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Robbing Paul To Pay Peter: The Reception Of Paul In Sixteenth Century Political Theology

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Chapter Summary

In the history of doctrine, three biblical passages dominate political theology. Jesus' statement that one must "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's," Paul's statement on governing authorities in Romans 13, and Peter's declaration that one must serve "God and not man" in Acts 5. This chapter argues that there were four approaches to political theology in the sixteenth century and that each approach looked at Romans 13 in a different way. The Magisterial Theologians have a positive regard for the role and authority of secular rulers. The Crusader Theologians assume the biblical mantle of Gideon. They are the avenging sword of God's righteousness. Anchoritic Theologians view the government with great suspicion. They argue that temporal authority is only needed for the ungodly. The chapter also examines how and why John Calvin came to embrace and then advocate for a position that revised Romans 13 by introducing the Petrine Exception.

Keywords: Anchoritic Theologians; Crusader Theologians; Magisterial Theologians; Paul; Petrine Exception; Petrine Theologians; Romans 13; sixteenth century political theology



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