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Limited Government and Resistance in the Christian Tradition
by Glenn Sunshine

Christians first expressed these political truths under Caesars, kings, popes, and emperors. We need them in the age of presidents.

Leviathan is rising again, and the first weapon we must recover is the longstanding Christian tradition of resisting governmental overreach. Our bloated bureaucratic state would have been unrecognizable to the Founders, and our acquiescence to its encroachments on liberty would have infuriated them. But here is the point: our Leviathan would not have surprised them. They were well acquainted with the tendency of governments to turn tyrannical: “Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.”

In Slaying Leviathan, historian Glenn S. Sunshine surveys some of the stories and key elements of Christian political thought from Augustine to the Declaration of Independence. Specifically, the book introduces theories of limited government that were synthesized into a coherent political philosophy by John Locke. Locke, of course, influenced the American founders and was, like us, fighting against the spirit of Leviathan in his day. But his is only one of the many stories in this book.

"How are we to respond to the threats to liberty we are facing? Starting to answer that question begins with this book. We are remarkably unaware of our own Christian history." ~From Slaying Leviathan

Leviathan is rising again, and the first weapon we must recover is the Christian tradition of resisting governmental overreach. The bloated bureaucratic state we have now would have been unrecognizable to the Founders, and our acceptance of its encroachments on liberty would have infuriated them. But here is the point: our Leviathan would not have surprised them. They were well acquainted with the tendency of governments to turn tyrannical. A popular quote in the nineteenth century was "Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty."

In Slaying Leviathan, Glenn S. Sunshine surveys some of the stories and key elements of Christian political thought from Augustine to the Declaration of Independence. Specifically, the book introduces theories of unalienable rights, resistance, and limited government that were synthesized into a coherent political philosophy by John Locke. It was Locke who influenced the American founders and was, like us, fighting against the spirit of Leviathan in his day. Christians first expressed these political truths under Caesars, kings, popes, and emperors. We need them in the age of presidents.

About the Author

Dr. Glenn S. Sunshine is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and a Senior Faculty Member of the Colson Fellows. An award-winning author, Glenn has written about history, theology, and culture, online and on both sides of the Atlantic. His book Why You Think the Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home (Zondervan, 2009) received the 2006 Acton Institute Book Grant.

194 pages

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