Resistance to Tyrannical Authority

Christians are to honor and obey earthly authority according to the 4th Commandment. However, monstrous and tyrannical authorities that have stepped beyond their office, behaving in immoral or illegitimate ways or commanding such things, must in some cases be disobeyed or even resisted by God-fearing Christians according to their stations.

 
Resistance Theory

 

The Magdeburg Confession

https://www.amazon.com/Magdeburg-Confession-13th-April-1550/dp/1470087537

On Resisting the Government  is a three part interview with Pr. David Ramirez and host Pr. Jason Braaten on the Gottesdienst podcast concerning Resistance to Civil Government.

 

     1. The historical development of Luther, Melanchthon, and the other Wittenbergers:
     https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2021/2/3/tgc-099-on-resisting-the-government-part-1

     2. The Magdeburg Confession:
     https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2021/2/17/tgc-101-on-resisting-the-government-part-2

     3. Some of the most pertinent biblical accounts that should shape our thinking on the matter:
     https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2021/2/24/tgc-102-on-resisting-the-government-part-3

Caesar's Friend  by Pr. Ryan Loeslie (including a translation of a section of Luther's Exposition on John 19:12)

"Just as Pilate held onto his body, goods, and honor, and kept Caesar as his friend, although he knew that Christ was being done an injustice, so it happens among many people in our day."

https://www.cc.lutherclassical.org/fall-2021/caesars-friend/

The Exegesis of Lutheran Resistance Theory in the Magdeburg Confession  by Pr. David Ramirez

"The confessors lay out two ditches to avoid: 'just as many consciences of good men are disturbed by this weakening and distorting of political and economic (familial) offices under the papacy, as they lightly esteem these ordinances of God , and the power of the majesty of political governors has been treated with contempt; so now, when the dignity of the civil and economic power has been restored through the Gospel, some people are running into sin in the opposite direction, so that they think that authorities are sacrosanct and inviolable even when they try to crush the good work which they had a duty to honor; and when they establish and honor on the other hand the evil work to which they ought to have been a terror.'...The Magdeburgers were the goad according to their office. Be a goad of the Lord. Do not be a rebel but an office holder according to your station."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiCXwl08FcY

Lessons from Magdeburg  by Pr. Christian Preus

“When [magistrates and parents] openly persecute true godliness and virtue, they remove themselves from the offices of magistrate and parents before God and their own consciences, and instead of an ordinance of God they become an ordinance of the devil, which can and ought to be resisted in an orderly manner according to one’s vocation.”

     

     Part 1:  https://www.cc.lutherclassical.org/summer-2021/lessons-from-magdeburg-part-1/

     Part II:  https://www.cc.lutherclassical.org/fall-2021/lessons-from-magdeburg-part-2/ 

How the Church Responded to Governmental Intrusion in the Fifth Century  by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/7/3/how-the-church-responded-to-governmental-intrusion-in-the-fifth-century

The Virtue of Disobedience  by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2022/2/3/the-virtue-of-disobedience

Excellent Films for the Family: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) by Pr. David Ramirez​

"The movie takes great pains to show that Robin is no scofflaw or rebel. Rather, he is a man who has been placed into a situation where out of duty and love for his people he must pursue justice under exceptional circumstances."

https://www.cc.lutherclassical.org/fall-2021/excellent-films-for-the-family-the-adventures-of-robin-hood-1938/

 
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Resources Related to the Coronavirus Situation
and Government Overreach

 

General

Online Worship and Online CommunionIssues, Etc. interview of Pr. Ben Ball

In this interview, Rev. Benjamin T. Ball, 6th Vice President of the Missouri Synod, discusses the Church's duty to worship "in-person" and gather together in the face of government overreach as well as the erring (and absurd) practice of internet communion.

https://issuesetc.org/2022/02/10/0411-online-worship-and-oline-communion-pr-ben-ball-2-10-22/

The two resolutions from the Southern Illinois District which were mentioned in the interview:

     To Affirm the Church’s Essential Nature and the Freedom to Celebrate the Divine Service

     https://issuesetc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Resolution-1-05.pdf

     To Reject Internet Communion as Contrary to the Word of God

     https://issuesetc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Resolution-1-03.pdf

Lutheran Laymen’s Declaration and Petition

"This document, authored by Lutheran Church-Canada (LC-C) laymen from Waterloo, Ontario, requests our spiritual fathers to continue to celebrate weekly Divine Services uninterrupted during the pandemic. We believe that the weekly physical gathering of God’s people around His Word and Sacrament is crucial at all times. Our petition is chiefly supported by a series of theological statements, but we also present supporting scientific and sociopolitical statements."

https://steadfastlutherans.org/2020/12/lutheran-laymens-declaration-and-petition/

The Gottesdienst Crowd Podcast: Eckardt Medley

In this episode of TGC, Pr. Fritz Eckardt reflects on how the Church has responded to the coronavirus situation, both good and bad, and what we should do moving forward.

https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2021/9/8/tgc-130-eckardt-medley

Does the Incarnation Matter?: Covid-19 and the Celebration of the Sacrament  by Pr. Karl Fabrizius

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/6/26/does-the-incarnation-matter-covid-19-and-the-celebration-of-the-sacrament?rq=masks

Facts and Faith: What we know to be true in the face of a pandemic: A Faculty Opinion in the Tradition of Gutachten by the St. Catherine's Seminary Faculty

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vwWW08_1wQYLRo8Kx_5n5FxDbCrRmprJ/view

On Stealing: Why Lockdowns are Evil  by Pr. Karl Fabrizius

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/1/13/on-stealing-why-lockdowns-are-evil

Daniel under Lockdown  by Pr. Anthony Dodgers

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/10/19/daniel-under-lockdown

What Will It Take? (...to wake people up?) by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/9/3/what-will-it-take

What’s Wrong with This Picture?  by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/8/10/f4brp4fuegtm8558j44qpfcyggrwnn

Bow Down to Your New Christ by Pr. John Bussman

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/5/19/bow-down-to-your-new-christ

A Postmodern Society That Won't Consider Evidence  by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/1/4/a-postmodern-society-that-wont-consider-evidence

Stop Playing with Lucy  by Pr. John Bussman

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/6/16/stop-playing-with-lucy

De Profundis Interdicti Magni Anno MCMXX--From the Depths of the Great Interdict of 2020  by Pr. John Stephenson

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/4/20/de-profundis-interdicti-magni-anno-mcmxx-from-the-depths-of-the-great-interdict-of-2020

The Gottesdienst Crowd Podcast: Pandemic Postmortem

Host Pr. Jason Braaten and Pr. Ben Ball take stock of what we've learned about ourselves, our churches, our district and synod structures in light of the events since March 2020.

https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2020/11/11/tgc-088-pandemic-postmortem

Masks

Concerning Civil Government Ordering Masks in Church

https://www.bugenhagenconference.org/post/concerning-civil-government-ordering-masks-in-church

Face Masks and the 5th Commandment by Pr. Kyle Verage

https://www.bugenhagenconference.org/post/face-masks-and-the-5th-commandment

Must I Love My Neighbor in Accord with Your Presumptions?  by Pr. Fritz Eckardt

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2020/11/12/must-i-love-your-neighbor-in-the-accord-with-your-presumptions

Vaccines and Mandates

The LCMS and COVID-19 Vaccines: Facts and Considerations  LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations

https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=uAzxHzE5YwadsTdVePS8cLWxAvHqFuwP

Whether the Unvaccinated, Too, Can Be Saved  by Pr. Adam Koontz

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2021/12/23/whether-the-unvaccinated-too-can-be-saved

An Iconic Moment for Canada by Pr. John Stephenson

https://www.gottesdienst.org/gottesblog/2022/2/14/an-iconic-moment-for-canada

The Gottesdienst Crowd Podcast: Staying True in the True North 

In this episode, Pr. Harold Ristau discusses his involvement in the Freedom Convoy protests and updates us on the state of the Church and State in Canada. 

https://www.gottesdienst.org/podcast/2022/2/15/tgc-167-staying-true-in-the-true-north

Canada’s Freedom Convoy -- Issues, Etc. interview of Pr. Harold Ristau,

https://issuesetc.org/2022/02/15/0462-canadas-freedom-convoy-chaplain-harold-ristau-2-15-22/

So-Called "Internet Communion"

Communion and Covid-19  LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations

https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=F64Yu9xwsZKeXMxfXEvRCQK6EaEBgSkw

Online Worship and Online CommunionIssues, Etc. interview of Pr. Ben Ball

In this interview, Rev. Benjamin T. Ball, 6th Vice President of the Missouri Synod, discusses the Church's duty to worship "in-person" and gather together in the face of government overreach as well as the erring (and absurd) practice of internet communion.

https://issuesetc.org/2022/02/10/0411-online-worship-and-oline-communion-pr-ben-ball-2-10-22/

The two resolutions from the Southern Illinois District which were mentioned in the interview:

     To Affirm the Church’s Essential Nature and the Freedom to Celebrate the Divine Service

     https://issuesetc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Resolution-1-05.pdf

     To Reject Internet Communion as Contrary to the Word of God

     https://issuesetc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Resolution-1-03.pdf

 
Sermons

 

Sermon on "Church and State"  by Pr. Heath R. Curtis

https://www.bugenhagenconference.org/post/sermon-on-church-and-state-by-pr-heath-r-curtis

 
 
Prayers

 

COLLECT FOR PEACE

O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

IN A NATIONAL CRISIS (1) 

King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Thou Lord of life and death, protect our nation in this great crisis and need. Turn the hearts of men to Thee, and let them find strength and encouragement in Thee and peace of heart and mind through the cleansing in Jesus’ blood. Throughout the nation let wise counsel, calm thinking, unselfish aims prevail. With singleness of purpose let one and all support all just measures. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Lutheran Book of Prayer, page 130. CPH, 1951)

 

IN A NATIONAL CRISIS (2)

Heavenly Father, who hast bidden us to raise up holy hands for all men, I entreat Thee to protect our nation in this present hour of need. Let us not be confounded or dismayed. Give us a staunch heart of loyalty and an earnest spirit of prayer in behalf of all who guide the destiny of the nation. Make even the wickedness of men to praise Thee. Above all, draw us all to Thee with Thy constraining love, and give us a faith that will hold fast to Thee. Amid the tumult of war build Thy kingdom, and turn ever more souls to Thee. So lead us from victory to victory for Jesus’ sake. Amen. (Lutheran Book of Prayer, page 130. CPH, 1951)

 

IN A NATIONAL CRISIS (3)

Heavenly Father, I come to Thy thrown of mercy, bowed down and wearied by the load of suffering and disaster visited upon our nation. I acknowledge our trespasses before Thee and do not deny my many transgressions of Thy holy Law. We are a sinful nation, laden with iniquity. But there is hope and help in Thee. Thou doest forgive iniquity and sin. Open Thou our eyes to see our evil ways and the need of Thy salvation. Lead us into Thy Word and to Jesus Christ, our only Savior. Grant that we, who are children of Thy grace, may courageously speak to our needy world of the hope which is in our soul, and soothe the hearts of men by the comfort of Thy Gospel. Strengthen the afflicted, lighten the burden of the homeless and the fatherless. Above all, let the fruits of faith flow from our hearts richly in sympathy and mutual care. Enable me to use my opportunities and gifts to Thy glory and others’ good. Because of Thy grace we are not altogether lost, but find forgiveness and peace in Thee. O Lord, give me the grace to seek Thee, to trust in Thee, and to confess Thee. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Lutheran Book of Prayer, page 131. CPH, 1951)

 
Further Resources (Free Online)

Rights, Resistance, and Revolution in the Western Tradition: Early Protestant Foundations  by John Witte, Jr.

"Beza did include some of the familiar arguments from the Bible, history, and law that the Magdeburg Confession of 1550 had crafted – so much so that later library catalogers sometimes treated his Rights of Rulers as a new edition of the Magdeburg tract.41 But while the Magdeburg Confession centered its legal argument on a theory of self-defense, Beza centered his legal argument on a theory of political covenant. His argument in a nutshell was a Christian social and government contract theory."

https://www.johnwittejr.com/uploads/5/4/6/6/54662393/a139.pdf

Two articles from a legal history perspective:

Lutheran Theory of Resistance: 1523-1530  by Cynthia Shonberger

https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1151&context=facpub

Luther and the Justifiability of Resistance to Legitimate Authority   by Cynthia Shonberger

https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1150&context=facpub

Werwolf.png

1512 Woodcut of an attack by a Beerwolf (Bearwolf/Werewolf) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. For a summary of how this fits in with Lutheran resistance theory, see: https://infogalactic.com/info/Beerwolf