For the Christian, the government is an interesting animal. God Himself has ordained the government as a blessing for our benefit. At the same time there are many passages in Scripture warning us of government overreach into our lives, and to be alert of corruption. I would like to share three books with you from a Christian perspective on government. Links to these books are included for your convenience in case you’d like to purchase any of these resources.
- Lex Rex, Samuel Rutherford
Lex, Rex was written in 1644 and is also known as The Law and the Prince. It addresses the idea that Christians are taught in Scripture that “The Law is King” as opposed to Rex, Lex, “The King is Law.” It may have been the most influential treatises to form the modern United States, influencing our founding fathers. It provides a pathway for liberty of citizens.
This book is set up in the form of questions and answers, of which there are 44. Rutherford looks into Scripture to attempt to find God given, Biblical answers to a variety of questions on what the extent of government should be. The copy I have listed, by Michael A. Milton, also gives an introduction to the book and commentary on each question by Milton, giving the historical background for Rutherford’s questions.
- A Christian Manifesto, Francis A. Schaeffer
A Christian Manifesto was written by Francis A. Schaeffer in 1981. Schaeffer was one of the 20th centuries foremost Christian philosophers and apologists. He wrote this in response to The Communist Manifesto, 1848; Humanist Manifesto I, 193;, and Humanist Manifesto II, 1973.
Within this book, Schaeffer covers topics such as “Foundations for Faith and Freedom,” “The Destruction of Faith and Freedom,” “The Use of Civil Disobedience” and “The Limits of Civil Disobedience.” Anyone who believes that the government has taken an overstep approach in our government, marketplace, churches, or homes, should study this work with diligence. Schaeffer is patient, but firm. He is the voice in the wilderness that many ignored when he was alive, but can still be used to rouse the troops today.
- Slaying Leviathan: Limited Government and Resistance in the Christian Tradition, Glenn S. Sunshine
Glenn has guest blogged for me, “Why You Might Hate Work” 1&2 , is featured on my blog “Critical Theory and Cultural Marxism – Five Christian Resources ” and has also done a video interview with me asking “Should Christians Read Fantasy and Myth?” found on our “Maddening Theology” Facebook page.
This recent project Slaying Leviathan was done in conjunction with the great Christian-minded publishers Canon Press. In this book, Glenn looks at the tradition of “Protestant Resistance Theory” and the general topic of Biblical civil disobedience. The title itself is of course a shot at attacking the 1668 idea of Thomas Hobbes, called Leviathan, where Hobbes advocates for the government to exist in every crook and cranny of a citizen’s life within the then English Kingdom. Hobbes and the British Kingdom of course were not the first, nor will be the last overreach of government on the lives of its citizens.
The book takes more of a historical approach than theological treatises when it comes to the tradition of Biblical Civil Disobedience. It starts with the time of Christ and the early church and moves into our contemporary age. In the book, you will see that it has formed how the United States was founded.
In reply to this article, Glenn said, “Christians have thought long and hard and have even bled over these ideas, and we have much to learn from them, particularly as the government’s reach is extending into more and more areas of our lives where it does not belong.” This book is timely and very informative.
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