A Biblical Worldview Primer:
Part 4B – Bible as Government: Four Great Commands: God’s Laws of Authority

by Gerald R. Thompson

Intro:   A Biblical Worldview Primer
Part 1:   Creation Laws: The Laws of Nature: The Lex Non Scripta
Part 2:   Human Conscience: Moral Awareness
Part 3:   Jesus Christ: The Living Word: Christology 101
Part 4A:   Bible as Law: The Divine Covenants: The Revealed Law
Part 5:   A Biblical Worldview: Putting It All Together


We are spiritual / personal / moral / relational / rational / emotional / creative beings. (From Southern Baptist Convention). Really? Is that all? What does the Bible say?
1.   Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion.” (Gen 1:26-30). (Man over animals)
2.   Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. (Gen 2:19-20). The authority to name is authority over the thing itself.
3.   Then the man said, “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen. 2:22-23).
4.   The man called his wife’s name Eve. (Gen. 3:20). (Authority of husband / wife)
5.   The one who conquers, I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, and my own new name. (Rev. 2:17; 3:12). (Ultimate authority of God over us)
6.   Conclusion: The image of God in man is that God gave man AUTHORITY. The right to name someone is evidence of that authority.

a/k/a The Four Great Commands (or Authorizations)

1.   Individual (Self-Government) – Mat. 22:37-40
    – Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength
    – Love your neighbor as yourself

2.   Families (Family Government) – Gen. 1:28
    – Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth
    – Subdue the earth and rule over every living thing

3.   Nations (Civil Government) – Rom. 13:3-4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14
    – Punish those who do evil (criminal law enforcement)
    – Praise those who do good (protect individual rights)

4.   Church (Church Government) – Mat. 28:18-20
    – Baptize the nations (receive converts)
    – Teach all of Christ’s commands (i.e., God’s laws)


Institutions vs. Associations
1.   There are two distinct types of social unit or human government, namely, institutions and associations.
2.   Institutions are those social relationships which: a) are created by God; b) are a condition into which a person is born (or born subject to); c) are governed by covenant; and d) have a pre-defined legal relationship.
3.   Only four such institutions exist, and no others: a) individual self-government; b) family government; c) the body of Christ, or universal Church, government; and d) nations.
4.   Associations are those social relationships which are: a) created by people; b) governed by common assent; c) have a self-defined legal relationship; and d) a relationship which a person voluntarily joins.
5.   Associations include all social relationships other than the legal institutions, such as schools, clubs, employment, businesses, charities, unions, political parties, etc.
6.   Associations may assist the institutions in carrying out their purposes, but may not usurp, or exercise authority over, any institution.
7.   Since all human authority is derived from God, the authority of human creations is always subservient to the authority of God’s creations.

God’s purpose for society
1.   The purpose of society’s basic institutions is to promote the greatest liberty possible for all people
2.   True liberty is the freedom to perform your duties to God as He directs you, that is, the freedom to be all that God created you to be.
3.   A knowledge of the institutions gives us God’s perspective on how to maximize the fruit of liberty, namely, freedom, prosperity and happiness
4.   An essential ingredient of taking the gospel to all the world, and fulfilling the Great Commission, is to proclaim liberty. Lk 4:18

God’s protection of society
1.   The enemy of liberty is tyranny, or the use of power to exercise someone else’s authority, contrary to God’s authority framework
2.   The best protection against tyranny is for each person to teach, and observe, God’s plan for society and its basic institutions.


Created by God
Every individual person is a creation of God. (Gen. 1:27.)

An institution one is born into
1.   Every person since Adam and Eve has entered this world the same way – by being born.
2.   Birth is the exclusive means by which God has provided for the human race to be propagated. (1 Cor. 11:12.)

Governed by covenant
1.   The Adamic and Noahic covenants apply to every individual born since the flood, because everyone born since then is a descendant of both Adam and Noah.
2.   The mission of the individual is twofold: 1) to love God (in fulfillment of the duty to exercise moral responsibility); and 2) to love your neighbor as yourself (an aspect of the duty to exercise responsible dominion). (Mat. 22:37-39.)

Pre-defined relationship
1.   With respect to God, every person is born into sin, that is, separated from God. (Rom. 5:12.)
2.   With respect to other people (as individuals), every person is born equally free and independent (that is, equally made in the image of God).

Jurisdiction over others
1.   No person, merely in their individual capacity (by the mere fact of having been born), has the right, or jurisdiction, to rule over any other person.
– All forms of hereditary leadership are suspect (except where expressly designated by God – Davidic covenant).
2.   The only jurisdiction people have over others in their individual capacities must arise by consent, such as through a contract or promise.


Freedom of the Mind
1.   God created the mind free
– Man’s mind is the gift of God
– Man’s creative thought reflects the image of God in man
– The mind is an aspect of self-government. Prov. 23:7
2.   Each person is accountable solely to God for his thoughts

Freedom of Education
1.   The Authority to Teach
– Teacher merely submits ideas to the hearer: he has no authority to compel learning
– The family has authority to teach – Gen 1:28; Deut. 6:6-9
– The church has authority to teach – Matt 28:18-20
– The civil ruler has no authority to teach – Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-17
2.   Historical treatment
– Crimes of the mind in 17th century England
– The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
– The First Amendment guarantee

The distinction between “secular” and “religious” ideas
1.   Biblically, all ideas are religious, none are “secular.”
– Take every thought captive to obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:5
– In Jesus are hid all treasures of wisdom & knowledge. Col 2:3
– Example of Paul in Act 17:26 – Bible applies to all subjects
2.   Practical problem: It is impossible to distinguish religious from secular opinions because all ideas partake of freedom of the mind

The state established institutions of religion in modern America
1.   A state established religious institution has four elements:
– State approved teachers
– A prescribed view of truth (state approved curricula)
– Compulsory attendance
– Compulsory financial support
2.   Public schools fit all the criteria for a state established church


Created by God. The family is not an invention of people, but a relation imposed by God in His design for human society. (Gen. 2:18,21-24.)

An institution one is born into. Every person is born into a parent-child relationship (even if it is broken) which is peculiar to the family institution. (No suggestion is made that a person is born into a marriage relationship.)

Governed by covenant
1.   Both the Adamic and Noahic covenants commend mankind to “be fruitful and multiply,” that is, to reproduce through the bearing of children. This is to be done exclusively within the context of the family institution.
2.   The marriage covenant governs the relationship between each husband and wife.
3.   The mission of the family is twofold: 1) to be fruitful and multiply (to bear children); and 2) to subdue and rule over the earth (to exercise earthly dominion). (Gen. 1:28.)

Pre-defined relationship
1.   God has determined the parameters of authority each person may exercise in the family, not leaving these to individual determination.
2.   Husbands and wives have a duty of mutual fidelity. The husband is to love and honor his wife, and the wife is to submit to her husband (willingly, not by coercion). The Bible does not teach “unlimited submiussion.” (Eph. 5:22-23,25. See also, 1 Pet 3:1-7.)
3.   Children owe their parents honor or respect and obedience. Parents owe their children the duty to provide for their welfare, health and safety. (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3; 1 Tim. 5:8.)

Jurisdiction over others
1.   The office of husband is to be the head of his family and the head of his household. (1 Cor. 11:3. See also, Num. 1:4.)
2.   Parents have the original jurisdiction to train and discipline their children. (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24; 22:6; Heb. 12:7-8.)
3.   No authority for husband to discipline wife, or force her to have sex.
4.   No authority for parents to harm, starve, imprison, or break the wills of their kids.


The family is a government
1.   It has unique definition. Gen 2:24
– Marriage creates a new family
– Marriage is a legal covenant
2.   It has unique relationships. Gen 2:23
– Husband – wife
– Parent – child
3.   It has unique authority. Gen 1:28
– Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth
– Subdue the earth, and rule over every living thing
4.   There is no hierarchy of families, related or unrelated
– every family unit is equally independent and self-governing

The importance of the family to society
1.   The origin of society is in families. Gen 10:31-32
– A nation is a family extended over many generations
– National welfare depends on the well-being of its families
2.   Families, not countries, are to dominate the earth
– Society’s defense, work force and tax base depend on families
– Political world domination is contrary to God’s plan
3.   Families, not nations, makes good citizens
– A good citizen is the result of proper child discipline
– A strong family reduces crime and dependence on welfare

Family protection and security
1.   Attacks on the family
– Marxist objectives: abolition of church, family, property
– Same-sex marriages, civil unions, and redefinitions of marriage
-Assault on parental authority over children
– Assault on private property
– Pornography
2.   Protection of the family
Regulation of marriage and divorce
– Punishment of sex crimes, child abuse, and property crimes
– U.S. Constitution: rights retained by the people include familial rights


The right of parents to conceive and bear children
1.   Biblical principles. Gen 1:26-28
– Exclusively a family function
– Not a function of church, state or individuals
– No “sham” families allowed
– A God-given right no one can take away
– Includes care, discipline and education
2.   Current issues
– Family size limitations- “Test tube” fertilization
– Surrogate mothers- Choosing child attributes
– Artificial insemination- Contraception & abortion

The right of parents to raise children
1.   Physical care and discipline
– Biblical mandate to parents. Prv 22:6; 1 Tim 5:8
– Freedom to choose the level of provision
– Freedom to choose the means of correction (within limits)
2.   Intellectual care and discipline
– Biblical mandate to parents. Dt 6:6-9; Eph 6:4
– Freedom to choose the means of education
– Freedom of religion in education
– No right to a state-funded education for children

The duty of children to honor parents. Ex 20:12; Eph 6:1-3
1.   The duty to obey
2.   The freedom to love
3.   Rebellion against parents condemned. Ex 21:15,17; Dt 21:18-21
– but mere disobedience is not rebellion (rebellion requires striking, cursing, drunkenness)
– and rebellion does not apply to young children
4.   The first commandment with a promise
– Long life and prosperity
– Relationship to dominion mandate


Private property is a family issue
1.   God commanded us to dominate the earth
2.   Private property is the means of fulfilling this command
3.   The family is God’s primary agent for owning property

Property ownership
1.   Wrong ideas about property ownership
– Individuals earn property by their works
– Private property was invented for social convenience
– All property is owned by everyone in common
2.   Property is the gift of God. Numerous biblical examples
3.   Man cannot take away what God has given
– Civil authority over property is limited to protecting family dominion, not usurping it
-Property taxes and “eminent domain” frustrate God’s plan by making civil rulers God’s primary agent for owning property

Property stewardship
1.   Every person is a steward
– God is the ultimate owner of all property
– Man is God’s steward with respect to property he has
– Each person is responsible to care for his own property
2.   The requirement of putting property to a good use
– The parable of the talents. Lk 19:12-27
– Saving vs. hoarding
-The use of property must conform to God’s will

Property disposition
1.   Gifts of property
We are to follow God’s example by giving to others
– The right of individuals to leave an inheritance
– The taxation of gifts, estates and inheritances
2.   Sales of property – A component part of family authority
– Example: the real estate market in ancient Israel


Created by God
1.   Following the Tower of Babel incident, God created the nations of the earth. Gen. 10:1-32.
2.   However, there is no divine right of kings. Civil governments, as distinct from nations, are created by people. (See more below.)
3.   Rather, a) the nature and limits of civil authority are defined by God; and b) civil rulers are ministers of God to do His will in civil matters. (Rom. 13:1-2.)

An institution one is born into or subject to
1.   The pattern of the laws of the United States is that a person born within the nation’s territorial boundaries is a natural-born citizen.
2.   This pattern is also variously reflected in biblical examples. (Gen. 35:10-11; Acts 22:27-28.)

Governed by covenant
1.   The original grant of civil power was made in the Noahic covenant, i.e., capital punishment. (Gen. 9:6.)
2.   The hallmark of civil rule by covenant in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence is the principle of the consent of the governed. Thus, a civil covenant (i.e., a constitution) must be assented to by the parties before it can be binding upon them.
3.   The mission of civil government is two-fold: a) to punish wrongdoers; and b) to commend what is right (or secure rights). (1 Pet. 2:13-14.)

Pre-defined relationship
1.   The rights of each citizen and subject with respect to civil government are pre-defined.
2.   However, this principle only applies to inalienable rights (which are granted by God), not to political rights granted by men. (Deut. 16:18-20.)

Jurisdiction over others
Nations have the “power of the sword” to punish wrongdoers, even to the point of death in certain cases. (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:3-4.)


Civil government is ordained by God
1.   A legitimate institution. Rom 13:1-7
– Civil authority is established by God
– Civil rulers are ministers of God
– Civil power is limited by God
2.   A unique authority
– Punish (but not prevent) wrongdoing
– Commend (but not perform) what is right
– Capital punishment: a duty, not an option
3   However, this does not mean that whatever government exists is “of God”
– No civil government is made by God
– No public official or civil ruler is installed by God
– Every civil governments is fully capable of being evil
– God never imposes on anyone a duty of unlimited submission

Civil government is a blessing from God
1.   A righteous purpose
– To uphold God’s law (the law of nature)
– To secure individual rights
– To protect liberty
2.   A godly calling
-Earthly (civil) citizenship is a tool for the gospel
– Holding civil office is honorable
-Numerous biblical examples

Basic principles of civil government
1.   Individual rights are endowed by God
– Not all rights are “civil rights.”
– What God has given cannot be taken away
– Civil rulers must recognize individual rights
2.   Governments are instituted among men
– God does not dictate the form of civil government
– Legitimate government requires consent of the people
– Civil rulers are under the law, not above it

The separation of church and state: no conflict intended
1.   Render to Caesar and to God, respectively. Mt 22:21 and Lk 20:25
2.   Church and state: coequal institutions acting on the same people at the same time, but with different authority for different purposes


God Is The Creator Of Nations
1.   Following the Tower of Babel incident, God scattered the people of the earth. Gen. 10:32.
2.   The nations so formed are listed in the Table of Nations. Gen. 10:1-31.
– This separation of was not the invention of any man or group of men
– Nor was it founded on the directives of any human leader, the consent of any committee, or the result of a natural evolutionary process
– Rather, it was entirely God’s idea – imposed on mankind without its consent as a form of divine judgment
3.   Confirmations
– the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance. Deut. 32:8.
– God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth. Acts 17:26.
4.   But when God did this, He gave none of them a form of government

Governments Are Instituted Among Men (i.e., Government by Consent)
1.   A division of labor between God and men
– God grants and defines the nature of civil power, and the laws which constrain all civil governments
– Man determines the form of government, what documents will establish that government, what powers may be exercised in what ways, and the manner of succession
– God never interferes with man’s discretion in such matters.
2.   Even the theocracy of ancient Israel was instituted by men
– God proposed to make Israel a holy nation. Exo. 19:5-6.
– But before He could do that, the people first had to consent. Exo. 19:8.
3.   Then, after the Ten Commandments had been delivered, the people had to give their consent again, to make it effective. Exo. 24:7-8.
4.   In spite of ancient Israel being a theocracy, it was very decentralized and self directed by the people.
– The system of judges. Exo. 18:21-22.
– There was no king in Israel. Jdg. 21:25. A fact, not an indictment.
– And that’s exactly the way God designed it.

Changes in the Form of Government are Likewise Left to Men
1.   When Israel changed from a judgeship to a monarchy, it was the will of the people, not God’s idea. 1 Sam. 8:4-5, 7, 9.
– God told Samuel (the last judge) to listen to the people
– God neither forced a monarchy upon them, nor did He veto a change in the form of government the people wanted. He merely warned them what it would look like, and let them decide. 1 Sam. 8:19-20.
2.   Didn’t God anoint the kings over Israel, thus proving that He instituted the monarchy?
– God did anoint the kings over Israel. But this made none of them actually king.
3.   Saul did not become king until the people consented. 1 Sam. 10:24.
– Similarly, David did not become king until the people consented, and this was in two separate steps. 2 Sam. 2:11; 5:1-4.
– “If the Lord’s immediate designation of David, and his anointing by the divine authority of Samuel, had been that which alone, without the election of the people, made David formally king of Israel, then there were two kings in Israel at one time.” Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex, Question 4 (1644).

A Nation and its Government Are Not the Same
1.   When Israel’s form of government changed, it had no impact on the nature of the nation, i.e., either God’s purposes for Israel, or the nature of the theocracy.
2.   Since a change in the form of government does not change the nature of the nation, we prove that a nation and its form of government are not the same.
– The U.S., like Israel, changed its form of government
– It went from the Articles of Confederation to a constitutional system
– Which had no impact on nation formed by Declaration of Independence
3.   Therefore, abolishing the form of government does not destroy a nation per se.
– One might even say, the people have a right to abolish their form of government. (Declaration of Independence agrees.)
– We have no right to destroy the creations of God (nations), but man’s creations are, in a very real sense, disposable.


Civil Government Isn’t All That Great
1.   We must reject the statist belief that civil government is the most perfect, the most reasonable, and the true natural state of man
– Civil government is not the highest achievement of mankind
– The creation of men can never be superior to the creations of God (i.e., the private sector – individuals, families, and the Church)
2.   The idea that people must give up some of their natural rights in order to enter into a state of society is a lie.
– Natural rights come from God. They do not yield to men.
3.   Unquestioned or unqualified obedience to public officials always leads to tyranny. It is our duty before God to resist tyranny.
4.   There is a very American (and Christian) saying: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

The Nature and Extent of Natural Rights
1.   All Natural Rights Are Individual Rights
– All natural rights are God-given and inalienable
– All natural rights are individual and not corporate
– Accountability for our rights runs solely to their source (God, not men)
2.   The job of civil gov’t is to secure our God-given rights
– Civil government has no natural rights (because it isn’t a human being)
– All civil powers are inferior to the rights of the people
– When natural rights and civil powers conflict, rights always win
3.   The Limited Nature of Civil Power
– In Rom. 13, the statements be subject to the governing authorities and be subject to every human institution, do not refer exclusively to civil government
– The private sector actually stands above civil government (what God created is superior to what man creates)

Disobedience Is Sometimes Lawful (and rather broadly defined)
1.   Obey God rather than men
– God does not authorize tyranny, and people cannot consent to it
– A tyrannical civil ruler loses the right to rule
2.   However, biblical civil disobedience is neither based upon, nor tied to, the proclamation of the gospel
– There is no reason to limit biblical civil disobedience only to issues regarding the sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage and religious liberty
– There is no sense in which the right of civil disobedience is tied to membership in a faith community
3.   Rendering to Caesar ONLY what is lawfully Caesar’s to have
– The traditional Christian understanding grants Caesar too much
– God never gave civil rulers authority to regulate the private sector (individuals, families and voluntary associations including churches)
– The world of business, commerce, occupations, labor and the economy is every bit as much a part of the private sector as religious freedom
4.   Civil disobedience isn’t limited to instances when laws are gravely unjust, or require a person to do something unjust or immoral
– It is enough that man’s law requires a person to do something which God has established men as being free to refuse to do, or to handle in the liberty of their own discretion

Presumptions of Validity
1.   Rom. 13 does not require either that:
– all civil laws are entitled to a presumption of validity, or
– as good citizens and God-fearing people, we owe a presumptive duty to obey all civil laws.
2.   Who Really Has The Burden Of Proof?
– All authority must be justified – even civil authority
– the burden of proof to show that a civil law is invalid or need not be obeyed is actually pretty small
3.   For example, think of all the things God gave to the private sector (take dominion, bear and raise children, love God and your neighbor, make disciples and teach the commands of Christ).
– If civil government regulates these things, who – really – has the presumption of validity, and who has the burden of proof, to justify disobedience?

The purpose of disobedience is to restore law and order, not destroy it
1.   Don’t repay evil for evil
2.   Leave vengeance to God alone.
3.   The Doctrine of Lower Magistrates is a limited option for interposition between a public official wrongdoer and a victim of tyranny.
– However, it only applies to duly elected or appointed pubic officials.
– There is no right to appoint oneself as a lower magistrate
4.   There is no right of individuals to engage in armed resistance or violence, but only of the whole people through existing civil officers.

Biblical examples of Civil Disobedience
1.   The Egyptian midwives disobeyed a direct command of Pharaoh to kill all Hebrew baby boys. Ex. 1. Same for Moses’ mother.
2.   Rahab hid the Hebrew spies doing recon in Jericho, and refused a direct order by the king of Jericho to turn the spies out. Josh. 2.
3.   Jonathan disobeyed a direct order from his father King Saul to kill David. 1 Sam. 19.
4.   Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego disobeyed King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to worship his idol. Dan. 3.
5.   Daniel defied an injunction signed by king Darius prohibiting anyone from praying to any God or man other than Darius. Dan. 6.
6.   The wise men defied king Herod’s command to report back to him the location of the Christ child. Mat. 2.
7.   Peter and John disobeyed the command of the rulers and elders of Israel to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:18-20.
8.   Same thing in Acts 5:29, when Peter made the quintessential statement of civil disobedience, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Notice how not all of these involve assertions of religious freedom. Nor do all of them involve commands to do something unjust or immoral.


Created by God
1.   The universal Church, or body of Christ, was not invented by any man.
2.   It was ordained by God to serve the purposes of its head, Jesus Christ, to advance His mission in the world. (1 Cor. 12:13,18,24,27-28.)

An institution one is born into
1.   Unlike the physical birth which characterizes the other legal institutions, birth into the Church is spiritual in nature.
2.   This spiritual rebirth is often referred to as being “born again.” (Jn. 3:3-7.)

Governed by covenant
1.   By His death and resurrection, Christ Jesus inaugurated a new covenant for all those who believe in Him. (Heb. 8:6.)
2.   The mission of the Church is twofold: a) to gain converts in every nation; and b) to disciple (teach everything that Christ commanded). (Mat. 28:18-20.)

Pre-defined relationship
Previously alienated from God and born separated from Him, each Christian becomes legally adopted as a son of God and is recognized as a fellow heir with Christ. (Rom. 8:15-17; See also, Gal. 4:4-7.)

Jurisdiction over others
1.   A local church has jurisdiction over its own members to judge disputes between them if the affected members consent to it.
– no jurisdiction to judge matters unrelated to the church body itself.
2.   Like any voluntary association, a church may dissociate from (or “excommunicate”) any member. (Mat. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:11-6:3.)
– which has no effect whatsoever on the member’s salvation or membership in the body of Christ.
3.   No authority to tell members how to dress or wear their hair, to control their education, tell them who they can marry, or choose an occupation.
– in other words, the jurisdiction of the Church does not supersede the jurisdiction of the family
– in fact, several scriptures strongly suggest that family jurisdiction supersedes the Church’s jurisdiction, such as 1 Cor. 14:33-35 and 1 Tim. 3:2-5 as examples.
4.   No church leader has any spiritual authority’ to direct or control the beliefs or behavior of any member.
– each person’s beliefs and conduct are matters for which they are accountable to God alone.


The church is the vehicle for establishing righteous government
1.   The authority of the church
– The Great Commission is given to all Christians
– The mission: baptize, disciple and teach the nations
– A God-given right which cannot be denied
2.   The church is to respond to lawlessness lawfully
– The prophetic voice among the people regarding the proper role of basic institutions
– Be shrewd as serpents, innocent as doves
– Live by example: The church must perform its own role well, to discourage civil intervention in religious affairs

Church government has a dual nature
1.   Divine institution (the body of Christ is governed by Him alone)
– Church offices appointed by God
– Ministries appointed by God
– Spiritual gifts appointed by God
2.   Human association (a local fellowship is governed by its members)
– God does not dictate the form of church government
– Local church government requires consent of its members
– Church rulers are under the law, not above it
3.   The universal church and local church should not be confused

Restoration of the church as a righteous example
1.   The American church heritage
– Salt and light in the culture
– Theology must be culturally relevant
– Church participation in civil affairs
– A place of public meeting and debate
– Church leaders active in politics
2.   To regain credibility, the church must set its own “house” in order
– Avoid hypocrisy
– Teach all that Christ commanded, i.e., the full counsel of God’s laws
– Enable and equip members – don’t make them dependent on church leaders for moral direction or ministry opportunities.


Churches are not immune from all civil laws
1.   No person or group is generally immune
– Everyone is governed by more than one authority
– The civil ruler must treat everyone equally (no partiality)
– This includes individuals, families and churches
2.   There is no special immunity based on religious belief
– Religion is not defined by a person’s subjective beliefs
– Just as the beliefs of everyone (including the church) are free from regulation, so the actions of everyone (including the church) are subject to some regulation
– The church is no more separate from the state than the family. God created both in equal status compared to each other and the state.

Heavenly citizenship does not exempt anyone from civil laws
1.   Heavenly citizenship is individual, not corporate.
2.   Heavenly citizenship does not “erase” our earthly citizenship
– All men originate on the earth. Gen 2:7
– All men shall return to the earth. Ecc 12:7
– What we call “heaven” is really the new earth. Rev 21:1-22:5
– Earthly citizenship is a tool for the gospel. Acts 22:22-29
3.   No man has authority to determine who a citizen of heaven is
– Civil laws cannot apply only for, or against, Christians
– Civil rulers cannot define what a “church” is or who is a Christian
– A local church is not “more equal” than other human associations

Tax exemption and religious ministry
1.   Property tax exemption
– A property tax is a civil claim of jurisdiction over ownership
– God gave jurisdiction over ownership to the family
– Biblically, all property is tax-exempt, not just “religious” property
2.   Income tax exemption
– An income tax recognizes civil jurisdiction over commerce
– Gifts are governed by the law of love, not the law of commerce
– Biblically, all gifts are tax-exempt, not merely church contribution receipts, and church sales are “commerce” as much as private business


Covenant renewal is the key
1.   Liberty is proportional to covenant faithfulness – Keeping covenants is important. Israel’s example. 1 Cor 10:6
– Covenant keeping brings blessings (liberty). Deut. 28:1-14
– Covenant breaking brings cursings (tyranny). Deut. 28:15-68
2.   What is a covenant?
– An agreement between two or more persons (God is witness)
– Its purpose cannot be changed, even by future generations
– It serves as a framework for administering an institution

Biblical pattern for covenant renewal
1.   Rediscovery of covenant text and terms
– Occasion for the second giving of the law. Deuteronomy
– Hilkiah rediscovers the law. 2 Ki 22:8
– Ezra reads the law. Neh 8:1-18
2.   Repentance from unfaithfulness to the covenant
– Israel at the Jordan. Cmp. Num 13 with Joshua 1
– Josiah removes idolatry from Israel. 2 Ki 23:4-20
– Confession of sins after exile. Neh 9:1-37
3.   Recommitment to obey the covenant
– Israel enters Canaan. Deut 29:1
– Josiah reinstitutes the covenant. 2 Ki 23:3
– Nehemiah reestablishes the covenant. Neh 9:38-10:39

Covenant renewal: applications
1.   Institutional contexts
-Individual. Eph 4:1
– Family. Gen 1:28
– Church. Matt 28:18-20
– Civil Gov’t. 1 Pet 2:13-17
2.   Constitutional Context
– Faithful textual exposition
– Fixed principles of law – Virtue of a written constitution

Intro:   A Biblical Worldview Primer
Part 1:   Creation Laws: The Laws of Nature: The Lex Non Scripta
Part 2:   Human Conscience: Moral Awareness
Part 3:   Jesus Christ: The Living Word: Christology 101
Part 4A:   Bible as Law: The Divine Covenants: The Revealed Law
Part 5:   A Biblical Worldview: Putting It All Together


*     Ver. 2.5  Copyright © 2019, 2023 Gerald R. Thompson. All rights reserved. Used by permission.