The vastly important calling to resist abusive political authorities begins with lower magistrates. God instituted multiple authorities, not just one. When the higher authorities lose sight of their divinely appointed office of protecting life, liberty and property then lower magistrate have the right and duty to resist such tyranny. “The Magdeburg Confession” is perhaps one of the best examples of the lesser magistrate doctrine in action.
The Confession was written in response to Holy Roman Emperor’s attempt to impose Catholic doctrines upon the city of Magdeburg. Just a few decades earlier Luther had called upon the princes, nobles and dukes, all lesser magistrates, to resist the pope and his suppression of true Christianity. Luther referred to the “whore of Babylon” and a “werewolf” who preyed upon innocent Christians. After the Confession was published the city was then put to siege and significant parts of it burned to the ground.
The Magdeburg Confession used the Bible, history and law to call for resistance to very powerful tyranny. The preamble of the Confession states the lesser-magistrate doctrine clearly: “If the high authority does not refrain from unjustly and forcibly persecuting not only the lives of their subjects but even more their rights under divine and natural law, and if the high authority does not desist from eradicating true doctrine and true worship of God, then the lower magistracy is required by God’s divine command to attempt, together with their subjects, to stand up to such superiors as far as possible. The current persecution which we are suffering at the hands of our superiors is primarily persecution by which they attempt to suppress the true Christian religion and the true worship of God and to reestablish the Pope’s lies and abominable idolatry. Thus the Council [of Magdeburg] and each and every Christian authority is obliged to protect themselves and their people against this.”
Lesser Magistrates who fail in their duty to protect the people and resist higher authority are accomplices to the crimes committed by the higher authorities, have failed in their duties and obligations of office and will be held accountable to God. Thus the Magdeburg Confession is the coalescence of the major resistance tactics put to use by Luther.
The current state of America demands that the Magdeburg Confession be made public knowledge. Most Americans aren’t even aware of how their rights, liberties and properties have been silently eliminated. For the first time in over 460 years the Magdeburg Confession is now available in English.
For more information go to MagdeburgConfession.com