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Schaeffer on Confronting the State  

"The civil government, as all of life, stands under the Law of God. In this fallen world God has given us certain offices to protect us from the chaos which is the natural result of that fallenness. But when any office commands that which is contrary to the Word of God, those who hold that office abrogate their authority and they are not to be obeyed. And that includes the state. ... God has ordained the stat3e as a delegated authority; it is not autonomous. The state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society. When it does the reverse, it has no proper authority. It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny. ... But what is to be done when the state does that which violates its legitimate function? The early Christians died because they would not obey the state in a civil matter. People often say to us that the early church did not show any civil disobedience. They do not know church history. Why were the Christians in the Roman Empire thrown to the lions? ... You had to worship Caesar as a sign of your loyalty to the state. The Christians said they would not worship Caesar, anybody, or anything, but the living God. Thus to the Roman Empire they were rebels, and it was civil disobedience. That is why they were thrown to the lions. ... (p. 92)

"The State must be made to feel the presence of the Christian community. ... We must make people aware that this is not a political game, but totally crucial and serious. And we must also demonstrate to people that there is indeed a proper bottom line. To repeat: the bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the state. ... We must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of a theocracy. ... In the Old Testament there was a theocracy commanded by God. In the New Testament, with the church being made up of Jews and Gentiles, and spreading over all the known world from India to Spain in one generation the church was its own entity. There is no New Testament basis for a linking of church state until Christ, the King returns. ... We must not confuse the Kingdom of God with our country. To say it another way: 'We should not wrap Christianity in our national flag.' ... (120-1)

"If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been put in the place of the Living God, because then you are to obey it even when it tells you in its own way at that time to worship Caesar. And that point is exactly where the early Christians performed their acts of civil disobedience even when it cost them their lives." (130

Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, Crossway Books, 1981.

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