The Right Reason for Caesar to Confess Christ as Lord: Oliver O'Donovan and Arguments for the Christian State

Studies in Christian Ethics 23 (3):300-315 (2010)

The ostensible arguments advanced by Oliver O’Donovan for a confessionally Christian constitutional order are not persuasive, even in the terms of his own scheme, because they presuppose that such a confession may be required as a representative act. Within his theory lies, however, the assumption that confessing Christ is fundamental to all right decision-making, including the political. This renders the confession of Christ not merely a possibility for legitimate governments but rather essential to just political judgments. If O’Donovan’s ostensible arguments prove too little, the underlying logic of his position claims too much. O’Donovan is mistaken in his assumption that political judgments must be placed within the same comprehensive moral vision as personal decisions. Because political judgments bear only an indirect relationship to absolute right they may be rightly made without the express confession of Christ in the constitutional order
Keywords Augustine  liberal Christendom  confessional state  Oliver O'Donovan  political liberalism  political theology  Christian state
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DOI 10.1177/0953946809368027
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