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Basic Principles of Christian Civil Government

from Christian Civil Government by David McAllister

The Basic Principles of Christian Political Science

  1. The nation is a collective being, with moral character and accountability, directly responsible to the Author of its existence, God Himself.

  2. As such a moral being, a true moral person, it is under the moral law of the Supreme Ruler of nations, which includes both the law of nature and the Revealed Will of God.

  3. The necessary aims of national life compel the nation, in its own proper sphere, as distinct from that of the church, to have regard to the moral laws of the Christian religion, and to base its actions upon these or set itself against them.

  4. The written constitution of a nation to which Providence has given an unwritten and vital Christian Constitution, should correspond, in explicit terms, to that which it is designed to express and authenticate; and the Christian principles which are fundamental to the nation's life should be embodied in fundamental law as the supreme rule, under God, of the government which the nation establishes as its agent.

  5. Christianity, as "the perfect law of liberty" for nations as well as individuals, can infringe on no man's rights of conscience. In being true to this law, the nation best preserves its own rights and liberties, and those of all its citizens and subjects.

The Scriptural Basis for Christian Civil Government

Scriptural Teachings as to the Origin and Nature of the Nation

  1. God is the Author of all national life. Deuteronomy 26:19 | Psalms 86:9 | Acts 18:24-26

  2. God brings each particular nation into existence in its own time in the progress of the world's history. Acts 17:26

  3. God gives to each nation its own rightful territory. Acts 17:26

  4. It is, therefore, God's prerogative, as the Just Ruler of nations, to take away national life, as well as to bestow and maintain it. Jeremiah 18:7-10

  5. The nation, a being which God creates, and which He rewards for its righteousness, or destroys for its sins, is a moral being to which God has given supreme moral law. Deuteronomy 6:1-3 | Deuteronomy 8:1

  6. Civil government, the institution for the regulation and control of national life, is in its principle the ordinance of God, and is to be obeyed as such a divine ordinance. Romans 13:1-2

  7. Civil government, in its framework or constitution, the distribution and arrangement of its powers, is the ordinance of man. 1 Peter 2:13-14

The Scriptures Require Moral and Religious, not Ecclesiastical, Qualifications and Duties of Civil Officers

  1. Civil rulers are ministers of God, deriving all just authority from Him. Proverbs 8:15-16 | Romans 13:4-6

  2. Civil officers hold their trust from God, through the people, to protect and enforce right, and restrain and punish evil-doers. Romans 13:4-6 | 1 Peter 2:13-14

  3. Hence, none but able, just, and God-fearing men should be exalted to the office of civil ruler. Exodus 18:21 | 2 Samuel 23:2-3

  4. When immoral men are elevated to the civil magistracy, wickedness and wicked men are encouraged. Psalms 12:8

  5. Civil Rulers are enjoined to learn Christ's law, and acknowledge and obey Him as King. Psalms 2:10-12

  6. They are required to consult God's revealed law as the great law-book of the nation. Deuteronomy 17:18-20

  7. Just and God-fearing rulers bring the clear sunshine of peace and prosperity to a nation. 2 Samuel 23:3-4

The Scriptures Teach that Christ Is the Ruler of Nations

  1. Jesus Christ, as Mediator, has all power and universal dominion committed to Him, which must include authority over nations. Matthew 28:18 | John 5:22-23 | Acts 10:36 | 1 Corinthians 15:27 | Philippians 2:9-11

  2. Various titles are given to Christ as Ruler of nations. Psalms 22:28 | Isaiah 33:22 | Jeremiah 10:6-7 | 1 Timothy 6:14-15 | Revelation 1:5 | Revelation 17:14 | Revelation 19:16

  3. Christ actually rules as King of nations by punishing them for violations of His law. Psalms 2:1-5 | Psalms 2:9 | Psalms 9:17 | Psalms 110:1-2 | Psalms 110:5-6 | Isaiah 60:12 | Revelation 2:27 | Revelation 19:11-15

  4. Christ rewards nations that obey Him as their Ruler. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 | Psalms 2:12 | Psalms 33:12 | Psalms 144:11-15

  5. Christ provides for the pardon of nations that confess and forsake their sins. Leviticus 26:40-42 | 1 Kings 8:33-34 | Jeremiah 18:7-8 | Jonah 3:5-10

  6. The Scriptures foretell the day when all nations shall acknowledge and obey Christ as their Ruler, and shall be blessed under His glorious reign. Psalms 22:27 | Psalms 72:8 | Psalms 72:11 | Psalms 72:17 | Psalms 86:9 | Isaiah 2:2-4 | Daniel 7:13-14 | Daniel 7:27 | Revelation 11:15

This material is drawn from Christian Civil Government in America by David McAllister. Revised by T.H. Acheson and Wm. Parsons. Sixth edition, Pittsburgh: The National Reform Association, 1927