance, and within the
national Church of England are identified two major trends:
Episcopalists, very near catholicism, defenders of the ecclesial
hierarchy (priesthood as a sacrament and the existence of bishops),
and the Puritans and presbiterians, of Calvinistic tendency. The
coexistence between Episcopalians and Presbyterians within the
Church of England will not be easy, but very creative and fruitful,

G. MURDOCK, Calvinism on the frontier, 1600-1660: International calvinism

and the Reformed Church in Hungary and Transilvania, Oxford 2000.
The expression Huguenots seems due to their Catholic enemies, at the time of the
conspiracy of Amboise, because apparently in that region there was the legend of a
night ghost, and the protestants were considered ghosts that met for magical and
seditious practices (BENEDICT, p. 142). However, E. ISERLOH (Compendium of
History and Theology of the Revolution, trad., Brecia 1990, p. 195), refers to the
Germanic term Eidgenossen: conjured). From 1555, pastors were sent from Geneva
to serve Christian reform in France: KINGDOM (Geneva and the coming of the
wars of religion in France, Geneva 1956).

The Synod was presided over by Teodoro Beza, and the confession of faith was
signed by Juana III of Albret Reina de Navarra, and his son Enrique, future king of
France (see JM OLAIZOLA, History of Protestantism in the Basque Country,
Pamplona 1993, in Special page 155 et seq).

genesis of the legal categories of modernity, and very specially

religious freedom. Westmister's Confession of 1648 marked the
ephemeral triumph of the strictly Calvinist current in the Church of
England, and gave way to a popular, parliamentary, and secular
g) United States. The American nation is forged in Calvinist and
Puritan identity, with a clear messianic sense. Puritan rebellion is
probably the most decisive cause for independence of English
colonies in America. American Constitution establishes the principle
of religious freedom and garantees, for first time in history,
coexistence of different Calvinistic and Christian denominations.
However, the American Protestant churches progressively loose social
influence as they are torn apart by continual schisms and divisions,
accommodation to dominant structures, religious fundamentalism, and
growing immigration not identified with Puritan ideals. It is stated
categorically that in the twentieth century the Protestant Calvinist
stream is no longuer predominant in the USA26

The radicalization of Presbyterianism, as opposed to the restoration of the

hierarchical Church, gives rise as a peculiarity within the Church of England, the
Congregationalist and other separatist tendencies, which (without ever abandoning
its Calvinist root and its definition of man from a predestinationist ontology)
emphasize the principle that each local community is an authentic Church, which
must be autonomous, choosing its pastors by choice, and accept neither the principle
of co-option of pastors nor the authority of the Synod over the local Churches.

For to the internal crisis of the Protestant denominations is added the massive
arrival of immigrants who do not identify with the values that forged independence
S.E. AHLSTRON, A Religious History of the American People, New Haven 1972,
especially Page 915 et seq. The American society faces the beginning of a growing
secularization after the civil war, probably due to the incapacity of the main
Protestant denominations to solve the abolitionism dilemma. In the nineteenth
century, the exponential multiplication of Baptism and Methodism, proselytizing
currents, makes Calvinists lose their former dominance. According to W. SWEET's
classic thesis, Religion in the American Frontier, Chicago 1946 (4 vols. Dedicated to
Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Methodists) is the conquest of the
West, and the proselytizing thrust of Baptists and Methodists, the forge of a new
American Protestantism, which rejects Calvinist predestination and affirms
individual responsibility (fruit of conversion as personal experience) and success
based on work. In the last third of the nineteenth century, there was an important
migratory flow of Catholic countries that had a strong impact on American society,
in which context the war with Mexico, Spain, the invasion of the Philippines, Cuba
and Puerto Rico, and a revival of Protestant radicalism and anti-Catholic proselytism

h) In nineteenth century, when the Protestant movement

understends the decisive importance of missionery proselitism in the
consolidation and evolution of Catholicism, a specific Protestant
missionary concern is initiated, with the foundation by William Carey
(1761-1834) of the missionary Baptist Society, and the establishment
of important Protestant missions in Africa (Livingston, Schweitzer),
China (where JH Taylor founded the China Inland Mission) 27, And
especially, particularly successful, in LATIN AMERICA. Baptists and
Methodists, very proselytizing confessions, seem to be inspired by a
genuine missionary zeal. From the nineteenth century on Protestant
missions spread throughout the South American continent, especially
in Central America and Brazil28.
(S. SILVA GOTAY, Protestantism and Politics in Puerto Rico, San Juan 1997, pp. 55
ff) . A different view of American society gives us R.E. PYLE (Persistence and
change in the Protestant Establishment, Westport 1996), which presents the image
of an America still controlled by a Calvinist elite, more liberal and adapted to the
new times, that perpetuates itself.
SIKH. Sheveschewski (1831-1906), born a Jew and a convert to Protestantism, a
missionary in China, translated the Bible into Manadarin (1875), and was appointed
bishop of Shanghai in 1877. AIKMAN, D., Jesus in Beijing ,. Washington, DC,
2003. DUNCH, R., Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of Modern China, 18571927, New Haven, 2001. BAYS, D. H., Christianity in China: from the Eighteenth
Century to the Present. Stanford, 1996. G.GRAHAM, Gender, Culture and
Christianity: American Protestant Mission in China (1880-1930), New York 1995.

MARTIN D. Tongues of Fire: The explosion of Protestantism in Latin America,

Oxford 1990. E. E. BRUSCO, The reform of machismo: evangelical conversion and
gender in Colombia, Austin 1995, The different churches do not seem to have
precise doctrinal profiles and are allied in their conflict with a majority Catholic
body, some undefined currents appear to have imposed themselves with peculiar
success, in particular the Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the direct manifestation
of the Holy Spirit, in the gift of tongues, prophecy, healing, etc. And that contested
by the traditional Protestant denominations, we consider Protestant by courtesy.
Pentecostalism, born in the United States, a continuation of the city of Sion, founded
in 1900 by John ALEXANDER DOWIE, is presented as the action of God by his
Holy Spirit that broke into Pentecost in the first century of Christian history (Acts 24, Luke 24:49, Joel 2: 27-32) and who seeks to experience the Christian life in its
foundational essence (see GERLACH, L. Pentecostalism: Revolution or CounterRevolution, in Irving's "Religious Movements in Contemporary America"). The
exponential growth of Protestantism in Central America in the 1990s seems to have
stopped. In addition to its lack of dogmatic identity, the problem of desertion is one
of the More worrying for evangelicals in some countries (see in detail, HALLUM
AM, cit., P. 61 et seq, cites a study by Keller that finds in an adult group in Costa
Rica a continuous dropout of 8.1% in the first year which rises to 12.1% three years
later). GOMEZ, JI (Growth and Desertion in the Costa Rican Evangelical Church,

3. The Anabaptist Churches.

Spontaneously, at different times and places, Christian utopial
movements emerge that seek to bring to their ultimate consequences
the doctrine of faith alone: they baptize only adults (those who
believe), and deduce from Scripture a commemorative Eucharist,
democratic and parochial Church29. They presuppose that the true
believer is persecuted and exiled, and the sinner by faith is reborn in a
community, a congregation of saints, organized according to the
gospel (as in the earliest times of the Church, as described in the
Epistles of St. Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles)30.
INDEF, San Jos, 1996) evaluated 8.6% of desertions among Costa Rican
evangelicals, 62% had returned to the Catholic Church, 31% were not affiliated with
any and 6% had joined Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons. Pentecostal Protestantism
is also adopted by some Gypsy communities of Andalusia, especially in Seville,
Cadiz and Malaga, which are the Andalusian provinces which have a greater number
of Philadelphia Churches, named after the first Christian Churches, as they appear in
the Facts of the apostles (see CANTON DELGADO, M. (and others) Pentecostal
gypsies, an anthropological view of the Philadelphia Church in Andalusia, Seville,

They arise as a spontaneous movement both against Lutheranism and against

Calvinism. Andrs Karlstadt, Toms Mntzer, and Conrad Grebel, can be presented
as precursors of Anabaptism, because they held in one way or another the baptism of
adults, manifestation of the faith, and deny the intermediation of the Church. Grebel
emphasizes that the Acts of the Apostles are an interior baptism of the Spirit, the
faith from heaven and the water baptism of the adult believer who is reborn (C.
SNYDER, Anabaptist history and Theology: An Introduction. The first Anabaptist
confession of faith is found in Schleitheim's articles of 1527, written by Miguel
Sattler (former prior of a Benedictine monastery) where the famous seven great
principles of the Anabaptist faith are formulated: Adult baptism, excommunication
of sinners, commemoration of Christ's supper among believers, withdrawal from
idolatrous practices, free election of pastors, withdrawal from violence, and
prohibition of oath. In the general amnesty given by Henry VIII of England to all
heretics, including Catholics, he explicitly excluded the Anabaptists, whom he
defined as practicing adult baptism, for refusing to occupy offices or positions in
The Republic, for refusing to take oaths, and for its insistence that all things were
Anabaptism can then be interpreted as an emotional and sentimental reaction,
forged in suffering and prayer, against a official religion which was accused of being
a dogmatic and elitist, religion of intellectuals. The name, Anabaptist, as on so many
occasions, seems chosen by his enemies, who expressly condemn "the Anabaptists"
(in calls them the confession of Augsburg). They prefered to call themselves
brothers, believers or Church of the believers (what F. DURNBAUGH considers to
be from Max Weber: The Believers' Church, The History and Character of Radical

In general, the Anabaptists deny predestination and affirm free

will, emphasizing that Christ died for all mankind and not to save a
few; they refuse to admit that original sin is a complete deviation from
the divine image; and affirm that repentance, faith, work and charity,
are meritorious in themselves31. It is characteristic of Anabaptism not
to be institutionalized as Official religion of State32.
Having established these great principles, there are relevant
discrepancies between currents and Anabaptist denominations, and it
becomes difficult to establish common characteristics and limits to the
Anabaptist movement. In general the respect of the constituted order
identifies the Anabaptism against revolutionary, sectarian,

Protestantism, Scottdale, 1968, IX). The first communities seem to have formed in
Switzerland, northern Germany and Holland. Later in Moravia they were known like
Hutterianos, by the extraordinary influence of Jakob Hutter; and in the Netherlands
from 1545 they were known as Mennonites, taking the name of one of the foremost
reformers of their time, Menno Simons. Anabaptists formed major congregations in
Germany, Switzerland, Central Europe (Moravia in particular), Holland, England
and southern Russia, massively emigrating to the United States and Canada, where
there are important congregations (especially in Pennsylvania, Ontario and
Mannitoba), some Very picturesque for their dress and customs, as the Amish. There
is also an important Mennonite group in the Chaco, Paraguay (constituting
independent groups: Menno, Fernheim, Friesland, Volendam, and Neuland).

The defense of freedom against predestination leads them to maintain the personal
resurrection at the end of time, unlike Calvin, who does not dogmatically support the
resurrection of all, but only of the elect (BALKE, Calvin and the Anabaptist
Radicals, Grand Rapids 1981). It can be said that the general basis of his theology is
generally antitrinitarian. In many Anabaptist streams the ceremony of washing of the
feet emphasizes hospitality as a special virtue of Christians and acquires special
relevance and is associated with the Lord's Supper (WOPACKULL, An Introduction
to Anabaptist Theology, "The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology
"Cambridge 2004, p. 194).
The Anabaptists intend to break with the duality Church State and the corpus
christianum, which they say maintain Catholics and Protestants, and affirm the
freedom of conscience, and the total emancipation of the Christian of the political
organization. Making Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire in Constantine's
time was the great historical betrayal of the Gospel, as Christ did not interfere with
the princes of his time. More in Detail: WENGER, Compendium of Mennonite
History and Doctrines, trans. Esp., Buenos Aires, 1960; G.H. WILLIAMS, The
radical reform., Trad. Esp., 1983, p. 440; PACKULL, Hutterite beginnings,
Baltimore 1995; H.G. GOERTZ, Radical religiosity in the German reformation, in
"The reformation world", Oxford, 2004.

spiritualistic or utopian movements, as the peasant revolution 33. In

order to organize the "Church", the Anabaptists generally adopt a
model similar or analogous to the presbyterial form of Church, with
offices of pastor, elder and deacon34. And the Anabaptist Churches
usually defend the ecclesial character of marriage, monogamy, and
indissolubility of marriage in terms often even more rigorous than the
Lutheran or Calvinist churches, admitting only divorce for adultery35.


MENNO SIMONS, and in general the great Anabaptist reformers, affirm respect
for the constituted order. Some Anabaptist currents (such as the Hutterites) place
particular emphasis on the idea of sharing goods and organizing "communist"
congregations; others in charity and hospitality; Others in the spiritual character of
the divinity of Christ, adopted by the father; others in the silent suffering of the
Christian, the practice of forgiveness and the offering of the other cheek, which
should preside over the renewed life of the convert, etc., See J. STAYER,
Anabaptists and the sword, Lawrence, 1972. However, certain Christian radicals
deny authority, property and marriage, and generate dangerous and destructive
social, political and pseudomistic experiences. For example, in 1534 in the name of
Anabaptism the kingdom of Sion was founded in Munster. Property was abolished,
marriage of women over 14 years old was ordained, legally establishing polygamy.
His king Jan van Leyden marries 16 women. Thousands of Anabaptists converge in
Munster until the city is surrendered by treason in 1535 (in detail S. HAUDE, In the
shadow of Salvage Wolves: Anabaptist Munster and the German Reformation,
Boston-Leyden-Cologne, 2000). Because of polygamy, the kingdom of Sion of
Munster is often excluded from Anabaptism (although some claim to be genuine
Anabaptists such as STAYER, Anabaptist and the Sword, Lawrence, Kansas, 1976).
Also the Charitatis family, called Nicolaitans, when founded by N. NICLAES
(1502/1580), advocates the mystical union with the Lord, by which the converts are
free from sin, and practice free love and communication of goods, a sect to which
the famous Spanish humanist Benito Arias Montano allegedly belonged, and which
seems to have spread with peculiar force among the English Baptists (R. De
MATTEI, A sinistra de Luther, Rome 1999, p. 51 ff.). The famous friends of blood
(Blutsfreunde aus der Wiedertaufe), Thuringia, considered that the true sacrament of
marriage was the collective and carnal exchange of brothers and sisters.
Anabaptists are inspired by the Calvinist organization of the Church, but they
usually emphasize, in the face of Calvinist organization, the radical principle of the
free choice of pastors for each Christian community. See the Ministry Ministry in
"Mennonite encyclopedia", 1957, vol 3 Page 699 et seq. Also now: Global
Online: The Baptist Churches in
the British colonies of New England adopt the Westminster Confession and the
congregational forms of organization, differing from the Congregationalists mainly
on the theme of adult baptism and refusal to be a state religion (WS HUDSON- J.
CORRIGAN , Religion in America, 6 ed. Upper Saddle River, 1999, p. 43). The
Congregationalists themselves debate at length about the respective value of baptism

A peculiar Christian movement, closely linked to Puritanism and

Anabaptism, closes the historical cycle of Anglosaxon Christian
Protestants. It was founded by George FOX (1624-1691). Snapped up
by mystical experience, he stresses the importance of seeking the inner
light of the living Christ, for the Scriptures are to be understood in the
same spirit in which they were revealed, and the message of the gospel
has been corrupted by its institutionalization, religious and secular.
The risen Christ is present in the believer soul. FOX forms a new
congregation that rejects all the sacraments, like rites without content:
in the Spirit we are baptized, not in water. Quakers also refuse to pay
tithes (Gal 5: 4), to take oaths (Mat 5: 33-37), to bow or to be revealed
to authorities who do not represent God (James 2: 1-4). They have a
special concern for social justice, and were radically abolitionist in the
American civil confrontation36.
and faith, establishing the baptism of children but conditioning it that faith is
formally confirmed in adulthood as a sign of conversion, which gaves the convert
the fullness of rights in the Church. But faith and baptism are in difficult
equilibrium, for if the baptized were not confirmed, they could not be excluded from
the Church, nor denied baptism to their own children (ibid., P. 65). The Baptists are
thus placed in the Calvinist tradition; The number of Baptists was very small among
the early settlers, but they multiplied rapidly after the conversion of the mythical
Roger Williams (ibid., P. 68). When the Puritans in Massachusetts organized
Congregationalism as a state religion, they expelled Roger Williams as a
nonconformist, who founded a new Baptist Church in Rhode Island, which in 1647
proclaimed religious freedom (G. Mac GREGOR, Corpus Christi. Of the Church
According to the Reformed Tradition, Eugene Or, 2004, page 17, GAUSTAD, ES,
Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1991).
As in Calvinism, the exercise of excommunication comes to represent the central
point of the exercise of authority in the Church, although Calvinists are usually
characterized by their exaltation of the importance of music in coherence with a
emotional religion. In the United States many Baptist churches are characterized by
their exaltation of music (For example, see B. B. PATERSON, The Sound of the
Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches, Urbana, Ill., 1995)
It is affirmed that the union of man and woman reproduces the natural state prior
to the fall of Adam and Eve and therefore is indissoluble. In the Confession of
Schleitheim (1527) divorce is admitted only on grounds of adultery, sometimes for
the privilege of faith at the time of converting the proselyte, although it can not be
generalized, since the privilege of faith is denied in a treaty of the Dutch Mennonites
of 1527, in the 5 Hutterite articles of 1547 and in the Mennonite resolution of
Wismar in 1554; allowed separation but the spouse had to keep fidelity (chastity)
until The infidel would die or adulterate (R. PHILLIPS, Putting Asunder, A History
of Divorce in Western Society, Cambridge, MA, 1988, p..
1 Cor 2; And, above all, 1 John 2:27, last verse, has been one of the basic pillars
of the so-called Quakers, the teaching of Peter (Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 2 and

Alongside these four basic streems of Christian reform

(Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and Church of England), many
other Churches, sects, and congregations have emerged in the
Christian West in the heat of faith alone. It is striking how the
evolution of Protestant history seems to show us a continuous dialectic
of reform, which simplifies the theology of the Church and the
sacraments, until radically denying it. Only the faith in Christ and the
Gospels, interpreted according to their own inspiration, are left to the
Quakers, to their left begins the denial of both Christian pillars.
Anabaptist and Quaker beliefs, despite being contrary to the
institutional and sacramental notion of the Church, over time, and
starting from important regional and confessional differences,
generate important ecclesial organizations, and a doctrinal and
dogmatic tradition coherent and elaborate (with competitive
theological higher education, and strong emphasis on martyrology of
its origins). Baptists in particular organize worship and Christian life
in congregation, ordain their ministers, and give as a Church special
attention to education, proselytism and charity; and even prominent
members of these communities are actively involved in politics37.
3). At first they gave themselves the name of "children of light" (1 Thes 5: 5). FOX
itself preferred to give them simply the title of "friends" (that's how they like to be
called Quakers-Acts 27: 3, John 15:14). But they were called "Quakers", Quake
English, tremble, for their strange gestures in prayer, which in many cases are
assimilated or resemble those of orthodox Jews. The autobiography of G. FOX on
line can be consulted at The Quakers
seem to have exercised proselytism in certain Anabaptist circles, producing strong
reactions to the right of the Baptists, who at times assume the most radical
Calvinistic views on Church organization and predestination (see Hugh BARBOUR
The Quakers in Puritan England, New Haven 1964, who conceived the Quakers as a
development of Puritanism (p. 2), TL UNDERWOOD, Primitivism, Radicalism and
the Lambs War, The Baptist-Quaquer Conflict in Seventeenth Century England,
Oxford 1997). Quakers, like the original Baptists, were especially frowned upon by
political power, for not recognizing secular authority and refusing to pay taxes
(BARBOUR, The Quakers in Puritan England, New Haven, 1964); Nevertheless
from 1689 independent, Baptists and Quakers obtain the right to practice religion
freely in England.

An example of institutionalization of Anabaptism W.O. PACKULL, The hutterite

beginnings. Communist experiments during the reformation, Baltimore 1995.
Characterizing the Anglo-Saxon world, NIEBUHR The Social Sources of
Denomination, New York, 1962 (the first edition is from 1929) notes within
Protestantism that what begins as a radical sect, evolves over time into a comfortable

Over the years, the various Anabaptist Churches, perhaps for

their attractive and colorful creed, perhaps for their emotional impact,
perhaps for their strong proselytism, become relevant confessions in
the Protestant world. But recognizing their most deep Christian values
in personal, family and social life, the lack of responsibility for the
secular Law and State, and the lack of dogmatic principles, makes
them in my personal view loose institutional coherence, and they
divide into streams and factions, sometimes picturesque or eccentric,
that tread to secularization.
4. Protestantism and doctrinal principles of modern Law:
religious freedom as root of political freedom.
Political organizations are very fragile, constantly convulsed by
internal dissensions, palace intrigues, political revolutions, social
agitations and external enemies. The unjust societies live in chaos:
where there is no justice there are only poverty and ruins. Religious
plurality is one of the most frequent causes of serious political
tensions within a political organization; justice in religious diversity is
especially difficult. The wars of religion in Europe are a good
The democratic society seems to have its historical genesis in
the sterile religious confrontation between Christians, with the daily
spectacle of repression and persecution. Religious belligerence and
persecution shows itself costly and painful, unjust and useless.
Confessions and Christian denominations have demonstrated their
ability to form and survive as minority groups, sometimes despite a
fierce persecution of established or majority confession. After years of
denomination, at peace with the world around it, and which normally blesses the
socially and economically well-placed characters of the local society on which it is
based, while assuming a social responsibility and political responsability beyond the
religious denomination itself. The very diversified Baptist denominations, by their
localism, are classified according to social and economic origins, national and of
races. C. REDEKOP, SC AINLAY, R. SIEMENS, Mennonite Entrepreneurs,
Baltimore 1995, present to the Mennonites sacralizing the property of the land,
attached to it, and with strict authority (paternal and ecclesial) in guarantee of a strict
social morality, but then, as in Germany and Holland, where they enjoy greater
freedom, when urbanized, they face a process of strong secularization and loss of
religious identity, with its own principles and values, usually adapting to new needs
and greater laxity than that of its ancestors (p. 235).

clashes and religious wars, it is clear that none of the Christian beliefs
can prevail in an absolute way on the European stage.
The peace of Westphalia affirms the confessional State,
indulgent with the religious minorities for practical reasons. After the
storm of Reformation, when the waters rest, when confessions are
politically established, in what we can call the second phase of the
Reformation, the difficulty is no longer award social and legal
institutions for new religious ideas, but the integration of dissidents,
coexistence with minority Christian groups, considered disloyal,
fanatic or idolatrous.
The legal structure, arising from the peace of Westphalia, is still
unstable. Tolerance is accepted as a legal principle, but with what
limits? The Protestant confessional trends also face internal
discrepancy and even religious fanaticism, and sometimes the
persecuted transform into persecutors, maybe to check again its
Lutheran and Calvinist rules of law seem to leed to nondenominational institutionalitation founded on secular values, as the
most effective way to ensure political stability. It is one step further:
only authentic religious freedom guarantees the end of confessional
conflict and internal religious dissidence. We thus arrive at the social
formalization of secular political models of Protestant territories,
which are defined by religious freedom, and egalitarian treatment of
all Christian confessions. The cold, dour and severe Protestant society,
tortured by dissent and quarrels, then discovers authentically Christian
values of man's worth, and establishes religious freedom as ground of
social and political equality.
Religious freedom is reached by different paths. The German
Protestant state of Lutheran roots, produces a authoritarian secular
model of religious freedom, which I examine in detail in Chapter II,
and which I think has failed. On the other hand, the Calvinist world, as
a counterpoint to Royal absolutist doctrines, rises a genuine religious
freedom, founded on parliamentarism, which is the germ of modern

The secularization of Protestantism is the fascinating adventure

that we examine in the following chapters. Religious freedom will be
the melting pot of political freedom. Since man is always an
embodiment of his experience of divinity, there can be no political
freedom without a prior education and experience in true religious
freedom. And religious freedom will inevitably be linked and result in
personal, sexual, marital and economic freedom. The foundation of
the political structure is established in the identity of man, as such
man, and not in his concrete beliefs. Religious and political freedom
produces stable societies, which favors the development of culture,
tolerance, industry, commerce and wealth. The apparent lack of
religious coherence of Calvinist societies, through their pluralism, is
translated, however, after establishing as a principle religious freedom,
in a solid and stable political structure, which is not consumed in
barren internal struggles.


1. Two kingdoms.
LUTHER, inspired by St. Augustine, refers the existence of two
kingdoms: the celestial and the terrestrial. Believers are ruled by love,
guided by the gospel, renewed by grace. The children of Adam belong
to the earthly kingdom, are driven by their instincts, abandoned to
their passions, under the rule of law. The Church is the experience of
Christ in history, and brings peace; the secular kingdom is founded on
nature and distorted by violence.
The two kingdoms coexist. They are not confronted, in the
Manichean way, like good and evil; rather it is the same man before
and after his redemption. The redeemed Church is immersed in a
sinful world, but it is part of the world. The Church, through the
preaching of the Word (law and gospel) and the administration of the
sacraments, directly serves the spiritual regime and indirectly to the
temporal regime. The kingdom of the heavens testifies the sacrifice of
Christ, and surrenders to the world carrying the Cross. Priests and
bishops are not authority but service and ministry, for among
Christians there must be no authority38.
In his writing On the Papacy of Rome (1520) LUTHER
conceived Christianity as the community of all believers, whose only
head is Christ, and the power of the keys has not been given to Peter
as a person, but in the name of the Christian community; And in A
Christian Nobility of the German Nation, the two kingdoms appear
inseparably forming a single organism, the Christianum corpus, united
as body and soul. The visible head of this Christianum corpus is the

According to GONZALEZ MONTES, the theory of the two kingdoms in Luther is

not systematic and perhaps should only be interpreted as a preaching, in particular,
the two kingdoms should not be identified with the State and the Church, for
although the Church of Christ is invisible and Is governed by the word and the
sacrament, one can not politicize the thought of LUTHER and relegate the Church to
a sterile interiority (religion and nationalism, cit., P. 33, ff.). B. LOHSE (Martin
Luther's Theology, Minneapolis, 1999, p. 314 ff.) Also advises not to exaggerate the
meaning of this doctrine which in any case has medieval roots and must be
explained in the context of the struggles Policies of your time.

Christian prince, who receives a providential design, and is a

beneficiary of the secularization of ecclesiastical goods, while being
asked to defend and sustain the Christian life. The Christianum
corpus, resolves the contradiction of a holy Church in a sinful world.
Submission to authority is perhaps a substantial and prominent
point of Lutheran political thought39. In his writing on the papacy of
Rome (1520) and in his address to the Christian Nobility of the
German Nation (August 1520), he considers the Pope as the Antichrist
and protests against the pretended supremacy of ecclesiastical power
over the civilian. Authority and the temporal sword are defined as
divine institution. In on secular authority, published in 1523, based on
the Epistle to Romans 13, 1-7, he affirms: "Let every individual be
subject to authority, to power, for there is no authority without God's
provision; which exists everywhere, is established by God. Whoever
resists authority resists the divine order, whoever opposes the divine
order will gain his condemnation" (also insists LUTHER on 1 Peter
2:13 ff). In his document of 1526 on whether men of war can be in the
grace of God, he replies that it is never lawful to rise up in rebellion
against a prince, even though it is unjust and cruel, for vengeance is
exclusive to God. If the authorities are perverse it is because men are
evil. In 1529, he informs the prince elector of Saxony that it is not
lawful to form an evangelical alliance in rebellion against the
As a citizen of heaven, the Christian has freedom of conscience,
but as a citizen of the earth, he is subject to the law and obliged to

The deep fall of man, opens an insurmountable abyss between man and God,
between reason and faith. God is unknowable and beyond the natural capacity of
man. LUTHER despises reason, the "whore of the devil," the deceiver of man,
deformed by sin. Man is related to God exclusively by faith (I believe because it is
absurd). For Luther the fallen nature of man requires a firm authority to defend true
faith against Rome, to brake the rebels, to punish the Jews, and to subject heretics.
The sharp separation between reason and faith is characteristic of nominalism and its
conceived conception of God.

GARCA VILLOSLADA, op., Cit., II, P. 128. B. GHERARDINI, Creatura verbi.

The Chiesa nella teologia di Martin Luther, Rome 1993, page 314 emphasizes that
Luther denies the right of resistance to secular authority unless it compels the gospel
to be condemned (page 314). See in detail the main political texts of LUTHER
published by J. ABELLAN (Martn LUTHER. Escritos polticos, Madrid 1986).

respect and obey the offices or institutions that the Lord has instituted
for the social order. The government of the world is realized according
to LUTHER through states (Stnde), also called "orders",
"institutions" or "trades", diverse contents called Ordnungen:
Gottesvater, Landesvater and Hausvater. The State, family and
professions serve as craftsmen and servants of God, with autonomy in
their own foundations and ends41.
LUTHER against the rebellion of the peasants defends the
authority of the prince, without questioning legitimacy, and considers
the violence against the rebels justified; he does not hesitate to
encourage princes to exercise violence against religious dissent, and
against the Jews. The vicissitudes of history bear witness to the
practical application of his political thought. LUTHER relies on the
authority of the princes to defend the reform of the Roman Church;
and entrusts the prince, by means of the consistory and the so-called
ecclesiastical visits, the dogma, the ritual and the ceremonies, and to
maintain the ecclesiastical discipline, that avoids the abuses of the

LUTHER initiates the theology of the (three) orders in his sermon on baptism von
der sakrament der taufe (1519). The theory of orders is also exposed in a nonsystematic way in opposition to the monastic life and lack of substantiality of papal
authority, in the confession relating to the Lord's supper (1528), in his classes on the
genesis (1535-1545), and finally in dispute on the right to resist the emperor (1539).
Many authors emphasize that it is not appropriate to dogmatize the theology of
orders in Luther: KOLB (Martin Luther and the German nation, in "A companion to
the Reformation World" studies conducted by R. Po-chia Hsia, 2004-2006, p. 47 and
sig.). On the Theology of Orders: WITTE Law and Protestantism, Cambridge, 2002,
Page 6, F. HARRIGTON, Reordering marriage and society in Reformation
Germany, Cambridge 1997, E. ISERLICH, Compendium of History and Theology
of Islam ,, Brecia 1990, p. 92 et seq., GONZALEZ MONTES, Lutheran
Reformation and Catholic Tradition, Salamanca 1987, Page 236 et seq., P.
ALTHAUS, The Ethics of Martin Luther, trans. Ing. R. Schultz, Philadelphia, 1972,
p. 36.). In particular C. Schmitt founded his corporate doctrine of the concrete order
of the state, which is based first and foremost on the people and race (Volkisch) on
the theory of the orders of LUTHER (in detail CAMPDERRICH, The Word of
Behemoth, Madrid 2005, p. 107).

As Luther's thought does not seem to have been practical, the competences and
composition of the consistory and ecclesiastical visitation, key institutions for the
discipline of the Church, do not appear to be profiled in Lutheran thought. In fact it
was MELACHTON who wrote in 1527 an instruction for the visit of the parishes,
although with a passionate prologue of Luther. The ecclesiastical ordinance of

The conclusion seems evident: a self-sufficient normative order

(sovereign), which began its journey in history in the political
struggles of the thirteenth century, acquires maturity after the Lutheran
Reformation. LUTHER may be rebellious in the religious sphere, he
may exalt the spirits with an exaggeratedly popular language, he may
not have a coherent political systematization, but he has a very clear
principle of authority. Authority is placed before the ecclesiastical
hierarchy, heresy, political rebellion, the Jews. And it is not strange
then that by having recognized a providential and theological reason
for Power, the figure of the Germanic reformer has fascinated
Germany and all its great dictators: Frederick the Great, Bismark,
Hitler. The Prussian monarchy of the bayonet and the catechism, the
unifying state of Germany, the new German national socialist State, all
acclaimed LUTHER as a genuine German hero43.

Wittemberg of 1533 collects previous norms, especially of marriage, but also of

baptism, Eucharist, penance, etc. And is developed with later ones, for example of
ordination of the shepherds. The Wittemberg Consistory is organized in 1542 and
establishes an ecclesiastical court with jurisdiction in Wittemberg and nearby cities,
which will serve as a model for other Lutheran principalities (WITTE, Law and
Protestantism, Cambridge, 2002, p. 182 ff.). E. ISERLOH (Compendium of History
and Theology of the Rule, Brecia 1990, pp. 14 ff.), considers the consistory an
institution that comes to fulfill the functions of the bishop and that effectively
depends on the territorial authority (page 100 et seq.)..

Many authors from different perspectives underline the direct link between
Lutheran Reformation and authoritarian nationalism.. R. NIEBUHR, the American
evangelical theologian, promoter of a radical anti-fascist movement for social
justice, in The Nature and Destiny of Man, 2 Vols., New York 1953, emphasizes how
Hitler claimed the Lutheran Ethos when he demanded unconditional obedience. E.
TROELTSCH, ends up absorbing personal ethics in the institutional, when the State
is conceived as the result of a divine will that legitimizes it directly (Protestantism
and the modern world, 1967) concludes that he has deposited in the German soul the
germ of an original type of legal positivism, founded on the religious, which leads to
a cult of authority and an apology for obedience and discipline. La formation of the
pense juridique moderne, Paris, 1968, p. 307. Many other authors hold the same
position; DE NEGRI, The Theology of Luther, Florence, 1967, Prologue, etc.
CHANTRAINE, Erasme the Luther free et serf arbitre, Paris, 1981 introduction.
BALMES, Protestantism compared with Catholicism, Madrid, 1949, Page 670,
SHIRER, The rise and fall of the Third Reich, New York, 1960, page 91.
GONZALEZ MONTES, Religion and nationalism, Salamanca 1982, Page 16 and
sigs, WITTE, Law and Protestantism, Cambridge, 2002, p. 18 ff.

2. Authority in German Philosophy.

The great German philosophers and jurists of the nineteenth
century, develop a dogmatic of autorithy, to be obeyed as the reality of
the ideal of freedom. The German Philosophy takes on its shoulders
the responsibility to justify the authority, in the distance of the Creator.
A renewed German Law, based on philosophical-messianism,
consolidates at the end of the century, especially after the victory of
Authority which in Luthers thought had borne the burden of
implement the Reformation, sustain the Church and defend order
against peasant revolution, heretics and jews, now proclaims and
upholds religious freedom44. Philosophy will justify authoritarian
power, in the new unified German State, as the Lutheran theology
once did45. Authority is defined as the reality of community, property

Modern philosophy seeks to reconquer "something that was once more securely
possessed, something belonging to the old patrimony of the faith ..." (NIETZSCHE,
Beyond Good and Evil, cit., P. 26). Nietzsche's criticism of all metaphysics is based
on the fact that he imposes values, and therefore atrophies and weakens life (cf.
FINK, Philosophy of Nietzsche, Madrid, 1966, p. Certain analogies between
NIETZSCHE and LUTHER could be emphasized. NIETZSCHE starts from the
criticism to the institutionalization of the Christian and Jewish movement by the
manipulative action of a sacerdotal caste; Is the same criticism of LUTHER to the
Catholic Church, but now extended to all Christian doctrine and even Jewish. The
Nietzschean contraposition between the historical Jesus its perverse manipulation by
a sacerdotal caste and the demand of a "true truth" is the same position of LUTHER
in its criticism to the Church; NIETZSCHE criticizes idealism, LUTHER
metaphysics. Both are irrational to the search for the authenticity of the man, both
identify rationalism and dogmatism both also start using a direct, violent, insulting
style. NIETZSCHE presents us to the State as the theology of the death of God (at
least of the subjective God of Christians); In the Antichrist the idea that every
concept is an image of divinity is clearly formulated and developed. In particular,
the State, as the superior present divinity, is, according to NIETZSCHE, the death of
peoples, the idol of the weak, the paradise of mediocrity and irresponsibility. It is an
invention of the weak to subdue the strong; Is, says ZARATHOUSTRA the coldest
cold monster; Is cold even when he lies, and this is the lie that slips from his mouth:
"I am the State, I am the people." Where the state ends, man (Thus speaks
Zarathoustra, cit., P. 82 ff.), For the gregarious man is the only species of man
allowed (Beyond good and evil, Page 129).
K. BARTH dedicates to KANT a long space between Protestant theologians of
the eighteenth century (Protestant theology in the nineteenth century: its background
and history, by Brian Cozens and John Bowden, London 2001). Kant, by making
individual and subjective thought the absolute foundation of knowledge, claims for

and order, and has a vocation to overcome three hundred years of

religious wars in Germany.
HEGEL is the great philosopher of the secular Law and
messianic State. In HEGEL philosophy of Protestant root gives
support to secular providential authority. The Hegelian philosophy
itself, does not conceal, on the contrary, it is bluntly affirmed, that
Protestantism is the first principle of ethics, and that Protestant
religion is a historical budget necessary to achieve religious freedom46.
The providential design of authority transforms the selfish
individual man (sinner?) to a free man in a community (redeemed?).
The systematic building of Hegelian thought gives philosophy a
religious aura, edifies the temple of a new rational divinity (the spirit)
in the world that has declared the hidden divinity47.
The State (authority) is for this German philosophy the
incarnation of a people, the German people, unconditionally adhered
to its sovereign, born in the history of the timeless entrails of reason,
our intelligence perfect immanence, absolute independence, universal solitude
(MARITAIN, Three Reformers, s., P. Faith in Kant, as a strictly individual reality, is
relegated to the inner world.

To paraphrase NIETZSCHE, we can say that truth was the Lutheran, and that the
new authoritarian state sought to support by another name (with the new
terminology that philosophy had lent) the same Lutheran principles that had founded
the political impetus of the Prussian State .

The relationship between HEGEL and LUTHER is underlined by the most diverse
authors in the most frequently encountered fields. For example, already in an old
study, ZUBIRI gave birth to the modern philosophical thought of LUTHER (On the
problem of philosophy, in Revista de Occidente, 115, 118, 1933, Page 116). The
claim of NIETZSCHE is, in this sense, very correct: the need to ground a moral has
developed the Philosophy , And not the other way round, as is commonly believed.
Although the statement is reproduced in different places in the work of
NIETZSCHE, it can be seen, for example, in Beyond Good and Evil. The Protestant
pastor is the grandfather of German philosophy, and Protestantism his original sin
(The Antichrist, Madrid, 1982, page 29), according to NIETZSCHE, the end of the
tragic epoch has arrived and is assisted at the beginning of the theoretical man
SOCRATES is responsible for the birth of metaphysics and guilty of the genesis of
Christianity. In search of God the young theologians of Tbingen went out to search
the undergrowth, but God is dead. All German Philosophy is a Camouflaged

chosen by Providence to bring freedom by the heat of Faith alone. The

State is the awakening of the spirit that becomes aware of itself
(surpassing the material and individual). The State is the objective
freedom. The law of the State, as the spirit of the people, is the same
reality of freedom in the history of a people48.
The authority [Staatsge-walt] represented by the will of the
monarch [Willensmacht] above the individual will of egoist man (of
the administered ones: [Beherrschten]), personifies the reality of the
Hegelian philosophy and the conservation of the tradition
(Protestantism). And a cold monster is born and accompanies the soul
of Germany, the coldest of cold monsters. Man ceases to be united to
his Creator to define himself by his fidelity to the one who holds the
political power49.
3. Staatspositivismus.
Equality before the Law of the three great religions of Germany
(Lutheran, Catholic, Reformed), is proclaimed after the Prussian edict
of religions, enacted in 1788 by J.C Wolner, Minister of Ecclesiastical
Affairs of Frederick William II.
An undisputed political power longs for the security and
certainty conferred by faith. It will be throughout the nineteenth
century when a new German State, secular and authoritarian, will

In my opinion, Hegel loses the notion of evil and sin and conceives the evolution
of history as a continuous progression of the idea (which is the same as reality)
towards subjectivity. In the seminary of Tbingen Hegel, Holdering and Schlegel,
they come into contact and influence each other, in close dependence on the German
Romantic movement, authority, which exalts the role of the State in the ultimate goal
of reuniting Germany.

NIETZSCHE said, commenting on the experience of the German empire, that

Germanic values: military discipline, bravery, superiority of command, blind
obedience of the subordinate, etc., are all foreign to a culture worthy of that name.
These values are barbarism itself (The Antichrist, cit., P. 31). NIETZSCHE's
judgment on the Reformation is extremely critical: "A work built long and
profoundly like Christianity-it was the last building of the Romans-could certainly
not To be destroyed by a blow... That is why the Germans who worked hardest to
preserve it became their best destroyers... LUTHER, who was a man of the people
with no tradition of the dominant castes, although his will was to rebuild The
Church... was, without his knowing and willing, the beginning of his destruction ".

consolidate on the basis of authority. Authority is conceived as the

principle that saves Germany from religious diversity, territorial tear
and social confrontation. Authority and legality are identified. The
weakness of the parliamentary republic (the French in particular) is
proposed as a paradigm of the liberal crisis.
Positive legality in the authoritarian State, Staatspositivismus, is
perhaps the most specific sign of the nineteenth-century German
jurists. Friedrich Julius STAHL, of Jewish origins and baptized
Lutheran, is defined as positivist and Hegelian. He conceives the State
as a divine order immanent in history, an Ethos superior to individuals,
necessary for the consolidation of individual freedoms. For the socalled Bismark of legal thought, the unity of the State should not be
founded on metaphors but on a concrete person: The sovereign, the
Kaiser. STAHL maintains that the State, as a person (legal), is an
ethical empire, a community rooted in authority and legality,
Rechtsstaat50. Identical approaches are found in the great jurists C. F.
VON GERBER and P. LABAND, who write in the historical context
of explaining and developing the foundation and meaning of the
authoritarian monarchy, to uphold the monarch's supremacy over
This authoritarian conception of the state culminates in G.
JELLINEK, father of German public law. He is a Hegelian who quotes
HEGEL in the culminating places of his work, with a careful and
captivating prose. With JELLINEK, the German authoritarian State
acquires its majority, while laying the foundations of its crisis.
JELLINEK, like the aforementioned authors, identifies the State
with authority and legality. It defines authority as indivisible, since the
doctrine of the division of powers comes from the confusion of power
and sovereignty; the supposedly separated powers are subordinated
one to each other. The people [Volk], in the Allgemeine Staatslehre of
JELLINEK, are represented by parliament, but it is a dependent organ
in front of the monarch, originating from the constituent sovereignty

J. CALVEZ, Politique et histoire en Allemagne au XIX sicle, Paris 2001.

O. JOUANJAN Carl Friedrich Gerber et la constitution d'une science du droit
public allemand, en La science juridique franaise et la science juridique allemande
de 1870 1918. Strasbourg 1997. SOSA WAGNER, cit., Pg. 157.

and legality. Justice and administration, incarnation of the rationality

of power, act in the name of the emperor, holder of sovereignty52.
In JELLINEK the Law is, in the Hegelian stream, the reality of
individual person and his freedom in objective sense 53. Authority is
not an end in itself, as was characterized in the first great German
jurists of the nineteenth, but conceives authority as the reality of
individual rights. The end and justification of authoritarian power (its
very essence) are individual rights, and in particular religious freedom.
In my opinion JELLINEK, of Jewish family and education,
culminated his juridical thinking becoming Protestant. He then
revealed the authentic essence of the authoritarian State, himself, a
believer who has lost his faith and awoke German; and could love
Germany because he was part of a historical community, founded on
reasonable laws, with due respect (or worship) to the sovereign
emperor. The Hegelian JELLINEK, like Germany, had not lost faith
(he was a believer), but had not conquered the authentic historicity of
rationality, since the ultimate reality of this rationality and German
historicity was the Lutheran faith, which brings freedom, and which
JELLINEK adopted to be an authentic German, against what was
considered the mythology (catholicism?) of an uncultured people54.

. But authority in JELLINEK is no longer the same monarch as an individual,

because sovereignty survives the monarch; The monarch represents sovereignty, it is
not sovereignty. The notion of representation transforms the titular institution of the
sovereignty of monarch into monarchy. (LUCAS VERDU, prologo a la obra de
Jellinek, Reforma y mutacin de la constitucin, trad. esp. Madrid 1991, Pg. XXI,
nota 31 bis). P.C. CALDWELL. Popular Sovereignty and the Crisis of German
Constitutional Law, Durham, 1997.
JELLINEK (Teora general del Estado, trad. esp. translated from the second
German edition, Buenos Aires, s. d.) The state as a people is a confused theory (p.
108). JELLINEK wondered What is before: the monarch, the people, the territory...?
None of them is the State although they are all part of the State. The State exists
because it is sovereign (authority) and justified by its aims: its primary purpose is to
create the legal order for the defense of the community and its members (life, liberty
and property) in a territory (it is the function of justice), The secondary purpose: to
promote culture and to promote solidarity interests (health, science and art) and to
encourage social and economic progress (it is the function of the administration of
the revolutionary liberal state, JELLINEK State is the very guarantor of the Life,
property and individual freedom, vanguard and banner of political, economic and
social reform.

It is striking that if the political law of the Anglo-Saxon world is

written, when Congregationalists and Huguenots, formerly persecuted,
return from exile, and conceive the State as a place for peaceful
coexistence of different religions; the main authors in the nineteenth
century German constitutionalism and positivism, (STAHL,
LABAND, JELLINEK, KELSEN) seem to come of authors with
Jewish roots, who adopt religious tolerance in a Regime of German
identity, specifically secular and authoritarian55.
4. Modern German Theology.
4.1. Kulturprotestantismus.
In the second half of the nineteenth and in early twentieth
centuries, prevails Kulturprotestantismus a (liberal) movement within
evangelical theology, close to the juridical approaches just mentioned,
strongly influenced by Kant and Hegel. The faculties of theology of
Heidelberg and Tubingen are transformed into centers of irradiation of
a rationalist theology that advocates the harmony of religion and
culture. A vision of theology as part of a German culture and

In coherence with his thought, and perhaps as a critical culmination of it,

JELLINEK at the end of his life formally converted to Christianity and baptized in
the Evangelical Protestant Church where he had previously baptized his children
(Sosa Wagner, Maestros alemanes, cit., P. 198). JELLINEK one of the most read and
translated authors of modern constitutionalism was the son of a famous Rabbi
(Adolph JELLINEK), recognized author of religious texts on the Kabbalah and of
important sermons, collected as outstanding author in the Jewish encyclopedia. The
father of the great jurist born in Moravia moved to LEIPZIG, where his famous son
George was born, who after teaching as a professor of philosophy of law in Vienna
was hired as professor of state theory in Basel first and in Heidelberg later, where he
died In 1911 (see Preliminary Study of LUCAS VERDU, to the work of Jellinek,
Reformation and mutation of the constitution, Madrid, 1991).

The authority of the Kaiser would be seen by the "real" Prussians as a guarantee of
the preservation of Protestant ideals, but why would Jewish authors (converts to
Protestantism or at least integrated into Protestantism) exalt authority? I believe that
perhaps the Jews, after centuries of persecution in the Germanic world, feared more
the disorder and the chaos than the Constituted authority. See R. PO-CHIA HSIA,
The myth of Ritual Murder. Jews in Germany, New Haven and London, 1988. In
prerreformed Germany, the accusation of the Jews of Christ's death is frequently
reproduced in the accusation of Jews of the place of ritual murders of Christian
children, Charles V protected the Jews, prohibited the prosecution of Jews for
alleged ritual crimes.

civilization, purified by Luther, freeing it from Mythical elements,

with deep respect for religious freedom, committed to the
Christianization of the irrational remains (catholicism?). Theology that
takes a Hegelian perspective of human development based on reason,
plunged into a progressive historicity, culminating in Protestant
Christianity and in the German authoritarian state.56
SCHLEIRMACHER, is part of the Lutheran duality of Faith and
reason. The personal experience of faith becomes an intimate
experience of the divine presence, the knowledge of the absolute in
oneself, in intuition and feeling, only understandable in its rationality
and historicity, relativizing revelation as part of a language of a time
and a place, and making the Churches a progressive development of
the truth, culminating, as moral perfection, in the evangelical
At the end of the Germanic nineteenth century, in the winter
semester of 1889-1900, VON HARNACK presents at the University
of Berlin his famous course on the essence of Christianity, which
identifies God and History, Religion and civilization, divine justice
and human order. VON HARNACK relativizes mystical experience
and direct revelation, and maintains that the knowledge of God had to
be assumed through culture. VON HARNACK maintains, in his
manual of the history of dogmas, that Hellenism had falsified
Christian truth, making philosophy prevail over faith58.

ZAHRNT, Au prises avec Deu, La theologe protestante au XX siecle, Pars,

1969, Page. 11 y sigs. GOMEZ HERAS, teologa protestante, Madrid 1972, Pg.
128 y sigs. GONZALEZ MONTES, Religin y nacionalismo, Salamanca 1982, Pg.
45 y sigs. T.A. BRADY Luther and the State: The reformers teachings and its social
setting, en Luther and the modern state in Germany, Kirksville, 1986..
DILTHEY, The Schleiermacher biography, Selected Scripture, trad. ing. Rickman,
Cambridge, 1976, Pg. 38 y sigs. In his work Die christliche Sitte proposes
SCHLEIERMACHER a unitary vision of the family and society, the State and the
Church (BOF, pp. 202 ff.). A. GINZO FERNANDEZ, considers him the father of
Kulturprotestantismus, because he wanted to elaborate a religious dogmatics and a
philosophy between which there would be no contradiction.

on line: (RUMSHEIDT,

Revelation and theology: An analisis of Barth-Harnack Correspondence of 1923,
London, 1972).

This movement produces a progressive radicalization of the

political involvement of religion. On the eve of World War I,
transformed into a Christian cultural movement, the famous manifesto
of the German intellectuals, is signed by outstanding Lutheran
theologians, wich support the warlike policy of the German emperor
William II.
4.2. Rudolf SOHM.
In 1892 R. SOHM, professor of Leipzig, publishes his
Kirchenrecht, one of the most decisive legal books of modern history.
SOHM is opposed to Von Harnack and his theory of the Hellenization
of Christianity by scholasticism, he places the loss of the charisma of
the Church in the use of Roman law, which invents the notion of
sacrament, and promulgates canon law (Institutionalization of
SOHM distinguishes three periods in the history of the Church:
the ancient Church (Alt-katholizismus), founded on the charisma; the
clerical Church, Catholic, based on the notion of sacrament, which
institutionalizes a hierarchy; and finally the Reformed Church,
founded on saving faith, which makes individual freedom possible,
and by the universal priesthood integrates the Christian man into a
According to SOHM, through the work of scholasticism, the
charismatic and democratic structure of the ancient Church is
definitively transformed into hierarchy, pagan organization and ritual.
The paradigm of the sacraments is going to be order and not the
Eucharist, and in it consecration (weihe) replaces election (Wahl), and
spirit (geist) is transformed into office (amt), since the efficacy of the
sacrament depends exclusively on the rite. The sacrament is conceived
by scholasticism not as living community, but as the immediate action
of the Lord bound to a rite and executed by a minister. According to
SOHM in the struggle of the investitures the theory of the sacrament is
developed, to legitimize the pre-eminent power of the Church. Then
two estates (clergy and laity) are differentiated, and two separate
organizations are created (Church and State). The Church becomes
visible and hierarchical (Catholic). The sacramental power remains in

the hierarchy (properly in a single person). The Christian man loses

freedom and is called to passively obey a dogma and a hierarchy59.
SOHM, very Hegelian, identifies Protestantism and progress,
freedom and Law, human order and divine design, ultimately
advocates commitment, and even identification, between religion and
State. The thought of SOHM, accuses the hierarchical Church of
losing its charisma and community spirit60.
4.3. The German Christians.
German philosophical, theological and juridical thought seems
to converge in religion as an individual perspective, in a community of
those redeemed by faith, promoted authority (Lebensfuhrung), the
only real presence of the divinity in culture and history. Christianity
appears as the alternative to proletarian masses corrupted by
dialectical materialism. Religion is an educator in obedience, and a
school of the traditional Germanic virtues of work, order and
On the eve of World War II, under the auspices of the Nazi
regime, we assit to the creation of a German National Church, which
seeks to overcome religious denominationalism. The German people
live in a progressive exaltation of the alliance between religion and
authority. And there are theologians trained in this culture of exaltation
of the German nation that celebrate the arrival of Hitler in the context
of the theology of the two kingdoms, emphasizing the importance of
the notion of Christian community, and the particular responsibility of
the German Christian to sustain and participate in the regeneration of
the German nation61.

D. LLAMAZARES FERNANDEZ, Sacramento, Iglesia y derecho en el

pensamiento de R. Sohm, Oviedo 1969. CHODOROW, Christian Political Theory
and Church Politics in the Mid-Twelfth Century. The Ecclesiology of Gratian's
Decretum, Berkeley y Los Angeles, 1972.

And it will be subject to a close criticism by the most modern Lutheran theology,
which re-elaborates the concept of Church and accuses SOHM of being a
responsible of the national-Lutheranism. In particular the thinking of H. DIEM,
related in detail by GONZALEZ MONTES, (Religin y nacionalismo, cit., Pgs.
123 y sigs.), o TROELTSCH (cit., Pg. 145 y sigs.).

The Nazi regime tries to organize a genuinely national Protestant

Church of the German people (Volkskirshe) or even the State Church
(Landeskirshen), whose model is the Church of England and its
doctrinal diversity. The guidelines of 1932, which disregard any
denominational dogmatism, seek to lay the foundations of this unity,
affirm Luther's German character, and from the Lutheran theory of the
orders of creation, define "race, people and nation" As living orders
instituted by God62. The unity of these churches founded on faith in
Christ seems to be defined in opposition to Jewish "ritualism" 63.
On April 17, 1933, representatives of different Evangelical and
Reformed communities accept to form a German Protestant
community that respects the diversity of denominations. The
constitution of the new Church receives the approval of the territorial
Churches on July 11, 1933, as a federation of confessions with equal
rights. The government set ecclesial elections for July 23, and the
candidate of the German Christians, Ludwig Muller, becomes
Reichbishop64. Not unanimously accepted. As from the earliest
moments of the Nazi regime, in the Lutheran and Reformed Church,
there will be significant groups of opposition to the Nazi conception


A. GONZALEZ MONTES, religin y nacionalismo, cit., Pgs. 64 y sigs.; Pg. 79

y sigs, y nota 113).

B. REYMOND, Une Eglise a croix gamme? Le protestantisme allemand au dbut

du rgime nazi, Lausanne 1980.
D. BOUREL, Moses Mendelssohn. La naissance du judasme moderne, Paris
2004, presents the atmosphere of tolerance to religious minorities in late-eighteenthcentury Berlin that would lead to aufklarung and haskala. However, anti-Semitism in
Germany seems to run parallel to the integration of Jews, and increased significantly
in the nineteenth and early twentieth, and also infects the Protestant world.

R. P. ERICKSEN, Theologians under Hitler: Gerhard Kittel, Paul Althaus, and

Emmanuel Hirsch, New Haven, 1985, H. VALL, Iglesias e ideologa nazi,
Salamanca 1976, en particular Pgs., 34 y sigs.

of the Church and the State 65. And in fact lacked practical usefulness
and did not last66.
The Catholic Church, was not integrated into the German
Christians, and had indexed Dr. Rossemberg's book. In the Encyclical
Letter of S.S. Pius XI, Mit brennender Sorge, of March 14, 1937, it is
stated that Nazi ideology perverts and falsifies the order created and
imposed by God, is far from true faith and a conception of life
according to her.
4.4. Renewal of Theology.
The Second World War meant the collapse of German Protestant
liberalism. And today seems to be predominant a radical
condemnation of liberal theology and a theology of total separation of
the Church. If HEGEL was the great architect of the theory of the
nineteenth-century German state, KIERKEGAARD represents the
spirit of a new Protestant theology that condemns the Nazi ideology,
and accuses HEGEL, and all German theology linked to German
idealism, of paganism. With Kierkegaard philosophy and theology
opens to anxiety and dispair, also directly inspired by the theology of
According to KIERKEGAARD, secular thinking (seems to refer
to Hegel) does not know what faith and sin are. The figure of
Abraham is the central theme of the book, Fear and Trembling, one of
the most decisive books of modern thought: it raises the spiritual
notion of sin and moral judgment about Abraham. The figure of
Abraham, who breaks with the world in the acceptance and silent

Eberhard BETHGE, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Telogo - Cristiano - Hombre actual,

trad. esp. A. Berasain, Bilbao, 1970, Pg. 357. GORRINGE, T. Karl Barth. Against
hegemony, Oxford 1999, page 120; K. SCHOLDER, The churches and the third
Reich, II, trad. ing. London 1988. Victoria BARNETT For the Soul of the People.
Protestant protest against Hitler, Oxford 1992. GONZALEZ MONTES, religin y
nacionalismo cit., Page. 94.

It is curious to note that if the Nazi regime was able to integrate evangelicals and
reformed into a single ecclesial organization of Christian Germans, it also succeeded
in framing in the confessing Church a unique opposition which also included
evangelicals and Reformed. See, Karl HELMREICH, The German Churches under
Hitler: Background, Struggle, and Epilogue, Detroit, 1979.

participation of the death of his son Isaac, personalizes the notions of

faith and anguish, despair and sin, in which the author presents
frontally the Question of origins.
The great Protestant theologian, Karl BARTH, in his
commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, influenced by Kierkegaard,
defends a radical and paradoxical opposition between eternity and
time, speaks of God as the "entirely other", denies the analogy entis,
that the Lord can be known through creation, and concludes that the
only point of contact between God and man is given only in Christ:
man, his culture and organized religion, are a non-being. BARTH
condemns in particular a theology that leads the State to appropriate
God's dominion: "The German heathen," writes Barth in a letter to
Holland in 1940, "can use Lutheran doctrine of state authority as a
Christian justification of National Socialism, and The German
Christian may feel invited by that same doctrine to recognize
In my opinion Kierkegaard's philosophy and Barth's theology do
not develop a principle of coherent political organization, and only
reveal the tragic and desperate failure of the authoritarian state. To
affirm that since man is radically sinful he must leave the world to
hear the word, approaches radical Anabaptism. And the authoritarian
ideas of LUTHER are reinterpreted as a very incidental facet of his
thinking, There seems not to be a coherente philosophy of Law in
actual Lutheran theology and history seems to have denied Luther, at
least in the superficial reading of his political Scripture, the Virtue of

It is striking that prestigious authors within the new evangelical church confess,
today, claim an authentic autonomy of the Church against the secular political order,
and the importance of law in the Church (in particular WOLF). They appear to
distance themselves from the first Lutheran interpretation of the integration of
religion into a single Christianum corpus, or from a personalist and fideist view of
religion. And in general, within this process of autonomy of the Church and
rejection of interference by the State, we can speak of a revival of the study of canon
law in the evangelical Church. The Evangelical Church also moves away from
Lutheran claims about the Jews, assuming a painful responsibility in the genesis and
development of anti-Semitism.RAYMOND, Entre la grce et la loi. Introduction au
droit ecclsial protestant, Genve 1992, pags, 55 y sis. y pag. 74. WITTE, Law and
Protestantism, Cambridge, Mass. 2002, Pg. 53 y sigs..


1. Dogmatic.
1.1. Faith and authority.
CALVIN personifies the second great stream of the Christian
The Christian Institution outlines two distinct notions of Church:
the authentic (the Church of the elected) and the visible (where there
are also some hypocrites). The essence of the Church is a mystery: the
elected are known only to God. The visible Church, organization, is
something human and circumstantial, but a sign of the presence of
Christ. The visible Church, like the secular authorities, are
providential because through them the Creator garantees the order of
creation; and although the visible Church is not the true Church,
ecclesiastical constitutions also bind consciences (IC, IV, 10, 6), and
are founded by the word of the Lord (IC, 1V, 10, 30); although they
can be interpreted according to the opportunity of time and
circumstances (IC, IV, 10, 32)
There is a difficult balance between the visible (the flesh) and
the invisible (grace), faith and authority. The constitution of the
Church is established by the immutable word of God, and the visible
constitution, also beloved by God, is founded on universal priesthood,
and through the presbyters exercises the teaching and discipline,

According to K. BARTH, the most famous of contemporary Reformed

theologians, the discovery of the connection between theology and ethics is Calvin's
merit, in the face of a Luther, who has only discovered the God who judges and
forgives (The Theology of John Calvin , Translated by Grand Rapids 1995, p. 98).
CALVIN is recognized as the father of a new ethic of action outside the cloisters, of
realization in the lay professional life. Also TAVARD, Ecriture ou Eglise, Pars,
1963, Page. 146. GANOCZY, Calvin, thologien de lEglise et du ministre, Pars,
1964, Page. 48. TROELTSCH, El Protestantismo y el Mundo moderno, trad. esp.,
Mxico, 1951, Pg. 49.

dispenses the sacraments, and is the protagonist of the providential

meaning of history.69. CALVIN admits the authority and also tradition
of the visible Church, when it has scriptural support and is ancient,
and CALVIN relates tradition with grace and the sacrament70.
The sign of CALVIN is the new Christian order, not rebellion
against Rome. In his opposition to Anabaptism CALVIN stresses that
reform is not at odds with authority, and many authors emphasize the
importance of the idea of order in CALVIN, which is manifested in
respect for the Church and the secular authority, a severe education
and a rigid sexual morality71. But his notion of authority is far from
being identified with the power of King or Emperor.
1.2. Tradition, Roman law and Old Testament.
I Think that Calvin, in the development of his institutional
theory of the Church, opens up to a triple influence: the tradition of
primitive Christianity, his classical education (humanist and study of
Roman law); and as the most decisive influence, the Old Testament.
CALVIN, following LUTHER, agrees to reject the scholastic
philosophy, and advocates the return to a more authentic Church of the
ancient times. The practice and customs of the early Church are both a
reflection on the gospels and a constant study of the fathers of the
Church (an argument of authority to which CALVIN frequently

CALVIN in the face of the danger of doctrinal anarchy represented by the

Anabaptists tends, through the influence of BUCERO and the Strasbourg Reform, to
emphasize the visible Church and its principles of organization. In the Latin edition
of the Christian institution of 1543, a consistent ecclesiology has already been
developed (D. CROUZET, Calvin, trans. Barcelona 2001, p. 112), Theology On the
Eucharist also evolves parallel to the theology of the Church (TOSTO, Calvin punto
di convergenza. Simbolismo e presenza reale nella santa cena. Roma 2003, Pg.2,).
CALVIN uses tradition on dogmatic subjects like the baptism of the children or to
explain the trinitaria nature of God (against the unitarianism of SERVET,
GANOCZY Ibidem, Page 406). Also, in the delicate but crucial subject of fixing the
canon, he accepts the tradition WENDEL, Calvin, sources et volution de se pense
religieuse, Pars, 1950, Page. 10.

Cf. BUSHMAN, From puritan to Yankee, Cambridge, Mass, 1967. cfr.

BERCOVITCH, The puritan origins of the American self, New Haven, 1975, por
ejemplo, Page. 80).

resorts)72. In his works and sermons CALVIN presents a positive will

to return to the charismatic Church, and does not wish to break with
the Church, but to reform it and free it from the abuses introduced by
what it regards as papist idolatry. Without specifying when and why
the Roman Church separates from this ancient Church, and from when
the tradition ceased to be binding73.
The influence of humanism in CALVIN is undoubted. The
formation of CALVIN is humanist, and his first work is a commentary
on De Clementia of SENECA (although later, converted to
Protestantism, prefer reading the Bible and St. Augustine)74.
CALVIN appears to be particularly influenced by the categories
of Roman republican public law, in the renewed French legal trend
(mos gallicum) in which he was educated. I have not yet found a
systematic study of the influence of Roman law on the organization of
the Calvinist Church. But for example, it is possible to imagine that
CALVIN's conversion to Protestantism is influenced by the profound
anti-monarchical sentiment of the classical republican tradition, which
is expressed in the Digest. The presbyterial organization of the
Calvinist Church is, as we shall see, deeply aristocratic and analogies
can be found with the senatorial government of the Roman State.
CALVIN continuously collects and repeats the Roman principles and

SMITS, Saint Agustin dans loevre de Jean Calvin, Assen, 1957, 2 vols. y T.H.L.
PARKER, Calvins New Testament commentaries, Grand Rapids, 1971; GILMONT,
Jean Calvin et le livre imprime, Geneva 1997, Page. 210 y sigs., analiza en detalle
las citas de la patrstica. Tambin TAVARD, From Bonaventure to Reformers,
Milwaukee, 2005, Page. 85 y sigs, A.N.S. LANE, Calvin and Bernhard of
Clairvaux, Princeton 1996; John Calvin. Student of the Church Fathers, Edinburgh,

GANOCZY, cit., Page. 13. A.N.S. LANE, John Calvin. Student of the Church
Fathers, Edinburgh, 1999, Page 40 y sigs.

Calvin, betraying the Lutheran notion of the irrationality of faith, considers that
the reality of God is present in the reason of man and therefore is a principle which
directs, with providence, The course of History.K. BARTH, niega este punto en su
clebre polmica con E. BRUNNER (vase K. BARTH-E. BRUNNER, Natural
Theology, trad. ing. London 1946). En sentido contrario a K.Barth se decanta la
mayora (Por ejemplo, BOYER, Calvin et Luther, accords el diffrences, Roma,
1973, pgina 45; J. BOWSMA, John Calvin a sixteenth Century Portrait, New YorkOxford, 1988, D. STEINMETZ, Calvin in context, New York-Oxford, 1995).

aphorisms about collegial government, balance and control in the

exercise of power. CALVIN refers, in particular, to the magistrates of
the people, established to restrain the will of kings, and refers to the
tribune of the plebs in Rome. On the other hand, the method of
cooptation in the designation of pastors and elders may perhaps be
related to methods of continuity in imperial and Roman senatorial
And especially Calvinism as a social movement, it is uniquely
linked to the decisive influence of the Old Testament on Christian
reform, whose veto-testamentary text is universalized and popularized
by the printing press and the translations of the Bible into vernacular
languages. Calvin, as we have seen, departs from the principle of the
immutability of the word of God, and recognizes in the Old Testament
an authority analogous to that of the New Testament 76, and this
explains the constant approach of reformed Protestantism to
CALVIN was a passionate reader of the Bible, and seems to
receive a particularly decisive influence from the Old Testament. The
motto of God's glory, which defines his conception of history, has a
deep messianic sense and certainly veto-testamentary roots. The
Church is the new Israel and represents both the deliverance of slavery
from Egypt and bondage in Babylon. The Augustinian vision of

Cfr. SKINNER, op. cit., II, page. 225. A.M McGrath, Reformation thought, 3 ed
Malden 1999, Page. 244 (ver H:A: OBERMAN, The dawn of the reformation,
Edimburgh, 1986, Page. 49).

The immutability of the word of God allows CALVIN to conclude that the
ontological principles of the organization have remained unchanged in the history of
the chosen people, although the visible and temporal character of the Church
facilitates the change and modification of appearances (which must be adapted in
each Moment to the circumstances).Cf. WILLIS, Calvins catholic Christology,
Leiden, 1966, pgina 191 y sigs. GANOCZY, Calvin, thologien de lEglise et du
ministre, Pars, 1964. Page. 129; tambin WENDEL, Calvin, sources el volution
de se pense religieuse, Pars, 1950, Page. 89 y sigs.

The radical and Anabaptist reform (although it is difficult to establish a single line
because of its many particularities), can be said in general terms that it continues in
the line of approach to the Old Testament by refusing to see in the Bible an alliance
to two deliveries (G.H. WILLIAMS, La reforma radical., trad. esp., Mxico 1983,
Page. 3).

humanity, which presides over all medieval Christian thought,

conceives history as the test of man and the valuation of his merits;
story is completed when the number of the chosen is completed. On
the contrary in the Old Testament seems to predominate a messianic
vision of history, the essential purpose of which is the glory of God,
manifested through the chosen people (whom CALVIN will identify
with the Reformed Church).
The freedom of interpretation of Scripture favors attention to the
allegorical and more detailed exposition of the Old Testament and
Jewish sources, highly developed in the study and interpretation of the
Old Testament78. Among the French Huguenots, as well as among the
Puritans, is common to give children names taken from the Old
Testament79. BEZA, in one of his letters, advises the champion
Hugonot GASPARD DE COLIGNY, in the difficult days of the wars
of religion, the assiduous study of the first prophets of Israel, since
their maxims of political philosophy are true80. CALVIN thought
himself invested with a peculiar mission, in the image of the prophets
of Israel, not as a participant of a peculiar revelation, but in adapting
the Bible to present times, in admonition to Kings and rulers81.
On the other hand, the lack of theological traditions in
Protestantism favors the study and reception of Jewish traditions, and
Jewish converts to Reformed Christianity, especially Jewish exiles
from Spain, appear to have held important teaching positions in

This Judaization of Christianity is underlined by many. (H. WILLIAMS, la

reforma radical, cit., Pg. 448). SOMBART Les juifs et la vie conomique, trad.
franc., Paris, 1923. H. LEHMANN, The rise of capitalism: Weber versus Sombart,
en Webers protestant ethics, Cambridge (Ma), 1993, Page., 200 y sigs,
TOYMBEE Estudio sobre la Historia, compendio, trad. esp., Madrid, L- III, Page.
R. A. MENTZER (Blood and Belief, West Lafayette, 1994, Page 19). W.G.
NAPHY, Calvin and the consolidation of the Geneva reformation, Manchester-New
York, 1994, Page. 145 George R. STEWART, Men's Names in Plymouth and
Massachusetts in the Seventeenth Century, Berkeley, 1948, Page 109 y sigs, Daniel
S, SMITH, Child-naming Practices, Kinship Ties, and Change in Family Attitudes in
Hingham, Massachusetts, 1641 to 1880, Journal of Social History, XIX (1985), Page
541 y sigs.

BENEDICT, page 337.

ENGAMAMARE, Calvin a prophet without a prophecy Church History, 1998,
en particular, Pgs. 648 y sigs, y 655 y sigs.

Calvinist theological schools82. The sympathy of the Jews of Spanish

origin towards the Reformed Church and the crypto-Jewish
component of some Reformed has also been repeatedly emphasized83.
1.3. Old Testament in English Reformation.
If Calvin's work is imbued with quotation and reflection on Old
Testament texts, the influence of the Old Testament on the English
reformers of Calvinist root seems to have been particularly decisive84.

PARADOWSKI, Sociologa del Protestantismo, Cp. IV, Verbo, 168, 1978, Pg.
119 y sigs.). In Holland, the iusnaturalistim, GROCIO and PUFENDORF in
particular, claims to be admirer of the Jews, and are called (H. KNG, El judasmo,
trad. esp., 3 ed, Madrid 2001, Page. 184). On K. BARTH (E. BUSCH, The Great
passion. An Introduction to K. Barths Theology , Grand Rapids/ Cambridge, 2004,
en particular Page. 154 y sigs.).
Cfr. REDONDO, Luther et lEspagne de 1520 a 1536, Mlanges de la casa de
Velzquez, Pars, 1965, pgs. 159-161; MARTN HERNNDEZ, Influencia de
LUTERO en Espaa durante el siglo XV RA, 75, 1983, pgina 357. DE
MADARIAGA (El ocaso del imperio espaol en Amrica, Buenos Aires, 2. ed.,
1959, Pg. 308 y sigs). G0I GAZTAMBIDE, La imagen de LUTHER en Espaa;
su evolucin histrica, Scripta theologica, 1983, Pg. 470.
The Puritan era brought about a radical change in the treatment of the Jews in
England, Rome was now considered the incarnation of the Antichrist, the Jews
ceased to be accused of being Christ's murderers. John LIGHTFOOT, one of the
inspirers of the Westminster confession, had studied especially the Jewish works,
and is considered a Hebraist, his main work Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae,
published in 1658, Avihu ZAKAI, From Judgment to Salvation: The Image of The
Jews in the English Renaissance in "Westminster Theological Journal," Vol. 59: 2, p.
213-4. John Owen, an eminent Puritan, Vice Chancellor of Oxford wrote: "The Jews
will gather from all parts of the world where they are now dispersed and will return
to their land before the end of time" (DL LARSEN, Jews, Gentiles and the Church,
Grand Rapids, 1995, p 126). M. W. KARLBERG, Reformation Politics: The
Relevance of Old Testament Ethics in Calvinistic Political Theory, in "Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society," Vol. 29: 2, June, 1986, pp. 188-189. Karl Marx
himself, writes that the English people had borrowed from the Old Testament the
words, passions, and illusions to make the bourgeois revolution. Some English
Puritans also claim the direct application of the Mosaic law and even that adultery
be punished with death (INGRAM M. Church Courts, Sex and marriage in
England, 1570-1640, Cambridge, 1987., p. 151). T. CARTWRIGHT, the famous
Puritan leader, advocated direct rule by the Bible (PDL DAVIS, The Church in the
Theology of the Reformers, London 1981 , P. 46). Even the mythical Milton seems to
be decisively influenced by the reading of the Jewish religious texts (J. S.
SHOULSON, Milton and the Rabbies: Hebraism, Hellenism, and Christianity, New
York, 2001)..

CALVIN's proposal of renewed covenant between man and God

with a political sense and reminiscences of the covenant with Moses
on Mount Sinai, or in Nehemiahs reconstruction of Israel has been
repeated in the Covenant of the Scottish Calvinists or in the covenant
of the pilgrim fathers in their exodus to the new world. Puritan
preachers (in general, Calvinist Protestant pastors) inherit the
grandiloquent and effectual style of the prophets addressing Israel, on
corruption and idolatry, anguished petition of collective repentance,
and closeness to the final judgment85. But where the preaching reaches
the supreme tones of eloquence is in the curse of the Queen of
England (the new Jezebel), in proclaiming the idolatry of papist
enemies, servants of the antichrist, and in announcing the inminnet
destruction, by their vices, of the new Anglican Babylon 86. It is
repeated insistently that Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to
complete it. Old Testament arguments sustain the right of resistance
against Catholic authorities, and the lawfulness of divorce and second
marriage87, and the Puritans feel identified with the wandering Jews88.
The same notion also permeates the building of the political
unity of the American colonies. For example BERCOVITCH points
out that the Puritan Congregation founders of New England, had the
vision of Europe of MATHER, describes the old world, especially
England, as the land of persecution, captivity, superstition, and its
cities, already condemned for their corruption, ready for the final hour,
from which signs of utter desolation are announced. Anglican

J. KNOX identified himself with the prophet Ezekiel (ENGAMAMARE, Calvin a

prophet without a prophecy Church History, 1998, Page. 661)
Cfr. HILL, Antichrist in seventeenth century England, Londres, 1971 .
LUTHY Le pass prsent, Mnaco, 1965, Page. 32 y sig. M. WALTZER (Exodus
and revolution, New York 1985; HILL, The century of revolution 1603-1714
Londres, 1961. A significant quarrel on rigid observance of Sunday, assimilated to
Jewish Shabbat, in the time of Jacob I, the book of sports, which authorized sports
on Sunday. ABBOT Primate Puritan of England is sharply opposed and his scandal
will be that of all English Puritans (Cfr. MOORMAN, A history of the church of
England 3. ed., Londres, 1973, Page. 224; D. CRESSY-L.A. FERREL, Religin and
society in early modern England, London New York, 1996, Pg.105. On the rigid
observance of Sunday in Calvinist Scotland and heavy fines imposed by the
consistory on those who break it M. TODD, The culture of Protestantism in early
modern Scotland, New Haven-London, 2002, Page., 31 y 342 y sigs.
Cfr. HELLER, Foxes book of martyrs and the elected nation, Londres, 1962. 19
SKINNER, op. cit., II, pg. 107. ARANGUREN, Catolicismo y Protestantismo
como formas de existencia, Madrid, 1963, Pg. 63.

persecution is the sign of the apocalyptic beast thirsting for blood,

death and hell; but as Abraham liberated his people from the
Chaldeans or Israel from the Egyptian persecution, the new Christians
abandoned the kingdom of the antichrist, leaving England to find their
promised land 89.
2. Predestination.
2.1. Denial of free will.
Predestination resolves the conflict between an absolutely
depraved nature of man, and redemption by grace alone90. The
negation of free will can be considered a common principle to
Lutherans and Calvinists. It is logical to conclude that if man is free he
can deserve a reward or punishment for his works, and the logical
consequence of the Protestant dogma of faith alone is to deny free
The denial of free will has two main grounds: the lack of merit
due to the radical perversion of man by original sin; and man's
freedom as incompatible with God's foreknowledge, God's
sovereignty, and God's immutability91.
Protestant theology on free will was developed by LUTHER in
his work De servo arbitro. The two new conceptions of the world: the
humanist and the Protestant are confronted with rawness in this
controversy between LUTHER and ERASMUS. ERASMUS

The puritan origins of the American self, New Haven, Londres 1975, page. 223,
nota 43. SPINI, Autobigrafia della giovene America, Turn, 1968. W. S. HUDSONJ. CORRIGAN, Religion in America, 6 ed. Upper Saddle River, 1999, Page. 129.
HOLTROP, The Bolsec controversy on predestination, from 1551 to 1555,
Lampeter 1993). STEINMETZ, The theology of John Calvin, en The Cambridge
companion to Reformation Theology, Cambridge 2004, Page. 119.
I would dare to point out two fundamental sources of the Protestant position are
the opposition of St. Augustine to the Pelagians; And second, the nominalist
conception of God. CADIER, Calvin, Pars, 1967, Pg. 38; WENDEL, op. cit., Pg.
92 y sigs. WERNICKE, Los agustinos y la Reforma, RA, 1983, Pg. 333;
ATKINSON, LUTHER y el nacimiento del Protestantismo, trad. esp., Madrid, 1980,
Pg. 31 y sigs. The great objection to predestination is the problem of evil: If God
has predestined everything, how can evil be explained? It is common in this sense to
interpret Lutheran thought as a continuation of medieval thought (OBERMAN,
Forerunners of Reformation, the shape of medieval thought, Nueva York 1996)

rediscovers the stoic, republican image of the virtuous man; LUTHER

despises man, his reason, his nature, his virtue. Both radicalize the
duality between faith and reason92.
2.2. A Church of the elected.
CALVIN follows the footsteps of LUTHER but subtly modifies
its principles. The central concern of CALVIN, who never suffered the
spiritual terrors of the solitary monk, is not whether man is saved or
condemned, but whether man has been chosen. In the bosom of a
humanity in sin, God chooses and predestines a few, called to establish
by faith the kingdom of God on earth. God the creator and sovereign
owner of creatures, disposes of them for his glory, and salvation and
condemnation even precedes sin (supralapsal predestination, IC, III,
21-24). Election, Faith, Scripture, and the Church are aspects of the
very idea of God's immutable will from before the origin of time. The
doctrine of predestination becomes the most radical formulation of the
theory of salvation by grace alone, and a powerful weapon of antihierarchical Protestant posture93.
For CALVIN faith is a sign of divine election. Through the
predestination CALVIN institutionalizes the Church: the chosen man
saved in a condemned world. God has not chosen us because we
believed, but because He has chosen us, we believe. No human
element intervenes to influence this decision; Faith is a consequence
of the election, which is only granted to the predestined.
Predestination is also the same scripture as the word of God, as
the constitution of the one and unchangeable covenant between God

MATEO SECO, Martn LUTHER: sobre la libertad esclava, Madrid 1978,

Tambin KOLB, Bound Choice, Election and Wittemberg Theological Method,
Grand Rapids 2005.
FARRELLY, Predestination, Grace and Free will, Londres, 1964, pig. 133.
MIEGGE, tica protestante e mundo moderno, en Protestantismo e capitalismo de
Calvin a Weber, Turn, 1983, Pg. 52. The ultimate consequences of
predestinationist theses are supralapsarian theology (predestination is still prior to
sin), formulated by CALVIN and developed by BEZA, extraordinarily difficult to
understand for those who hold the creation as an act of love of God, and will be the
Point of criticism of Arminians and Anabaptists, and is also at the basis of the
natural tendency of Presbyterianism to evolve towards Congregationalism and

and man, because God does not change his mind (II, 11, 2). The
Church for CALVIN testifies the living Scripture, because the will of
the Creator is the fulfillment of Scripture, which is realized through
the Church. As the end of man and history is the glory of the Lord
(Soli Deo Gloria), the Church witnesses the triumph of good and truth,
and to stage that triumph the Lord chooses the elect. Predestination
manifests history as the theater of the Lord's providential will94.
2.3. Predestination in the Reformed Churches.
Denying freedom is nasty, and difficult to understand. Within
Calvinism the meaning of predestination is subject to harsh
controversies. It is worth underlining that free will is a common
heresy in Calvinist history. In Holland, the question of predestination
divides Arminians (partisans of free will) and predestinationists.
ARMINIO and his disciple, the celebrated jurist GROCIO, affirm free
will; Most of the Calvinist pastors of the United Provinces then joined
GOMAR, and the Synod of Dordrecht condemned the Arminians in
We will find this same controversy, raised in very similar terms,
in many national and local Churches, and still remains the center of
bitter discussions. For example, in the Hiedelberg catechism promoted
by the Palatine elector Frederick III, which will have particular
significance in Poland and Hungary, the reformed doctrine of the
Eucharist is accepted and iconoclasm is firmly supported, but not the
doctrine of predestination95.
But where the History of the polemic has more interest by its
political transcendence, is in England, where predestination becomes
the doctrinal center of social conflict. In 1552, in the Book of
Common Prayer prepared by CRANMER, Calvinist organization and
ritual are implanted, as well as predestinationism; and CALVIN
personally manifested his approval and delight in this predestinationist

MC NEILL, The History and character of calvinism, Nueva York, 1954, page.
142; WALTZER The revolution of the saints, Cambridge 1965, page 55 y sigs.

BENEDICT, pag 212. The most famous of modern Reformed theologians, Karl
BARTH, accepts the doctrine of election, but not condemnatory predestination
( BOYER, cit., pgina 124).

theology. However, when the politics of glorious comprehensiveness

returns, in the 1559 prayer book, dogmatic claims about predestination
are carefully avoided96. Faced with the policy of the official
Elizabethan Church, CARTWRIGHT, who was the intellectual father
of Calvinism-Puritan, emphasized the doctrine of predestination as the
foundation of the Church for three reasons: divine supremacy, erases
any idea of human merit, and avoids the mistake of believing that the
difference between a believer and a non-believer is despicable97.
The question of predestination finally divides the two main
currents within the Church of England: supporters of free will tend to
philocatolic episcopalism, whereas predestinationists assume
Presbyterian Calvinism98. The confession of Westminster of 1648,
triumphant the Puritans in the civil war, incorporates as a dogmatic
principle the predestination, against the Anglican half-tones or the


D. CRESSY-L.A. FERREL, Religin and society in early modern England,

London-New York, 1996, Page. 105.
Cfr. EASTWOOD, The priesthood of all believers, Londres, 1960, pgina 138. A
fines del XVI PORTER, Reformation and reaction in Tudor Cambridge, Cambridge,
1958, Page. 409 y sigs, A. PENNY, Freewill or Predestination. The Battle Over
Saving Grace in Mid-Tudor England, Woodbridge, 1990 .
The discussion at Cambridge, at the end of the sixteenth century, between
PERKINS and BARRET on grace and freedom; BARRET would in principle be
supported by the WHITGIFT primacy and the official Elizabethan Church. The
crisis opened by the conversion of BARRET to Catholicism will lead WHITGIFT to
convene a synod at Lambeth in 1594, in which predestination will be defined as the
essence of the thought of the Reformation in the Church of England.. According to
the interpretation offered by WALLACE, DD (Puritans and predestination: grace in
English Protestant theology, 1525-1695, Chapel Hill, 1982) Laud was a heterodox
alternative to a Church that was always defined predestinationist, puritan party and
Anglicanism antagonistic after the reign of Elizabeth II, being the predestinationism
characteristic of the Puritans, and maintaining the Church Of England a position of
dogmatic variety, tolerance and prudence, moderation and compromise (see A.
PENNY, Freewill or Predestination, The Battle Over Saving Grace in Mid-Tudor
England, Woodbridge, 1990, in particular, page 215). (See discussions of the
Lambeth Synod in detail in DODD's, Church History of England, London, 1841 1971 Replenishment, Volume IV, Page 15). In this sense the study of P. Lake (The
Boxmakers Revenge: Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy and the Politics of the Parish in Early
Stuart London, Stanford, 2001) studies the deep predestinational feelings of a
Puritan cleric, S. Denison, at the time Of the stuartos, later marginalized by the
reforms of Laud.

episcopalism, although the duration of this revolution, as we will see

later, was ephemeral99.
3. Organization of the Presbyterian Church.
3.1. Pastors and Elders.
The new Calvinistic principle for the organization of the Church
is the separation of functions. CALVIN is inspired by the charismatic
Church of the early times to identify within the Church two functions:
pastor and elder. The pastor explains the scripture and administers the
sacraments, the elder is responsible for discipline. The pastor exercises
an office instituted by Christ, the elder represents the Christian
The apostles, prophets and evangelists were not ordained to be
perpetual, but only to found the Church, are extraordinary offices. The
ordinary ministers of the word are the shepherds and the doctors. The
pastors are entrusted with the administration of the sacraments, the
exhortations and the exposition of the scripture. The mission of the
doctors is to teach and preserve sound doctrine; they are, neither more
nor less, the intellectual elite of the Church101.

Cromwell's triumph failed to consolidate the presbyterial unity of the Church of

England, but it definitively modeled the Presbyterian stream of the Church of
England, and will have a decisive influence on the conformation of the Presbyterian,
Congregationalist and Baptist churches of the United States HE AHLSTRON, A
Religious History of the American People, New Haven 1972, p. 131.
L. SCHUMMER, lecclsiologie de Calvin a la lumire de lecclsia mater, Bonn
1981, Explains that in Calvin's thought the pastoral office has been instituted by
Christ, and bases its authority on the very authority of writing (symbolizing the
union of Christ with his Church), while the offices of elders and deacons are
established by the church
This organization is inspired by the reform carried out by BUCERO in
Strasbourg, in which CALVIN participated actively during its exile of Geneva.
BUCERO had organized in Strasbourg a non-hierarchical government of the
Church, an aristocratic-clerical government, with the separation of four functions:
doctors, pastors, rulers and deacons, and CALVIN seems inspired in BUCERO.
According to GANOCZY (Cit., P. 371), doctors, although specialized, are
functionally assimilated to pastors. Neither the corporate organization of the Church
in Geneva, nor the separation of functions within that Calvinist Church, were
understood as dogmatic, and as we shall see important changes in the Geneva model
are admitted in the various national Churches. In fact there are no doctors in the
French confession, Belgian, or in the second Swiss confession. KNOX in Scotland,

Elders and deacons are ecclesiastical functions that have not

been devoted to the ministry of the word (IC, IV, III, 8). Discipline
must be assumed by lay people outside the ministry but distinct from
civil society: it is the role of the elders; The elders, also assist the
shepherds to make the admonitions102. Deacons appear for the first
time in the ordinances of 1541, they manage the goods of the Church
(IC, IV, V, 15) and are in charge of charity (IC, IV, III, 9). For the
administration of goods) and hospital (for charity); The office of
deacon could be exercised by women, by appointment of the first
epistle of St. Paul to Timothy103.
3.2. Corporative governance.
Calvin is opposed to the ecclesial hierarchy, and therefore
ministers of the Church can not be organized hierarchically, but in
collegial bodies: consistories and councils. As the priesthood and the
episcopate are unique in Christ, the words bishop, pastor, priest,
minister, designate the same office in the New Testament (IC, IV, II,
The consistory brings together pastors and elders, as the supreme
organ of the Church. Exercises discipline both the ministers and the
faithful in general. The local consistory may exercise the disciplinary
measure par excellence: the excommunication of the faithful, which
reduces to two Geneva ministers: pastor elder and ruling elder. In England the
famous Puritan T. CARTWRIGHT did not include doctors in his church government
directory (BENEDICT, Page. 453).
BENEDICT, Christs churches purely reformed, a social history of Calvinism,
New Haven, London, 2002, Page. 86 y sigs.
The importance of the deacons is explained by the importance of the social action
of the Reformed Church. The social language of Calvinism is in many ways
strangely modern. For example, CALVIN promotes a social action where special
assistance to the poor, sick, emigrants and pilgrims. CALVIN promotes public works
to promote work and avoid unemployment, as work is a means of personal and
political regeneration. CALVIN promotes the regulation of labor, although it is
contrary to the action of the workers, who should not be left to their fallen instincts
and are called by the gospel to obey their master. It also promotes an ethic of service
and work as a manifestation of the due dedication of men to the good of others. Man
is made only by work, which by Christ was liberated from his accursed condition,
and by him becomes man the instrument of providence (Carew HUNT, Calvin,
Londres, 1933, page. 177).

by the political-religious circumstances of the time meant a serious

discredit and even economic ruin104.
The performance and purpose of the consistories vary greatly
depending on the places and countries. The consistory seems in many
cases to have assumed the functions that in the Catholic countries
fulfilled the ecclesiastical courts, and in many cases also functions
similar to those that in Spain fulfilled the relatives of the holy
inquisicin, controlling from the shade all the details of the social life
and concerned with public morality and purity of customs. The
consistory of Geneva, as a paradigm, attends to doctrinal purity and
pursues heresy, and even exercises the discipline and control of each
parish. Its powers extend to all aspects of social and economic life:
resolves marriage issues, imposes a rigid sexual morality (typical of
Calvinism) and guardianship of civic behavior (against blasphemers,
drunks, slanderers, gamblers, and even thieves and counterfeiters)105.
To form the consistory there are no dogmatic rules. In the
ecclesiastical ordinances of Geneva the elders were chosen by the
council of Geneva with the approval of the consistory and council of
shepherds, and the Pastors members of the consistory by the council
of the shepherds, with the approval of the council of Geneva106.

KOENINGSBERG-MOISE, Europa en el siglo XVI, Pg. 157 y sigs.

KINGDOM, Adultery and divorce in Calvins Geneva, Cambridge Ma. 1995, page
RANDELL, John Calvin and the later reformation, 1990, page. 30. KINGDOM,
Adultery and divorce in Calvins Geneva, Cambridge Ma. 1995, page 4 y sigs,
KINGDOM, The control of morals in Calvins Geneva, Geneva 1972. R.
MENTZER Sin and the calvinists: Morals control and the Consistory in the
reformed tradition, Kirksville, 1994. Vase tambin: Registres de la Compagnie des
Pasteurs de Genve au temps de Calvin (publies sous la direction des Archives d'Etat
de Geneve par R.M. Kingdon, et J.-F. Bergier), Genve, Droz, 1962. NAPHY,
Calvin and the consolidation of the Genevan Reformation, Louisville, John Knox
Press, 2003, donde destaca las tensiones entre las familias tradicionales de Ginebra
y los emigrados franceses, tambin RANDELL, cit., Pg. 28. M. TODD, The culture
of Protestantism in early modern Scotland, New Haven-London, 2002, Puritanism as
a revolutionary ideology, en The protestant ethic and modernization, Nueva YorkLondres, 1968, Page. 127). WALTZER, The revolution of the saints, Nueva York,
1968. R. POCHIA HSIA (social discipline in the reformation, London-New York,
1992) P.S GORSKI (The Disciplinary revolution: Calvinism and the rise of the state
in Early Modern Europe, Chicago 2003).
RANDELL, John Calvin and the later reformation, 1990, Page. 19. W.G. NAPHY
(Calvin and the consolidation of the Geneva reformation, Manchester New York,

The council of pastors, as a meeting of the most important

pastors of a district, exercises authority over the shepherds
themselves; Decides on doctrinal questions, and institutionalizes
fraternal correction (according to the Geneva ordinances of 1543, to
ensure that pastors teach correct doctrine and not succumb to vices
incompatible with their office)107. The council of pastors appointed a
moderator, CALVIN was in Geneva for life; at his death an annual
election was established, which until 1580 fell on BEZA. According to
CALVIN, all the ministers are equal among them, although they may
choose, for instrumental reasons, a primus inter pares.
In practice, although the consistory is the supreme organ of the
Church, and the elders are the majority in the consistory, pastors have
a certain undeniable pre-eminence in the Reformed Church. Its
function is more exalted, because the authority of the pastors has been
instituted by Christ, while the authority of the elders comes from the
visible Church; and also for two practical reasons: first because the
pastors could veto the appointment of the elders, and second because
the appointment of elders was temporary108.
3.3. Political and popular control of the Presbyterian Church.
What is the respective role of cooptation, political authority and
people in the appointment of pastors? The answer is decisive in
assessing the weight of secular authority in the Church. In reality it is
assumed that the vocation of the candidate is the election of God;
follows the moral and doctrinal examination of the shepherds; and
before ordination, the candidate is presented for "approval" to the
political authorities and to the people.


Historia..., cit., III, pgina 712; GILMONT, Jean Calvin et le livre imprim, Genve
1997, Page. 45; KINGDOM, Adultery and divorce in Calvins Geneva, Cambridge
Ma. 1995, Page. 14 y sigs.
BENEDICT, Christs churches purely reformed, a social history of Calvinism,
New Haven, London, 2002, Page. 96 y sigs.
In the second book of discipline of the Scottish Church the office of elder is
instituted as life, but also in Scotland affirms the effective supremacy of pastors in
the Church M. TODD, The culture of Protestantism in early modern Scotland, New
Haven-London, 2002, Page 361.

But it is not clear what the respective content of this approval

by the civil authority and the people109. CALVIN considers that the
New Testament does not give an adequate answer. he rejects the
Lutheran principle of submission of the Church to State, and also the
democratic election of pastors; but it does not seem to have supported
a dogmatic approach to the question. In the first writings CALVIN
hardly takes into account the popular approval, and admits that the
shepherds be chosen indistinctly by the magistrate or by the
consistory; in ecclesiastical ordinances consented that the candidate
must be approved by the civil authorities (the Geneva council) before
being ordained, although it seems to have considered this concession
as circumstantial and temporary; in later writings, in order to reinforce
the identity of the Church, he considers that pastors should be chosen
from within the Church itself (IC, IV, III, 15), which means, as it has
been said, that they are chosen by the pastors themselves, and that the
approval of the civil authority and the people is merely a protocol110.
3.4. The universality of the Reformed Church.
In addition, the choice of pastors also specifies the delicate
balance between centralism and localism, between the central
authority of the Church, the local authority and the authority of the
faithful. In reality it seems that the Church is organized into councils
and councils are only effective at the local level. Although the

In the election of the shepherds, CRANMER, following LUTHER, attributed

authority to the Christian prince; In the opinion of CRANMER, the principle of the
universal priesthood gives the prince jurisdiction over the Church (EASTWOOD,
The Priesthood of All Believers, London, 1960, p. 105 ff).
In CALVIN, the autonomy of the Church vis--vis the State becomes effective in
the election of the members of the council and in the appointment of pastors, and
always assuming localist principles. In those places where the authorities or
communities do not adopt Calvinism, they are absolutely dispensed with for the
election and appointment of pastors. BOYER, op. cit., Pg. 155. GANOCZY, op. cit,
pgina 307 y sigs.; ELTON, La Europa de la Reforma, trad. esp., Madrid, 1974, Pg.
269, etc. G. Mac GREGOR, Corpus Christi. The Nature of the Church According to
the Reformed Tradition, Eugene Or. 2004, Page 61, S. BRACHLOW, The
communion of saints. Radical Puritanism and separatist ecclesiology, 1570-1625,
Oxford 1988). In Scotland the designation initiative comes from the pastors
themselves, but the pastor before ordination is presented to the people on Sunday for
popular approval and any member of the congregation could object (M. TODD, The
culture of Protestantism in early modern Scotland, New Haven-London, 2002, Page.

consistories are grouped in districts and provinces, through provincial

and regional symposia, this synodal organization probably has more
the sense of a federation than that of authority, and its practical
jurisdiction is doubtful and in no case transcends the national level.
For instance, the Synod of Paris of 1559, approved by CALVIN
itself, sets the principles of the reformed national organization in
France. In the ecclesiastical discipline of 1559 for the Reformed
Church of France, he attributes the initiative of the appointment of the
ministers to the provincial Synod, which gives a certain centralizing
thrust to the Church (which had not the Church in Geneva). But it is
doubtful whether these forecasts were actually fulfilled, and in fact it
seems that even in France the local council of pastors predominates in
the selection and ordination of new shepherds 111. In France, in
provincial and national Synods, a suspicious royal representative is
usually present, and because of the Royal intervention the Synods met
irregularly (the national rarely), and even NAPOLEON wanted to
eliminate the national Synod and appoint a minister of the Protestant
Churches; and analogous inefficiency is said of other countries where
national synods have been organized following the French model112.
The Anglo-Saxon countries, closely linked to the Calvinist
reform, have not developed within themselves a centralized state and
have preserved, as one of their most important treasures, local
autonomy, probably as a secularization of the localist and corporate
character of the Christian Reformation. However the Achilles heel or
the counterpart of localism is the lack of a clear principle of
universality of the Church. The rich diversity and autonomy of the
Church translates into the practice in which there are not one but many
Reformed Churches.

M. MANDEL, Lautorit doctrinale dans lEglise Reform, Revue dhistoire et

de philosophie religieuses, 2006, Page. 232 y sigs). R.A.MENTZER, (Blood and
Belief, West Lafayette, 1994, Pg. 9.
LAFON, Le statut lgal et lorganisation des Eglises reformes, Toulouse, 1927.
Page. 26; tambin KINGODON, Geneva and the consolidation of the French
protestant movement 1564-1572, Ginebra, 1967. Pg. 42. With regard to the
organization of the Synods of the Kingdom of Navarre, in the Protestant court of
Juana de Albret, there appear to be an assemblies with pastors predominating and
with particular significance the pastors trained in Geneva (J. M OLAIZOLA,
Historia del protestantismo en el Pas Vasco, Pamplona 1993, en especial Page. 131
y sigs).

The history of the Reformed Church also shows us the tendency

to transit from the aristocratic system of co-opting the pastors to a
democratic congregationalist system dominated by the popular
conception of the Church. In New England and generally in the
American colonies Calvinism seems to have been preferentially
extended between a commercial and professional bourgeoisie, which
supports democratic values. Congregationalists dogmatically affirm
that the authentic Church is found in every local community, which
must govern itself, electing its pastors, and in no case recognizes the
effective authority of a central Synod.
3.5. The unity of the Church in a Presbyterian organization.
According to CALVIN, the Church of each town or city has the
title and authority of the Church (IC, IV, 1, 9). The foundation of the
ecclesiastical organization of the Reformed Church is the parish. A
pastor must be placed on it, and his territorial demarcation must be
carefully delimited, so as to avoid strife among the shepherds (IC, IV,
III, 7). It is then difficult to build a universal Church from a network
of local Churches.
From the historical point of view, the most striking of the socalled second reform is its diversity. Calvinist theology gives rise to a
multitude of Churches, which are Calvinistic, but which have singular
peculiarities. It is not easy to determine exactly what are the temporal
and territorial limits of Calvinism, The new Calvinist Churches
sometimes emerge crystallized in a nation, a doctrine or even a
preacher, who when has a true personality founds a Church, a stream
or a denomination113. And the recognition of a common doctrinal
tradition is made in the context of important dogmatic discrepancies,

Some interesting studies present the process of secularization of Calvinism with

remarkable parallelism to that of reform itself. Calvinism from a strict
predestinationist orthodoxy evolved in Geneva to maintain the universal salvation of
believers, and influenced by Arminian ideas also to uphold free will. The illustration
is then presented as compatible with the Calvinist religion. In Presbyterian America,
however, secularization has to be founded on a criticism of Calvin and Puritan
morality, which is why Calvin is presented in the history books of schools as a
paradigm of intolerance, and in particular of European intolerance ; The paradigm of
the Puritans is on the other hand the process of the witches of Salem (D. SORKIN,
Genevas enlighted orthodoxy, Church History, 2005, Page. 286 y sigs).

and many of them also obtained by generalization 114, and whose

maximum achievement seems to have been to generate religious
freedom within it, and also an effective and tolerant State, which we
examine in detail in the following chapter..
3.6. Dogma and authority.
The relation between predestination and presbyteral
organization, between dogma and authority, is not in CALVIN neither
univocal nor systematic. CALVIN himself bases his organization on
Scripture and patristics, not on his predestinationist dogmatic
Therefore, despite radical dogmatic diversity, the CALVIN
presbyteral organization serves as a model for many Protestant
denominations, even separated or autonomous from the of Reformed

The Confessio Gallicana was written by CALVIN in 1559, for the French
communities. The Scottish Confession of 1560 was written by J. KNOX, and
approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Confessio Belgica of 1561 was composed
by GUY DE BRS, and became the flag of struggle against Spanish rule in the
Netherlands. The Reformed Churches of Germany subscribed to the Heidelberg
Catechism at the initiative of the elector Frederick III of the Palatinate, written by
the disciples of Melanchton, Ursinus and Oleviano, in 1562. The Reformed
Churches of Switzerland adopted the second Helvetic Confession, prepared by
BULLINGER, 1564, to which other synods convened in Hungary, Poland and
Bohemia joined, although introducing their specificities: the Confession of Erlauthal
and the Hungarian Confession, both of 1562, the Consensus Sendomiriensis, in
Poland, and the Confessio Bohemica of 1609. (Basel was the only Swiss city that
remained faithful to the first helvetica confession). The Catechism of Heidelberg,
together with the Canons of the Synod of Dortdrecht, constitute the Confession of
Faith of the Reformed Churches of Holland and Reformed Churches German and
Dutch in America. The Westminster Confession of 1648 was adopted by the
Prebisterian National Churches in Scotland, England, Ireland, and by the
Constituting Synod of the Presbyterian Church of North America in 1729. The
Congregational Convention convened by Savoy in London in 1658, declared that he
approved the doctrinal part of the Westminster Confession, although he formulated
his own Confession, called Savoy, which is preferred by some Congregationalist
branches of the Reformed Church, such as the Synod of Cambridge, Massachusetts,
in June 1647, the Synod in Boston in May 1680, and the Synod of Saybrook,
Connecticut, in 1708. From here doctrinal and organizational evolution no longer
recognizes its Calvinist origin and overflows in many Anabaptist, Methodist,
Quaker, and even sectarian approaches doubtlessly Christians. (See some of these
confessions M.A. NOLL, Confessions and Catechisms of the Reformation, Gran
Rapids, 1991).

Church. And most Anabaptist Churches generally adopt the

organization of councils and consistories, and they usually recognize
functions (pastors, elders, deacons, charity being especially important,
usually suppressing doctors)115.
Calvinist reform manifests itself in a cluster proliferation of
different Churches and confessions, which have no undeniable
doctrinal principles and not intend to found a single universal
Calvinist or Presbyterian Church.
4. The Origin and Development of State Theory in Calvin.
4.1. The right of resistance.
The Calvinist exposition of the theory of the state is but a
recopilation of generalities. The Christian Institution only devotes
specifically Chapter XX of Book IV to the civil government. CALVIN
quotes the Aristotelian classification, common to classical antiquity:
monarchy, aristocracy and democracy PLATO and CICERN to
conclude that the three forms of government are legitimate, and of the
three are found Examples in Scripture; The most appropriate
government depends on the circumstances of each people116.
From the Christian's point of view, his political thought seems to
be a theology of resigned submission. The implantation of the
kingdom of God on earth will mean triumph over sin, and will
overcome the Church-State dichotomy. The end of history is the
establishment of the kingdom Christ, where there will be no disorder,
suffering or sin, with the definitive suppression of the state. Until that
day, the State and its injustice are providential in the order of creation.
Only within the State does the development of the word and of the
Church become possible until the definitive establishment of the
kingdom of God117.

PACKULL, Hutterite beginnings, Baltimore 1995.

BENEDICT, Christs churches purely reformed, a social history of Calvinism,
New Haven, London, 2002, Page., 89 y sigs.
CALVIN, although he frequently mentions that the State has a positive duty to
pursue idolatry, sacrilege and blasphemy, and to sustain Christian life and teaching,
is chiefly concerned with the establishment of the Christian Church, for the rest will
be given in addition. CALVIN, surely inspired by the Lutheran theology of orders,

Although CALVIN clarifies (IV, X, 5) that the civil law does not
compel in conscience, the scrupulous respect to the constituted power
is a constant in the writings of CALVIN. CALVIN drastically limits
the right of resistance to constituted power, because unjust power is a
punishment of God for sins, and only God is revenge. In the Christian
institution he does a detailed scriptural analysis, which always
concludes with the duty of obedience to political power, even though
Nebuchadnezzar was an invader and devastator of the countries, and
he adduces a text from Jeremiah in which God calls Nebuchadnezzar
his servant. Commenting on Daniel 2, 21, CALVIN states
categorically that it is the Lord who has instituted all power, coming
directly from the Lord and not from the Church (also comments to 1
Timothy 2,2, and 1 Peter 2,13, and in the commentary to Jeremiah).
Commenting on the epistle to the Romans, he underlines that
obedience to the authorities is obedience to the Lord himself. In the
delicate days of struggle against the Catholic monarchy of the French
Calvinists (Huguenots), CALVIN advises prudence and patience118.
Because of this respective autonomy of Church and State,
because of its humble respect for the constituted power, it can be
concluded that CALVIN did not found or attempt to found a theocracy
in Geneva. He never intended the extension of his doctrines by
physical coercion. His coercive measures were mainly spiritual: the
apartment of the supper and the excommunication of the Church119.
emphasizes that two institutions, the family and the State, are the instruments
established by God to preserve the social order. There is an order in nature
concretized by the Mosaic law, which is the first foundation of civil law, although a
social ethic is not derived particularly from the moral law, due to the obscuring
reason for sin : WILLIS, Calvins catholic Christology, Leyden, 1966, Page. 148.
MC NEILL, Calvin, on god and political duty, Indianapolis, 1950, introduccin.
Vase en detalle, MUELLER, Church and State in Luther and Calvin, New York
1954, en especial page 127 y sigs.
A reiterated accusation is to have conceived and founded a theocracy. Contrary
to what has been repeatedly written, CALVIN respected the existing political
institutions, and always maintained that every Christian has a duty of loyal
obedience to the civil authorities (even though these are unjust). CALVIN has
always been aware of the Church-State duality, and incessantly underlines the
difficulty of achieving satisfactory relations between Church and State, even in the
Reformed Christian territories. CALVIN maintains the independence and separation
of the Church of the State, demands of the political power the respect and freedom
for the preaching of the word; And the denial of the Lutheran principle of
submission to political power is the main cause of his exile from Geneva in 1538.

In fact, there are not even Calvinist confessional countrys. Its

own local autonomy and its doctrinal dispersion prevent the Christian
Reformation from founding a coherent political order founded on
beliefs. The Calvinist Geneva was a local Church, always in difficult
harmony with the civil authorities. And the United States, the closest
historical example of a Presbyterian country, at least in its origins, has
not created a political structure linked to religion, and has allowed for
the flourishing of religious and denominational plurality, which is a
natural result of the diversity of Christian Reform.
4.2. Calvinism and democratic society.
There is a reiterated debate whether or not CALVIN's
thinking is a democratic thought, and whether his thinking is at the
origin of democracy 120.
The accusation of political totalitarianism and of wanting to impose a theocracy is,
however, current from Voltaire (Cadier, op cit ., P. 23). VOLTAIRE accused Calvin
of being a Protestant pope. In Spain, the accusation of organizing a theocracy in
Geneva by ARGUES PEREZ, LUTHER and Rousseau, Saragossa 1947. The
accusation is very frequent and even reproduced by some prestigious modern author
(As Leonard, op. Cit., P. Who is a theocracy implicit in his thinking). However, it is
an exaggerated accusation: See in this sense GHERARDINI, La chiesa nella storia
della Protestante, Turin, 1968, p. 113, with critical analysis; K. BARTH, The
Theology of John Calvin, trans. Ing. Grand Rapids 1995, p. 171.

Many see in Dutch iusnaturalism and in Anglo-Saxon puritanism the origin of

democracy See the debates in: Calvin and Calvinism. Sources of Democracy?, with
introduction by R. M. KINGDON and R. D. LINDER, Massachussets 1970, with
various works; For example E. DOUMERGUE considers that it was Origin of the
democracy by its opposition to the absolutism; As the elders received authority from
the Christian people are the origin of representative government; GEORGES DE
LAGARDE considers that it originates in the principle of the election of the
governors although it favored an aristocratic government. In the same sense C.
MARQUET, Le Protestantisme, Paris 1989, p. 50). R. NIEBUHR (The Idea of
Covenant and American Democracy, Church History, 1954, pp. 126-35), believes
that Presbyterian Calvinism in New England was decisive in the origin of the
American democratic constitution (In the same sense M. WALTZER, The
Revolution of the Saints, Cambridge 1965, And according to NEALE (Elisabeth I
and her parliaments, 1559-1581, p. 436) it was the Puritans who would teach
England the art of parliamentary opposition. Parliamentarism is the great alternative
to absolute real power and the instrument of assault on power by the Puritan
movement. Other authors doubt R.D. Linder, The Emergence of Liberty in the
Modem World: The Influence of Calvin on Five Governments from the 16th through
the 18th Centuries, "Journal of Church and State," vol. 35, 1995, p.911.

CALVIN is opposed to the authoritarian government of the

Church, which results in an undeniable republican spirit of the
Calvinists. On the other hand, CALVIN proposes to substitute
absolutist government for a government of Councils and Synods,
where compromise, covenant and alliance, form part of the very
essence of organization and authority, the germ of more democratic
In the political context of religious struggles Calvinist
philosophers and jurists criticize royal absolutism and evolve towards
republicanism first and democracy later. They advocate an egalitarian
political society, which makes the notion of a universal priesthood
effective in the secular realm. They develop the distinction between
king and law, and between king and people. It is Calvinist authors,
particularly BEZA, who develop the right of resistance of the
intermediate authorities, and even of the people, against tyrannical and
unjust powers. And parliamentarism emerges from the bosom of the
Presbyterian party in England, and in close connection with the
corporate governance of councils and consistories, which takes place
in Calvinist Presbyterianism121.
The English way of Reform after almost two centuries of
clashes, affirms religious freedom and transforms the royal authority
into supreme authority of the parliament. English Calvinists were the
main protagonists in the forge of the political categories of the modern

Puritan preachers from the very beginning secularized the notion of universal
priesthood and advocated the authority of God granted to the Christian people and
not to the King, and especially in Scotland these doctrines promote a Calvinist
rebellion. Opposition to royal absolutism is reproduced similarly in Holland,
England, and France. On the other hand, Presbyterianism and parliamentarism
always had a particular fascination on jurists. It is an idea repeated in the AngloSaxon literature. DUNNE, The City of Gods, Notre Dame, 1978; HANCOCK,
Calvin and the fondations of modern politics, Ithaca, 1989; MITCHELL, Not by
reason alone, Chicago 1993, who see in the political ideas of the Anglo-Saxon
authors of the XVII, the "political arm" of their Calvinist religious convictions. This
idea is repeated. Cf. BALMES, cit., P. TROELTSCH (Op. Cit., Page 63): Calvinism
in its great struggles against the Catholic authorities (Scottish, Dutch, Huguenots
and English) ends up organizing the State in a synodal-presbyteral form and in that
Context originates the theory of the social pact. Also K. Barth (The Theology of
John Calvin, trad ing Grand Rapids 1995, page 305) considers him one of the
founding fathers of modern democracy. Likewise, in my opinion, the theory of the
constitution could be a secularization of the Calvinist dogma of predestination.

world. CALVIN influences the modern secular world but not because
of his theory of the state, but because, the patristics of modernity are
English jurist philosophers of Calvinist formation (such as HOBBES,
HOOKER, LOCKE). A political theory, with precise analogies to the
epistemological and ecclesial Calvinist system.
In my opinion religious freedom, in which the person is taken as
a political subject, recognizing the supremacy of the individual over
the system, regardless of his beliefs or ideology, has been developed
by authors of Calvinist origin and forms the basis of modern
Democratic ideas. The understanding of this fascinating historical
process, requires a detailed examination of the evolution of the
Reformation in England.


1. Religious differences and Royal supremacy.

1.1. The identity of the Anglican Church
The third great movement of the Christian Reformation does not
begin as a precise theological, doctrinal or ecclesial movement, but as
a reform from above, implanted by royal authority. The act of
supremacy, of November 3, 1534, makes the King of England the
supreme head of the Church of England122.
Once established the royal supremacy, deep doctrinal
discrepancies are allowed inside the Church. In fact the supreme
English monarchy evolves doctrinally: it is schismatic (Henry VIII),
Lutheran (Eduard VI), moderate Calvinist (Elisabeth I), Episcopal
(Jacob I, Charles I), and then it is not exactly known what (in
The Book of Common Prayer is the second great sign of English
Reform: a liturgical and cult identity despite the political avatars.
Uniformity of religious ritual is established in the act of uniformity, of
January 1549. The Book of Common Prayer regulates liturgy with the
intention of preserving the traditional cult (with Lutheran
extravagances, since it was promulgated in times of Somerset). The
book is revised in 1552, after the death of Henry VIII, with a
Calvinistic profile; in the reign of Elisabeth the new Book of Common
Prayer of 1556 puts back, with certain changes, the earlier liturgy;
which is since then, with some minor modification, such as that of
1604, the source of the traditional identity of Anglican worship. The
Book of Common Prayer would be repealed by Parliament in 1645
and replaced by the Directory of public worship, of Calvinist
character, but with the restoration in 1662 the traditional Book of
Common Prayer is again implemented, modified only slightly to adapt
it to the Changes in the English language.

In the early times justifying HENRY VIII means establishing absolutism.

TYNDALE is a characteristic author of the Lutheran and Gallican stream maintains
the prince's authority in the external order (PREVOST, Tomas Moro y la crisis del
pensamiento europeo, trad. esp., Madrid, 1972, Pg. 187; CARLYLE, A history of
medieval political theory in the west, Edimburgo-Londres, vol. IV, 1950, pg. 287).

1.2. Henry VIII

The Church which envisions HENRY VIII is apostolic
(Episcopal). He never adhered to the ideas of LUTHER, but he denies
the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.
Nevertheless, in spite of the exclusively schismatic character of
the Church of HENRY VIII, a strong current from the earliest times,
favored the introduction of an authentic Protestant Church in England.
And throughout the reign of HENRY VIII Lutheran ideas strongly
The marriage problems of HENRY VIII facilitate, at a certain
moment, the seizure of power by the philoprotestant movement.
Nevertheless, after the confiscation of the ecclesiastical goods and
dissolution of his marriage, the Bishops Book restores the dogma and
the traditional liturgy124.
HENRY VIII with his authority supports the unity of the Church
in spite of his deep internal discrepancies, but at his death, in the reign
of EDUARD VI, under the protectorate of the Duke of SOMERSET,
Lutheranism is introduced, but concerned in not changing the
traditional liturgy125. In 1552, as we have said, Calvinism is adopted
and promulgated a new Book of Common Prayer126.


C. CROSS, Church and people, Glasgow, 1978, pg. 94, TAVARD (La poursuite
de la catholicit dans lEglise dAngleterre, Pars, 1965., pg. 42).
LINDSAY (The constitutional history of modern Britain, Londres, 1964, pg. 71).
SKINNER, op. cit., II, page. 99 y sigs.
DELUMEAU, op. cit., page. 77; LEONARD, op. cit., II, page. 50. SOMERSET
sought advice directly from Calvin (WALTZER, The revolution of the saints,
Londres, 1966, page. 62; BOYER, op., cit., page 7. 1549).
Luther, Calvin, and other reformers, felt a very special aversion for Anabaptism
(on the subject, see CROSS, Church and People, Glasgow, 1976, p88). Curiously in
this phase of the Reformation of the Church we witness the natural coexistence of
Lutheranism and Calvinism as uniform religious forms in their opposition to
Papism; thus, if CRANMER in his early days maintained Lutheran tendencies, he
later accepted, quite naturally, Calvinism.

1.3. Elisabeth.
After the parenthesis of 1553-1558, and the ephemeral Catholic
restoration of MARY and Reginal POLE, a moderate and
decaffeinated version of Calvinism returns with Queen
But despite Calvinist dogmatics, the iconoclasm of King
Edward's time is abandoned; the traditional rite of communion, the
altar and the orientation of the churches are preserved, and even the
queen expressly opposes Calvin's predestinationist approach.
ELISABETH continues Henry VIII policy of glorious
comprehensiveness that encourages tradition in rite and tolerance in
doctrine. In the thirty-nine articles of Anglican faith of 1571 a sui
generis Church is organized, dependent on civil power, whose
Protestant theology, influenced especially by Calvinism, only
recognizes baptism and the Eucharist as Sacraments, but retains to a
large extent with the traditional liturgy. The bishop is seen as a
political office of government and the priesthood a function rather
than a sacrament (for the early Church knew nothing of Roman
theological subtleties)128.
To effectively carry out the unified liturgy of the Book of
Common Prayer the visitation of the churches by lay officials at the
service of civil power is organized; and a court, the High Commission,
is created, like the star chamber, to persecute the Papists (a tribunal
which after 1580 was also used to persecute Baptists and Puritans)129.

However, contrary to what happened previously, the new act of supremacy and
the restoration of the prayer book, will have a strong opposition of the ecclesiastical
estate in the House of the lords. It outlines the beginning of what will be known later
as the party of the high church, and political power is forced to appoint new bishops
among the emigres (the admission of ideas and the Ritual cranmeriano, in the
Church of Elisabeth produces the loss in England of the apostolic succession:
LINDSAY, cit., page. 86).
TAVARD, La poursuite..., cit., page. 39. NIETZSCHE, a profound connoisseur of
the English soul, speaks of SHAKESPEARE, who was philocatolic and hated the
Puritans, as the paradigm of the Hispanic-Arab tradition of the English aristocracy
K.POOLE, Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton. Figures of non conformity
in Early Modern England, Cambridge 2000; he interprets Falstaff as a parody of
Puritans and their follies).
R. HOULBROOKE, Church courts and the people during the English
reformation, 1520-1570, Oxford 1979.

In contrast to this religious policy of glorious

comprehensiveness, a radical Calvinist movement, called Puritan,
interprets the queen's religious supremacy, and in particular the
preservation of ritual and traditional dress, as a civil papism130. From
1570 on a presbyterial organization of Puritanism is institutionalized
within the Church, whose principal instigator seems to have been J.
FIELD. The Geneva system is copied, and provincial synods and a
national synod are organized. The occult character of the early times
lends a democratic imprint to English Presbyterianism131.
During the reign of ELISABETH tensions are slowly brewing
and within the Church passions boil. On the one hand radical
Puritanism, which seeks to rid England of the ritual heritage and
Roman worship; on the other, an anti-puritan reaction and a revival of
dogma, liturgy and episcopal tradition, especially between the nobility
and the ecclesiastical hierarchy, in what was later called the highchurch.
contemporaneously within the Church itself, subjected by royal
supremacy and precariously united by the liturgy of the Book of
Common Prayer132.

Basil HALL (Puritanism the problem of definition, en Studies in church

history, II, 1965, page. 283), points out that between 1570 and 1640 Puritans are
those who oppose the philocatolic liturgy of the Prayer Book and want to organize a
Presbyterian government within the Church of England, but after 1640, the term
puritan looses any univocal meaning. According to legend the Puritans emigrated in
the "May flower" to find in America a new promised land in which to realize their
Calvinist ideals. The Puritans represent the spirit of American independence, and
within that qualification no longer fit Calvinists but also Anabaptists, Quakers and
all kinds of Christian sects.
During the reign of ELISABETH, the Puritans become aware of their strength
and their protagonism of the political struggle The Achilles' heel of Puritans is their
lack of internal cohesion and, consequently, their internal quarrels. (D. CRESSYL.A. FERREL, Religion and society in early modern England, London New York,
1996 Page. 8. HILL Society and Puritanism in pre-Revolutionary England, Londres,
1964, Page. 17. M. TODD, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order,
Cambridge 1987).
KNOX, a Catholic priest ordained in 1536, becomes a reformer of Scotland, in
1556 publishes the Genevan Service Book for the use of refugees in Geneva, which
is then implanted in the Church of Scotland (1562: Book of Our Common Order in
the administration of the Sacraments and Solemnization of Marriages and Burials of
the Dead), and in 1560 publishes Genevan Bible. In Scotland, by direct influence of
KNOX, in 1563 the Assembly of the Scottish Church rejects the reforms of Laud,
and maintains the liturgical validity of the Book of Common Order.

1.4. Absolutism in the early Reformation.

The schism of HENRY VIII not only denies the Roman Church,
it also affirms absolute monarchy. HOBBES and HOOKER elaborate
the doctrinal apparatus of Tudor absolutism.
HOBBES is the most important author of the absolutist
movement133. According to HOBBES a corrupt and radically sinful
man (original sin) should be submitted to an absolute power 134. A
social pact, between individual persons, generates political
sovereignty, achieves social peace and is a guarantee of property and
marriage135. With examples of the Old Testament he argues about the
greater suitability of the absolute monarchy as a form of government,
and does not accept that the king can be deposed by his people,
because the democracy only leads to factions and the civil war.
In Leviathan, published in 1651, there is no autonomous
consideration of the Church, only Chapter 42, of the third part (the
Christian State), deals with "ecclesiastical power": the sovereign is the
highest authority of the Church, and has the potestas iuridictionis. The
authentic Church, the "men of faith", are individuals, not an
organization (surely an application of the distinction between Calvin's
visible and invisible Church).


On Hobbes: CARPINTERO, Del Derecho Natural medieval al Derecho Natural

moderno: Fernando Vzquez de Menchaca, Salamanca, 1977, Pg. 127. TRUYOL
SERRA, A., Historia de la Filosofa del Derecho y del Estado II, Madrid, 1975, pp.
157-165; RODRGUEZ PANIAGUA, Historia del pensamiento jurdico, 5. ed.,
Madrid, 1984, page 113. N. BOBBIO, Thomas Hobbes, trad. esp., Barcelona, 1991.
M DZELZAINIS, Ideas in Conflict: Political and Religious Thought during the
English Revolution, en The Cambridge Companion to Writing of the English
Revolution, Cambridge, 2002; G. BURGESS, Absolute Monarchy and the Stuart
Constitution, London 1996; Q. SKINNER, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy
of Hobbes, Cambridge 1996. D. CRESSY, England on Edge: Crisis and Revolution
1640-1642, Oxford 2006.

English text:

The social pact is formulated as an alternative to the religious legitimation of

political power, and as a justification for the religious schism. The power does not
come directly from God (who is hidden).

BEZA wrote in 1565 that the papacy had not been expelled from
England, but transferred to royal majesty. As the reign of
ELISABETH evolves, a movement that promotes the purification of
the Church of England, contrary to the king as the head of the Church,
crystallizes and proposes a new form of government. GRINDAL,
exiled in the time of Queen Mary, named primate of the Church of
England in the days of Elisabeth, Calvinist, defender of Presbyterians,
recriminates to the queen that the absolute monarchy represents a civil
papism136. In this context the political problem is no longer to justify
the opposition to Rome of the English monarchy, which appears
consolidated, but to defend the Anglican ecclesial and political order
against the Puritan movement.
HOOKER writes, at the end of the sixteenth century, The Laws
of ecclesiastical polity, a decisive book in the consolidation of the
Anglican Church and establishment of religious freedom 137.
HOOKER, a Calvinist, conceives the political body of the Church
distinct from the Church as a mystical body. HOOKER affirms that
the Real supremacy has a political sense, on avoiding the interference
of foreign powers, and in no case means denying the supremacy of
Christ as head of the Church. For HOOKER the visible Church is a
society or assembly of men, the Church and the Commonwelth, and
the king must be considered as supreme head of the Commonwelth 138.
He opposes the dogmatic exclusiveness of Luther and Calvin, and on
the basis of St. Paul's epistle to the Galatians he reinterprets the
principle Nulla salus extra ecclesiam, conceives the Church as a
community of faith and baptism, in which different doctrines might
meet. Anglicanism is defined as an integrating Christianity of the
religious parties that devastate Europe. And even the members of the
papist Roman Church, however mistaken they may be, participate in
the visible Church; only the Saracens, the Jews and the apostates are

Patrick COLLINSON, Archbishop Grindal,1519-1583, The Struggle for a

Reformed Church, Berkeley, 1979, TAVARD, La poursuite..., page. 43).
Publicado on line ( MOORMAN, A history of
the Church of England, 3 ed., Londres, 1976, page. 215.
P.D.L. DAVIS, The Church in the Theology of the Reformers, London 1981. N.
ATKINSON, Richard Hooker and the Authority of Scripture, Tradition and Reason,
Carlisle, 1997. N. VOAK R. Hooker and the Reformed Theology: A study of reason,
Hill, and Grace., Oxford 2003, D. NEELANDS, Richard Hooker and the Debates
about Predestination, 1580-1600, en Richard Hooker and the English
Reformation, Dordrecht, 2003.

excluded from the Church, for salvation is founded on faith in

1.5. A return to absolutism.
In the first half of the seventeenth century, in the two following
reigns of JACOB I and CHARLES I, kings strongly opposed the
puritan movement, defend absolutism, and are accused of being
philocatolic. At the same time we witness a change of the Royal
position on the nature of the priesthood and function of the bishops.
JACOB I promotes the return to the sacramental conception of the
priesthood and episcopate, whose formal culmination is the Hampton
Court conference of 1604140.
JACOB I felt no sympathy for Calvinism, led by democratic
assemblies where secular and plebeian prevailed, and asserted that
Scottish Presbyterianism accords with monarchy as God with the
devil, openly advocating the unification of the rite Church and the
organization of an Episcopal Church. Bishop LAUD, especially
influential, is called at the death of ABBOT to the primacy of the
Church of England, as Archbishop of Canterbury. Introduces
consecrated bishops, reunites the rite and discipline, reestablishes
images, stained glass, orientation of the Church, music, dogma and
traditional liturgy. Measures the Puritans strongly opposed141.


D. WALANCE, Puritans and predestination: Grace in English protestant

Theology, 1525-1695, Chapel Hill, 1982, W.J TORRANCE KIRBY, Richards
Hookers doctrine of royal supremacy, Leiden, New York, Kln, 1990, C.J.
COCKSWORTH, Evangelical Eucharistic thought in the Church of England,
Cambridge-New York, 1992, page 33). The word of God must be found in Scripture,
but this is not the only word of God, because God speaks also through nature
(NEILL, Langlicanisme, 2. ed., 1965).
D. CRESSY-L.A. FERREL, Religion and society in early modern England,
London New York, 1996, Page. 127. COLLINSON, Episcopacy and Reform in
England in the later sixteen century, Studies in church history, III, Leyden, 1966,
page 91.
PARKER, Arminianism and Laudianism in seventeenth century England,
Studies in church history, 1, page. 20.

2. Origins of parlamentarism.
2.1. Evolution of Calvinist thought on the right of resistance.
Resistance to papal idolatry is for many Calvinists inseparable
from resistance to political tyranny. In England many Puritans justify
rebellion against absolute English monarchs, especially when kings
promote episcopalism and approach Catholicism.
To justify rebellion Puritans must deepen the concepts of
authority, people and sovereignty. The Calvinist revolution against the
Catholic monarchy in the Netherlands, puts the facts before ideas. And
it is noteworthy that the Puritan exile saw in Calvinist Holland a
model of a legitimate popular revolution not only against papal
idolatry, but also against the tyranny of kings.
Calvinist puritanism is divided in England in the question of
whether they should collaborate with the established Church of
England, and by 1570 appear the first Presbyterian organizations
separated from the official English Church, in direct conflict with
Church and State. During the seventeenth century the Scots tended to
be more radical and populist (BUCHANAM in particular), and in
Scotland the Puritans initiate civil war. To give to Caesar what is
Caesar's and to God what is of God (Mark 12,17) represents the
counterpoint of the divinization of the power of the king as "head of
the Church." KNOX and BUCHANAN will be milestones of the
Puritan and Calvinist development of the right of resistance, contrary
to being integrated in the Church of England and also opposing to
recognize the absolute monarchy.
2.2. Absolute king and Christian people.
Coexistence within the Church of England becomes more and
more difficult, and within the Stuarts kingdom two opposing positions
are clearly defined: Episcopalists and Presbyterians. The double
principle tradition-hierarchy versus predestination-equality, will divide
them in the political arena. The presbiterians tend to models of
organization by councils or assemblies, whereas episcopalists tend to
form aristocratic and traditionalist organization. Presbyterians believe

in the existence of an immutable law as the supreme source of law (the

constitution, transcript of predestination), while episcopalists believe
in tradition, social hierarchy and authorized interpretation of the law.
Consacreted Bishops at the head of the Church are unacceptable
to the Puritans. The Parliament declares himself Presbyterian. The
elected Parliament in 1620 initiates a counterattack against the real
pretensions with a new phase of the political fight engaging
accusations of corruption political processes142. Against the
reformist attempts of the monarchy and the nobility, a new juridical
class, on behalf of the people, becomes defender of Calvinism. At the
beginning of the seventeenth century, E. COKE, a Calvinist jurist,
published his famous, institutes (the same title as CALVIN), where he
criticized the royal prerogatives and maintained the supremacy of
Parliament143. COKE states that both the jurisdiction and the tax
authority originate in law (dictated by Parliament, government of
councils) 144..
In 1644 a Presbyterian government of the Church of England
was organized, with classes and Synods (provincial and national). In
1645 LAUD is executed, and CHARLES I captured. The king,
CHARLES I, accused of papist idolatry, is finally condemned and
executed. A Calvinist army thus destroys the supreme symbol of the
Church of England. Triumphant in war, the Puritan Parliament dictates
a new Calvinist Confession of Anglican faith (the Westminster
Confession of 1648). The revolution stablishes, on behalf of the
Christian people, the constitutional character of Parliament. The long
Parliament abolishes the episcopacy and confiscates the ecclesiastical
properties, to an extent comparable only to the appropriation of the
monasteries by HENRY VIII145.

FRANKLIN, John Locke and the theory of sovereignty, Cambridge, 1978, page.
BEAUTE, Sir Edward Coke, Pars, 1975, Page 45. BOWEN, Catherine, The lion
and the throne: the life and times of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), Boston 1956.
Page X. STONER, James Reist, Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes,
and the Origins of American Constitutionalism, Lawrence, Kan, 1992;
HOSTETTLER, John, Sir Edward Coke: A Force for Freedom, Chichester, 1997.
HILL Los orgenes intelectuales de la Revolucin inglesa, trad. esp., Barcelona,
1980, pg. 261.
Jos M. LASALLE, Locke, liberalismo y propiedad, Madrid 2003.
LEONARD, op. cit., II, page. 241..

2.3. The restoration.

But the so-called Calvinist religious uniformity, promoted by
parliament, faces insurmountable difficulties in the organization of the
new Church of England146. Presbyterians conceive the Church as a
select group (the elect), in a secular world. His mission is to bear
witness to the word, not to change the world, which is ruled by
providence. They also think that being Anglican means simply
respecting the king in England147. After a century and a half of
religious confrontation, the deeply divided Anglican-Presbyterian
party, confronted with ever more radical Christian sects (even beyond
Congregationalists and Anabaptists), after the death of Cromwell
consents coexistence with Episcopalists, and propitiates the restoration
of the monarchy.
The end of the religious wars in England occurs because an
Episcopal Church is respected in a multiconfessionary Presbyterian
State148. Presbyterians no longer seek the uniformity of the Church but
a coherent state that, despite great discrepancies, supports the great
principles of the Reformation. And the restoration of the Church in
1662 is made according to Episcopalist guidelines149.
The official position of the political philosophy of restoration,
maintains that the king in violating the law (euphemism that meant
Protestantism) lost the protection of the law. The sign of the new State
is to end wars of religion by proclaiming religious freedom. Religious
freedom thus seems to be formulated in its origins as a real unity of
Protestants, over their religious discrepancies, and to maintain their
identity against a threatening Catholicism on the one hand, and in the


SOLT, Saints in arms: Puritanism and democracy in Cromwells army, Stanford,

1959; TYACKE ., page., page 69 y sigs. LEONARD, op. cit., II, page. 249.
MARSHALL John Locke. Resistance, Religion and Responsabilty, Cambridge,
1994, Page 110). SOLAR CAYON, La teora de la tolerancia en John Locke, Madrid
1996, Pg. 156 y sigs.
L. COLLEY (Britons: forging the nation, New Haven/London, 1992, Page. 54.
TYACKE Aspects of English Protestantism, Manchester, 2001, Page., 70. M.A.
DRURY, Anticatholicism in Germany, Britain and the United States A review and
critic of recent scholarship, Church History, 2001.
TAVARD, La poursuite..., cit., Page. 85.

face of the progressive dissolution of Protestantism in the face of the

appearance of radical movements and sects150.
After the reigns of CHARLES II and JACOB II, the English
constitutional system is completed in the glorious revolution of 1688,
with the establishment of the dynasty of the Orange, the toleration act
of 1689, which established Religious Freedom, and which has served
as a model for social and political life of Western Europe.
It seems to me that then England endorses the admired Calvinist
rebellion of the Low Countries. The seven provinces of the North of
the Netherlands, grouped together from the Union of Utrecht (1579),
had deposed Philip II in 1581 and appointed at the head of the
republic William of Orange, the founder of the Orange-Nassau
dynasty, to lead an endless war of religion against Catholic Spain
(until its independence in 1648, in the Peace of Westphalia), it became
promissed land of the English Calvinist exiles, until they decided to
organize something similar in England, establishing in 1688 the
Orange as kings of England.
In restoration, and as a result of the compromise between
Presbyterians and Episcopalists, the most authentic "Puritans" are
discretely removed, but will be found in the majority among the
emigres to the American colonies.
2.4. John LOCKE and the origins of popular sovereignty.
The main author of the new political theory is John LOCKE.
The explanation of LOCKE's ideas in terms of its Calvinist origins,
and particularly in the context of the English revolution, is already a
common point among recent British writers, especially after
publication of private manuscripts kept by his family: the Lovellace

J. MARSHALL, John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture:

Religious Toleration and Arguments for Religious Toleration in Early Modern and
Early Enlightenment Europe. Cambridge, 2006. Particularly concerned with the
restoration of antitrinitarian currents. The Blasphemy Act of 1698 punishes
unitarianism as blasphemy, probably because it breaks the boundaries between
Christianity and other major religious currents: Judaism or Islam.

In 1689 LOCKE returned to England from his exile on the same

vessel that brought William of Orange, and published the famous
treatie: "on the false principles and misrepresentations of sir Robert
Filmer". LOCKE seeks a coherent response to the absolutist
statements of Filmer, follower of Hobbes, principal defender of the
divine right of kings in the reign of Charles II152.
According to LOCKE, the foundation of power lies in an
agreement or social pact, with quote from Pufendorf. Natural law and
the social pact are the counterpoint to the theories of the divine origin
of political power. Against Sir Robert FILMER's claim: power is
anthologically one, for someone must be the final judge in case of
conflict, LOCKE responds by denying that power is the consequence
of an authority, and claim that it is a consequence of Law. And that
authority as a consequence of reason and truth 153. LOCKE strongly
advocates religious freedom. In his letters on tolerance, and in his
treatise on the rationability of Christianity; LOCKE staits that beliefs
do not come from the will, and coercion is only exercised over the
will. In his treatise on tolerance LOCKE argues that religious freedom
is founded on the fact that Christ's kingdom is not of this world,
Christianity, unlike the Jewish theocracy, distinguishes man's inner
sphere from its external sphere, and Belief and salvation belongs to
the inner world of the Christian154.
amode=start&author=Locke,%20John. H. KRAMER, John Locke and the Origins of
Private Property, Cambridge 1997, Page 11, Jose M. LASALLE, Locke, liberalismo
y propiedad, Madrid 2003, Page. 14). MARSHALL (John Locke. Resistance,
Religion and Responsabilty, Cambridge, 1994, Pg. XVIII de la introduccin).
DUNN The political thought of J. Locke, Cambridge 1969; SPELLMAN John
Locke and the problem of depravity, Oxford 1988; ASHCRAFT, Revolutionary
politics and Lockes two treatises of Government, Princeton 1986; SOLAR CAYON,
La teora de la tolerancia en John Locke, Madrid 1996. 114.
WALDRON, God, Locke and equality, Christian Foundations in Lockes political
thought, Cambridge, 2002 Page. 181 y sigs. MARSHALL, John Locke. Resistance,
Religion and Responsibility, Cambridge, 1994, Pg. 113.
TULLY, a discourse on property. John Locke and his adversaries, Cambridge,
1980., Page. 157 y sigs.
FRANKLIN, John Locke and the theory of sovereignty, Cambridge, 1978,
TULLY A Discourse on Property, Cambridge 1980, MITCHELL, Not by Reason
alone, Chicago 1993). HAZARD, (La crisis de la conciencia Europea, trad. esp.,
Madrid 1975), que Locke, con su teora del derecho natural, ha terminado por
secularizar el derecho (Pg. 260).

Power is essentially limited because the origin of political

society is consensus, not divine right. Against FILMER who considers
that Adam (who prefigures a man: the king) receives the government
over all creatures, LOCKE interprets that Adam represents humanity,
power is received in the community. The authority is exercised only as
a representation of the power that has appointed it.
Expanding the right of resistance, LOCKE is in favor of the
king's sovereignty (the King can do no wrong), but admits the right of
resistance whenever the king tries to subvert the constitution. Finally
in the two treaties of government he explains the individual right of
resistance, surely to justify the armed uprising against Charles II, by
which he was exiled in 1683, abandoning his previous position of a
limited right of resistance in the magistrates. The individual right of
resistance is the other side of the political society founded on the
social pact of free individuals; and Locke argues that the right of
resistance maintains political power within its legitimate limits.
The need to defend property is an obsession with John Locke's
system. It holds that property as the political organization (although of
natural right), are creations of man155. Political society and property
are the same reality focused on a universal and particular approach. In
reality the new Presbyterian State of restoration, on which LOCKE
theorizes, has created a State of proprietors and not of nobles, and
perhaps this is its main merit.
But economic inequality has limits, because life, food and a
place by the fire must be guaranteed to everyone. Property that
justifies economic inequality can never be transformed into political
inequality. Property is conceived as a form of collective possessory
appropriation, opposing Filmer and his theory of donation to Adam
and the priority of individual property over the common. And on these

The great and main purpose ... of men joining together in community and putting
themselves under a government is the preservation of their property (Second Treaty,
Cap IX, paragraph 124, underlined in the original). Locke asks how property is
possible that divides and distinguishes men with the essential equality of all men.
Locke justifies that men take ownership of a general good for the work of their body,
and the work of their hands. Work adds to things something that distinguishes them
and excludes them from common property, while explaining economic inequalities.
According to LASALLE (p. 14) with Locke arises the modern property right.

ideas develops a justification of the social benefit action, which has a

precise origin in Calvin156.
These ideas of J. LOCKE, pillars of a secular state, put an end to
two centuries of religious confrontation in England, and serves as a
model for the political development of modernity. They are the
culmination of a genuinely Calvinist political thought, based on the
supremacy of parliament, religious freedom, separation of powers,
guardianship of private property, freedom of entreprise and social
3. Political origins of modern Law.
3.1. American Calvinism and Independence.
During the reign of Charles I, Puritan religious dissidence
emigrates to America; an exodus after the monarchical restoration157.
The same "messianic" diversity of Cromwell's hosts is found in
those who escape from the Anglican beast, and who then fight in the
new world for their independence158.
English emigrants divided as Presbyterians, Congregationalists,
Baptists and Quakers, and many other denominations, agitated by
strong internal dissent (for example, anti-predestinationist and
antitrinitarian159), however, have a sense of unity, as exiles, pilgrims,
elected, gathered by their bibliocentric spirit, anti-Catholic,
Republican, educated in religious freedom, and rigoristic in moral

TULLY, A discourse on property. John Locke and his adversaries, Cambridge,

1980, en especial Page. 68 y sigs WALDRON, God, Locke and equality, Christian
Foundations in Lockes political thought, Cambridge, 2002 Page. 156 y sigs.
In 1620, about 120 refugees known as the "Pilgrim Fathers", settled in Plymouth
(Massachusetts). John Bunyan (1628-1688), creates the myth of the new Sion in his
book "The Pilgrim's Journey", written in Bedford Prison under the Stuart.
J.C.D. CLARK, The language of liberty, 1660-1832. Political discourse and
social dynamics in the Anglo American world, Cambridge 1994, J.S. TIEDMANN,
Presbyterianism and the American Revolution in the Middle colonies, Church
History 1995, Page. 306 y sigs. GREEN, The character of a good ruler: a study of
puritan political ideas in New England, 1630-1730, New Haven, 1970.
S.E. AHLSTRON, A Religious History of the American People, New Haven
1972, Page., 393 y sigs.

questions. In short, they are all branches of the same Calvinist tree,
and heirs of the "Puritan" tradition, beyond denominations. And
puritans do not to identify themselves with dogmatic ideas, but as part
of a religious adventure, that loved and participated in the diversity
that would forge the great American nation, where hospitality was
more important than authority and belief. The United States has for a
long time retained that foundational mark of the Calvinist tradition of
convenant, of proclaiming itself a chosen people, and of considering
the new world as the new Zion of the elected, part of the history of
American independence is thus tied to the extension of Calvinist
puritanism to America: while the Anglican episcopalists were
generally faithful to the crown161. The war of American independence
acquired a marked dye of religious war, continuation of the civil and
religious wars of English XVII century162.
The civil war marks an unstoppable process of secularization of
American society. Churches are divided on the issue of slavery, and
generally conform to the political circumstances of their surroundings:
Churches: in the north are opposed in the name of the Lord to slavery
in the South, also in the name of the Lord, they argue its legitimacy 163.

BERCOVITCH, The puritan origins of the American self, New Haven-Londres,

1975, Page. 80; tambin BUSHMAN, From puritan to Yankee, Cambridge, Mass.,
1967, P. JOHNSON, The history of the American people, New York 1999, Page. 33.
AVIHU ZAKAI, History and Apocalypse in the Puritan Migration to America,
Cambridge 1992, W. S. HUDSON- J. CORRIGAN, Religion in America, 6 ed.
Upper Saddle River, 1999, Page., 40 y sigs., R.BALMER-J.R.FITZMIER, The
Presbyterians, Westport, Conn. 1993, J. Von ROHR The shaping of American
congregationalism, Cleveland, 1992, en particular Page, 200).

W. S. HUDSON- J. CORRIGAN, Religion in America, 6 ed. Upper Saddle River,

1999, Page. 54.
Although the first amendment forbids states to constitute an official religion, 36
of the 41 delegates voting in 1787 for the United States Constitution define
themselves as Calvinists.P.E. HAMMOND (With liberty for all. Freedom of
Religion in the United States, Louisville, 1998), HANSON C.P. Necessary virtue:
The pragmatic origins of religious liberty in new England, studies how in 1770 the
colony of England forms an alliance with the Catholic Quebec in its fight with the
British empire, what considers like the origin of the religious tolerance of the
catholics in the new State .
M.A. NOLL, The civil war as a theological crisis, Chapel Hill, 2006.

Churches are unable to resolve the moral dilemma of American

culture, and no Calvinist Church, no Puritan denomination identifies
the ideals of the new free society. Along with this, secularization, the
proselytizing thrust of Baptists and Methodists, the emergence of
increasingly peculiar Protestant denominations and sects, later
immigration that does not communicate with Protestant ideals (of
Jews, Orthodox Christians, Catholics) marks a profound Crisis of
Calvinists values that forged the identity of the new Zion. Since the
late nineteenth century the multiplication of the number of nonProtestant churches and the exponential fragmentation of Protestant
denominations makes it difficult to recognize the United States with a
Calvinist religious identity164.
3.2. The right of resistance and the religious origins of the
French Revolution
French Calvinists also oppose royal absolutism in France,
especially after the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, and on the
siege of La Rochelle they justify even armed resistance. In terms of
the right of resistance, the Huguenot movement in France maintained
positions more radical than the English Calvinists; and the French
Revolution transelates to the secular world many of the originally
religious approaches of the English Revolution165.
The opposition of the Calvinists to the real absolutism in France
is an immediate and evident origin of the French Revolution. BEZA,
Calvin's successor in Geneva, was far more radical than his master in
maintaining the right of resistance. BEZA might have anonymously
written the famous treatise: Du droit des magistrats, which
emphasizes the just opposition to the slaughter of Jewish children
ordered by Pharaoh, opposition to the idolatrous cult ordered by
Nebuchadnezzar, and Paul's appeal to Rome in front of the Jewish

KOSHMIN-LACHMAN One Nation under God: Religion in Contemporary

American Society, New York, 1993.

R. De MATTEI, A sinistra de LUTHER, Roma 1999, Pg. 7.

KINGDOM, Myths...cit., pag 140). Segn VAN KLEY, Los orgenes religiosos
de la revolucin francesa, trad.esp Madrid 2002.

The arguments are reproduced in the treatise of Philippe DU

PLESSIS MORNAY, Vindiciae contra Tyrannos, published in 1579. In
the context of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, the unofficial
Calvinist doctrine on the right of rebellion. He argues that the
authorities could resist the oppression of true religion and also acts of
tyranny. The right of resistance in this context is not individual or
popular, but corresponds to the lower authorities, especially regional
or local authorities, who can and should loyally oppose the unjust
order of a superior. The main argument is to compare the king with a
guardian, the officers of the kingdom with protectors and the people
with a minor or incapacitated; if the king abused power and ruled as a
tyrant in his own interest, it was duty of the delegate of the general
states or the high officials of the kingdom to confront him or even
dismiss him167.
An illustrious Hugonot, Francois HOTMAN, describes in his
work Francogallia the French history as one of representative
assemblies that began in the times of the Merovingian kings,
formulating an embryonic theory to the one of the popular
sovereignty168. A celebrated Huguenot, Pierre BAYLE, in his critical
historical dictionary, develops some of the central themes of
illustration, about the folly of intolerance, equality of citizens and
religious freedom169.
The Huguenots, in French secular institutions, parliaments and
courts of justice, directly use the arguments of the English authors in
their struggle against real absolutism, although in a world of Gentiles,
many times without manifesting the direct relation with the Calvinism
of their Beliefs, that progressively undermines a real absolutism
increasingly anachronic170. After the revocation of the edict of Nantes
by Louis XIV (1685) a large number of Huguenots emigrated from

KINGDOM Myths about the St Bartolomews day massacres, Cambridge Ma,

1988, VAN KLEY, the religious origins of the French revolution, Yale, 1996, page
28 y sigs.
VAN KLEY, the religious origins of the French revolution, Yale 1996, page. 27.,
(trad.esp. Los orgenes religiosos de la revolucin francesa, Madrid 2002, Page. 49)
KINGDOM Myths about the St Bartolomews day massacres, Cambridge Ma, 1988,
GILMONT, Jean Calvin et le livre imprime, Geneva 1997, Page. 232.
KLIBANSKY R prefacio a John Locke: epistola de tolerantia, Oxford 1968 Pg.
X.; G. PAGANINI, Analisi della fede e critica della ragione nella filosofia di Pierre
Bayle, Firenze, 1980

France to Holland, England and the American colonies. On the basis

of the constitutional prerogatives recognized by the Paris parliament
in the second half of the eighteenth century, many authors, irrespective
of their religion, claim that the Paris Parliament and the thirteen
provincial parliaments constitute a single national parliament that can
lawfully oppose the monarch and even remove him171.
The influence of English Calvinism reaches the key figure of the
French revolution: J. J. ROUSSEAU. ROUSSEAU, born Calvinist
and educated in Geneva, is especially influenced by the Calvinistic
approaches of his hometown, passionate reader of the Bible, in the
face of the notion of divine foundation or divine right of kings,
develops the conception of the social contract, which follows the
readings of the Calvinist writers already discussed (Locke, Grotius,
and Pufendorf); And gives special relevance to ethics and behavior
rather than dogmatics172.
Various modern works reveal the peculiar relationship of the
French philosophers of the illustration with the Calvinist Geneva.
Faced with a France in which royal absolutism controls the edition
and distribution of books, at the end of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, Geneva society becomes much more liberal and there
circulate freely the new ideas of the French philosophers, whose
books are quickly sold out in bookstores. Environment in which
ROUSSEAU is educated.173.
MERRICK, J., The desacralization of the French monarchy in the eighteenth
century, Baton Rouge 1990, J. D. WOODBRIDGE. Revolt in Pre-Revolutionary
France: The Prince de Conti's Conspiracy against Louis XV, 1755-1757, Baltimore,
VAN KLEY, Los orgenes religiosos de la revolucin francesa, trad.esp. Madrid
2002, en especial Pg. 22, y Pg. 361 y sigs.
ROSENBLATT, H. Rousseau and Geneva, Cambridge 1997, page 10 y sigs.,
especialmente page. 175. GOUHIER, Les mditations mtaphysiques de Jean Jaques
Rousseau, Paris 1970, Page. 46. KLEY (The religious origins of the French
revolution, Yale 1996,
M.C.PITASSI, De lorthodoxie aux lumires, Genve 1670-1733, Genve, 1992;
G. GARGETT, Jacob Vernet, Geneva and the philosophers, Oxford 1994.
NIETZSCHE when he develops the genealogy of morality sees in ROUSSEAU the
representative of the Christian current of resentful slaves that realizes the French
revolution with egalitarian pretensions. Thus the secular world reflects the same
contradictions as the religious world. The secular authority inherits the authority lost
by the papacy; in the secular authority there is temporarily the authority lost by the

The proximity between ROUSSEAU and MORELY has been

highlighted. ROUSSEAU would be deeply acquainted with
MORELY's thinking and Congregationalist ideas. ROUSSEAU
formulates in his social contract, expressly the theory of popular
sovereignty, on Calvinist theoretical bases174.
ROUSSEAU, however, does not have the biblical discussion
present in his writings, nor can his thinking be ascribed to a religious
confession. The state of nature that precedes the social covenant
describes a good human being, freed from the notion of sin, which
distances him from religion, in the context of Arminian heresies and
Congregationalist theses, overcoming the ontological Protestant
conception of original sin.
And this radical secularization of ROUSSEAU is significant in
the evolution of Calvinism. In France, too, a direct line between
Protestantism and revolution can not be clearly established, as in
England or in American independence, because it is obvious that
many French Catholics did not feel represented by the absolute and
corrupt monarchy of the Gallican courts, and the political
assassinations Of Henry III and Henry IV by Catholics, is a good
example. In France the notion of popular sovereignty, without denying
the direct influence of Protestant authors and movements, is also a
critique of absolutism, without a dogmatic basis in a structured
religious thought or movement. The French bourgeoisie, after
contemplating the success of the establishment of a state of religious
freedom in England and surely secularizing the Calvinist approaches,
understood the objective importance of religious freedom and
parliamentary government as an instrument of efficient political
hierarchical Church. But then the supreme authority of the king is denied; The same
religious evolution of Catholicism-presbyterianism-congregationalism was observed
in the following centuries in the evolution of secular political theory between
HOBBES (king's sovereignty), LOCKE (republican organization), ROUSSEAU
(democratic organization).
C. SCHMITT He also emphasizes that Rousseau transports his divinity to the
political world, claiming that political concepts are secularized theological concepts
(Political Theology, trad. ing., Cambridge (Mass), 1985, Pg.6). MORELY in his
treatise on discipline and Christian police argued that the authority to choose and
correct pastors came from the congregation and not from the consistory, and created
a radical opposition that forced him to emigrate to England (P DENIS y J. ROTT
Jean Morely et lutopie dune dmocratie dans lglise, Ginebra 1993).

management and acquired a notion of people regardless of religious

ideas175. He thus laid the foundations for what has become a universal
system of state government in modernity.

The historical and political interpretation of the antecedents of the French

revolution thus appears notoriously controversial. RANDELL, John Calvin and the
later reformation, 1990, Page. 91), POLAND Burdette C., French Protestantism and
the French Revolution: A Study in Church and State, Thought and Religion 16851781, Princeton, 1967, Page. 15 y sigs.

Lutheranism and Calvinism based on Scripture alone,
marginalizes the immediate experience of the presence of the Creator
in the daily life of the Church and the believer. By extolling the
written word, the Reformation belittles the monastic life and
condemns the mysterious and sublime in religion: sacred
enlightenment, prophetic inspiration, mystical rapture.
The mystical experience, however, seems to be a paradigm of all
religions, which creates and destroys them. Also in Protestantism a life
of penance, prayer and purity necessarily confronts the believer with
the presence of the Lord. The impact of the Spanish mysticism of Juan
de la Cruz and Teresa de Jess, Jewish converts to Christianity, seems
to have been decisive in the genesis and development of mystical
movements within Lutheranism (Pietists) Calvinism and specially
Anabaptism, developing an affective spirituality of the Song of Songs,
always in conflict with established religious and political structures.
The lack of authority is a serious drawback for the channeling of the
mystical experience in Protestantism, and in fact Protestantism in
general and Puritanism in particular are consumed in the love of the
Lord, for we observe that great dogmatic crises and Pietists and
Puritan secessions occur as a result of mystical experiences, difficult
to understand in an egalitarian, corporate, democratic and localist
religious structure.
Another ontological problem of Protestantism is that of the
dogmatic self-definition of a religion which protests against dogmas in
the name of faith and freedom of conscience. In particular in the
historical evolution of Calvinism the various denominations
(Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Arminians, Unitarians, Quakers,
etc.), and much more in the Anabaptism stream, are consumed in
internal quarrels over the principles that define them, for in a religion
based on the single faith reason can neither judge nor define the
origins of man and the nature of divinity.

Protestant religious order thus becomes obsessed with stopping

the ever-present idolatry of pagan Rome, identifying itself
dogmatically with the rest of Protestants, fighting corrupt and sinful
flesh, adapting the Bible to new times... and with difficulties in
explaining religious experiences. In my view, after the first
revolutionary upheavals, Protestant, especially Calvinist, are often
governed by severe and cold intellectual religious minorities, framed
in politically unstable social contexts, and tortured by internal quarrels
and dissent. The universal priesthood and the negation of the hierarchy
transform the religious order into a secular State.
But the contemplation of its challenges and limitations can not
make us forget the great achievements of the Reformation. In the
secular sphere, it has laid the foundations for religious freedom, which
is the antecedent of all political freedom, and deepened the popular
foundations of political society. The Protestant religion has been an
inexhaustible source of secular thought, because after all man defines
himself according to the image he has of the divinity. The democratic
foundations of modern Law are a product of the Protestant
Reformation, especially Calvinism.

CHAPITER I: PROTESTANT TRENDS.............................2

1. Protestant mainstream and dogma......................................................................3
1.1. Augsburg Confession.......................................................................................3
1.2. Luther and the Christian Reformation..............................................................4
1.3 Calvin and the Christian Reformation...............................................................9
2. The political and social institutionalization of the Protestant Reform...........12
3. The Anabaptist Churches....................................................................................19
4. Protestantism and doctrinal principles of modern Law: religious freedom as
root of political freedom..........................................................................................25


1. Two kingdoms.......................................................................................................27
2. Authority in German Philosophy.......................................................................31
3. Staatspositivismus................................................................................................34
4. Modern German Theology..................................................................................37
4.1. Kulturprotestantismus....................................................................................37
4.2. Rudolf SOHM................................................................................................38
4.3. The German Christians...................................................................................40
4.4. Renewal of Theology......................................................................................42


1. Dogmatic...............................................................................................................44
1.1. Faith and authority..........................................................................................44
1.2. Tradition, Roman law and Old Testament......................................................45
1.3. Old Testament in English Reformation..........................................................49
2. Predestination.......................................................................................................51
2.1. Denial of free will...........................................................................................51
2.2. A Church of the elected..................................................................................52
2.3. Predestination in the Reformed Churches......................................................54

3. Organization of the Presbyterian Church.........................................................56

3.1. Pastors and Elders.........................................................................................56
3.2. Corporative governance.................................................................................57
3.3. Political and popular control of the Presbyterian Church..............................60
3.4. The universality of the Reformed Church......................................................61
3.5. The unity of the Church in a Presbyterian organization.................................62
3.6. Dogma and authority.....................................................................................64
4. The Origin and Development of State Theory in Calvin.................................64
4.1. The right of resistance....................................................................................64
4.2. Calvinism and democratic society..................................................................67

CHAPITER IV:..........................................................................70
1. Religious differences and Royal supremacy......................................................71
1.1. The identity of the Anglican Church..............................................................71
1.2. Henry VIII......................................................................................................72
1.3. Elisabeth.........................................................................................................73
1.4. Absolutism in the early Reformation.............................................................75
1.5. A return to absolutism.....................................................................................77
2. Origins of parlamentarism..................................................................................78
2.1. Evolution of Calvinist thought on the right of resistance...............................78
2.2. Absolute king and Christian people................................................................79
2.3. The restoration................................................................................................80
2.4. John LOCKE and the origins of popular sovereignty....................................82
3. Political origins of modern Law..........................................................................85
3.1. American Calvinism and Independence.........................................................85
3.2. The right of resistance and the religious origins of the French Revolution...87