Listening to the hearings on the nominated to the Supreme Court, as well as the political ads and all the information swirling around us, it is hard to believe some time is of the existence of government should be seen as one of God’s merciful creations. One of my old professors, Martin Scharlemann wrote an article in the midst of the turbulent “60’s” called “Civic Order”. Here is a taster
Thomas Paine wrote: “Government, like dress, is the badge of our lost innocence”. Essay 51 of The Federalist Papers, written by either Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, embodied this point in the thinking that went into the creation of our form of government. It contains the following ob-servation: What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. Luther saw government from the vantage point of distinguishing between the preserving work of God through coercive political power and His saving activity as accomplished through the persuasive power of the Gospel. Here, for example, is a statement from his essay entitled “Secular Authority”: Since few believe and still fewer live a Christian life, do not resist the evil, and themselves do evil, God has provided for non-Christians a different government outside the Christian estate and God’s kingdom, and has subjected them to the sword, so that, even though they would do so … they may not do it without fear nor in peace and prosperity. . .. If it were not so, seeing that the whole world is evil and that among thousands there is scarcely one true Christian, men would devour one another, and no one could preserve wife and child, support himself and serve God; and thus the world would be reduced to chaos. For this reason God has ordained the two governments: the spiritual, which by the Holy Spirit under Christ makes Christians and pious people, and the secular, which restrains the unchristian and wicked so that they must needs keep the peace outwardly, even against their wills.