Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate

  1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates [authorities] to be under him and over the people, for his own glory and the public good. For this purpose he has armed them with the power of the sword [authority to use force], for the defence and encouragement of those who do good, and for the punishment of evildoers.1

1 Rom 13.1-4

  1. It is lawful for Christians to accept and to carry out the office of a magistrate [to hold public office] when called to that task. In discharging that duty, Christians ought especially to maintain justice2 and peace, according to the wholesome [wise and beneficial] laws of each kingdom and commonwealth [any legitimate geopolitical entity]. In pursuit of this, Christians may lawfully (in accordance with the New Testament) wage war, on just and necessary occasions.3

2 2Sam 23.3; Ps 82.3-4 3 Lk 3.14

  1. Because civil magistrates [authorities] are set up by God for the purposes identified, we should be readily subject [should submit on principle] to them in all lawful things commanded by them, in the Lord. This is not only to avoid punishment but also for the sake of conscience.4 We ought also to make supplications [requests] and prayers for kings [rulers] and all that are in authority, that under their rule we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.5

4 Rom 13.5-7; 1Pt 2.17 5 1Tim 2.1-2