Did you know that John Calvin addressed his masterpiece “The Institutes of Christian Religion” to a civil magistrate with instructions that they should obey the law of God. Furthermore this was not unusual in church history.

Many Christian writings have been addressed to civil magistrates. Almost all of the early Christian apologists directed their work towards the civil magistrates in order to both defend the faith from false accusations and to commend to the civil magistrates the faith for themselves. These Christians in church history were following a model laid out in scripture.

The Apostle Paul who longed to go to Rome, the capital city of the Empire spent many times in court defending the faith and seeking the salvation of the magistrates. Christians are commanded to pray for their civil magistrates. And most likely the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are addressed to a Roman official/magistrate. This of course is fulfillment of the great commission to disciple the nations and Old Testament prophesy that nations and kings would come to Christ.

Pastors today who would refuse to address the civil magistrates or who would see the work of teaching civil magistrates as a distraction are not following in the tradition of the Church. The Church has a mission to proclaim the gospel to all creation and this most certainly includes the civil realm. The Bible doesn’t make this neat and clean divide between religion and civil government and neither should we.