The Peril and the Promise of Christian Liberty

Richard Hooker, The Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology

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W. Bradford Littlejohn
Emory University Studies in Law and Religion
  • Grand Rapids, MI: 
    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
    , May
     314 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Dallas Gingles forthcoming.


How do Christians determine when to obey God even if that means disobeying human authorities? In this book W. Bradford Littlejohn addresses that question, with particular attention to the magisterial political-theological work of Richard Hooker, a leading figure in the sixteenth-century English Reformation.

Littlejohn shows how Martin Luther and other Reformers considered Christian liberty to be compatible with considerable civil authority over the church, but he also analyzes the ambiguities and tensions of that relationship and how it helped provoke the Puritan movement. The heart of the book examines how, according to Richard Hooker, certain forms of Puritan legalism posed a greater threat to Christian liberty than did meddling monarchs. In expounding Hooker's remarkable attempt to offer a balanced synthesis of liberty and authority in church, state, and conscience, Littlejohn draws out pertinent implications for Christian liberty and politics today.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

W. Bradford Littlejohn serves as director of the Davenant Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the renewal of Christian wisdom for the contemporary church. He is also the author of Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work and numerous articles and book chapters in Reformation studies and Christian ethics.

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