2021 Winter Forum

George Buchanan was a sixteenth century Scottish Calvinist and humanist, whose “unparalleled reputation as a Latin poet, playwright, polemicist, historian and political theorist” brought him to the middle of the complex political and ecclesiastical issues of the Scottish Reformation, as well as earning great influence on the Continent through his theories on political resistance. Buchanan provides a model for us in recognizing that the integration of history, Natural Law reasoning, and theology leads to intellectual consistency much needed in our time.
Jeremy Bunch – George Buchanan: Scots-Reformed Resistance Theory 

Americans, and especially conservative Americans, hold the Constitution with a certain holy reverence, as though it was the product of the founders’ unified, political ideology for how best to run a government. In reality, the U.S. Constitution reflects not just the founders’ good intentions, but also, as Benjamin Franklin described it, “their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.” It was this politically compromised and often unpopular constitution that the founders then unexpectedly foisted upon the American people.
George Harrell – Politics as Usual: The Making of the U.S. Constitution

This paper addresses the place of faith and reason in human apprehension of the law of God. It does so in order to offer theological clarity regarding key concepts (faith, reason, and the law of God) appealed to in Christian political thought. While drawing on Protestant Scholastic categories and distinctions, the approach offered here is more constructive and systematic-theological than descriptive and historical-theological.
Tim Harmon – Faith and Reason in Protestant Scholasticism

Though usually thought of as antithetical philosophical frameworks, classical natural law theory and political libertarianism belong together. Natural law theory provides libertarianism (the political theory based on the non-aggression principle) with the theological and moral framework in which libertarianism finds its proper grounding, and libertarianism is the consistent political outworking of the natural law tradition.
Jonathan McIntosh – Towards a Natural Law Libertarianism

The biblical role of the magistrate in society has long been debated in the church down to our own day, but the theological approaches to the matter have largely leaned on a systematic theological approach, where proof texts are plucked out of Scripture without recognition of an overarching biblical narrative. Without diminishing the importance of systematic theology, developing a robust biblical theology, along with applying Natural Law categories and definitions to foundational theological realities, provides a framework for a consistent and coherent political theology.
Jeremy Bunch – An Integrated Theology of Biblical Kingship

Calvin’s “On Civil Government,” from book 4, ch. 20 of his Institutes, is a foundational text in Reformed political theory. Though Calvin situates himself within the classical natural law tradition, adapting it to a new, Protestant context, in important ways his work marks a regression from some of the more liberalizing tendencies of earlier natural law theory in favor of a new, more authoritarian emphasis.
Jonathan McIntosh – Evaluating Calvin: A Critique of “On Civil Government”

In the antebellum South the planter-class used fundamentally anti-free market means to build a slaveocracy, with which they exploited and oppressed not only black slaves, but also non-slave owning whites. This system of state and federal coercion eventually then evolved into full blown economic socialism with the rise of the Confederacy. 
George Harrell – Southern Slavery and Confederate Socialism

Cryptocurrency has pushed the boundaries of how economists have traditionally thought about the nature of money. Exploring the differences between cryptocurrency and more traditionally defined forms of money helps us understand a way forward toward a moral monetary system, one that has separated itself from state control.
Chris Walker – Taking from Caesar: Cryptocurrency as a Better Game of Money

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