Sunday, October 15, 2006

WCF 23- Gods Ministers for Service and Protection

WCF 23- Gods Ministers for Service and Protection

Chapter 23:
Of the Civil Magistrate

23:1 God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers (Rom_13:1-4; 1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14).

23:2 It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto (Pro_8:15, Pro_8:16; Rom_13:1, Rom_13:2, Rom_13:4); in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth (2Sa_23:3; Psa_2:10-12; Psa_82:3, Psa_82:4; 1Ti_2:2; 1Pe_2:13); so for that end, they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion (Mat_8:9, Mat_8:10; Luk_3:14; Act_10:1, Act_10:2; Rom_13:4; Rev_17:14, Rev_17:16).

23:3 The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (2Ch_26:18 with Mat_18:17 and Mat_16:19; Rom_10:15; 1Co_4:1, 1Co_4:2; 1Co_12:28, 1Co_12:29; Eph_4:11, Eph_4:12; Heb_5:4): yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed (Lev_24:16; Deu_13:5, Deu_13:6, Deu_13:12; 2Ki_18:4; 23:1-26; 1Ch_13:1-9; 2Ch_15:12, 2Ch_15:13; 2Ch_34:33; Ezr_7:23-28; Psa_122:9; Isa_49:23). For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God (2Ch_19:8-11; 29:1-30:27; Mat_2:4, Mat_2:5).

23:4 It is the duty of people to pray for the magistrates (1Ti_2:1, 1Ti_2:2), to honour their persons (1Pe_2:17), to pay them tribute and other dues (Rom_13:6, Rom_13:7), to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake (Rom_13:5; Tit_1:3). Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them (1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14, 1Pe_2:16): from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted (1Ki_2:35; Act_25:9-11; Rom_13:1; 2Pe_2:1, 2Pe_2:10, 2Pe_2:11; Jud_1:8-11), much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever (2Th_2:4; Rev_13:15-17).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. G0d Has Ordained The Civil Government On The Earth (WCF 23.1)

B. The Purpose Of Civil Government Is For God’s Glory And Our Good (WCF 23.1)

C. God Has Given The Civil Magistrates The Power Of Execution (WCF 23.2)

D. Christians May Hold The Office And Execute The Power Of The Office Upon Just And Necessary Occasions (WCF 23.2)

E. Civil Magistrates May Not Administer The Sacraments Nor Other Aspects Of The Keys Of The Kingdom (WCF 23.3)

F. We Are To Honor The Office And Those That Serve While Praying And Being Subject To Them (WCF 23.4)

G. The Civil Magistrate Has The Job To See That Peace And Unity Be Preserved Both In Society And In The Church (WCF 23.3)

H. The Pope Of Rome Does Not Have A Right To Civil Power (WCF 23.4)

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