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Romans 13 and Protestant Resistance Theory

William Reddinger speaks about strands of resistance theory in the American Revolution, considering Lockean, Continental, and Anglo interpretations of Romans 13. Dr. Reddinger has authored “The American Revolution, Romans 13, and the Anglo Tradition of Reformed Protestant Resistance Theory” in the Summer 2016 issue of American Political Thought.

Some scholars argue that the theology of the American Revolution was fundamentally Lockean and largely incompatible with Christianity, a view that this article calls the Lockean view; more recently, others who advocate what this article calls the Lockean–Reformed view argue that the American Revolution was both Lockean and Reformed and that there is no incompatibility between these sources. This article critiques the Lockean–Reformed view and argues that there were two traditions of resistance theory in early Reformed Protestantism—the Continental tradition and the Anglo tradition. While these two traditions were not monolithic, the distinction is helpful in understanding how the theology of resistance during the American founding was different from the Continental tradition of resistance. It also allows one to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses both of the Lockean view and of the Lockean–Reformed view.

—Article abstract

Dr. Reddinger is Associate Professor of Government, History, and Criminal Justice at Regent University. Prior to coming to Regent, he taught political science at Wheaton College in Illinois and at South Texas College. He received his undergraduate degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania before completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Northern Illinois University, where his studies focused on the history of political philosophy and American political thought.

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