Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Reign of Stephen I of Hungary (Theonomy Applied)

Stephen I (975?-1038), Hungary's first professing Christian king, reigned 1001-1038. His influence on Hungary has been so great that he is favorably mentioned in the beginning of Hungary's current Christian-influenced Constitution

During his reign, he attempted to foster Christianity in his land, and to enforce biblical civil law. On this Joseph Milner writes:
The zeal of Stephen, indeed, was much stimulated by his pious queen, Gisla, daughter of the emperor Henry II. He often accompanied the preachers, and pathetically exhorted his subjects. He suppressed barbarous customs, and restrained blasphemy, theft, adultery, and murder. His kindness to the poor, and, indeed, his whole moral conduct, was admirable. His excellent code of laws are to this day the basis of the laws of Hungary. It is inscribed to his son Emeric, whom he exhorts to cultivate sincere humility, the true glory of a king. He forbids in it all impiety, the violation of the Sabbath, and irreverent behaviour in the house of God. This monarch defeated the prince of Transilvania, who had invaded his dominions, and took him prisoner; but restored him to liberty, on condition that he should allow the Gospel to be preached to the Transilvanians, without molestation. Stephen was a prosperous monarch, but found afflictions at home in the loss of all his children. His mind was, however, improved in divine things by his sufferings. He laboured three years under a complication of diseases, and died in the year 1038. He had lived to see all Hungary become externally Christian, though Christianity existed there, adulterated, or clouded at least by papal domination, and by the fashionable superstitions.[1]


[1] Joseph Milner, The History of the Church of Christ: Volume 3 (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1810), 291, 292.

Note about the Theonomy Applied Series: In quoting any particular law, we do not necessarily endorse every aspect of that law as biblical, whether it be the prohibition, sanction, court procedure, etc. Rather, we are merely showing the more or less attempt to apply biblical law in history, whether or not that application was fully biblical. Moreover, in quoting any particular law, we do not necessarily consider those who passed and/or enforced such a law as being fully orthodox in their Christian theology. Professing Christian rulers in history have ranged in their theology from being orthodox (that is, Reformed Protestants) to heretical (for example, Roman Catholics).    

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