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date: 21 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Luther’s political thought is an expression of his theological convictions. His concepts of God’s kingdom in conflict with Satan’s and the kingdoms or governments of both earthly and spiritual life frame his application of his appreciation of governmental service and other societal activities within the context of the three estates which constitute society. In concrete crises Luther’s political views took shape; these included student riots in 1520, the Peasants’ War (1525), plans of Roman Catholic princes to attack evangelical estates, and the development of Wittenberg theories justifying resistance to the emperor. His successors used Luther’s political statements to defend their own pursuit of policies sometimes at odds with his intentions. Modern democratic theory has eliminated the foundation of Luther’s political thinking in the command–obedience structure.

Keywords: political theory, two kingdoms, two governments, resistance theory, Peasants’ War

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