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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Passive obedience v. Political Dissidence

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  • gmw
    ... The minister to thee for good is that moral power to which we owe submission and obedience for conscience sake, though a tyrant can be a physical or
    Message 1 of 19 , Sep 14, 2004
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      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Peter"
      <GrayPJ@c...> wrote:
      > Okay then, only those who are "a minister to thee for good" qualify
      > as "powers".

      The "minister to thee for good" is that moral power to which we owe
      submission and obedience for conscience sake, though a tyrant can be a
      physical or providential power to which Christians may submit for
      wrath's sake.

      > A minister for good is described in Due 17:19.... (1) Are all
      > non-Christian rulers unlawful tyrants, or is obedience to the law
      > written in their hearts enough to make them lawful magistrates?

      In a covenanted land, such as Israel was (and such as England,
      Ireland, and Scotland had become), may NOT put a non-Christian, or an
      anti-Christian, in power over them so that they may submit to him. In
      such a case, the unbelieving magistrate ought to be removed by lawful
      means, as peacefully as possible.

      In the case of a nation that is not covenanted to God, we cannot and
      do not pretend that they do not have lawful magistrates simply because
      the magistrates are not Christians. They must rule by the law of
      nature, which itself teaches that a magistrate has a duty to the
      people to do them good and not evil, and that if a tyrant seeks to
      destroy your life, you must seek to preserve it.

      > (2) At what point does a
      > ruler become a tyrant, who is to judge? (3) Until what point are
      > tyrants to be tolerated?

      I won't say that I have a definitive answer that applies perfectly in
      every case. As I pointed out in a previous post, the Covenanters did
      not consider every act of tryanny to be sufficient to declare someone
      to be a tyrant. Charles II was owned by Covenanters (Marquis and
      Guthrie, for example), even as they were being persecuted by him. It
      was after Charles had an act passed that explained that in order to
      own him as king, you must own him as having all power both civil and
      ecclesiastical, which then became the legal understanding of the
      question "Do you own the king?" And of course, the Covenanters
      answered as a Christian would have to answer in such a circumstance,
      "No, I cannot own that usurper as king." They then declared that if
      Charles was going to hunt them down and murder them, they would be
      fighting back from now on. It was not an attempt to remove him from
      the throne, but to preserve their lives, liberty, and religion. As
      for your question (3) above, I would say that we may tolerate them so
      long as is possible without sinning or compromising Christian
      principles. In the case of Charles II, the Covenanters were not
      permitted to own him as the supreme ecclesiastical authority, nor
      could they own him as a lawful king in a covenanted land where the law
      says he is not lawful, nor would it be right to hand over the
      Covenanted Reformation, their religion, their own and their neighbors
      lives, the tax money imposed on them for the express purpose of
      raising funds to kill Covenanters, without any kind of a fight.

      Any other comments from the Covenanter position are welcome, as I'm
      speaking only from my own understanding and not as an official of any
      sort.

      gmw.
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