03 September, 2016

Belgic Confession, Article 36—“…that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency”


We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, hath appointed kings, princes, and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose he hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well (Belgic Confession, Article 36).




COMMON GRACE ARGUMENT:
This article of the Belgic Confession is often presented as proof for an inner restraint of sin by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all men.


(I)

Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered, p. 126]

[It] is clear to every Reformed man that indeed God ordains magistrates to keep order in society. But as one man once put it to me, “The second point (of common grace) confuses the Holy Spirit with the policeman”or makes the sword of the magistrate the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to derive from this article anything even remotely resembling a work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all men, bringing to these men God’s grace, and restraining man’s sin by these gracious internal influences.


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(II)


More to come! (DV)




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