Many studies have considered the Bible’s relationship to politics, but almost all have ignored the heart of its narrative and theology: the covenant. In this book, Glenn Moots explores the political meaning of covenants past and present by focusing on the theory and application of covenantal politics from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Moots demands that we revisit political theology because it served as the most important school of politics in early modern Europe and America. He describes the strengths of the covenant tradition while also presenting its limitations and dangers. Contemporary political scientists such as Eric Voegelin, Daniel Elazar, and David Novak are called on to provide insight into both the covenant’s history and its relevance today.
Moots’s work chronicles and critiques the covenant tradition while warning against both political ideology and religious enthusiasm. It provides an inclusive and objective outline of covenantal politics by considering the variations of Reformed theology and their respective consequences for political practice. This includes a careful account of how covenant theology took root on the European continent in the sixteenth century and then inspired ecclesiastical and civil politics in England, Scotland, and America. Moots goes beyond the usual categories of Calvinism or Puritanism to consider the larger movement of which both were a part. By integrating philosophy, theology, and history, Moots also invites investigation of broader political traditions such as natural law and natural right.
Politics Reformed demonstrates how the application of political theology over three centuries has important lessons for our own dilemmas about church and state. It makes a provocative contribution to understanding foundational questions in an era of rising fundamentalism and emboldened secularism, inspiring readers to rethink the importance of religion in political theory and practice, and the role of the covenant tradition in particular.