George Buchanan: Does Paul endorse tyranny?

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Reformed Covenanter

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... In his epistle to the Romans, his definition of a king is accurate, even to logical subtlety; for he says that “a king is God’s minister, wielding the sword of the law for the punishment of the bad, and for the support and aid of the good.” “For these passages of Paul’s,” says Chrysostom, “relate not to a tyrant, but to a real and legitimate sovereign, who personates a genuine god upon earth, and to whom resistance is certainly resistance to the ordinance of God.” Yet, though we should pray for bad princes, we ought not, therefore, to infer directly that their vices should not be punished like the crimes of robbers, for whom also we are ordered to pray; nor, if we are bound to obey a good, does it follow that we should not resist a bad prince?

Besides, if you attend to the cause which induced Paul to commit these ideas to writing, you will find, I fear, that this passage is greatly against you; since he wrote them to chastise the temerity of certain persons, who maintained that Christians ought not to be under the control of magistrates. For, since the magistrates were invested with authority on purpose to restrain wicked men, to enable us all to live under equal laws, and to exhibit a living example of divine justice, they contended that he was of no use among persons so uncontaminated by the contagion of vice as to be a law to themselves. Paul, therefore, does not here treat of the magistrate, but of the magistracy—that is, of the function and duty of the person who presides over others, nor of this nor of that species of magistracy, but of every possible form of government. ...

For more, see George Buchanan: Does Paul endorse tyranny?
 
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