The 1689 Baptist Confession on the Role of Civil Government [Tom Hicks]

Government

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

Historically, American Calvinistic Baptists have been fairly unified on their understanding of the role of civil government. They expressed their views in various confessions but the the Second London Baptist Confession was their mother confession. In Chapter 24, Of the Civil Magistrate, it provides the historic Calvinistic Baptist understanding of the role of civil government. It reads:

CHAPTER 24; OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE

Paragraph 1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end has armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.1
1 Rom. 13:1-4

1689 gift editionParagraph 2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace,2 according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.3
2 2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3,4
3 Luke 3:14

Paragraph 3. Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake;4 and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.5
4 Rom. 13:5-7; 1 Pet. 2:17
5 1 Tim. 2:1,2

This chapter is divided into 3 sections. Paragraph 1 is on God’s ordination of the civil magistrate. Paragraph 2 is about Christians who hold the office of civil magistrate. Paragraph 3 is about how Christians should submit to the civil magistrate. We’ll look at these one at a time…

Pastor Tom Hicks goes on to explain each of these paragraphs.

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