Reformed Attitude and Perspective on Church-State Relations: A Diachronic Review and Evaluation
CHENG Yang-en

This article offers a diachronic review and evaluation of the attitudes and perspectives on church-state relations in the Reformed tradition. The first part depicts representative Reformed communities which responded in a timely fashion and subsequently constructed their church-state attitudes and perspectives in their particular contexts, including Calvin's Geneva, the Huguenots in France, the Reformed camp in the Netherlands, the Covenanters in Scotland, the Puritans in England and in Colonial America, and the anti-Apartheid campaign in present-day South Africa. Then, in the second part, this article offers a diachronic review and short evaluation of the elaboration and development of the interpretation of the Reformed perspectives on church-state relations, adopting a methodology similar to the theory of the History of Effect (wirkungsgeschichte) developed by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Ulrich Luz. The interpretative notions developed over time include theories such as inherited concepts of resistance shaped and adapted by political environments, "revolution of the saints" acting as modern "citizens," justification of resistance from "as duty" to "as right," resistance as "war against the idols," the development of a rightful "theology of resistance," and obedient "political actions" triggered by "confession of faith in response to emergent and challenging situations" (status confessionis).