Theologically United And Divided: The Political Covenantalism Of Samuel Rutherford And John Milton -- By: Andries Raath

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 67:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Theologically United And Divided: The Political Covenantalism Of Samuel Rutherford And John Milton
Author: Andries Raath


Theologically United And Divided:
The Political Covenantalism Of Samuel Rutherford
And John Milton

Andries Raath

Shaun de Freitas

Andries Raath is Senior Professor in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, Faculty of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Shaun de Freitas is Senior Lecturer in the same Department.

I. Introduction

Puritanism in England and America (and Pietism, its counterpart on the European continent), was the last great movement within the institutional church to influence the development of Western law (and politics) in any fundamental sense.1 Also, English Puritanism was the third great intellectual-social movement of the Reformation federalists, after Huldreich Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger in Zurich, and John Calvin in Geneva.2 Despite its ultimate failure as a movement, Puritanism had a profound and lasting impact on the constitutional tradition in England, on the “new political science” of the political compact, and on the constitutional development of the United States. In certain respects it was the greatest of the three, particularly with regard to the political thought and the political ideas and movements to which it gave birth, of which the covenant was a central teaching.3 The sixteenth-century Zurich and Geneva Reformations each provided a different emphasis regarding the covenant and the Christian community. It was especially the theologico-political covenantalism emanating from the Zurich Reformation that received attention in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Puritanism.4 Samuel Rutherford and John Milton represent the

apex of Puritan political thought, which commenced towards the middle of the sixteenth century, reached its peak in the middle of the seventeenth century, and receded after the Glorious Revolution.5

Rutherford’s Lex, Rexis one of the most comprehensive expressions of Calvinistic political theory, and is also one of the keystones in the development of modern political theory6 Central to Rutherford’s political theory was the biblical covenant, the pact between God and the community as well as the contract between the ruler and the ruled. This was in agreement with the Zurich postulation of the covenant, which expresses the relationship between God and his people in terms of a personal bond.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe

visitor : : uid: ()