No Christian should take defiance to the civil authorities lightly. It should be close to a last resort. We must be sure we are righteous in our cause of civil disobedience. Sadly, it has indeed righteously come to that point in many parts of the United States and in various ways.
There are a number of layers of protection a citizen would have in a properly functioning society. One such layer, is a layer many Americans have not had given to them, even though our entire governmental system was essentially founded on this layer of protection. And that is the doctrine of the lesser magistrate. The doctrine of the lesser magistrate teaches that when a civil ruler makes an ungodly, immoral, or unconstitutional decree, the civil authorities that are under the higher authority have a duty to refuse to enforce such a decree. This protects citizens from having to implement civil disobedience, and obviously protects them from unjust punishment were they to be punished for civil disobedience. It also would work the other way around, take Roe v. Wade for example. When the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the practice of abortion, what the states should have done, if they were concerned with acting righteously, would be to ignore it, and say, “Not here. Not in our state will we kill our babies.” But no state has feared God enough to do that.
It would be nice to have local civil authorities who believe in and practice this doctrine with all the encroachments state and city governments have made this year with the Covid power grab. It would be nice to have a sheriff who said, “No Mayor, we will not be enforcing these lockdowns or mask mandates. You have overstepped your authority and such decrees are illegitimate. I will not tell the churches not to meet or to meet with restrictions.” There are a few of those brave men around the country, but they are few and far between. The more common response to hear from police is, “I don’t agree with it either, but I’m just doing my duty.” No sir, you are not. It is your responsibility before God to refuse to enforce ungodly, immoral, and unconstitutional decrees. It is not your duty to carry out every whim of the mayor or city council, it is your duty to do what is right. Your are not a machine. You are person with a conscience and with a responsibility before God.
In his book, The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, Matthew Trewhella gives us the perfect primer on this very important subject. And he does it far better than the few paragraphs I have laid out for you here. Trewhella gives a biblical and historical sketch of the doctrine as well as showing it in practice, and the dire need for men of courage to carry out this doctrine. I encourage you to purchase a copy of this book, or maybe a few more to give to your local authorities.
If you come to our God and Government Conference, we will be giving a copy of this book away, thanks to the generosity of Matthew Trewhella himself. I really hope you can make it, it will be a great time. Here is a link to our website where you can RSVP for the conference: https://www.hopebaptistspringfield.com/conference
Here is a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/312307589912135/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22your_upcoming_events_unit%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22bookmark%22%7D]%7D
Here is a previous article about the conference: https://themajestysmen.com/joshuajenkins/how-to-make-tyrants-knees-knock-a-word-about-the-singing-at-our-god-government-conference/
Here is the first announcement made about the conference: https://themajestysmen.com/joshuajenkins/trigger-warning-in-this-post-i-will-announce-our-conference-on-god-and-government/