Science in Christian Perspective




New -Testament Political Principles 
And American Constitutional Principles

Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota

From: JASA 11 (December 1959): 16-23.

It is sometimes asserted that there is a positive relationship between the demands of Christianity and the institutions of the American constitutional system. This paper explores this assertion by comparing the political principles of the New Testament and the principles of the American constitution. In church history there has not been continuing agreement about the political principles of the New Testament, and in American politics there have been repeated and sharp differences over the nature of the constitution. Thus, the first task here is to list and describe those political principles which can be found in the New Testament and those constitutional principles which are a part of American political life. Obviously, the conclusions concerning the interrelationships at issue will be determined in large measure by what is included in these two lists. In light of this, an effort was made to arrive at the two lists by independent processes.. The New Testament political principles which follow were derived from the scripture and from writings which were rarely related directly to American political life, while the principles of the American constitution were arbitrarily limited to those included in several typical and widely-used college textbooks on American government. This means of selection does not insure that the New Testament principles described here were not in fact the product of sub-consciously held conclusions which were brought to the task, but the selection process reflects a conscious attempt to minimize the likelihood that prior conclusions determined the nature of the problem.

Section 1 : New Testament political principles:

In one sense there are no New Testament political principles. The New Testament writers comment very briefly on political matters in treating a few specific problems. They do not write political theory. We take their statements concerning the Roman government or its agencies and apply them to governments everywhere. We assume that this abstraction is legitimate, and probably the assumption is correct, for some of the New Testament's statements concerning government are couched in general terms. However, the political context of New Testament writings was radically different from the political context of America in 1789 or 1959. For example, the extent of democratic responsibility could not have been an issue for a Jew in Christ's day, and the New Testament does not discuss it. Today, the extent of democratic responsibility is an issue for many Christians. Our task is, therefore, difficult, for statements made about one kind of government cannot be applied to another kind of government without great caution.

This is not the only problem related to these political principles. There is also the difficulty of separating the political interests in the New Testament from other interests which are closely allied. Principles touching the nature of God, man, society, the family, law, and the church, among others, have political ramifications, and all need to be studied to develop a full Christian view of political life. Here, however, I will treat only those New Testament principles which directly affect the existence of the state and the scope of its powers, for these most concern constitutional form. This delimitation is legitimate if it is accepted that all scriptural principles are consistent with each other.

There are three basic New Testament political principles that affect state organization and the sphere of state action. The first is this: human government is approved by God. Put negatively, anarchy is not a scriptural option. The most complete single passage supporting this is in Romans XIII. This passage makes it clear that government properly uses coercive power to implement its will, and it properly can require public obedience to law. Might it be argued that state authority is ordained only where a state exists, and anarchy is permissible where governmental institutions are non-existant? I think not. The passage states that the ruler "is the minister of God to thee for good." Government is ordained because it is necessary, not because it exists. It is an instance of God's provision for man's need. As such, it possesses great dignity and deserves the deepest kind of respect.

The second basic New Testament political principle is this: human government can act legitimately only within certain limitations. These limitations must be amplified in detail and can be described in four categories.

The most obvious limitation on government is defined in what Oscar Cullman calls "religio-ideological" terms.2 This denies the government the power to require idolatrous worship from its subjects. If the government makes such a demand, its action is satanic. The fullest single passage concerning this is the denunciation of certain actions of the "Roman" government in Revelation XIII.

The second of these limitations is the direct and implicit New Testament denial that any governmental unit can legitimately forbid the preaching of the gospel. The attempt of the Sanhedrin to end the preaching of the apostles was met with Peter's answer, "We ought to obey God rather than men"3 and the lives and deaths of the apostles testify that they did not accept state action that would quiet their testimony.

This limitation on the state's authority is not refined by the New Testament writers to any advanced level of legal exactness. It would be dangerous to conclude that the apostles were demanding any sweeping kind of religious freedom. What if some Christians, in spite of Peter's and Paul's admonitions, were insisting on the basis of religious convictions that governments need not be obeyed, taxes need not be paid, and violent revolution was a Christian duty? Would the apostles denounce Roman laws and actions aimed at curbing the teaching of such doctrines? The severe criticisms by Peter and Paul of anarchical tendencies in the church make me think otherwise.4 Would the apostles have demanded freedom for the propagation of some new pagan cult? Would they have refused to cooperate with magistrates who controlled the time 'and place of religious gatherings for public convenience? We can only speculate on such questions, for the demand to preach the gospel need not have been a sweeping insistance on religious freedom. It might be argued that logically the apostles' demand implied some sort of general religious toleration or freedom. But this logic has been denied frequently and forcefully by leading churchmen and denominations. Therefore, such a deduction should be drawn only with considerable hesitation. In this matter we can assert only this with confidence: the apostles insisted that, in spite of governmental requirements to the contrary, they would preach the gospel.

The third limitation in government is not directly stated in the New Testament. It stems from the potential conflict between the state and other God-ordained institutions. It is possible to argue from the total im pact of many scriptural references that the family and church can lay claim to divine ordination.5 Since their proper authority and the state's proper authority bear ,on some of the same social relationships, it is conceivable that any one of them might lay claim to some power which could reasonably belong to the other, and some such claims might strip the other agency of the very means of and reason for its existence. Such a claim would be excessive, because it would be destructive of a God-ordained institution.

It is easy to read more into this limitation than is legitimate. The limitation does not mean that in some areas there can not be mutual cooperation. A court may well make the family responsible for the discipline of a minor. The limitation does not mean that the institutions of a less inclusive nature cannot be controlled in some measure by the more inclusive. The church and the family must be properly fitted into the total order created by the state, otherwise a kind of anarchical challenge would permanently threaten the state. In saying this, it is implied that in some ways, perhaps very important ones, the state can mold these less inclusive institutions. The family might be required by state action to take varying forms, and the church might be subjected to certain controls on such matters as organization and property ownership which do not directly, affect its unique spiritual mission. Also, there is no warrant to include 411 kinds of institutions from vegetarian clubs to railway corporations in the category under discussion. Indeed, I would venture that only the church and. the family can, be so treated.

The fourth limitation on governmental action found in the New Testament consists of certain moral imperatives. It is clear from Romans XIII and I Peter II that the end of human government is to repress evil and promote good.6 Christians are told that governments establish a divine order, which must be obeyed for the sake of conscience. This order punishes the wicked and rewards the good. Governmental officials should be supported by prayer so that a tranquil and godly life may be lived.7 From these statements it has been argued that it is ". . . the just end of the civil State which gives it a sacred character."8 By implication from this, if the state acts in ways contrary to justice or contrary to certain moral demands, its action at that point is not divinely ordained.

The indirect nature of this argument must be noted. The New Testament does not say expressly that ' governments are limited by moral considerations. The limit is deduced from the passages just cited, and from the scriptural requirements that individuals must act morally. This means that if the state ordered a person to murder, or bear false witness, or commit adultry, the order would be illegitimate in two ways. First, it would be unjust in itself, as it would violate directly revealed moral imperatives. Second, it would be unjust, because the order would have to be executed by some individual who stood morally responsible to God.

This chain of reasoning seems sound enough, but it opens a Pandora's box of the most perplexing problems. What are these moral limits? Must they be strictly or loosely interpreted? What if the state exceeds them only in one or a few points? Does a higher value permit an immorality with respect to a lesser value? What mode of opposition to an evil demand of the state is legitimate?

Clearly, these questions can be answered only on the basis of the whole Gospel. The problem raised here is that of identifying the bed-rock moral demands of the scriptures which no reasonable Christian can disavow. But there is always a danger that this identification will be biased by the self-interest mankind cannot escape. This self-interest will operate so that individuals will tend to denounce as scripturally unjust or immoral any state actions which affect them adversely or which run counter to their pet theories of how states should be organized and operated. Scriptural passages will be prostituted to prove that the government ought not take such and such action. Examples could be piled up. Some defenders of par ticular private property institutions appeal to the parable of the talents to prove that 20th century American property law is a part of the essential moral demands of scripture. Some humanitarians point to the parable of the good Samaritan to prove that a particular welfare law cannot be repealed legitimately as it reflects the scriptural requirement of aiding those in need. Such abuses of the scripture should inspire caution when a particular governmental action is measured against the implied scriptural requirement that the state must act justly.

May 1 suggest some critical questions which might well be asked before a scriptural mandate is used to illegitimatize state action? Is the mandate expressly stated in the scripture? Is it clearly a mandate directed at the state rather than at the individual? Is it certain that it is not so particularized that generalization from it is inappropriate? Is it an isolated statement, or is it frequently repeated? Should the statement be read along with other seemingly contradictory scriptural statements? Does its application relate to man's spiritual life? Short of asking such questions and weighing carefully the answers, a passage like Paul's admonition to the Corinthians to keep their intra-church squabbles out of the courts can become an indictment of human legal systems in general.9

To return to the list of basic political principles the third is this: Christian subjects may properly resist the state that exceeds the scriptural limitations to ,political authority. In Revelation XIII those who did not bow in idolatrous worship are said to be enrolled in the book of life,10 and we recall that the apostles preached in spite of the Sanhedrin's admonition." The necessity of resistance also follows from the above-mentioned Christian duty to God if the state acts to destroy other God-ordained institutions or if it acts contrary to basic moral demands.

But resistance can be of different sorts, and Christians have long argued over the relative merits of passive resistance and active resistance. John Calvin admonished that, ". . . though the correction of tyrannical domination is the vengeance of God, we are not, therefore, to conclude that it is committed to us, who have received no other command than to obey and suffer.12 John Knox concluded otherwise.

The punishment of such crimes as idolatry, blasphemy, and others that touch the majesty of God, doth not appertain to kings and chief rulers only, but also to the whole body of the people and to every member of the same ... 13

While it is not necessary for the purposes at hand to try to resolve this old controversy, the problem merits passing treatment. For myself, I have been helped much by Oscar Cullman on this matter.14 In the teachings of Christ, the writings of Paul, and the denunciation of "Rome" in Revelation, one consistent re frain is carried on in different ways. "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."15 This repeated warning against violence in different circumstances would itself argue against the use of force by Christians who oppose the state. When those passages are coupled with the Sermon on the Mount, the position seems overwhelming.16 The passages are startlingly direct and unqualified. If there is an argument for violent resistance to constituted authority in the New Testament, it must show why these passages are not pertinent.17

This completes my list of basic New Testament political principles. To review: the state is a God-ordained institution serving human needs, its sphere of competence is limited at several points, and some kind of resistance to a state exceeding its competence is legitimate. These principles place the Christian in an inevitable tension. He must respect, and he must obey it in show the state deep respect all normal circumstances. But also, he must always stand ready to criticize it, and in some matters he must even resist it. He must be a loyal opposition.

Section 2: American constitutional principles:

The following list of American constitutional principles was obtained from five widely-used American government textbooks. The books were chosen solely because each included a chapter or section which itemized the principles of the American constitution-not because I agreed with the itemization. Each text offered a somewhat singular list, and, therefore, a synthetic regrouping was made. The principles follow:

First, republicanism;

Second, popular sovereignty and the related principle of the representative form of government.

Third, federalism and the related principle of national supremacy;

Fourth, the separation of powers and its counterparts in American experience-the check and balance system and judicial review;

Fifth, the principles of limited government and constitutionalism;

Sixth, the protection and expansion of free enterprise;

Seventh, the principle of civilian supremacy.18

Section 3: A comparison of New Testament political principles and American constitutional principles:

The two lists outlined above will now be compared. This is a dangerous task for several reasons: Terminological differences between the lists are great. American constitutional principles were originally framed chiefly in the terms of English law, while New Testament political principles were framed in more general terms. The materials on which the two sets of principles were based were written for different purposes. American constitutional statements were developed to give or to deny specific agencies and officials some governmental authority, while New Testament political writings were largely admonitions to private persons or small groups concerning their behavior in relation to the state. The backgrounds for the writings pertinent to both lists differed widely. The Revolution, government under the Articles of Confederation, State experience, and the American ideas of the era of the Enlightenment helped shape early American constitutional thought. Roman government, a delegated Jewish authority, Judiaism, and the life of a new religious cult were the political milieu of New Testament writers. Given these and other differences, the comparison here proposed is justified only on the basis of two interrelated beliefs: namely, the belief that basic scriptural principles are permanently valid, and the belief that mankind displays some of the same political characteristics in all ages and environments.

On one matter the New Testament principles and by implication American constitutional principles are in complete agreement. Both reject anarchy. This rejection was our first item in the New Testament principles, and it was obviously implicit in the American constitutional principles listed above. While it is true that the textbook writers previously cited do not include this point in their itemizations, the existence of the principles they describe implies that American society rejects anarchy. Indeed, it does so by establishing two levels of sovereign authority. It must be observed, however, that all governmental systems agree with the scriptural demand at this point. On the matter of anarchy, the New Testament, the American Constitution and the Constitution of the USSR are at one. Thus, in observing a positive correlation on this point, we have not noticed anything which would make it possible to claim some uniquely Christian quality for the American pattern.

From this point of agreement, let us move to a point of disagreement. The New Testament allows a person to resist a government that is acting beyond the state's proper limits. As was stated in our third political principle of the New Testament, a Christian under certain circumstances may defy a governmental order. He must preach the gospel in spite of a gag law. He must not worship in idolatry to comply with state demands. He must support God-ordained institutions even if the state attacks them. He must live by a basic moral code even if the state orders him to do otherwise. On these points the Christian may resist the state. But here is a problem. The American constitution does not permit certain types of resistance. This assertion requires some development.

At law, once the regular courts have spoken and if they have upheld or refused to review a particular governmental order, the individual must obey that order even if he believes it to be legally and morally wrong. If he chooses to disobey, he must suffer legal punishment. Thus, one religious group may believe that the required flag salute of a local school district is idolatry, forbidden by scripture, but if the courts rule that such a flag salute is a legitimate requirement for school children, the unhappy group cannot resist further short of punishment. This was the outcome of the case of the Minersville School District v. Gobitis.19 Or again, a group may hold a sidewalk parade to disseminate religious information as "one of their ways of worship," but if such a parade is conducted in ,violation of rules respecting the use of the sidewalks, the group may be punished. The group may claim a right to parade as "freedom of worship," but in Cox v. State of New Hampshire the Supreme Court said that in this case freedom of worship was "beside the point."20 It cannot be forgotten that at law it is the courts that define freedom of religion and freedom .of-speech. Once they speak, no person in their jurisdiction can disobey unless he accepts the bitter consequences. Shouting about moral, religious, and constitutional rights is usually to little avail from the jail cell. Thus the American constitution does not permit resistance to governmental actions which its courts have found to be constitutionally exercised.

What type of resistance does the American constitution permit? First, it permits the individual the right to test governmental actions in the courts. A law that is unconstitutional or an administrative action that is altra vires in the courts' view will be rendered of no effect. The individual may, therefore, resist in this legal way, but if the courts refuse to hear his case or if they decide against him, this means of resistance is closed. Second, the constitution permits political resistance. The individual can organize and act politically-to change the governmental action that offends him. He may run for office or vote if qualified, he may support candidates and programs politically, he 'may petition the authorities, and he may lobby. But again, if he fails in his objectives, he has no constitutional recourse but to obey constituted authority acting within due process of law.

Thus, the constitutional system permits certain 'kinds of resistance according to certain rules. The resistance is limited however, and, therefore, it must be recognized that the New Testament principle -of resistance runs afoul the American constitutional demand that law be obeyed. There is no complete solution in theory or practice to this conflict, and all governmental systems share the problem. Especially during the Reformation period, creative minds earnestly sought a solution. Time does not permit an excursion 'back to the interesting results, but none of them is without its peculiar difficulty.

We have now noted an instance of agreement and an instance of disagreement between the two sets of principles being compared. Our further. comparison of these sets of principles will not be in terms of agreement or disagreement, for in significant measure other items in the two lists-are comparable, if at all, only in a loose sense. Rather, it will be said, first, that in light of a particular New Testament political principle a given American constitutional principle may be more or less expedient, and, second, that in some cases there is no discernable connection between some American constitutional principles and New Testament political principles.

Two expedient relationships have already been indirectly noted. In our discussion of the New Testament principle that people may resist the state, it was observed that the American constitution permitted limited political and legal means for resisting constituted authority. The political means, i.e., forms of democratic opposition, may be tied to two basic American principles, i. e., popular sovereignty and the representative system. Since in American experience these principles are integral to democratic action, we may say that they are useful principles by which some political resistance may be defended. It would be wrong to say that they were "Christian" principles. The New Testament demands neither popular sovereignty nor the representative system, but given the possible need for resistance, these American principles are expedient. Similarly, the American principles of limited government and constitutionalism are expediently related to the same New Testament principles of resistance. The American courts, operating under these principles, make possible a circumscribed legal resistance to government. The Christian viewing these useful tools of resistance and recognizing that he may need such tools at some time can regard them as expedient.

It might be asked if something more than this could not be said for the American principle of limited government and its subsidiary elements including the bill of rights. Is not the idea of limited government found both in the New Testament and the American constitution, and, therefore, could we not say that the two are in agreement? The answer is easy, if words do not confuse. Both require limited government, but in specifics, the limits are very different. The New Testament principle of limited government is derived from scriptural demands that the gospel be preached, that Christians refuse to bow in idolatrous worship, and that Christians live a moral life, and it was inferred in the existence of other God-ordained institutions. The substantive and procedural limits found in the American constitution do not specifically include any of these New Testament demands. The first amendment's statement that, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech . . ." has been interpreted in a broader way in most cases than the New Testament requires. It protects all kinds of religious faiths and most religious utterances. The New Testament does not demand such liberality, and many "Christian" governments and some church groups have argued against such "freedom for falsehood." Clearly, the two principles of limitation are not the same. Also the New Testament does not touch upon many of the elements that make up the American concept of limited government. Where is habeas corpus, ex post facto, trial by jury, freedom of the press etc. in the New Testament? On the other hand, where in the American constitution (except, perhaps, by implication in the unenforceable preamble) is there a demand that the government not force its citizens to act immorally? It is not good law which holds that substantive due process is a guarantee of a particular moral code. In light of this, it would be wrong to say that the New Testament principle and the American constitutional principle of limited government are similar. However, it can be said that the American principle of limited government is expedient in that it may give the individual Christian some protection from arbitrary governmental actions that run afoul New Testament principles.

It should not be implied from this that particular American expressions of limited government including separation of church and state are uniquely expedient. The British insist that their Parliament is ultimately without legal limit-a majority vote in Parliament can alter any constitutional provision-and British due process and church-state relations differ from ours. But the gospel may be freely preached there, idolatrous worship is not required, state and free churches exist side by side, and Americans may safely concede that the subjects of the Queen are as politically free to be moral in light of their Christian conscience as are Yankees.

Another example of an expedient American principle may be found in the complex principle of separation of powers, checks and balances, and judicial review. This principle provides both legal and political tools for limiting an improperly ambitious government. It may protect the Christian in his endeavor to please God in light of New Testament principles, but it is only an expedient. It is not required in any way by the New Testament. Nor should the principles of other states that stress the fusion of powers and omit American forms of checks and balances and judicial review be regarded as other than expedient solely because they are contrary to American practice. The British principles related to the rule of law and the role of the opposition have given British subjects perhaps as much protection from arbitrary government as the American principles under discussion.

In the discussion of expediency so far, I have insisted that certain principles of the American constitution that limit governmental action are expedient. New Testament limitations on government are thus reflected, but a system which is expedient in protecting a Christian from governmental action could be inexpedient if it too severely limited the power of government to arbitrate and resolve the inevitable conflicts of the society. The New Testament demands a government capable of promoting social good, and thus, limits on governmental power should not be excessively restrictive of needed governmental action any more than governmental limits on the Christian should be restrictive of his God-ordained duties. This expedient balance of order and freedom, unfortunately, is neither easily located nor static. The state under siege or under the threat of the anarchy of civil war may need to extend its power. Therefore, concentration upon state limitations is not without its dangers.

We now arrive at the last category of comparison discussed here. One group of American constitutional principles cannot be related in an important way to political principles of the New Testament. If a relationship does exist, it is so indirect as to be almost unmeasurable. The main distinction between the group of principles classified as expedient and the group of principles unrelated to the New Testament is this: The former group gave the Christian some political or legal means of resisting a governmental action he could not conscientiously accept, and the means was operationally useful. The principles to be classified as unrelated to the New Testament political demands do not offer any tools of resistance that have important operational usefulness. However, there is no sharp line between this group and the group of principles classified as expedient, for under some special set of circumstances an American principle previously not expedient in promoting New Testament political requirements could become useful to that end.

Federalism and the related principle of national supremacy belong in the group of American principles unrelated to New Testament political demands. While the Roman world practiced a kind of sharing of authority between levels of government, the New Testament writers did not bother with the problems involved. If in the terms we are using there is any significant expediency in federalism and national supremacy, it must relate to the New Testament principles of limited government and resistance to government. But the resistance described in the New Testament is resistance by individuals-not subsidiary states. Also, while it is true that the law of federalism limits the scope of action of one level of government at specific points, it does not now significantly limit both levels of government at the same point. The twilight zone has substantially disappeared since Hammer v,. Dagenhart. While federalism may be a useful tool in limiting one government, it also places the individual under two governments of sovereign authority. It would seem to be impossible to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of the federal system and arrive at an index number of some sort that could be meaningfully related to New Testament principles. Also it must be noted that in terms of New Testament political requirements some states have been and are well governed without federalism, other states have been and are well governed with federal systems different from the American one, and the United States has been well governed before and after the courts and Congress have redefined the federal structure and its operation.

Republicanism also cannot be meaningfully related to the political principles of the New Testament. It is not discussed or mentioned in New Testament writing, in spite of the fact that the period was dominated politically by hereditary monarchs. The inspired writers Were willing to accept kings as God's ordained rulers, and they give no hint that other means of executive power are intrinsically and generally superior. And if, despite this indifference, monarchical power has been viewed as intrinsically dangerous to the liberties a Christian must demand, the age of constitutional monarchy has removed the danger. "Long live the king" is as appropriate for Christian tongues as "Vive la Republic."

The New Testament also does not hint at anything called the principle of civilian supremacy. If it could be shown that without this principle there would probably develop a threat to New Testament political imperatives, the principle might be moved into the category of expedients discussed above. Harold Lasswell's description of the "garrison state" comes to mind here, and if such tendencies in modern states as he describes progress, perhaps civilian supremacy could become more important on the Christian's scale of political values.21 I am sure that some Christian pacifists would hold this principle very dear now. But the principle guarantees nothing that will operate to check an inordinate governmental action. Therefore, I do not classify it with the expedient principles discussed earlier.

Last, the principle of the protection and expansion of free enterprise is also unrelated to New Testament political principles. Free enterprise is not mentioned or discussed in the New Testament. Indeed, the New Testament says nothing directly about economic systems. Private property, an ingredient of the free enterprise system, is sometimes said to be defended by the New Testament. If we grant that this is so, we still have not arrived at the American free enterprise system for at least two reasons. First, private property exists in states that do not have the free enterprise system. There is private property in the USSR, and there was, after all, private property under mercantilism. Thus, private property and free enterprise should not be treated as the same thing. Second, the institution of property exists by law, and the laws of property of the New Testament period differ from the laws of property today. In the short period of American history the law of property has been changing. Think of the changing regulation of property rights by price control in such cases as Munn v. Illinois, Nebbia v. People of the State of New York, Ribnik v. McBride, and Olsen v. State of Nebraska.22 In light of these changes, to say that private property was defended in the New Testament is not to say that the New Testament defends today's American property law-let alone the whole free enterprise system. If it is observed that the New Testament defends the idea of private property and the American constitution does the same, it must be said that so does the law of the Soviet Union and socialist Britain, and so did the law of the mercantile period. How then, does this observation lead to the free enterprise system? These cautioning remarks on the sacredness of free enterprise and American property law are necessary, because some American Christians see red spots before their eyes if it is said that free enterprise is not, in fact, related to New Testament political and economic demands.

I am aware of the argument that political liberty, including religious liberty, is based upon the free enterprise system. I reject it, because I cannot accept this kind of economic-system determinism. Men do not live politically, and religiously by the economic system alone. Those "libertarians" who say men do, must learn, together with the Marxists, that humanity is not a slave to the economic order. Human creativity can be and has been capable of producing many useful combinations of different political and economic orders. If democracy and its political and religious liberties are to survive long, it will do so without all of the 19th century's economic ideals maintained in pure form.

Section 4: Conclusions:

From what has been said here, it is clear that there is little direct relationship between the political principles of the New Testament and the constitutional principles of the American government. Only in the mutual rejection of anarchy is the similarity singular. However, since the New Testament sets some limits to governmental action and since it permits individual resistance to governments, some American constitutional principles which limit the government and allow a circumscribed resistance can be called expedient by the Christian. These principles should not be called ((scriptural" or "Christian", because they are not developed in the American form in the New Testament and they are not necessarily better from the Christian's point of view than disimilar principles followed by other governments. Other principles of the American constitution are not meaningfully related to the political imperatives of the New Testament.

The limited relationship that exists is no criticism of the American constitutional system. It stems from the restricted New Testament interest in the mechanics of governmental organization and operation. If government exists and if it does not infringe upon the limits outlined in Section 1, the New Testament requirements are met. This gives very wide freedom for state action because the prescribed limits do not affect great ranges of governmental concern.

1. Romans xiii, 4.
a Oscar Cullman, The State in the New Testament. p. 91.
3. Acts v, 29; also iv, 19.
4. 1 Peter ii, 13-17; Romans xiii, 1-7.

5. Passages describing the status of the family as a social unit are not found in the New Testament, but there is an assumed family relationship in admonitions to wives, husbands and children. These, supported by Old Testament statements on the family, imply some sort of divine approval. Passages relating to the church include: I Cor. i, 2; Col. i, 18; Rev. ii, 7; etc.

6. Romans xiii, 1-7; 1 Peter ii, 13-17.
7. 1 Timothy ii, 2.

8. Carlyle, R. W. and Carlyle, A. J., A History of Mediaeval Political Theory in the West. Vol. I, p. 90.

9. 1 Corinthians vi, 1-6.
10. Revelation xiii, 8.
11. Acts iv, 19; v, 29.
12. John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion, p. 804.
13. John Knox, Appellation; Works (ed. by Laing) Vol. IV, pp. 501. Cited by George H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory, p. 369.

14. Cullman, op. cit., passim.
15. Matthew xxvi, 52; Romans xiii, 1-5; Revelation xiii, 10. The citation of Romans xiii might be criticized, but the force of verse 4 argues that only God takes vengeance, and therefore no mere subject can kill.

16. Matthew v, 38, 39, 44.
17. 1 am not here discussing force and violence in international relations,

18. Robert K. Carr, Marver H. Bernstein, etc., American Democracy in Theory and Practice, pp. 57-98; Alfred DeGrazia, The American Way of Government, pp. 85-93; John Ferguson and Dean E. McHenry, The American System of Government, pp. 45-53; Frederick A. Ogg and P. Orman Ray, Essentials of American Government, pp. 34-40; John M. Swarthout and Ernest R. Bartley, Principles and Problems of American National Government, pp. 77-88.

19. Minersville School District v. Gobitis (310 U. S. 586, 1940) ; reversed in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (319 U. S. 624, 1943) ; cited in Walter F. Dodd, Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law, pp. 837 ff.

20. 312 U. S. 569, 1940; cited in Walter F. Dodd, Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law, pp. 831.

21. Harold D. Lasswell, National Security and Individual Freedom, passim.

22. 94 U.S. 113, 1877; 291 U.S. 502, 1934; 277 U.S. 350, 1928; 313 U.S. 236, 1941; cited in Walter F. Dodd, Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law, pp. 1054 ff.

Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Il. Translated by John Allen (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Win. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1949).

Carlyle, R. W. and Carlyle, A. J., A History of Mediaeval Political Theory in the West, 1. (London: William Blackwood and Sons Ltd., 1950).

Carr, Robert K. Bernstein, Marver H., Morrison, Donald H., Snyder, Richard C., McLean, Joseph E., American Democracy in Theory and Practice, rev. ed. (New York: Rinehart and Co. Inc., 1955).

Cullmann, Oscar, The State in the New Testament (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956).

DeGrazia, Alfred, The American Way of Government (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1957).

Dodd, Walter F., Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law, 4th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1949).

Ferguson, John H. and McHenry, Dean E., The American System of Government, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1956). 4th ed.

Lasswell, Harold D., National Security and Individual Freedom, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1950).

Ogg, Frederic A. and Ray, P. Orman, Essentials of American Government, 7th ed. (New York: Appleton- CenturyCrofts, Inc., 1950).

Sabine, George H., A History of Political Theory, (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1937).

Swarthout, John M. and Bartley, Ernest R., Principles and Problems of American National Government, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955).