Before we begin to explore the application of the commandments to the civil realm, it is important that we begin by setting down some words of caution.
First, we must recognize that the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura does not apply beyond the holy realm of the Kingdom of God. In other words, the Church is regulated by the Bible but the state has no such infallible guide. That is not to say to that Bible has nothing to say about politics, but it does mean that Bible was not given as a handbook for the political philosopher.
Second, without an infallible guide the statesman who wants to know God’s “will” should be begin by looking to prescription, tradition, and the ancient constitution. Although the natural law is universal in principle its applications are as diverse as the the nations themselves. The rationalist demands universal applications and universal rights. The end of such demands is universal tyranny. It is prattle t0 talk of God given “rights” that have no historical incarnation among a people. God governs providence. He rules the nations. History, prescription, and tradition are, as Mel Bradford reminded us, a surer guide than reason when it comes to discerning the natural law.
Of course, we must not become such reactionaries as to demand that whatever “is” must be Divinely approved. Order within the city of God will always fall short of justice. But the point remains… there are no infallible guides to reform, and the best laid plans will have unforeseen and potentially horrific consequences.
Beware of the social reformer.
Shun the transformationalist.