Throughout the ages the Christian faith whether it be the Protestant or catholic church has had many different ideas and religious reformers and philosophers, who have developed interesting and intricate ideas. Some of which has infused political agendas in to the mix and has influenced our society. Our current church hold ideas from a long tradition and rich history. In the early church a few influencial names has influenced the course of church tradition, the way one views the church, and the practices of the church. Augustine, Luther and Calvin all proposed theological systems that encompassed ideas that involve both the church and politics, which are similar yet also different; However interesting and influential all of these ideas may be, calvin's idea is probably the most relevant of them all today
Luther, Calvin, and Augustine all come from a similar background and faith; therefore, we can see similarities in their thought process and how all of them was influenced by Jesus Christ and our heavenly father. They were all Christian, this was a large similarity, however, still it doesn't mean everything matches, but at least this is a commonality. All of them honored the same monotheistic God and since all of them came after Christ, they were followers of his teachings. They believed in the church in one way or another. They all believed in some type of government, none of them believed in freedom to do whatever each citizen felt like, otherwise known as anarchy. None of them Were a fan of a democratic system and certainly would be no champion of a democratic system, especially not Augustine. Even though they all focused on religion as a main thing and looked the heavenly shores, they could not neglect discussing the importance of politics and the need for such a thing. This is because they were indeed focused on the heavenly kingdom and an Eternity with god, walking right with him even on earth, and serving while they were in this temporary dimension which was home for them. However, for all of them, they recognized that there was such a thing as original sin. They believed that Adam was created and existed in the pure and delightful garden of Eden, until Lucifer tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. He sinned, therefore, this curse, which was in the fruit has passed down to us, because adam sinned originally, we all sin, and are sinners because we are sin filled. Also, another similarity is that Luther and Calvin belonged to the Protestant Reformation. These thinkers and fellow Protestants were trying to get away from the catholic church. They claimed that first and foremost that the catholic church was too powerful and ritualized. This was the corrupting factor; Furthermore, religion wasn't personal enough. In the catholic church especially the early versions of such a church, a relationship with the Lord was almost impossible and discouraged. The bible wasn't public and widespread, It was in print for those who could read it, and it was for mainly the clergy. This wasn't good enough for the protestants, and this is the group of reformers that Luther and Calvin belonged. Calvin and Augustine believed that they had more of a say over their members than Luther. Both men believed in some kind of rules even if one differed in the type. All of these thinker lead ministries which has been top-down rather than congregational and allowing of it's members some say. There were many different very interesting similarities between all three of them, there were also differences to highlight.
Although these three thinkers come from the same rich background based on faith their ideas differed widely. Kalvin over the other two was very much based to be community based about his approached. His task was to prove the relevancy of Christianity in the world by orienting his faith in the world and involving the community and also inviting the community to be a relevant part of religiousness. Kalvin also Differed because of this approach and separated out the notions of Church and religion. Where church is the establishment and the order of the church. Religion was the religious ideas and the principles of Christ. The important thing that Calvin espoused was also different from the the other two. His idea of separating church from the State was a bit more explicit than Luther and definitely different than Augustine. The other two was more lofty and about keeping religion contained and separate and not so concerned about the spread, and the integration of the community. Calvin also was a believer in Predinstination and probably developed that philosophy most, and this influenced his ministry and political ideals. Keeping them separate was alright, because if you were suppose to come to know Christ, you would anyway. The cards are already spread, no need to shuffle them. Luther was closer to Augustine, but he wasn't a fan of the catholic church. While he did separate himself from the catholic church he was the first and it was really more about making it more personal and taking away the ceremonial aspects of the faith. Kalvin went further than Luther. Later other religious philosophers will take it even further, but Kalvin made an effort to remove himself more from the catholic church than Luther. Augustine was for the church being part of state politics where the two other part of the reformation, vehemently opposed this. Augustine was part of the early church and was trying to gather up the church for Christ. There was much force and other tactics to assemble people in to the church and was a big part of the spread of Christianity. Sometimes they would allow more so local cultures to remain as long as they believed in Christ. The most interesting difference is that all three thinkers vision of politics is a bit different and certainly distinct. While August was about the church running the state, such as what happened in the dark ages, Luther was about some separation. Luther did not want to intervene in the worldly aspect but had to because he didn't wish for disorder either. The church was separate, but he expected of the leaders to understand religion. In a way they were police of the church and the people for doing the unlawful thing. Kalvin believed that church and state should be different. That Church and the political sphere should have no connection. This way there would be no church rule; However, he allowed for religious ideas to penetrate in to politics if that was the desire of the leader or ruler. To deny that any of these three thinkers is relevant is wrong, because in a sense all of them are rather influential even today; however, if one takes a closer look Kalvin is probably most relevant as to the political landscape today.
All of these thinkers may be relevant and important in today's society, and quite influential, still Kalvin's idea has been the most influential in today's politics. Church and State is a separate thing. He was a strong proponent of this. The church can not rule a country and this is the case for the united states, but not only that because Luther thought this too. The government is very separate from the church in many cases very contrary to the church and the direction of each are very far apart. The Church doesn't have a say in politics or policy, but the government could not control the church. Also we have a separation even if we don't use these terms of religion and church. We would say that religious ideas may influence our leaders but the church cannot. This is an influence from Calvin and the same as in Calvinistic thought. We are seeing it less but at times and there many religious ideas are allowed to pervade society and upheld by the government. The church has never to run the operations of the government though. Also in term of religiously Kalvin has influenced more than what has been his denomination to do this. The idea of policing by the church of the church body. Some pastors and priests do it better than others and more, but some distinguish between the right and wrong and has a strong sense of this in their sermons. They tell their members what the consequences are. Because they can not actually discipline their members by law, They stress the punishments and rewards in heaven and as a religious member. Some even talk of the consequences of voting a certain way or thinking of worldly principles in a certain light. This is also a great example of separation of church and state, because they have absolutely no real force to make their congregation vote a certain way or to make them follow political rules. All they can do is to preach to them and it would be up to the members to follow the recommendations of the preacher that they presented in their sermons or not. This is why Kalvin has the most influence in our society today in terms of politics.
The thinkers of christiandom is fascinating and some of their ideas are similar while others are very different. Augustine, Luther, and Calvin present a wide range of interesting thought as Christian ideas progress and develop in society in an interesting way within a long and interesting tradition. As much as the religious stances were similar but different, so their political views and ideals. Now that an understanding of the religious reformers and philosophers we can gain and understanding of faith, the role it plays in society, and how it influences politics; Furthermore, This is a good reminder of why we are politically the way we are.