Thursday, July 26, 2007

10 Theses Toward an Evangelical Political Theology

I am taking these from J. Budziszewski's Evangelicals in the Public Square, pp 23ff. JB is a Roman Catholic Natural Law theorist--that is his background. These are his theses; I am witholding comment for a while.

The Evangelical Dilemma

1. God is the true sovereign; he ordained allhuman government fo rthe good of man, whom he made in his own image.

2. Although God originally chose only one nation, he desires ultimately to draw all nations in the light of his Word.

3. He disciplines the nations according to their deeds.

4. He also disciplines their rulers.

5. In general, disobedeince to human government is disobedience to God; indeed, government deserves not only respect but honor.

6. But there are exceptions: Any government edict that contradicts the commands of God must be disobeyed.

7. The just purposes of human government include the commendation of good, the punishment of evil, the maintance of peace, and the protection of the oppressed.

8. In pursuance of these purposes, God authorizes human government to use force on his behalf and in grave cases even to take life, though never delibeartely take the life of the innocent.

9. Yet human government cannot fully or permanently redress wrong, because it cannot uproot sin from the human heart; this van be done only be the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ.

10. MOrever, the community of redemption is not the state but the church. No matter how much respect is due the state, the church is never to be identified with it.

Problems with the above theses

A. Granted that all human government is ordained by God, it does not follow that God requires the continuance of the present regime or magistrates; we are told neither how rulers should be chosen nor what forms of government are preferable.

B. Granted that God disciplines the nations and rulers, SCripture explicitly denies that all good is reward or that all ill is punishment; only prophets can with certainty discern God's mind in unfolding events.

C. Granted that government edicts that contradict God's must be disobeyed, we are not instructed as to whether an unjust government may be resisted.

D. Granted that the just purposes of government include the commendation of good, punishment of evil, maintanece of peace, and protection of the oppressed, whether government may systematically pursue additonal purposes is not spelled out.

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