-The Magdeburg Confession, 1550
In 1548, Charles V issued his infamous Augsburg Interim which was an attempt to smash the Protestant Reformation. While all of Protestant Germany conformed to his decree, one city decided to take a stand and resist his authority – the City of Magdeburg. The pastors of Magdeburg issued their Confession and Defense of the Pastors and Other Ministers of the Church of Magdeburg on April 13, 1550 AD. Five months after issuing their Confession, Charles V’s forces marched on Magdeburg. The people of Magdeburg burned everything outside the city walls and closed the city gates. The siege of Magdeburg had begun.
“To resist a tyrant, is not to resist God, nor yet His ordinance.”
What constitutes a tyrannical government? How and when are Christians to respond and act when a government does become tyrannical? Are Christians to have unlimited obedience to the State? These questions and others were addressed and answered by the pastors in their Confession. In defiance of Charles V’s tyranny, they declared, “Divine laws necessarily trump human ones.” The Magdeburg Confession is the first document in the history of man to set forth the Lesser Magistrate Doctrine. The Lesser Magistrate Doctrine teaches that when a superior authority makes unjust laws or decrees, the lesser authority has a God-given right and duty to resist those unjust laws or decrees.
What the pastors of Magdeburg wrote in the Confession impacted men like John Knox, Theodore Beza and Phillip Mornay. The repercussions of the The Magdeburg Confession were felt throughout Western Civilization all the way to the founding of America as a nation. For over 460 years, the Confession has existed only in Latin and German. Now English-speaking people can read it for themselves. This is the first English translation of The Magdeburg Confession ever written.
Their consciences were resolute because of their fealty to Christ, and they stood their ground because they understood the doctrine of the lesser magistrate.
The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government
by Matt Trewhella
This book places in your hands a hopeful blueprint for freedom. Appealing to history and the Word of God, Pastor Matthew Trewhella shows how Americans can successfully resist the Federal government’s attempts to trample our Constitution, assault our liberty, and impugn the law of God.
Click here to buy the book.