By Angela Wittman
Yesterday during the Michael Cohen testimony before the House Oversight Committee a comment was made on Twitter by a Reformed Christian to the effect that voting for and supporting a man like Donald Trump, even though he has moral "failings" is taught to be ethical behavior by John Calvin and the Westminster Divines. The comment was not directed toward me, but as I'm reformed and have studied the WCF for over almost 2 decades, I asked where this was at so I could look it up myself. I was directed to my favorite chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, (XXIII), and specifically to section IV.
Here is what Chapter XXIII, section IV of the Westminster Confession of Faith says regarding the Civil Magistrate:
IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates' just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever. (Source: CRTA: https://reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/)First of all, this in no way tells us to make an immoral, corrupt man our ruler/leader/president. What it does tell us is there is a separation between the State and the Church, but both are under the authority of Christ and that we are to pray for those in authority over us, show honor and obey their lawful commands (unless they command us to do something against Scripture).
If we read the entire chapter, which I recommend, and take section IV in context, we see God has ordained the powers that be and they, including Donald Trump, are under Him:
I. 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 the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.Section II tells us that Christians can be civil magistrates and ought to maintain piety, justice and peace:
II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth; so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion.Section III says it is their "duty to take order that unity and peace be maintained in the Church and that the truth of God be kept pure and entire":
III. Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; yet he has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.So, I recommend that if one is serious about following the Westminster Standards they begin voting for and electing leaders, including the President, who at the very least know what the truth of God is... As for me, I think I'll continue to dissent from voting for candidates like Donald Trump.
May the good Lord give His people courage to elect Godly men to govern over them. In Lord Jesus Name I pray, amen.