A Preliminary Exploration of the Concept of "State" in John Howard Yoder's Church-State Discourse
Vincent C. P. LAU

Constantinianism is one of the core concepts in John Howard Yoder's theology and it continues to be a controversial concept in academia. Yoder considers Constantine as the main architect of the age, but not its sole architect. Moreover, those theologians who adopt the concept of Constantinianism mainly regard it as a theological concept, not a concrete historical reality. It is a description of a period of time rather than a particular Roman emperor's merit.

One of the major features of Constantinianism is so-called marriage of church and state. In order to have a better understanding of Yoder's concept of church-state, a clear definition of the terms "church" and "state" is crucial. This essay will discuss the notion of "state" in Yoder's thought. First, the concept of "the reign of Christ" will be examined, as it is considered as the theological foundation of Yoder's church-state discourse. Second, the mandate of the state will be expounded. Finally, the functions and limits of the state will be analysed.