Lutheran Political Resistance: The Magdeburg Confession of 1550 and the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate
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Christians throughout the world can struggle with an unjust government. Scripture is clear that God has established the government for the benefit of society. Yet, there are certainly times that governments have not ruled justly. In 1550, in response to the Interims, the city of Magdeburg resisted the imperial government. The Magdeburg pastors drafted a confession that explained their political resistance. This thesis demonstrates that the Magdeburg Confession of 1550 presents a biblical avenue for political resistance. To demonstrate this, this thesis will look to the historical and political context of the Magdeburg Confession. Then this thesis will summarize the Confession and analyze the arguments presented by the Magdeburg pastors in the Confession. This thesis will continue by affirming that the Magdeburg pastors have presented a biblical defense for political resistance, despite a few cautions. Finally, this thesis will conclude by offering a few lessons for today based upon the Magdeburg Confession.