Augsburg Confession XVI: Civil Government (Concordia p.39-40; 1-7)

On this 4th of July Holiday we thought it beneficial to post the Lutheran view of Civil Government as found in the Lutheran confessional writings. If you would like further elaboration, please ask your questions and we will respond in good order.

[1] Our churches teach that lawful civil regulations are good works of God.

[2] They teach that it is right for Christians to hold political office, to serve as judges, to judge matters by imperial laws and other existing laws, to impose just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to hold property, to take oaths when required by the magistrates, for a man to || marry a wife, or a woman to be given in marriage [Romans 13].

[3] Our churches condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these political offices to Christians.

[4] They also condemn those who do not locate evangelical perfection in the fear of God and in faith, but place it in forsaking political offices.

[6] Therefore, it is necessary for Christians to be obedient to their rulers and laws.
[5] For the Gospel teaches an eternal righteousness of the heart (Romans 10:10). At the same time, it does not require the destruction of the civil state or the family. The Gospel very much requires that they be preserved as God’s ordinances and that love be practiced in such ordinances.

[7] The only exception is when they are commanded to sin. Then they ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).