Message to Roy Moore
The Honorable Roy Moore:
Professing with you a common faith, and affirming the importance of both law and Gospel, I proffer to you the words of a great theologian as an encouragement in your time of testing, remembering that the obligation to obey civil authority is measured by what the order of justice requires. For this reason when any government or regime holds it power not by right but by usurpation, or commands what is wrong, subjects have no duty to obey.
The wisdom of John Calvin:
But in that obedience which we hold to be due to the commands of rulers, we must always make the exception, nay, must be particularly careful that it is not incompatible with obedience to Him to whose will the wishes of all kings should be subject, to whose decrees their commands must yield, to whose majesty their scepters must bow. And, indeed, how preposterous were it, in pleasing men, to incur the offence of Him for whose sake you obey men! The Lord, therefore, is King of kings. When He opens His sacred mouth, He alone is to be heard, instead of all and above all. We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him let us not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity which they possess as magistrates—a dignity to which no injury is done when it is subordinated to the special and truly supreme power of God. On this ground Daniel denies that he had sinned in any respect against the king when he refused to obey his impious decree (Dan. vi. 22), because the king had exceeded his limits, and not only been injurious to men, but, by raising his horn against God, had virtually abrogated his own power....
And that our courage may not fail, Paul stimulates us by the additional consideration (1 Cor. vii. 23), that we were redeemed by Christ at the great price which our redemption cost Him, in order that we might not yield a slavish obedience to the depraved wishes of men, far less do homage to their impiety (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, xx, 32).
May our Sovereign God bless, keep, and use you, Sir, in the days ahead.
Yours in the bonds of Christ,
November 14, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is currently finishing his latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.