From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Political Order
Julian the Apostate, Celsus, and very many others made the objection to Christians that the gospel would destroy states, because it prohibited legal redress and taught certain other things not at all suited to political relationships. These questions distressed Origen, Nazianzen, and others, though they are readily explained, if we keep in mind the fact that the gospel does not introduce laws concerning the civil state. Instead, the gospel is the forgiveness of sins and the beginning of a new life in the hearts of believers. It not only approves outward governments, but subjects us to them (Rom 13:1), just as we have been necessarily placed under the laws of seasons, the changes of winter and summer, as divine ordinances.
Pulling It Together: While we are not to take matters into our own hands, public redress is available to Christians. This is one of many reasons that God has instituted governing authorities. When the Lord says that vengeance is his, one way his retribution is felt is through our governments, the political kingdoms in which we live. We need not repay evil for evil—indeed, we are commanded otherwise—because we have the luxury of trying to live peaceably with all people. But when people will not have peace, the authorities have been granted the power to make peace.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to live in peace with others. Amen.
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The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.