Theological Theses on Christian Civil Government
This set of Theses has been a work in progress for a number of years. Versions have been published in the Christian Statesman and Semper Reformanda. I thought they might be helpful to focus the debate.
I. The Adamic Kingdom:
1. Jesus Christ is fully God, and equal in power and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
2. Jesus Christ, as God, has absolute authority over the whole of His creation.
3. As the God-man, Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
4. As the only mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ has fulfilled the terms of the eternal Covenant of Redemption between the Father and Son, as well as the terms of the Covenant of Works between God and mankind in Adam.
5. The telos of Jesus Christâ€™s mediatoral work is the glorification of a holy catholic church.
6. God created Adam as the vicegerent of a covenant creation.
7. God created Adam as the federal representative of the human race.
8. As vicegerent and federal representative, Adam exercised the offices of Priest and King.
9. Adam exercised the office of a Priest by leading his wife, and the race that would spring forth from their union, in the worship of God.
10. Adam exercised the office of King by exercising dominion over the creation, headship over His wife and defense over the Garden of Eden.
11. Civil authority, represented by the lawful use of the sword, existed in the unfallen state of Eden.
12. Hypothetically, Adam, as a King, should have exercised the sword against the serpent that sought to deceive Eve.
13. The Garden of Eden was a holy theocratic covenant kingdom.
14. The covenant binding the Adamic Kingdom was a covenant of works summed up by the principle â€œdo this and liveâ€.
15. The covenant of works was enacted on the basis of Godâ€™s condescension, but does not include a principle of saving grace.
16. Saving grace, properly speaking, is either unmerited favor, or favor in the face of demerit.
17. The Garden of Eden was a law Kingdom based on the principle of merit.
18. The fall destroyed the holy theocratic nature of the Adamic kingdom.
II. The Kingdom of Christ:
19. In Genesis 3:16, God introduced a new holy theocratic kingdom of grace.
20. The kingdom of grace is called the holy catholic Church.
21. As a reward for His perfect obedience to God the Father, Jesus Christ has earned the right to rule over all things in heaven and on earth.
22. It is necessary to distinguish between three aspects of Jesus Christâ€™s mediatoral kingship: His Kingdom of Power, His Kingdom of Grace, and His Kingdom of Glory.
23. Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power is His universal authority over the whole of creation.
24. Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power includes all of providence.
25. Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power includes all of history.
26. Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power includes all human institutions including political authorities.
27. The purpose of Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power is to ensure the calling, preservation, and glorification of His Church.
28. Christâ€™s Church militant is His Kingdom of Grace
29. Christâ€™s Church triumphant is His Kingdom of Glory.
30. In the period between fall and consummation, Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power is a secular (or common) kingdom operating on the principle of law tempered by the principle of common grace.
31. Common grace is Godâ€™s merciful goodness to the whole of His creation.
32. Common grace is Godâ€™s merciful restraining of human depravity.
33. Common grace is not redemptive.
34. The foundation of Godâ€™s common grace is the cross of Jesus Christ.
35. The fountain of Godâ€™s common grace is Christâ€™s mediatorial rule over His Kingdom of Power.
36. In the period between the fall and the consummation, Christâ€™s kingdom of grace is a holy (or sacred) kingdom operation on the principle of law and the principle of saving grace.
III. The Kingdom of Israel:
37. The Kingdom of Israel was a type of the Kingdom of Glory unique in human history prior to the consummation.
38. At Mount Sinai God established Israel as a holy kingdom of law and saving grace.
39. Holiness refers to either cultic separation unto God, or moral righteousness.
40. The Kingdom of Israel was holy in both a cultic and moral sense.
41. The principle of saving grace operated in the Kingdom of Israel, both, on the level of corporate redemption (i.e. â€œI am the Lord you God which has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondageâ€¦), and on the level of individual salvation.
42. The principle of law operated in the Kingdom of Israel on the typological level (i.e. Israel as a type of the Kingdom of Glory in the new heavens and new earth) providing the merit-inheritance principle for the retention of the land of promise (i.e. â€œDo this and you shall liveâ€¦â€)
43. The principle of law operated in the Kingdom of Israel on a normative level providing a standard of duty for Godâ€™s redeemed people.
44. The moral law of God, summarized in the Ten Commandments, universally binds all man as creatures made in the Godâ€™s moral image.
45. The judicial laws of the Old Covenant were of two types: laws of general equity and laws of particular equity.
46. Laws of particular equity were typological shadows.
47. Laws of general equity reflect the moral nature of God and are part of the universal natural law.
48. Theocratic Israel reflected an overlapping unity between cult and culture that typologically pointed to the Kingdom of Glory.
IV. The Christian Nation:
49. The Church is the only holy Kingdom (in the cultic sense) between the day of Pentecost and the day of final judgment.
50. Under the New Covenant the Church owes allegiance to Jesus Christ and must submit to His will as revealed in the Holy Scriptures alone.
51. Under the New Covenant nation-states owe allegiance to Jesus Christ and must submit to His will as revealed in nature and summarized in the Ten Commandments.
52. Because political nation-states are part of Christâ€™s common kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of His Power), and the Church is part of Christâ€™s holy kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Grace) the separation of Church and State is a biblical necessity.
53. Because the Kingdom of Power and the Kingdom of Glory have the same King and the same ultimate purpose, these Kingdomsâ€™ are not contrary but complementary.
54. The separation of Church and State does not necessarily condemn an established Church system.
55. Christâ€™s Kingship over the nations does not necessarily demand an established Church system.
56. The State has no right to interfere with matters that are entirely holy.
57. The Church has no right to interfere with matters that are entirely secular.
58. Both Church and State must look to Jesus Christ as King and Lawgiver.
59. The â€œTheonomicâ€ ethic does not take sufficient account of the Kingdom of Israelâ€™s unique theocratic and typological structure.
60. A Christian nation (i.e. one that confesses Christâ€™s Kingship) is a not holy nation (in a cultic sense.)
61. A Christian nation may, improperly, be called a holy nation (in a moral sense).
62. A Christian nation benefits from the covenant of grace, but does not enter into it.
63. Jesus Christ governs Christian nations on the basis of law and common grace, but not on the basis of saving grace.
64. Unlike the Kingdom of Israel, Christian nations have no typological significance.
65. Nations are moral persons responsible to God for their corporate obedience to Jesus Christ
66. As moral persons, nations are more than the aggregate of each living individual.
67. As moral persons, nations reflect a covenant community of souls binding together the living, the dead and the unborn.
V. The Kingdom of Glory:
68. In the Kingdom of Glory, the realm of the common (i.e. secular) will be subsumed into the holy theocratic Kingdom of Glory.
69. Christians should not expect a universal acknowledgment of Christâ€™s Kingship over the nations prior to the Kingdom of Glory.
70. Christians should expect, and pray, that the Kingdom of Grace will positively, but organically, transform cultures and nations as Christians live out their common (i.e. secular) callings to the glory of God.
71. At the consummation Christâ€™s Kingdom of Power will be subsumed into His Kingdom of Glory.