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Awhile back I posted my own intro to “An unjust law is no law at all” from Aquinas and Augustine. In the relevant passage of the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas gives some guidelines on resisting unjust governmental decrees. There’s probably a lot more somewhere else in Aquinas, but do I look like I have that kind of time?
Fortunately, a blog called Protestant Post had the time to put together a solid analysis of the question “When Can Christians Disobey the Government?” The methodology of reasoning inductively from the Bible looks good to me, and I didn’t notice anything in the conclusions that seemed off. (Well, maybe one thing, but it seems relatively minor.)
Not that I have the time to be thorough–unless y’all make me in comments.
Here are some interesting passages from the Protestant Post post. Lemme know what you think of them!
Section 2: First Principles of Resistance:
. . .
2.8. Christians engaging in lawful disobedience must still sincerely seek the good of the magistrate they are opposing and the commonwealth of which they are members; God blesses this kind of lawful disobedience.
Section 3: Unjust Commands:
3. Christians can and must disobey the magistrate when required to do something sinful or prevented from fulfilling their positive duties towards God.
3.1. In refusing to comply with evil commands, Christians have a positive duty to aid their brethren in this resistance spiritually, physically, and financially.
3.2. If there is disagreement among Christians about what is or is not sinful – and thus when the magistrate may be disobeyed – the duty to aid the brethren is not abrogated.
3.3. If one believes another Christian’s disobedience was unwise, he is still obligated to help him; however, if the disobedience was of an obvious, blatant, and pagan-like nature, aid may be withheld until such time as he repents.
3.4. The manner of disobedience must be in a form proportionate to the sin being required (or the sin of omission which would be incurred if the Christian obeyed the magistrate).
. . .
Section 6: Preparing for Lawful Disobedience:
6. Christians are to understand the times in which they live and the culture they inhabit.
6.1. Since at many times throughout their history, God’s people have been persecuted and attacked, Christians, of all people, ought to be the most vigilant in anticipating tyranny and the corresponding possibility of resistance.
6.2. Thus, Christians have a duty to prepare for lawful disobedience. This includes several key responsibilities:
6.2.1. Ensuring congregants understand God’s law and have a strong grasp on Protestant Resistance Theory,
6.2.2. Ensuring congregants are spiritually prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if – God forbid – things should come to that,
6.2.3. Ensuring churches have practical plans for the physical and financial effects of persecution and lawful disobedience,
6.2.4. And finally, ensuring that churches are mortifying and repenting of the sins for which they and their nation are being or will be judged.
. . .
We must always remember that the most effective form of resistance is repentance and regeneration.Published in