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Calvins Unique Theocracy When we think of a theocracy we usually think of a political system governed and legislated by a religious body with religious beliefs For the most part this is true Historically theocratic governments have successfully existed throughout the world from ancient Egypt to modern Middle-Eastern Islamic states For centuries even the Christian Church enjoyed a theocratic diversity which encompassed most of the civilized world As well the unprecedented spread of Islam has seeded new theocracies at a tremendous rate Most theocratic governments had one thing in common however their political ideologies did not just originate from the church they were the church Church leaders were the political leaders Typically a strong theocracy was one with a superior church hierarchy in which the political system was deeply entrenched But not all theocratic structures were intended to be this way In Chapter XX of his masterpiece The Institutes on Christian Piety John Calvin logically outlined his view of a theocracy Consistent with his scripture-based reasoning Calvin eloquently described how civil and ecclesiastical governments were different yet uniquely related In his classic reformation style Calvin metaphorically compared Catholic to Protestant theology by framing his theocracy not on the church as the government but rather he separated civil government from spiritual government into a divinely ordained segregated Protestant theocracy Subtlety expressed and masterfully executed Chapter XX is dripping with figurative language suggesting that Calvin went to great lengths to insure that his distaste for the Catholic papacy would not go unnoticed The first third of Chapter XX concentrates on the duties and responsibilities of the magistrate This after two opening sections which clearly divide government into two parts and then claim these parts not to be antithetical Indeed such a preamble is necessary since the remainder of the document is to be a separation yet cross-self-reliance on these parts Calvin made no attempt to separate local regional or national magistracy In fact most
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