UNDER GOD, OVER THE PEOPLE: The Calling and Accountability of Civil Government
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'UNDER GOD, OVER THE PEOPLE: The Calling and Accountability of Civil Government' speaks biblical truth directly into our situation as churches today as we increasingly face government interference and intervention in the life of the local church. This precise and yet, accessible work draws and expounds upon the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith on the subject of the Civil Magistrate, its calling and its accountability.
When the government first imposed legal restrictions of all kinds over the local church and its worship, Oliver, alongside the other elders of Trinity Grace Church, turned to the Second London Baptist Confession for biblical guidance and instruction. 'Under God, Over the People' is the fruit of that study as he, alongside others, sought to lead the local church to a biblical stance on the role of the state and how it relates to churches.
CHAPTER 24 - OF THE CIVIL MAGISTRATE
"God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end has armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers." (Romans 13:1-4)
"It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace (2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3,4), according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions (Luke 3:14)."
"Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake (Rom. 13:5-7; 1 Pet. 2:17); and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:1,2)."
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Civil Government: Answerable to God
2 Civil Government: Called by God
3 Civil Government: Empowered by God
4 The Godly Magistrate
5 The Godly Citizen
"Christians must take seriously the lordship claims of the Mediator, Jesus Christ. He alone has power and authority over the church. Intrusions by any human agency must be rejected and where necessary resisted. In this short book, Oliver calls believers to show reverence to Christ before all, especially in a day when others seek to place themselves on His royal throne." -Dr. James Renihan, minister and President of International Reformed Baptist Seminary in Mansfield, Texas, USA.
"The past few years have made clear the pressing need for the Church to recover a biblical approach to the divinely-intended purposes and function of civil government; it’s powers, spheres of authority and the limits of its jurisdiction. Here, Oliver Allmand-Smith undertakes this task by carefully mining from the treasures of the 2LBCF. I heartily commend this volume." -Enoch Adekoya, MA Applied Theology, currently pursuing a PhD in Political Theology at the University of Manchester and member of Trinity Grace Church, Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, UK.
"The events of the past few years force us to consider afresh at the subject of the Civil Government. Christians will do it based on Scripture and not political theory. But we also need to examine what Christians of a previous age have stated in their most considered writings, their Confessions of Faith. The Baptists framers of the 1689 London Confession had to grapple with this subject having faced far more governmental overreach than we have so far experienced. What was their view of civil government? Oliver helpfully blends the two, always taking us back to Scripture. I recommend this relevant study, not only because it establishes God’s intentions with which every Christian ought to be conversant as we all live under such government, but also because it clearly directs us as to our attitude towards any future and increasing overreach. May the Lord use what is in your hands so that on the one hand you will gladly “be subject to the governing authorities”, and on the other hand you will know when to “obey God rather than men.” -Keith Underhill, minister, trustee of Trinity Pastor’s College in Nairobi and former missionary to Kenya from 1975-2015.
"This book is of immense value to anyone unsure of the relationship between civil authorities with all its anomalies and Christian faith and practice. Much of the author’s work is based on the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith applied and made relevant to the twenty-first century. This book will be of great assistance in determining how we face up to challenging times that lie ahead. May God, by his grace, help us to honour him that he may honour us as we shine the light of truth in a darkened world." -Les Yates, former elder at Trinity Grace Church in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, UK.
"This is an excellent piece of work; I have much enjoyed reading it, because of its relevance and the way it uses the Confession in subjection to Scripture. We have so long enjoyed relative tranquillity that we have become pragmatists in our attitude to authority, adopting either an unhealthy acceptance of all that the state proposes or an aggressive belligerence. Chapter 5 most helpfully maintains a clear distinction between active rebellion and civil disobedience. The difference between the spheres of authority is most important here. It is also important to be able to remind the magistrate of his duty to uphold righteousness which is defined by God's Law. This may prove costly. We are facing an imminent challenge from those who would restrict our praying and counselling against sin. Clearly our opponents are fearful of the spiritual weapons given to us; which are mighty in God to the pulling down of strong holds.’ -Dr. Robert Oliver, minister, former lecturer in Church History at London Theological Seminary and former pastor of Bradford On Avon Baptist Church, UK.
"Oliver has provided a careful consideration of the Christian’s relationship to civil government from a confessional perspective. His book is a timely treatment of the jurisdictional limits of civil government in comparison with the government of the church, and a needful reminder of the believer’s call to submission even in the face of persecution. Reformed churches the world over would do well to prayerfully study this wonderful work." -Steve Crampton, Constitutional attorney at the Thomas More Society and elder at Albany, Mississippi, USA
Oliver Allmand-Smith is married to Alison, and they have been blessed with six children. He is also a trustee of International Reformed Baptist Seminary (IRBS), Reformation Today and African Pastor’s Conferences. He has been a pastor at Trinity Grace Church, Ramsbottom, for over twenty years.
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