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John Calvin and Christian Public Engagement

  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018
  • 3:30 PM–5:00 PM

What was John Calvin's two kingdoms theology and how can it act as a model for Christian political engagement in the 21st century? Join us for the 36th annual Meeter Center Spring Lecture as we learn about this and other fascinating topics from Dr. Matthew Tuininga's new book.

"Politics and the Kingdom of God: John Calvin's Theology of Christian Public Engagement"

Lecture by Dr Matthew Tuininga, Asistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary

Q&A to follow, moderated by Dr. Kevin Den Dulk, Executive Director of the Henry Institute and Paul Henry Chair in Christianity and Politics at Calvin College

Dr. Tuininga's book, Calvin's Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ's Two Kingdoms, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2017. A paperback version of the book will come out later this summer. Click here to pre-order.

Co-sponsors for this event include Acton Institute, Henry Institute, and Calvin Theological Seminary.

Book summary: 

"This book explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin's political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive, Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, and rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin's vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today."


"It's a superb piece of work, an important contribution, and lucidly written. My guess is that this will become the gold standard in the field. Tuininga's line of interpretation will be much discussed." ---Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University


Dr. Matthew Tuininga became Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2016. He previously taught at Emory University and Oglethorpe University, in Atlanta, Georgia, and at Sewanee, University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee. He preaches regularly and widely in Reformed and Presbyterian churches throughout North America and also speaks on topics revolving around Christian ethics and Christian cultural and political engagement. His first book, Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms was published with Cambridge University Press in 2017. He has written numerous articles and reviews for academic publications and also writes regularly in popular magazines and online. You can follow his online writings at his website.

Location details

Calvin Theological Seminary Auditorium 3233 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

March 2018
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