A Quick Word on the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates

I was given a book by a friend at our church entitled The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates by Matthew J. Trewhella. If that is not a subject that is familiar to you, the “doctrine of the lesser magistrates” refers to some form of lesser ruler who serves under a greater ruler (like a prince serving a king) and that “lesser magistrate’s” right to rebel against that greater ruler.

Many have rightly looked at Martin Luther’s stand against Charles V and the Roman Catholic Church as a prime example of this “doctrine of the lesser magistrates.” This is a doctrine that John Calvin has written about in his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

There are examples in Scripture of this form of rebellion or protest where Christians sought to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29) – where they sought to stand for godly principles in the face of evil rulers.

  • There was Moses challenging the Pharaoh of Egypt to release the Hebrews from captivity (Exod 3-12).
  • There was Rahab who refused a command from Jericho’s King to give up the Hebrew spies (Josh 2).
  • There was Daniel refusing not to pray after the decree of King Nebuchadnezzar outlawed prayer to God (Dan 6).
  • There was Peter and John refusing to stop preaching after the Captain of the Temple and the Sadducees commanded them to remain silent (Acts 4).

There comes a time when Christians must part ways with law and follow the Word of God’s clear teaching. But it must be clear teaching in Scripture that leads a Christian to disobey. Otherwise, every believer has a responsibility to obey the governing laws of the law (Rom 13:1-7; I Pet 2:13-17). It is important to keep in mind that when that Scripture was revealed to Paul and Peter in Romans and I Peter that the Roman Empire was an evil and corrupt Empire under Nero. And yet, Paul and Peter express the need for the church to submit to their governing authorities, unless those authorities command them to violate Scripture.

In short, if your government commands you to sin, you have biblical justification to obey God rather than the government.



Prayer for Independence Day

“Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.”

– Anonymous prayer on the floor of the U.S. Senate

Video Montage of Soldier’s Coming Home

As someone who doesn’t get emotional often, I didn’t expect to watch the below video and get teary like I did.

A good way to spend 6 minutes on this 4th of July would be to enjoy this tribute by ESPN to our faithful military for their service and the greatest reward they often see for their service: returning home to their families.

Can or Should God Bless America?

 Today’s America

Professing Christians seem to be obsessed with God blessing America, as the well known song tell us:

God bless America, land that I love.

Stand beside her and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

How about those lyrics? Can we expect God will answer that prayer? Is there any reason He shouldn’t bless America? Consider the following:

  • Americans abort approximately 1.37 milion fetuses per year, with an average 3,700 per day.
  • With only 4% of Americans rejecting the existence of God today, almost 1 out of 5 Americans are skeptical about the relevance of any organized religion.
  • Every 39 minutes a pornographic video is created for the internet and every second over $3,700 is spent on pornography.3

EagleThat is a sampling of what America looks like today. Is America even “blessable”? If God accepted us despite these heinous sins, God’s reputation for being a Righteous Judge would be lost. God might have to “repent “of judging Sodom and Gomorrah.

Can and Should We Expect God’s Blessing?

If we consider Paul’s frightening words in Romans 1:18-32, we have to wonder whether this paradigm of one slipping further and further away from God is somewhat prophetic of the conditions of our country.

Three times in Romans 1, it tells us “God gave them over” (vs. 24, 26, 28) which can be translated or understood as “God abandoned them.” It indicates a form of judgment where God takes away the restraint of sin from an individual or a people, allowing them to get deeper and deeper in their sin as a form of judgment.

It is a slippery slope of sin that we see one endure in Romans 1 and it is a slippery slope the United States has been on for some time. It would certainly seem like we are already living in Romans 1:32 – “Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

So What?

What can do about any of this? Can we find our way back to being blessed? Perhaps we cannot nationally, but we certainly can personally.

First, we must repent of all of our sin(s). II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” God will not bless those who don’t seek forgiveness for sin.” Blessing by God will not come without repenting by man.

Second, we should recommit ourselves to seeing the Word of God as authoritative. Asaph wrote, “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. ‘Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways” (Ps 81:11-13). Thus, whatever God’s Word says should be what I say.”

Third, embrace Christ as Lord. Paul wrote, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col 2:6).

John MacArthur has said, “We have a message for America. God bless America, well He will bless America if the conditions are met. But before we can be concerned about America, we need to be concerned about those who are America, that’s us. And the way to blessing is back to the book, to know the truth of God and the God of the book, to repent of sin and to come to Him for forgiveness and new life and new capacity for obedience through faith in Jesus Christ. All the promises of God are yes in Christ. All spiritual blessings are ours in Christ.”

Salvation is offered to all but not without these conditions. God may not return to blessing our country but He will bless those in this country that live for Him.