Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, Magdeburg Confession, Doctrinal Development, Interposition, Political Theology, Matthew Trewhella, Junius Brutus, American War for Independence, Malcolm B. Yarnell, John Knox, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos
The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate plays a unique role in the development of political theology. While the principle is found in Scripture, the doctrine is developed across church history during catalytic moments in which civil or religious authorities are at odds with Christian convictions. While the principle made developmental strides in the early centuries of Christianity, it was codified in the Magdeburg Confession of 1550, leading to more rapid development throughout the Reformation, and eventually influencing the American War for Independence. This analyzes the development of the doctrine, identifying it as a natural maturation of biblical principles. The doctrine is one of Christianity's many contributions to the betterment of the world. The paper gives special attention to the doctrine’s influence on the founding of the United States and considers the present developments of the doctrine in the writings of Matthew Trewhella and other contemporary theologians. As Christians face increased persecution, even in developed countries, the necessity for a faithful political theory of interposition has become increasingly important.
Samms, Daniel C.. 2023. "Doctrinal Development: The Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates and American Political Theology." Eleutheria: John W. Rawlings School of Divinity Academic Journal 7, (2). https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/eleu/vol7/iss2/6