Reading List: The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government

By: Matthew J. Trewhella

During this time of Covid lock-downs and restrictions, you may have read stories about or even seen firsthand local leaders such as sheriffs or city leaders ignoring and refusing to enforce those orders.  What you may not know is that this course of action is born out of Christian doctrine.  More specifically, it is called the “doctrine of the lesser magistrates” or the “doctrine of interposition.”

Pastor Matthew Trewhella in his book (now available at the IPS bookstore), The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, does a tremendous job of clearly explaining the principles of Christian resistance that once were widely known but have recently been forgotten.  This is a doctrine not rooted in rebellion but in godly submission.

Our system of government was designed with the separation of powers, not only between the three branches of the federal government, but also between the states and local authorities. It is no accident that the Constitution not only requires those elected to federal office to take an oath to support the Constitution, but also those elected in the “several States” (see Article 6, Paragraph 3). Each elected official in the United States is bound to recognize the Constitution as the “supreme Law of the Land” in matters to which it speaks, and are required to take an oath support and defend it. Read more

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