Qualifications of Civil Magistrates, Are we Electing a Pastor In Chief

“We find, the Word of GOD gives an express and particular Rule and Direction anent the Election and Duty of Kings, Exod. 18.21, and Deut. 17.14, to the End, which we look upon as a Moral Precept, and therefore binding upon Christians under the New Testament, as well as upon Israel under the Old.”- Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1741

According to the Reformed Faith there are vital and essential qualifications of Civil Magistrates from the precepts of Scripture- the Divine Law. These qualifications are not mere suggestions but absolutely required for any or all candidates aspiring for any role within Civil Government. If any person votes for an unqualified candidate it is an act of sin and treason against the God of heaven and earth and of every nation. If there are no qualified candidate then we are required to abstain from voting. We are not permitted to vote for the lesser of two evils. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. And when good men vote for evil men, evil rules with their given consent, and with impunity.

The Biblical Qualifications of the Civil Magistrate in Ex. 18:21; Nehemiah 7:2; Deut. 16:18; 2 Sam. 23:3; and Rom. 13:3 were qualifications not for the Ecclesiastical Leaders but for the Magistrates of the Land. God then chose an Ecclesiastical Sanhedrin with the 70 elders in Exodus 24 and Numbers 11 which were a Presbytery for the Church. They were completely distinct in function and sphere of authority without mixture or separation.

For Reformed Christian, life on earth is about absolute submission to Christ the kingly Redeemer and diligent work to extend that kingship in the earth.

The Kingdom of God extends itself to all places and spheres including the state and kings are bounded by the law of God and if they do not obey they are loosed from and stripped of kingship,

“First, the Holy Scripture doth teach, that God reigns by his own proper authority, and kings by derivation, God from himself, kings from God, that God hath a jurisdiction proper, kings are his delegates. It follows then, that the jurisdiction of God hath no limits, that of kings bounded, that the power of God is infinite, that of kings confined, that the kingdom of God extends itself to all places, that of kings is restrained within the confines of certain countries. In like manner God hath created of nothing both heaven and earth; wherefore by good right He is lord, and true proprietor, both of the one and the other. All the inhabitants of the earth hold of Him that which they have, and are but His tenants and farmers; all the princes and governors of the world are His stipendiaries and vassals, and are bound to take and acknowledge their investitures from Him.

Briefly, God alone is the owner and lord, and all men of what degree or quality soever they be, are His servants, farmers, officers and vassals, and owe account and acknowledgment to Him, according to that which He hath committed to their dispensation; the higher their place is the greater their account must be, and according to the ranks whereunto God hath raised them, must they make their reckoning before His divine majesty, which the Holy Scriptures teacheth in infinite places, and all the faithful, yea, and the wisest among the heathen have ever acknowledged. …

And, therefore, seeing all the kings of the world are under his feet, it is no marvel, if God be called the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; all kings be termed His ministers established to judge rightly, and govern justly the world in the quality of lieutenants. By me (so saith the divine wisdom) kings reign, and the princes judge the earth. If they do it not he looseth the bonds of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. As if he should say, it is in my power to establish kings in their thrones, or to thrust them out, and from that occasion the throne of kings is called the throne of God.” –Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos by Junius Brutus Presumed to be Philippe de Mornay famous Huguenot warrior, 1579

§A Question

A question normally arises when using Exodus 18:21, does Jethro’s advice to his son in law really make a law?

Jethro was a priest of God and the message came from God through Jethro… This is Reformed Theology and confessional….

Verse 23 – “and God command thee so”

“So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law” because it was what God command him through his father in law….

“Jethro does not suppose that Moses will take his advice without further consultation. He assumes that the matter will be laid by Moses before God, and God’s will learnt concerning it. The entire narrative supposes that there was some established means by which the Israelite leader could refer a matter to Jehovah and obtain a decision upon it.” Pulpit Commentary

“If God approve of the course which I suggest, to whose wisdom I submit my opinion. For Jethro might well think that Moses neither would nor might make so great an alteration in the government without consulting God about it, and expecting his answer.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary

“If thou shall do this thing,…. Hearken to the advice given, and put it in execution, by choosing out of the people, and placing over them, judges qualified, as directed: and God command thee so; for he did not desire him to follow his advice any further than it appeared to be according to the will of God, which he doubted not he would inquire about; and if he found it was agreeable to it, and should pursue it:” John Gill’s Commentary

” If thou shalt do this thing, &c.—Jethro’s counsel was given merely in the form of a suggestion; it was not to be adopted without the express sanction and approval of a better and higher Counsellor” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

§Historical Testimony

§Act Declaration and Testimony of 1761 regarding Election of Magistrates

We further assert and maintain, that the constituting of the relation betwixt rulers and ruled, is voluntary and mutual; and that the lawful constitution of civil magistrates, is, by the mutual election of the people (in whom is the radical right, or intermediate voice of God, of choosing and appointing such as are to sway the scepter of government over them) and consent of those who are elated and chosen for the exercise of that office, with certain stipulations according to scripture and right reason, obliging each other unto the duty of their different stations and relations. And further we affirm that when magistrates are so constituted, christians are bound by the law of God to pray for the divine blessing upon their persons and government, reverence and highly esteem them, yield a conscientious subjection and obedience to their lawful commands, defend and support then in the due exercise of their power; which power magistrates are especially to exert for the outward defense of the church of God, against all her external enemies, restraining or otherwise punishing, as the case may require, all open blasphemers, idolaters, false-worshipers, heretics, with all avowed contemners of the worship and discipline of the house of God; and by his civil sanction to corroborate all the laws and ordinances of Christ’s house, providing and enjoining that every thing in the house of the God of heaven, be done according to the law of the God of heaven. Proof Text Deut. 17:14; 2 Kings 11:17; 1 Sam. 11:15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 1 Peter 2:17; Rom. 13:2 to 8; 2 Kings 18:4, and 23:1 to 26; 2 Chron. 29, and 30, chapter throughout; Ezra 7:28. Confess. chap. 23, sec. 3, coronation oath of Scotland, sworn and subscribed by Charles II. at Scone, January 1st, 1651, and oath of fidelity by the people.”

The first thing we must realize is that there has not been qualified candidate for the highest office of the land in the history of America nor even in England since the days of the English revolution.

1st, No king nor queen at, or since the revolution, were or are qualified with scriptural and covenant qualifications, no took the ancient Scots coronation oath; which qualifications were, by several laudable acts of parliament, made the fundamental qualifications, sin qua non, of admission to that office by the laws of the crown: But on the contrary, are sworn to maintain the English constitution and prelatic hierarchy in direct opposition unto the same sworn to in the Solemn League and Covenant.” John Howi, 1780, To the Reader, Preface to Faithful Contendings, Michael Shield

The Scripture is explicitly clear on the Election of Magistrates as well as their duty and their limitations.

They must be men of truth and must fear God and hate covetousness (Ex. 18:21, Nehemiah 7:2,Romans 13)

They must judge the people with just judgment (Deut. 16:18)

They must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23:2-3)

They must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v.21)

They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul king (1 Sam. 11:15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (1 Sam. 16:18)

They must uphold the previous Covenant promises of the nation that were sworn unto and are perpetual, such as in our case the Solemn League and Covenant.


1. They must be believers who fear God and obey His commandments.

2. They must be men of truth and judge the people with just judgments according to God’s law.

3. He must not be oppressive, ruling in the fear of God, he must not go beyond God laws.

4. The must be men of understanding and wisdom.

5. They must only be men.

6. They must be of the same nation.

7. They be elected by the people.

8. They must spread Christ’s crown rights and covenant throughout the land.

9. They must acknowledge Christ’s laws as the supreme laws of the land.

10. They must uphold previous Covenant promises of the nation.

Any perversion of this order by those who trust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8:4 “They made kings but not by me”; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be by him as if God himself had actually done it.”

“Nations, as such, by the immutable decree of God the Father, have been given to Jesus Christ that He may rule over them as their supreme Lord. They are, therefore, required to acknowledge and serve Him in all their ways, and submit to His mediatorial authority insofar as it has been revealed to them. …

§Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland on Choosing our Magistrates,

In defiance of scriptural injunctions (Exod.18:21; 2Sam.23:3), no moral or religious qualifications are demanded of those who aspire to political office. There is no adequate recognition of Christ as King of the nation. This exclusion of the Lord Jesus from national life is in breach of a solemn covenant engagement undertaken in 1643 on behalf of England, Ireland and Scotland and known as the Solemn League and Covenant.

Where the government of a nation thus flouts the authority of Jesus Christ, the rendering of unqualified allegiance to Him by Christians will require them to withhold their unqualified allegiance to the State. They will have to separate from the State where the State separates from Christ. The only position consistent for the Christian is the position of dissent from any constitution or form of government which refuses or neglects to own allegiance to Jesus Christ, since professing Christians in nations, which give moral support to such constitution or form of government, share in the responsibility for its anti- christian character. (Matt.6:24; Acts 4:19; Exod.23:2; Ps.94:20; 2Cor.6:17; Eph.5:11). … While fully entitled by the civil law to all the rights of membership in the governing society, Christians, because of their primary allegiance to Christ, ought not to avail themselves of the exercise of those rights when they conflict with His supremacy. In particular, Christians should vote only for candidates for political office who recognise the kingship of Jesus Christ by:-

(a) giving evidence of consistent Christian character;

(b) promising to frame all their policies in accordance with the Word of God and to resist all pressures of political expediency and party discipline which might compromise such obedience;

(c) making an explicit declaration of dissent from everything within their sphere of government which is contrary to the Word of God and pledging themselves to work for public and national recognition of Christ;

(d) refusing, where applicable, to take the present oath of allegiance …

Political dissent is a painful sacrifice, made only because of the demands of a higher loyalty. The position of the Church is an expression, not a denial, of our patriotism. The greatest service which one human being can perform for another is to lead him or her to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is precisely the service which Covenanters wish to perform for their beloved nations.” — Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland

§John Calvin on Choosing our Magistrates,

“And ye peoples, to whom God gave the liberty to choose your own magistrates, see to it, that ye do not forfeit this favor, by electing to the positions of highest honor, rascals and enemies of God.” -John Calvin

“In this especially consists the best condition of the people, when they can choose, by common consent, their own shepherds [i.e. civil rulers]: for when any one by force usurps the supreme power, it is tyranny; and when men become kings by hereditary right, it seems not consistent with liberty.” Calvin on Micah 5:5

§Martin Bucer on Choosing our Magistrates,

“In order to accomplish this conscientiously and consistently, the Lord willed these magistrates of his people to be selected with utmost care, by an accurate investigation of his gifts to individuals, so that they might be specifically yaneshe hayil, i.e., “men endowed with heroic virtue, fearing God, loving virtue and hating dirty lucre and gain” (Ex. 18:21). … Therefore, on this account, God specifically requires of the magistrates of his people that they be men of truth, i.e., singular lovers and supporters of and fighters for truth and sincerity (Ex. 1 8 : 2 1 ) .” Bucer, De Regno Christian

§Henry Bullinger on Choosing our Magistrates,

“And how this place and argument do require, that I speak somewhat touching the office or authority of the magistrate: which (by God’s help) I will assay to do, not that I mean or can allege all that may be said thereof, but that which shall seem most properly to declare the meaning of it, and is most necessary for this present treatise.

Magistratus (which word we use for the room wherein the magistrate is) doth take the name a magistris populi designandis, “of assigning the masters, guiders, and captains of the people.” That room and place is called by the name of “power” or “authority,” by reason of the power that is given to it of God. It is called by the name of “domination,” for the dominion that the Lord doth grant it upon the earth. They are called princes that have that dominion: for they have a pre-eminence above the people. They are called consuls, of counseling; and kings, of commanding, ruling, and governing the people. So, then, the magistracy (that I may henceforward use this word of the magistrate’s power and place) is an office, and an action in executing of the same.


The magistracy, by the scriptures, may be defined to be a divine ordinance or action, whereby the good being defended by the prince’s aid, and the evil suppressed by the same authority, godliness, justice, honesty, peace, and tranquility, both public and private, are safely preserved. Whereby we gather, that to govern a commonwealth, and to execute the office of a magistrate, is a worship and service to God himself. God verily is delighted therein. For the office of a magistrate is a thing most excellent, and abounding with all good works, as in my former sermon I have declared.

Here I have to speak somewhat touching the election of magistrates: and first, to whom the choice and ordering of the magistrate doth belong secondarily, whom and what kind of men it is best to choose to be magistrates; and lastly, the manner and order of consecrating those which once are chosen.

Touching the election of magistrates, to whom that office should belong… Now for the good election of magistrates, the Lord himself declareth whom and what kind of men he will have to be chosen, in these very words: “Look over all the people, consider them diligently, and choose from among them men of courage, such as fear God, speakers of truth, and haters of covetousness, and make them rulers over thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens, to judge the people at all seasons.” Four things the Lord requireth in a good governour. First, that he be a man of courage, of strength or force, that is, which hath ability to do the thing whereunto he is appointed. That ability consisteth in mind rather than in body. For it is required, that he be not a fool, but wise and skilful in that which he hath to do: because the office of a captain is to know how to set his army in order of battle, rather than to fight himself; or as a chariot-man ought rather to know how to guide his cart in driving, than to draw it himself. And therewithal too, there is demanded a boldness of stomach to dare to do the things that he already knoweth; for constancy and sufferance are very needful in every captain.

In the second place that is set down, which indeed is the first; let him fear God, let him be religious and not superstitious. No idolater preserveth the commonwealth, but rather destroyeth it; and a wicked man defendeth not truth and true religion, but persecuteth and driveth them out of his jurisdiction. Let this magistrate of ours therefore be of the right religion, sound in faith, believing the word of God, and knowing that God is present among men and doth repay to whom he list according to their deserts. …

Thirdly, there is required of him, which msut be chosen and called to be magistrate, that he be true in word and deed, so that he be not found to be an hypocrite, a liar, a deceiver, a turncoat, nor one which out of one mouth doth blow both hot and cold; but faithful, simple, a plain dealer, and blameless. He must not be more liberal in promising than in performing. He must not be one that setteth light by an oath, not a false swearer, nor a perjured man. Fourthly, because many are in the office desires riches, and seek to increase their wealth by bribes, the Lord removeth such from the magistracy and forbiddeth good magistrates to be covetous: yea, he doth expressly charge them to hate and abhor it; as he both also, in another place, not only forbid them to take bribes, but also command them to shake off and rid their hands of all rewards. Covetousness and greedy desires of bribes are the very plagues that choke good magistrates. …

This place is made more manifest by conferring it with other places in the law of God. Moses, in Deuteronomy, saith to the people: “Bring men of wisdom, of understanding, and of an honest life, according to your tribes.” [Deuteronomy 1:13] Three things here again doth the wise man, Moses, require in them that are to be appointed magistrates in his commonweal. First, saith he, let them be wise. But the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Let them therefore be ordained as magistrates, that are friends to God and true religion; let them be wise, and not foolish idiots. Secondarily, they must be men of understanding; that is, men of experience, who by long and continual exercise in handling of matters are able at the first brunt to deal in all cases according to the law. Lastly, they must be men of honest report, whose life and sound conversation are by their deeds perfectly tried and sufficiently witnessed of unto the people: and finally, they must be such as bear authority, and not be despised as rascal and vile knaves.” Bullinger, The Decades

§The Lion of the Covenant Richard Cameron on Choosing our Magistrates,

“Ye will not look to Christ, and yet there is no other ye can have help from but from Him. There is none to help you at all, except you acknowledge Him as your King and Head, and except you acknowledge no other magistrate but according to what He ordains in His word. See what David says, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Compare this with “Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth hating covetousness. Therefore let the fear of God be upon you, take heed, and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord your God.” Ye see such should be men that fear God, and men of truth. Oh, take heed and consider what you are doing! Cry unto the Lord, and let us fight against these wicked rulers with the weapons of the spiritual warfare, the arms of secret prayer. Let us pray unto the Lord to cut them off, and the Lord will raise up those that will condemn and despise them.” Richard Cameron, ‘Sermon on Hosea 13:9-10 (1680)′ in Sermons in times of persecution in Scotland, by sufferers for the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, ed. James Kerr (Edinburgh, 1880), p. 417.

§American Covenanter minister James R. Willson on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The ungodly are to be excluded from political office. His honor must be promoted by excluding His open enemies from office. “When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). Why? Because the Messiah chastises them for exalting the foes of His church and law. To permit Atheists, Deists, Jews, Pagans, profane men, heretics, such as are the blasphemers of Messiah’s Godhead, and Papists, who are gross idolaters, to occupy places of honor and power as legislators, judges, etc., is to offer a direct insult to the holy Jesus. They do not, they will not, they cannot “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12), according to the Father’s command. To elevate such men is direct opposition to the King of kings.

“Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord acorrupt thing” (Mal. 1:14). “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sma. 23:3). -From his essay titled Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion over all Governments as found in the recently published (by Crown and Covenant) book Political Danger p. 262.

“Britain and the United States are colonies within Jehovah’s government; and if they refuse to acknowledge the authority of Messiah, he will treat them as rebel provinces of his empire. In the United States, the refusal to acknowledge God, has probably been more explicit than it ever was in any other nation. Soon after we had obtained, through the beneficent providence of God, liberation from the dominion of a foreign power; soon after the most eminent displays of Jehovah’s goodness to our land; the convention, elected to form articles of fundamental law for the commonwealth, rejected the government of God, and with a degree of ingratitude, perhaps without a parallel, formed a constitution in which there is not the slighest hint of homage to the God of heaven; in which God receives no more honor than the devil. They force all within their territories to bow before them, but they refuse to bow before the throne of God. This is a species of national atheism, almost as enormous as that of the French republic, whose representatives voted, that there is no God. It is to all intents practical atheism; and we cannot doubt that those who planned such rebellion against the King of kings and Lord of lords, were practical atheists and professed infidels.” -The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah, p. 65 in Political Danger published by Crown and Covenant Publications.

“The command is to all—to states, republics, kingdoms, and empires, in whatever quarter of the world they may be found, from whatever branch of the human family they may be descended, and whatever may be their local peculiarities and pursuits—let all bow down before the Mediator and serve him. But we must be more particular.

1. It is their duty to bind themselves to him by covenant engagement, consecrating themselves to him, swearing allegiance to him as their King and Lord, binding themselves to one another, and, as united together in social compact, to seek the protection and the blessings of Messiah, Heaven’s Almighty Vicegerent. …

The subjection of Israel to the government of God, was to him in the mediatorial person and character; for the relation in which he stood to them, and they to him, was a gracious covenant relation—a relation which God, absolutely considered, cannot sustain to any of the guilty race of Adam, either individually or nationally. Whatever may be said of their national polity, of the connexion, or rather as some ignorantly assert, of the perfect sameness of their church and civil state, still it is abundantly evident, that they had a civil government, a national territory and property, and civil relations and rights; and that all these were completely subjected to the government of the Son of God, in his character of Mediator.

Is there any intimation in the whole volume of inspiration, that other nations should not copy after the example set them in Judea? Any hint that the honors there claimed by Messiah, and conceded to him, were peculiar to that territory, and that he does not demand them in other quarters of the world? Nothing like it; but quite the reverse. “The uttermost parts of the earth are given to him for inheritance;” “he is the governor among the nations;” “Sheba’s and Seba’s kings shall offer gifts, yea all kings shall fall down before him;” “the isles shall wait for his law;” “the gathering of the people shall be to him.” The lion of the tribe of Judah has the volume of providence committed to him, and he prevails to open the seals of the book in which the destiny of the nations is recorded: “he is prince of the kings of the earth;” and “hath on his vesture and on his thigh written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Indeed, is not easy to conceive, how God could have expressed his will more plainly, or have more fully and distinctly asserted the claims of his Son to universal dominion, and the duty of nations to acknowledge him.” -The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah, Political Danger published by Crown and Covenant Publications.

§Alexander Shield on Choosing our Magistrates,

“The New Testament gives a definitive statement of civil government in Romans ch. 13 v. 1-9 and 1 Timothy ch. 2 v. 1-2; which is a summary of the pattern also found in the Old Testament. We shall first take in review these Old Testament passages where we have the epitome of kingship delineated. Thus the qualifications of those who exercise civil rule are that, They must be men of truth, fearing God and hating covetousness (Ex. 18.21); they must be just, and not deceitful, false or oppressive: He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23.2-3); they must be men of understanding, they must be of the same nation, and not strangers (Deut. 13 v. 1 & 17; Jer. 30 v. 21). They are to be elected by all the people, that is, by the adult men among whom they are to rule: The men of Judah made David king (2 Sam. 2 v. 4) or again: The people made Saul King (1 Sam. 11.15) and as also in the words of Hushai: Whom the Lord and this people, and all the men of Israel choose, his will I be (2 Sam. 16.18). Any perversion of this order by those who thrust in upon the people however they accomplish it, is usurpation; as in Hos. 8.4: ‘They made kings but not by me; that is, strictly and only in the way appointed by God, and which is said to be “by” him as if God himself had actually done it.” -A Hind Let Loose, 1668


So they must be

  1. Men
  2. Men of truth
  3. Fearing God
  4. Hating Covetousness
  5. Must be Just
  6. Not deceitful or false
  7. Not Oppressive
  8. Rule in the Fear of God
  9. Men of understanding
  10. Must be of the same nation (Not strangers)
  11. Elected by the adult men of the nation
  12. They must uphold previous sworn covenants of the national



§“But we aren’t electing a pastor in chief!”


Someone will of course ask “But we aren’t electing a pastor in chief!”

The short answer is yes we are. Not that we are electing an Ecclesiastical minister but according to the Scripture a Magistrate is both a minister (Romans 13:4) and a pastor (2 Samuel: chapters 1-13).

“This consideration makes a true king: to recognize himself a minister of God in governing his kingdom. Now, that king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage.” – John Calvin

“And moreover, under this word ‘pastor’, the office of a good king is expressed to us in this reign of David; namely, that he must care for his subjects as a shepherd for his flock.  Now two things are required of a shepherd.  The first is that he provide his animals with good pasture, and then that he keep them safe from all thieves and wolves and trouble.  Now that (I say) is what princes must do.  If they think that they will render an account to God for the charge that is committed to them, they must see to it that their subjects live in peace and that they are maintained; and then, in the second place, that they defend them against all troubles.  How far from that are those who call themselves pastors but who ask for nothing but the wool – and are not even content with that.  They must fleece their poor subjects; they cut their throats to suck up their blood.

One sees today that princes have neither regard nor consideration for their duty, which is to keep their subjects in good pasture.  They are supposed to care for them but, on the contrary, they are like lions.  Puffed up with pride, they think the world is created for them alone, and hence they have no scruples about swallowing up and eating the substance of poor people.  And after they have thus consumed their poor subjects, ambition also pushes them to wage war.  It does not matter to them that people burn and kill, and that the earth is full of orphans and widows.  And why?  Because they are princes, they say, and have power to do this.  Indeed, but as the psalmist says, ‘God is seated in the midst of them and has ordained them with this charge for which they must give account’ (Psa. 47:8-9).  And they will be judged like the very smallest.  For ‘this world will pass’ with its ‘fashion’ (1 Cor. 7:31).  But those who hold a slightly higher rank and dominion over the people must carefully note this – that they are pastors.  That was known even by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they by the pagans, for when they spoke of kings and princes, they called them pastors, as their writings demonstrate.  And who taught them such language?  God, who imprinted it in their hearts, so as to render inexcusable those who employ tyranny.” John Calvin, Sermons on 2 Samuel: chapters 1-13, trans. D. F. Kelly (Edinburgh, 1992), pp 177-8.

§Duties of all Magistrates

Civil Magistrates also have certain duties according to Divine law that if not carried out or enforced is sinful on both the action of the Magistrate as well as the Nation as a whole.


Seven duties of civil magistrates outlined in Scripture and enforced in the Westminster Standards:


1. Nationally eradicate idolatry and false religion (cf. 2 Chron. 34:3-7; 2 Chron. 31:1; 2 Chron. 15:8; 2 Chron. 15:16, etc.).


2. Nationally promote the true worship, discipline, and doctrine of the church of Christ (2 Chron. 29:11-30:6; 2 Chron. 30:12-27; Ezra 10:10vv.; Neh. 10:31-32, etc.).


3. Nationally establish the one true religion and church (cf. 2 Chron. 34:8- 17; 2 Chron. 29:3-5; 2 Chron. 31:2-3; 2 Chron. 31:20-21; 2 Chron. 32:12, etc.).


4. Nationally confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers (2 Chron. 34:21; 2 Chron. 29:6-7; 2 Chron. 30:7-9; Ezra 9:6-10:2; Neh. 9:2-37, etc.).


5. Nationally publish the truth (2 Chron. 34:30; Ezra 10:7-8, etc.).


6. Nationally renew covenant with God and set the state upon a fully covenanted biblical pattern, agreeing to nationally obey the law of God (2 Chron. 34:31; 2 Chron. 29:10; 2 Chron. 15:12-15; Ezra 10:3-4; Neh. 9:38-10:31, etc.).


7. Nationally cause (by civil power) the inhabitants of the nation to stand to the covenant (2 Chron. 34:32-33; 2 Chron. 15:12-13; Ezra 10:5, etc.).


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