In contrast to diverse yet unified views (not least the currently dominant forms of Kuyperianism or neo-Calvinism) that society ought to be built from an ultimate perspective, David VanDrunen offers something from the older Reformed tradition:
The early Reformed tradition of social thought, therefore, provides resources for evaluating society from this penultimate perspective. Unlike the claim of the later Kuyperian Reformed tradition, civil society is not to be identified with the eschatological, spiritual kingdom of Christ. For Calvin, to associate this kingdom with the things of this world is an error of great proportions. This suggests that civil society is to be measured by a standard other than that of the eschatological kingdom. It serves different purposesimportant, yet penultimate purposes, such as a measure of law and order and general cultural achievement and so ought not to be judged by the standards of the eschatological purposes of the spiritual kingdom. Therefore, we see the importance that Calvin granted to natural law for the civil kingdom. Natural law had its limits; it could not get one to heaven, but that was not the purpose of the civil kingdom, after all. Calvin could be satisfied with looking to natural law, applied with wisdom to particular social contexts, rather than identifying a biblical model for society, such as the Mosaic civil law. True, Calvin and the early Reformed tradition often drew normative lessons for contemporary society from the history of Old Testament Israel, and these early Reformed theologians may not always have been completely consistent. A fair reading of them, though, suggests that they saw in Old Testament Israel examples of the application of natural law at work. To put it in the words of a seventeenth-century Presbyterian confession, they viewed Old Testament Israel as normative insofar as they perceived the general equity of its law and practice.
Liturgical Protestantism offers a way around this impasse. A different way of putting it is to say that liturgical Protestantism represents a way for Protestant believers to support the wall between church and state. By looking for religious significance not in this world but in the world to come, liturgical Protestantism lowers the stakes for public life while still affirming politics’ divinely ordained purpose. The public square loses some of its importance but retains its dignity. It is neither ultimately good nor inherently evil; politics becomes merely a divinely appointed means for restraining evil while the church as an institution goes about its holy calling.