The Lutheran Way of Resistance & the American Revolution

This is an excellent article by Professor Gene Veith. Our translation of the Magdeburg Confession is cited and spoken of in the article.

From the article: The Magdeburg Confession taught that resistance to tyranny is a moral necessity.  But that resistance must be carried out in an orderly manner and under a rule of law, unlike the chaotic uprisings of the Peasant Revolt and the French and Russian Revolutions.

Whitford points out that John Adams, who was involved with the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and with promoting the American Revolution arguably more than Jefferson, says that his influence was not Jefferson’s John Locke but John Ponet.  He was a Protestant English bishop who fled the Catholic persecutions of Mary Tudor (a.k.a. “Bloody Mary”) and lived in exile in Strasbourg, then a Lutheran city in present-day France.  Here Ponet interacted with Lutheran divines and became acquainted with the Magdeburg Confession, which served as the basis for his own  Short Treatise on Political Power.

This book was well-read in the American colonies.  According to Whitford… [click here to read the whole short article by Dr. Veith].

The doctrine of the lesser magistrates is demonstrated by the interposition of lesser civil authorities. When the superior authority (like a governor or federal judiciary) acts lawlessly – it is the duty of the lesser magistrates to interpose and not obey their unlawful actions. The lesser magistrate doctrine was first formalized by Christian men in 1550, but has also been seen in non-Christian nations showing it is natural to man.

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