Throne and Altar

From Roman emperors to modern PMs, Life & Faith tackles the fraught relationship between church and state.

“At the end of the day I am quite happy that the throne-and-altar accommodation was shattered, and that the church does not wield that kind of power.”

Dust-ups between religion and government are rarely out of the news for long. Sometimes church and state seem too cosy, sometimes they’re fiercely at odds. What has this relationship looked like, and how should it look?

In this episode of Life & Faith, Simon Smart and Natasha Moore trek back to the dramatic beginnings of the church-and-state relationship in the West with Emperor Constantine, make a brief stop among the medieval heights of Christendom, and consider some wisdom for all of us living in a post-Christendom world.

All brought to you from some of our favourite and most eminent voices on the topic: Miroslav Volf (Yale), Teresa Morgan (Oxford), Nick Spencer (Theos), David Bentley Hart, and more. Along with cameo appearances from the perennial classic Yes Prime Minister.

So the ideal candidate from the Church of England’s point of view would be a cross between and socialite and a socialist?


Sir Humphrey explains about The Church of England | Yes Prime Minister

Miroslav Volf, On private Christianity

Teresa Morgan, On the Emperor’s new religion

Teresa Morgan, On the conversion of the Empire

Teresa Morgan, On the double-edged sword, power

Sarah Coakley, On lament

Nick Spencer, On popes and power

David Bentley Hart, On minority Christianity

Joel Edwards, On speaking up

Craig Calhoun, On doubt and certainty

Browse For the Love of God: The Interviews