The successive editions of Calvin’s Institutes show a development of his thought on the task of the government to actively promote the Christian religion. His view appears to become less reticent over the years. The biblical arguments for an active role of the government also appear in his commentaries and in his treatise against the Anabaptists. This paper analyses the development and offers an explanation for it from Calvin’s polemical context.
Institutes, Christian religion, civil government, Anabaptists, biblical arguments.