In Duplex Regnum Christi: Christ's Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology (Brill, 2020), Jonathon D. Beeke surveys the development of thinking among early modern Reformed theologians about the relationship between religion and civil government. Taking cues from Calvin, but showing how the Reformed tradition variegates around his contribution, Beeke shows how the medieval ideas of two cities and two swords were brought into the "two kingdoms" ideas of the earlier magisterial reformers, and how later generations of protestants, especially among the Reformed, preferred to refer in the singular to the "two-fold kingdom" of Christ. Beeke's new work promises to add significant historical light to recent discussions among protestant theologians as to the relationship between church and state. What kinds of government did early modern Reformed theology prefer? Why was Calvin consistent in arguing that heretics who disturbed public peace should face the ultimate sanction? And why were these views so normative among Reformed thinkers - and for so long?
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast.