What Is the Proper Response to Tyranny?

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Published on: February 10, 2015

There have been positive developments wherein state and local officials are pushing back against unconstitutional exercise of federal power.

Carroll County, Maryland is one of several jurisdictions throughout America where federal officials have been put on notice that they will get no help in unconstitutional actions carried out by federal agents. The County board declared Carroll County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.

The state of Kansas has enacted a law similar to the Carroll County ordinance. No assistance will be permitted from state and local officials for the carrying out in Kansas of unconstitutional gun laws.

Non-cooperation is not a guarantee that the federal government submit to the Second Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause, but it makes it very likely that the feds would refrain from action in those jurisdictions.

The state of Wyoming has threatened a year in jail for any federal officer who would interfere with the legally protected manufacture of a Wyoming firearm that has no federally mandated serial number.

The federal government attack on the Davidians near Waco had the cooperation of local law enforcement officials, and in the end 86 people died, including four agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The siege of Cliven Bundy on his ranch outside of Las Vegas resulted in no deaths.

The chief difference between Waco and the Bundy Ranch is that armed Americans from all over the country came to the ranch with the slogan “no more free Wacos” on their lips. There were no armed defenders that came to the aid of the Davidians, but there was a daily growing number of such in Nevada.

Pastor Matt Trewhella has written about the biblical doctrine of resistance to tyranny by officials willing to defy lawlessness when committed by kings, governors or other public officials. Trewhella’s treatise is presented in his book The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.

Trewhella shows that unlimited obedience to any law or edict issued by governmental authorities results in elevating those authorities to the position that is occupied solely by God. Any law or command that violates what has been commanded or prohibited by God requires our resistance if we are to be faithful to God, and that applies to lesser magistrates as well.

Trewhella argues from Scripture and from history that lesser magistrates, if they are faithful to God, are to only enforce just laws. Conversely, they are to refuse to enforce unjust laws. Interposition is not subjective.

The greatest statement on the doctrine of nullification by lesser magistrates was made by the Roman emperor Trajan who while appointing a subordinate authority, handed him a sword and instructed him, saying: “Use this sword against my enemies if I give righteous commands; but if I give unrighteous commands, use it against me.”

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