Biblical Revival and the Transformation of Nations (Providential Perspective Book 13)

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  • 15 Morde und andere Todesfälle: Wahre Kriminalgeschichten eines Hauptkommissars (German Edition).
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Believer's Baptism - Handout. God's Design for Marriage, Part 2. God's Design for Marriage. The Making of Woman. Doctrines Sunday School Class Schedule. The Wages of Sin is Death. The Making of Man. Selected Scriptures. Sovereign Election and the Doctrines of Grace. The Sabbath, the Christian, and the Lord's Day. The 'Rest' of the Story.

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Throughout the duration of the Civil War, and in the years that followed, Douglass remained active in Republican Party politics. He was a staunch supporter of the full, uncompromising Reconstruction of the Union, and advocated for economic and education investment in free and newly-freed black Americans. He pressed for the expansion of and guarantee of civil rights for blacks, and in particular for the defense of the Civil Rights Act of , which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in Douglass a. DuBois , and supported its dual platform of racial and sexual equality.

He joined other prominent leaders in the abolition movement, such as Sojourner Truth, and emerging leaders in the suffrage movement, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in these efforts. There were simmering divisions in the American Equal Rights Association, due to cross-cutting and conflicting interests, and the latent racism within the organization, which was largely lead by middle-class and wealthy white women.

The tensions with the American Equal Rights Association, and the suffrage movement generally, erupted over the passing of the fifteenth amendment to the U. The 15 th amendment franchised all male citizens, although, as U. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony demanded that black men and all women be enfranchised simultaneously, and opposed the fifteenth amendment on that principle. Some among the suffrage movement based their arguments for women suffrage, and against the enfranchisement of blacks, on racist grounds.

Although the white women who lead the association were abolitionists, they also, and not inconsequentially, held that blacks, and in particular, black men, were inferior to white women and neither as ready for nor deserving of the vote as themselves. Occasionally even Stanton lowered herself to draw on these claims Stanton a: ; b: Douglass did not want to delay black male suffrage to resolve this question over suffrage for all women. He believed it a practical matter to quickly get some protections for black Americans while the fight for suffrage for black and white women continued.

Moreover, he argued it was imperative to obtain some measure of political, legal, and social rights for blacks to confront the rising level of horrific anti-black violence that was sweeping the United States. Douglass firmly made this claim in his speech at the American Equal Rights Association in I must say that I do not see how any one can pretend that there is the same urgency in giving the ballot to women as to the negro. With us, the matter is a question of life and death. It is a matter of existence, at least in fifteen states of the Union.

PRICE, GREG

When women, because they are women, are hunted down through the cities of New York and New Orleans; when they are dragged from their houses and hung upon lamp-posts; when their children are torn from their arms, and their brains dashed out upon the pavement; when they are objects of insult and outrage at every turn; when they are in danger of having their homes burnt down over their heads; when their children are not allowed to enter schools; then they will have an urgency to obtain the ballot equal to our own. Douglass , FDP1 v. When asked if this did not apply to black women, Douglass replied that it did but because they were black and not women Douglass , FDP1 v.

He did not, however, have ready answers to concerns about how well black men, including elite black men, represented and protected the rights and interests of black women. Nor did he fully appreciate the need for women to represent themselves and to be fully autonomous and independent moral agents and citizens. His shortsightedness was repeated by generations of black male leaders. It was Anna Julia Cooper c. During and after the Reconstruction, Douglass remained deeply concerned about the prospect that the U.

He became increasingly concerned about the denial of black civil rights and the rising waves of anti-black violence. He, thus, criticized the growing practice of black peonage in agriculture, and over time he expressed sympathy with blacks who were fleeing the American South, although he did not support the black Exodus see Section 6. He did not support the Exodus as a policy because he judged it bad for black labor, and that it did not address the institutional problems that caused the Exodus: peonage and exploitation, unequal justice, unrestrained violence, lack of resources and opportunities, and in particular, education.

He received a great deal of criticism for his position for failing to support the individual choices of black Americans who sought to flee the inhospitable, degrading, and deadly conditions in the American South. He also criticized inequitable and unfair treatment of blacks in state criminal justice systems, in particular criticizing the Convict-Lease system Davis And he joined with Ida B. Slavery 2. Natural Law 3.

The U. Constitution 4. Violence and Self-Respect 5. Assimilation and Amalgamation 6. Integration versus Emigration 7. Leadership 8. Slavery In his three narratives, and his numerous articles, speeches, and letters, Douglass vigorously argued against slavery. Natural Law As was mentioned in the above section, Douglass drew on the idea of natural rights and the natural law tradition in his argument against slavery.

Violence and Self-Respect As already noted above, Douglass was active in the years leading up to the U. In the Narrative , Douglass wrote: The battle with Mr. He used rhetoric that appealed to the piety of the nation that the Christian Bible had to be correct on this score, and that—just as the soul of the nation depended on emancipation—the authority of the biblical text depended on the affirmation of the unity of the human family: What, after all, if they are able to show very good reasons for believing the Negro to have been created precisely as we find him on the Gold Coast—along the Senegal and the Niger—I say, what of all this?

He stated: The unity of the human race—the brotherhood of man—the reciprocal duties of all to each, and of each to all, are too plainly taught in the Bible to admit of cavil. He remarked to a journalist, the day after his second marriage to Helen Pitts, who was white, …there is no division of races. Integration versus Emigration Douglas, as an advocate of assimilation and amalgamation, was by extension a supporter of what would be come known as integration. He wrote, The native land of the American Negro is America. Douglass b, in Brotz —30 Fourth and finally, the real solution, according to Douglass, was not emigration, and separation, for that was contrary to historical progress, providence, and the emergence of the new American race.

Leadership The relation between Douglass and the topic of black political leadership is wrapped up with his life, activities, and writing. Here is his reduction of the amalgamationist position: It may, however, be objected here that the situation of the our race in America renders this attitude impossible; that our sole hope of salvation lies in our being able to lose our race identity in the commingled blood of the nation; and that nay other course would merely increase the friction of races which we call race prejudice, and against which we have so long and so earnestly fought.

In defense of the actions of John Brown, for example, Douglass wrote, putting him into heroic terms with overtones of Carlyle and Emerson : He believes the Declaration of Independence to be true, and the Bible to be a guide to human conduct, and acting upon the doctrines of both, he threw himself against the serried ranks of American oppression, and translated into heroic deeds the love of liberty and hatred of tyrants, with which he was inspired from both these forces acting upon his philanthropic and heroic soul.

Douglass firmly made this claim in his speech at the American Equal Rights Association in I must say that I do not see how any one can pretend that there is the same urgency in giving the ballot to women as to the negro. Blight ed. Davis ed. Andrews ed. Reprinted in FDP1 v. Blassingame ed. McKivigan ed. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. Pages numbers from the revised edition. Pittman ed. Gordon ed. Davis, Angela Y. Du Bois, W. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Reprinted as part of the The Oxford W.

Frederickson, George M. Gordon, Lewis R. Guy-Sheftall, Beverly ed. Harris, Leonard ed. Lawson, Bill E. Lee, Maurice S. Lemert, Charles C. Lott, Tommy Lee ed. Martin, Waldo E. McFeely, William S. McGary, Howard, and Bill E. Mills, Charles W. Myers, Peter C. Nott, Josiah Clark, and George R. Agassiz, Ll. Usher, M. Patterson, M. Preston, Dickson J. Cambridge, U. Schrader, David E. Sundstrom, Ronald R. Wallace, Maurice O. Washington, Booker T. Philadelphia, PA; London: G. Wells-Barnett, Ida B. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books. Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database.

Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. But the intrigues of politicians, the delays caused by the conduct of the Independents, and the narrow-minded Erastianism of the English Parliament, all conspired to prevent the Assembly from entering farther into that truly glorious Christian enterprise.

Days of trouble and darkness came; persecution wore out the great men of that remarkable period; pure and vital Christianity was stricken to the earth and trampled under foot. Lawful resistance not revolutionary anarchy against habitual tyrants is the duty of all Christians, for subjection for conscience sake is due only to him who is "the ordinance of God" and "the minister of God to thee for good. The habitual tyrant must be refused the honor which "the ordinance of God" alone is to be given. The habitual tyrant must be refused subjection for conscience sake. Though the Christian should obey all the lawful commands of even an unlawful government both because the command is agreeable to the Word of God and because Christians ought to seek to maintain as much order as possible in a nation until biblical changes can be made; for "legalized" tyranny, i.

An immoral national constitution which protects and defends the habitual and flagrant violation of God's moral law in both tables cannot be upheld and defended by solemn oaths nor can allegiance in any way be given to it. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth; and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth.

Whosoever taketh an oath, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch [i. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be , and what he is able to perform. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation. It cannot oblige to sin. A moral wrong can never be lawfully constituted as a civil right.

That which is contrary to God's moral law or legally protects that which is contrary to God's moral law can never be sworn to in an oath. When a national constitution protects idolatry and false worship rather than the true reformed religion, it has itself become a monument of idolatry. When a national constitution within a land that has been enlightened by the gospel omits any mention of the name of God or Christ, and defends the "right" of the atheist, the papist, the muslim, or the satanist to hold office, it is an anti-Christ document and cannot morally be the object of an oath of allegiance.

It is the place and calling of Christians in general to resist all complicity in oaths and allegiance to documents that promote and defend the "civil rights" of idolaters, etc. All of the reformed creeds in their original form clearly maintained it was the duty of the civil magistrate in a nation enlightened by the gospel to remove all monuments of idolatry and false religion i. And I have never been able to satisfy myself, how it was consistent, in those who profess Presbyterianism, to swear an oath [e.

Since a Christian cannot take an oath of allegiance to an immoral national constitution, two consequences must necessarily follow:. However, this does not preclude Christians from seeking the reformation of an immoral civil government if conscientious subjection to it as "the ordinance of God" and an oath of allegiance are not required. In fact, if the Christian were not required to take an oath of allegiance to an immoral civil government, he would be free to cooperate with an immoral government in bringing biblical reformation to that nation and even in assuming positions of authority and administration within that nation as did Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, and Nehemiah.

John Cunningham , a Reformed Presbyterian minister from Scotland, made the following significant observation concerning the immoral British Constitution in The friends of truth cannot justifiably persevere in supporting the British Constitution as the ordinance of God. The friends of truth under the present government should say to it in such a manner as not to be misunderstood,--We will obey your good laws, because they are good; but by oaths or otherwise we will not recognize your authority as of God.

Abolish all oaths of allegiance, and we will act along with you in every right matter. And might not rulers see the propriety of yielding? Were such oaths to the present government abolished, then those who love the truth might enter parliament, and act without being responsible for the evils of the civil constitution and of the administration, and at the same time leadto essential political reformation; and the people could with a clear conscience return to parliament such men as might be possessed of proper character, and be of known attachment to the truth.

Were a door opened in this manner for men consistently uttering their voice in the councils of the nation, then means should be assiduously used, on the part of the people and on the part of their representatives, for scripturally reforming the State, and for giving to true religion that external countenance and support which is due it. Those who, directly or indirectly, consent to the evil deeds of others are partakers in their criminality. If, therefore, the constitution be essentially at war with the religion of Jesus, an homologation [i. No oath of allegiance, therefore, can we swear, because we believe the constitution [i.

Farther, we cannot elect public functionaries to fill the various offices in the state; for, between the elector and the elected, there is a representative oneness; so that every official act, done constitutionally by the latter [i. He must, also, be introduced to office by an oath, homologating [i. Whatever, therefore, we cannot do ourselves, on account of its immorality, we ought not to employ others to perform. A Christian must resist all unlawful commands of the civil magistrate whether the one issuing the command is a lawful king or an unlawful tyrant : "We ought to obey God rather than men" Acts It is the duty of Christians both to testify against tyrannical civil government and to affirm the moral duties of civil magistracy and subjects under God's law.

Civil reformation within a nation cannot occur without a faithful proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For it is the truth of Jesus Christ that sets people free from sin, from ignorance, and from tyranny. Thus, the position of civil government espoused and defended herein strongly affirms that the primary resistance offered by Christians against tyranny in civil government is by means of moral persuasion accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit.

But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And when they shall have finished their testimony , the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Christians should resist tyrannical civil governments by earnestly praying that God would destroy the throne established by wickedness, that He would be pleased to convert unlawful magistrates who presently are His enemies, and that He would hasten the day when righteousness would shine forth from the scepter of the civil magistrate.

God--GLP] would prevent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and whatsoever is dishonorable to him. Thus, the Westminster divines as well as all Reformed Churches at that time believed it to be in conformity to God's revealed will to pray that thrones "established by wickedness" and which framed "mischief by a law" be destroyed and that God would be pleased to establish thrones by righteousness which countenance and maintain the purity of the gospel ordinances against all atheism, idolatry, and false religion.

It is the duty of Christians to flee the unlawful authority of the tyrant when his opposition to the faithful testimony of truth brings persecution to the Christian. It is necessary to make clear that Christians are not to suffer for error or for wicked behavior. If a Christian must suffer, it must be for the testimony of the truth in Jesus Christ alone. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing , than for evil doing. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ , happy are ye. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian , let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. When persecution for the sake of the truth becomes the providential lot of Christians, they must resist the tyrant by fleeing from his unlawful authority and pretended jurisdiction. Fleeing the unlawful authority and unjust sentences of a tyrant is not passive subjection; to the contrary, it is active resistance against tyranny.

Samuel Rutherford one of the Scottish delegates to the Westminster Assembly states clearly the duty of Christians in such circumstances:. Flying [i. As the king is under God's law both in commanding and in exacting active obedience, so is he under the same regulating law of God, in punishing or demanding of us passive subjection, and as he may not command what he will, but what the King of kings warranteth him to command, so may he not punish as he will, but by warrant also of the Supreme Judge of all the earth; and therefore it is not dishonourable to the majesty of the ruler, that we deny passive subjection to him when he punisheth beside his warrant, more than it is against his majesty and honour that we deny active obedience when he commandeth illegally; else I see not how it is lawful to fly [i.

Elijah--GLP], Christ, and other of the witnesses of our Lord have done; and, therefore, what royalists say here is a great untruth, namely, that in things lawful we must be subject actively,--in things unlawful, passively. For as we are in things lawful to be subject actively, so there is no duty in point of conscience, laying on us to be subject passively, because I may lawfully fly [i.

As a last resort against tyrannical civil government which embarks upon a reign of terror against its own people, Christians may use force in self-defence to subdue the violent rage of the civil magistrate. It has been previously demonstrated both from Scripture cf. The intensity with which such resistance should be maintained against a tyrant is appropriately stated by Junius Brutus:. It is affirmed by our reformed forefathers that resistance by means of force in cases of self-defence is not contrary to biblical commands which call Christians to be subject to lawful magistrates and not to resist them , or biblical commands which call Christians to suffer patiently under harsh rulers.

Samuel Rutherford has faithfully expounded such biblical passages as those found in Romans ,2 and 1 Peter , and clearly demonstrates that these passages cannot be made to contradict the rest of God's Word where resistance by means of force in self-defence is approved , and that these texts themselves do not contradict biblical resistance whether resistance without force or resistance by means of force. Rutherford reasons:. One act of grace and virtue is not contrary to another; resistance is in the children of God an innocent act of self-preservation, as is patient suffering, and therefore they may well subsist in one.

The scope of the place 1 Pet. The passive obedience of Christ in which He was commanded to lay down His life for His people, and thus could not resist tyranny; 2. The positive command of God not to resist while suffering as in the extraordinary cases of Christ and the Israelites under Nebuchadnezzar where the Israelites are commanded to serve the king of Babylon for seventy years as just recompense for their flagrant sin against God, Jer.

All these places of God's word, that recommendeth suffering to the followers of Christ, do not command formally that we suffer; therefore, suffering falleth not formally under any commandment of God. However, the passage does not imply that resistance by means of force is unlawful in cases of self-defence. Thus, Rutherford explains:.


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We must needs be subject to the royal office for conscience, by reason of the fifth commandment; but we must not needs be subject to the man who is king, if he command things unlawful. It can be easily demonstrated from the various struggles of reformed Christians in resisting tyrannical rulers that they did not understand Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 or Titus either to refer to a tyrant as "the ordinance of God" to whom Christians must subject themselves for conscience sake, nor to forbid active resistance for conscience sake against a tyrant who happens to call himself a civil magistrate.

Unjust violence is not God's ordinance; neither are we bound to him by any other reason than if he kept the conditions on which he was created emperor. By the laws themselves it is provided that the superior magistrate shall not infringe the right of the inferior, and if the superior magistrate exceed the limits of his power, and command that which is wicked, not only [do--GLP] we need not obey him, but, if he offer force, we may resist him. So in the reign of Charles IX. These ecclesiastical leaders constituted a war party around Conde.

They were opposed to any negotiations or military maneuvers that, in the interest of strategy or a peaceful settlement, would sacrifice Protestant congregations or their legal right to worship. Beza , as noted, had opposed the abandonment of Paris in March, and he later proposed an armed seizure of Paris. Calvin , himself, did not stop at indirect pressure in fund raising for the war. In a general letter to the churches of Languedoc, he appealed specifically for money to pay for the German mercenaries whom d'Andelot was at the moment trying to recruit in Germany.

By no means pacifist, he accepted and supported religious war in exceedingly realistic ways. The escort was organized at Calvin's suggestion in response to rather firm hints from Berne and certain local people that the Genevans should contribute something to the Swiss armies marching "to the Service of the Church of Lyons". It is clear that Geneva contributed in material ways to the Huguenot armies in France.

Though the appearance of neutrality was maintained, the government allowed and at times encouraged the sending of small groups of men, large sums of money, and substantial quantities of gunpowder to the forces fighting for the Calvinist faith. And the spiritual leaders of the city were involved in more or less positive ways in these activities. Geneva became a veritable arsenal of Calvinism.

The ecclesiastical and political influence of Geneva continued strong for decades. In the years preceding the Thirty Years War[,] groups of Calvinist noblemen from Holland, Germany, Bohemia, and other nations, planned co-ordinated political action.

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

The strength of Calvinism, wherever the doctrine was oppressed, seemed to find outlet in breeding social change to the actual point of social revolution. And the organizing center for many of these revolutions was unquestionably Geneva. It was the prime source of ecclesiastical leaders and the outpouring of printed propaganda; it was a staging-base for conspiracies, a negotiating point for loans, and a producer and distributor of armament.

In a solemn protestation they declared the reasons for their resistance:. For zeal to the country, for the glory of God, because of the inhumanities and oppressions, and more than barbarous and insupportable tyranny and encroachments upon their privileges, liberties, and freedom.

That before his Majesties restitution to the exercise of his Royall power assurance be had from his Majesty by his solemn Oath under his hand and seal for settling Religion according to the Covenant [i. In conclusion, it is affirmed that God requires of the Christian subjection for conscience sake to the office of civil magistracy and to those who hold the office so long as they fulfil the moral duties of a civil magistrate. This and this alone is "the ordinance of God. The Christian should be thankful for the measure of freedom he may yet enjoy under a tyrant, but he cannot say that the emperor is clothed in lawful authority just because everyone says he is.

The Christian must fear the Lord his God, and stand with the cloud of faithful witnesses and courageously declare, "The king has no clothes" i. The Christian who testifies to this truth may be falsely accused of treason, sedition, and revolutionary anarchy, but so were Christ, Paul, and Christians throughout history. If it can justly be termed "treason" to actively resist tyranny, then far better to be charged with treason against a tyrant than to be charged with treason against the Son of God for not actively resisting Christ's enemies when it is the Christian's duty to do so.

The eminent Scottish divine, Samuel Rutherford , well stated the duty of the Christian who stands for the truth in the face of false allegations of treason:. Christ, the prophets, and apostles of our Lord, went to heaven with the note of traitors, seditious men, and such as turned the world upside down: calumnies [i.

Rutherford--GLP] is the more willing to drink of that cup that touched his lip, who is our glorious Forerunner: what, if conscience toward God, and credit with men, cannot both go to heaven with the saints, the author is satisfied with the former companion, and is willing to dismiss the other. Truth to Christ cannot be treason to Caesar. There is coming a day when magistracy and ministry will both fulfil their ordained duties to the glory of Christ, then the church of Jesus Christ will see the full realization of God's promise: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers" Is. David W. Hall, ed. Emphases added. The original spelling and capitalization have been retained. The spelling in this excerpt has been edited from the original document. The parenthetical qualification is in the original document, and significantly limits non-resistance to the civil magistrate so long as he is "doing that thing which appertains to his charge. The spelling and capitalization have been edited from the original document.

The spelling has been edited from the original document. The parenthetical qualification is in the original document and indicates that only he is a magistrate of God who does not exercise tyranny. Thus, conscientious submission to a tyrant is not solicited by this confessional statement.

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The parenthetical limitation is in the original document and is intended to make clear that when the civil magistrate passes over the lawful bounds of his office, he is no longer acting as "the ordinance of God" and therefore is to be lawfully resisted. The parenthetical qualification is in the original document, and limits non-resistance to the civil magistrate so long as he is "doing that thing which appertains to his charge.

This reformed confession states that all men ought to be subject to "lawful magistrates" and ought to obey only in matters that "are not repugnant to the word of God. For more information concerning the matter of covenanting, cf. The italics are original, the bold has been added for emphases. Robert M. Droz, , pp. Several objections to the position of civil magistracy affirmed and defended in this book will be briefly considered.

What about biblical characters who served in civil governments or in the military in which biblical religion was not the established religion of the state? Answer: Whether it is Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, Nehemiah, or Cornelius the centurion, we may conclude, either first, that the civil power was lawful; or second, that offices may be held under unlawful civil governments; or third, that they sinned in accepting those civil offices.

The second response is affirmed to be true while the other two responses are denied to be true. Neither directly nor indirectly were they required to consent to the idolatries of those nations or to sanction any acts of oppression. Nor does the Scripture indicate that they were required to take an oath of allegiance to an immoral constitution or swear allegiance to an immoral magistrate. Any office may be held, or service engaged in, upon the three following conditions:. That the duties belonging to it be right in themselves. That they be regulated by a just law.

That there be no other oath of office required, but faithfully to execute official duties. Let these be the stipulations, and an office may be held under any power, howsoever immorally constituted, without an homologation [i. If it be pleaded that the monarch's will was the constitution, this, even if admitted, makes no difference. The office was either such as required allegiance to this constitution, or it did not. If the latter , it is the thing contended for, viz. If the former, he was perjured, not only by breaking it in several instances, but in taking it also, for he swore to a blank , i.

But there is no account of Daniel's coming under any such obligation. Does not Christ confirm the lawful authority of the beast of Rome when He says, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" Mt. Answer: This question was proposed by the enemies of Christ the Pharisees and the Herodians in order to "entangle him" Mt. If Christ were to answer, "Render the tribute to Caesar", the Pharisees who strongly opposed Roman complicity would have slandered Christ as a Roman sympathizer. However, if Christ were to answer, "Render not the tribute to Caesar", the Herodians who strongly supported Roman alliances would have slandered him as being an avowed enemy to Caesar.

But the Lord Jesus "perceived their wickedness" and essentially gave them a non-answer to their question. Since it was not an honest question, Christ did not play into their trap by answering their question. In fact, "they could not take hold of his words before the people" Lk. Even they could not clearly understand what He had said about the issue of paying tribute to Caesar. Thus, if the enemies of Christ couldn't pin Him to an answer one way or the other though they would have loved to , neither can any one living today conclude whether Christ condemned paying tribute to Caesar or commended it from His answer.

Such evasion to entrapment was used by Christ on other occasions as well cf. Even if Christ did endorse the paying of tribute to Caesar, that is not an oath of allegiance paid to Caesar, nor a declaration concerning the lawfulness of Caesar's authority. For tribute exacted by an unlawful government is simply extortion required by a thief who threatens to take all your property if you don't pay him part of your property.

Furthermore, even foreigners and aliens pay taxes to nations in which they work without declaring any allegiance to the civil government of that nation. Thus, the payment of taxes is not an oath of allegiance. Did not Paul's appeal to Caesar acknowledge the lawfulness of Caesar's courts Acts ? Answer: Paul's appeal to Caesar is no declaration on Paul's part that he recognized the lawfulness of Caesar's court. Because the Lord had revealed to him that he would give testimony of Christ in Rome, and because Paul knew the Jews had plotted to murder him if he returned to Jerusalem as planned, he prudently appealed to Caesar as a means of self-defence as well as a means of taking the truth to Rome.

Biblical Series X: Abraham: Father of Nations

In fact, it might be argued that Paul in another text describes the Roman magistrates in their courts as being unjust 1 Cor. As, 1. He was brought before the Seat of Judicature, he did not voluntarily come to them, Acts ; 2. He being threatened to be murdered by his Country Men, who lay in wait by the Way for him, Acts His Appeal to Caesar might be, to get an Opportunity to testify of Christ, and to preach the Gospel at Rome, as the Lord had declared to him he should, Chap.

Is not Cyrus designated as God's "anointed" and God's "shepherd" Is. Answer: These terms may indicate that Cyrus was a lawful magistrate under the light of moral law which he had been granted. He uses the knowledge of God and civil authority which he has been given in order to: 1 release God's people from captivity; 2 charge God's people with the task of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem; 3 provide all the materials needed for the job.

He may be an historical fulfillment of the prophecy made by Isaiah that Gentile rulers would become nursing fathers to God's people. However, there are times in which God anoints rulers not because they are lawful magistrates, but as a means of setting them apart to be "the rod of his anger" against individuals or nations. For example, heathen nations like the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians are called God's "sanctified ones" Is. If the Israelites were specifically commanded by God not to resist the military conquest of Nebuchadnezzar Jer. Answer: First, this is a positive command of the Lord which is unique to the circumstances of Israel at that period of history.


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A universal, moral principle of non-resistance against tyrants cannot be drawn from this text without attributing to God contradictory moral principles. For God clearly approves of and even commands resistance against tyrants in many cases:. Thus, it is evident that the command from God to the Israelites "Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live" Jer.

Second, this Babylonian king was sent as God's scourge and sword and in that sense he was God's servant, Jer. The length of their subjection to the king of Babylon is even specified by God: "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years" Jer. However, later in the prophecy of Jeremiah, the Lord condemns Nebuchadnezzar for his role in scattering and breaking the bones of His people, and He promises to punish the king of Babylon even as He punished the king of Assyria Jer.

Third, even though Judah is commanded to serve the king of Babylon, there is nothing necessarily indicated in the word "serve" that would require a subjection for conscience sake or honoring him as the lawful ordinance of God on the part of God's people. As Christopher Goodman states: "They were made subjects to the king of Babylon to serve him with their bodies and goods"86 not with their consciences. The service of Judah to the king of Babylon has the same kind of bodily service in view as the service of Israel to the Pharaoh of Egypt. Neither the service to the Pharaoh of Egypt nor the service to the king of Babylon require an owning of the tyrant as "the minister of God to thee for good.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states, "that infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to him. Answer: No, it is not. Some of the men quoted throughout this book e. George Gillespie and Samuel Rutherford were Scottish delegates to the Westminster Assembly, and knew very well the position endorsed concerning the civil magistrate in the Confession of Faith.

Rutherford's classic treatment of civil magistracy, Lex, Rex agrees with the Confession's position concerning the civil magistrate. The following explanation summarizes well the meaning and intent of the Westminster divines. They distinguished between reformed and enlightened lands, and those that were unreformed and unenlightened. In the latter [i. This our ancestors did in their Covenants National and Solemn League.