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Calvin in the Public Square: Liberal Democracies, Rights, and Civil Liberties (Hall)

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This volume examines Calvin's thought and impact on political ideas. Not only does it set forth the Reformer's political ideas in his own words from multiple sources but it also shows how his germinal political ideas were furthered and spread by his disciples, both in Europe and to the West.

Calvin's political formulations on republicanism, decentralized government, and open democracies provide one of his most lasting contributions. Calvin's disciples—beginning with Theodore Beza, Francois Hotman, John Ponet, and John Knox—spread many of the ideas that are now widely accepted in free governments. Historically, there is a clear before and a discernible after in terms of governmental forms, and Calvinism is one of the major fuel rods for that massive change. Calvin contributed and buttressed ideas like the consent of the governed, open elections, checks-and-balances within government, civil liberty, the right to oppose tyrannical governments, and the need for constitutionalism. Moreover, these seed ideas would not have grown without the support of the clergy and churches who regularly taught these ideas as having divine precedent.


Table of Contents: 

  1. Standing on the Shoulders of Previous Giants
  2. John Calvin: A Biography for a Political Figure
  3. Calvin’s View of Politics from the Institutes and Other Writings
  4. Calvin on Poverty
  5. Calvin’s Disciples in the Public Square, 1540-1640 and Beyond
  6. Puritan Heirs to Calvin in England and New England
  7. A New, Old, Less Pluralistic, and More Particularisticially Religious View of Rights
  8. A Modern Revival of Practical Calvinistic Politics  



David W. Hall was senior pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Georgia, from 2003 to 2008. He founded the Kuyper Institute and the Center for the Advancement of Paleo-Orthodoxy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1994.