Saturday, May 14, 2011

16th century reformed confessions on the magistrate

For some reason blogger erased this, so I am posting it back up again. I think it is helpful to reflect on a Reformed understanding of the magistrate and his duties with the Reformed confessions in view before us. Enjoy.

Tetrapolitan Confession-(1530 Bucer and Capito):

23- … They accordingly teach that to exercise the office of magistrate is the most sacred function that can be divinely given. Hence it has come to pass that they who exercise public power are called in the Scriptures gods… Therefore none exercise the duties of magistrate more worthily than they who of all are the most Christian and holy…

First Confession of Basel (1534 Oecolampadius):

8- God has charged governments, His servants, with the sword and with the highest external power for the protection of the good and for vengeance upon and punishment of evildoers. For this reason, every Christian governement with which we desire to be numbered, should do all in its power to see that God’s Name is hallowed among its subjects, God’s kingdom extended, and His will observed by the assiduous extirpation of crimes.

First Helvetic Confession (1536 Bullinger and others):

26- Since all governmental power is from God, its highest and principal office, if it does not want to be tyrannical, is to protect and promote the true honor of God and the proper service of God by punishing and rooting out all blasphemy, and to exercise all possible diligence to promote and to put into effect what a minister of the Church and a preacher of the Gospel teaches and sets forth from God’s Word…

Geneva Confession of 1536 (Calvin):

21- We hold the supremacy and dominion of kings and princes as also of other magistrates and officers, to be a holy thing and a good ordinance of God…

Confession of the English Congregation at Geneva (1556 Knox):

4- And besides this ecclesiastical discipline, I acknowledge to the Church a political magistrate who administers justice to every man, defending the good and punishing the evil, to whom we must render honor and obedience in all things which are not contrary to the Word of God. And as Moses, Hezekiah, Josiah, and other godly rulers purged the Church of God of superstition and idolatry, so the defence of Christ’s Church against all idolaters and heretics, as Papists, Anabaptists and such rascals or antichrist pertains to the Christian magistrates, to root out all doctrine of devils and men, such as the mass…

Scots Confession (1560):

24- … The are not only appointed for civil government but also to maintain true religion and to suppress all idolatry and superstition.

Belgic Confession (1561):

36- …And being called in this manner to contribute to the advancement of a society that is pleasing to God, the civil rulers have the task, subject to God’s law, of removing every obstacle to the preaching of the gospel and to every aspect of divine worship.

… And the government’s task is not limited to caring for and watching over the public domain but extends also to upholding the sacred ministry, with a view to removing and destroying all idolatry and false worship of the Antichrist; to promoting the kingdom of Jesus Christ; and to furthering the preaching of the gospel everywhere; to the end that God may be honored and served by everyone, as he requires in his Word.

Second Helvetic Confession (1566 Bullinger):

30- …The chief duty of the magistrate is to secure and preserve peace and public tranquility. Doubtless he will never do this more successfully than when he is truly God-fearing and religious; that is to say, when, according to the example of the most holy kings and princes of the people of the Lord, he promotes the preaching of the truth and sincere faith, roots out lies and all superstition, together with all impiety and idolatry, and defends the Church of God. We certainly teach that the care of religion belongs especially to the holy magistrate.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

About Face!

I must say that I am completely stunned, and extremely gratified by this policy reversal. Thank the Lord for those five dozen house lawmakers who had the courage to put a stop to this. As encouraging as this might be for the moment, we still need to keep the pressure on. The way this retraction reads is that the reverse course is temporary until all the red tape is in place. Love of country and of love of God demands that we push back on this issue and let our local representatives know that this policy cannot be implimented.

By the way-- and I will revisit this in a series of subsequent posts about classic Reformed reflection on the magistrate -- here are some links you might want to check out so that you can brush up on historic Reformed political thought. There are plenty of leading lights out there who claim to speak definitively for the Reformers, and much of what they say is dead wrong. Enjoy!

John Knox on the magistrate

Bucer on penology

Zanchi on the Godly Prince

George Gillespie (17th century Scottish theologian and commissioner to the Westminster Assembly) Wholesome Severity


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Navy Chaplains to Perform Same Sex Marriage

Just over a week ago, I was glued to the television set, watching it with rapt attention, as President Obama testified to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. troops. It was some of the best news this country had received on the war on terror in quite some time. Watching Obama’s speech and listening to his description of the courage and the skillfulness of U.S. special ops personnel made my chest swell with pride. This was an “at a boy” moment if there ever was one. And well, now this: the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains has decided that same-sex couples in the Navy will be able to get married in Navy chapels, and that Navy chaplains will be allowed to perform the ceremonies -- if homosexual marriage is legal in the state where the unions are to be performed. "Stop the tape!" “Stop the tape!” Are you kidding me? Can it be true that we are really moving from the glorious headline of Seal Team Six taking out the murderous thug-in-chief of the al-Qaeda regime, to Naval Chaplains performing same-sex marriages in Naval chapels?

This is deeply discouraging news and reveals the heart of the insidious agenda of the gays in the military crowd. We have been told since Clinton's liberal pandering "don't ask, don't tell" policy was instituted back in the 1990's that it was all about allowing patriotic gay men and women to have the opportunity to serve their country. It is obvious what a lie that was. What gays in the military is about is evident now: it is about using the nation's most honored and respected institution to sanction and legitimize deviant social policy, same-sex marriage. Notice the craftiness of the same-sex marriage brigade; while they were busy distracting all the attention and debate toward the issue of patriotic military service, what they were really aiming for was legitimizing the same-sex marriage cause. What they realized is if the military sanctions such marriages, and the tax-payer funds the benefits of same-sex military couples through taxes, then there can be no argument left to stop this agenda at the federal level.

I wish I could say, "wake up people!" The fact is, I cannot, because while we were sleeping the Trojan Horse was slipped in, and now its soldiers have guns fixed on our heads, holding us all hostage. What can we do now? Well, we (Christians) must realize that while the Church's primary calling is to offer true worship to the Lord and preach the gospel, it is the Christian citizen's primary calling, to advance the kingdom of God on earth, right here and now. It is the duty of every patriotic, freedom loving Christian, to band together with other Christians, to articulate a clear agenda, and to proclaim the Lordship of Christ over the nation, calling for both magistrate and citizen to "kiss the Son" lest He be angry. I know I was supposed to say that we should pray, that is a given, but what is really needed is a fully-orbed political policy that is explicitly Christian.

As I call for this, I am aware that the radical two-kingdom crowd out there operating in Reformed circles, which spouts its false-neutrality propaganda and godless cultural agenda in the ivory towers of learning, and over the air waves, will complain that such a response is overreaching. They will say that church and state are to be separate, that the kingdom of power is neutral, and that natural law is all we need to promote a just and peaceful society. I say to that, NONSENSE! Look at how well the Greeks and the Romans faired with natural law alone; they became some of the most morally corrupt regime's in history, and were all toppled in just divine judgment for their decadence, arrogance, and wickedness. Unfortunately, policies such as Naval Chaplains marrying same-sex couples in Naval chapels indicates that this is exactly where the United States is heading. It is heading for the scrap heap of history, where all the rest of the godless, immoral, atheistic nations of the past rest in peace. People of God, we need to do more than just wake up, we need to arm ourselves with the sword of truth and begin to push Christ's kingship over the  nation with tactical genius.