Author: Bryce Sharper

Case Studies in Lawful Resistance II

Last time I summarized Protestant resistance theory which is a Biblical, ethical framework for resisting tyrants.  To win on the moral and mental levels, we need ethics.  An excellent review of this topic is found in this Sunday school series.  In this article, we will look back in time to the origins of a Protestant group resisting tyranny today to understand the circumstances under which resistance theory was developed.  Then we will look at how this group is lawfully resisting now.  Both history and this modern example will sharpen our ability to apply resistance theory today.

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Case Studies in Lawful Resistance I

For it to be lawful, resistance must never be undertaken by private persons alone.  Instead, lawful resistance is carried out by lesser magistrates against greater magistrates to avoid anarchy.  Lesser magistrates derive their power from the people while greater magistrates derive it from lesser magistrates.  This is the summary of Protestant resistance theory formulated by Theodore Beza and many other Reformers in the 1500s.  The following are a series of case-studies on modern day forms of lawful resistance.

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Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos

There is much talk of resistance nowadays. Resistance depends on ordinary resistance in small things.  Evil should always be resisted, whether it’s from the government or corporations or private persons.  Resistance is not a set of ideals but a set of exercises.  It is the exercise of natural rights extending from natural law against people or groups trying to suppress them.  If we cannot cooperate and engage in lesser forms of resistance, we will not be able to cooperate and engage in greater forms.

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