Friday, 07 December 2012
By Nic Don at Theopolitical
Thus if our model of the apostolic life is monks living in a monastery off in the wilderness, we wouldn’t think think that even the highest degree of sanctity would necessarily put an end to violence and disorder in the world. The situation is, of course, very different if we think of the Christian life not in terms of minority communities, but as embracing everyone. But even this doesn’t mean that social order must accrue to sanctity; we have to remember that all parties during the Reformation, but especially the Protestants, held to a hyper-Augustinian position, according to which only a small minority were saved. The way in which Christian living could bring about order in society was thus not, in all consistency, that every member was a saint. That was the path of the separatist sects, firmly refused by both Luther and Calvin. Rather it would have to be that the Godly minority control things and keep them on the right track.
From Charles Taylor’s magisterial work, A Secular Age (p 105).
We can see the way Calvinist and Lutheran societies “kept things on the right track” in Luther’s Germany, Calvin’s Geneva and Puritan New England, among other places. But is this model workable in our post-Christendom age? And if not, does that necessitate even the Reformed faiths falling back into the Anabaptist social posture that Taylor here has them “firmly refusing”?