Monday, October 21, 2013

John Calvin on obeying the Civil Government

As a seeming list of  U.S. government elected officials change their positions on various moral issues, I am reminded of John Calvin's comments in his treatment of the civil government-

"But in that obedience which we hold to be due to the commands of rulers, we must always make the exception, nay, must be particularly careful that it is not incompatible with obedience to Him to whose will the wishes of all kings should be subject, to whose decrees their commands must yield, to whose majesty their scepters must bow. And, indeed, how preposterous were it, in pleasing men to incur the offense of Him for whose sake you obey men! The Lord, therefore, is King of kings. When he opens his sacred mouth, he alone is to be heard, instead of all and above all. We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against him let us not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity which they possess as magistrates - a dignity to which no injury is done when it is subordinated to the special and truly supreme power of God." 

- Book 4, Chapter 20 of Calvin's Institutes