Wednesday, September 1, 2010

John Knox on Theonomy and Women Civil Rulers: Part 1

John Knox
(posts in this series: part 1, part 2)

"The second glass which God has set before the eyes of man, wherein he may behold the order which pleases his wisdom (concerning authority and dominion) is that commonwealth to which it pleased his Majesty to appoint and give laws, statutes, rites, and ceremonies, not only concerning religion, but also touching their policy and regiment of the same. And against that order it does manifestly repugn, that any woman shall occupy the throne of God: that is, the royal seat which he by his word has appointed to man; as is evident, in giving the law to Israel, concerning the election of a king. For thus it is written, "If thou shalt say, 'I will appoint a king above me, as the rest of the nations which are about me;' thou shalt make thee a king, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from amongst the midst of thy brethren thou shalt appoint king above thee. Thou mayest not make a stranger, that is not thy brother" (Deut. 17:14-15). Here expressly is a man appointed to be chosen king, and a man native amongst themselves; by which precept are all women and all strangers excluded.

"What may be objected for the part or election of a stranger shall be, God willing, answered in The Blast of the Second Trumpet. For this present [time], I say, that the erecting of a woman to that honour is not only to invert the order which God has established, but also it is to defile, pollute, and profane (so far as in man lies) the throne and seat of God, which he has sanctified and appointed for man only, in the course of this wretched life, to occupy and possess as his minister and lieutenant, excluding from the same all women, as before is expressed.

"If any thinks that the fore written law did bind the Jews only, let the same man consider that the election of a king and appointing of judges did neither appertain to the ceremonial law, neither yet was it merely judicial; but that it did flow from the moral law, as an ordinance having respect to the conservation of both the tables. For the office of the magistrate ought to have the first and chief respect to the glory of God, commanded and contained in the former table, as is evident by that which was enjoined to Joshua, what time he was accepted and admitted ruler and governor over his people, in these words: "Thou shalt divide the inheritance to this people, the which I have sworn to their fathers to give unto them; so that thou be valiant and strong, that thou mayest keep and do according to that holy law, which my servant Moses hast commanded thee. Thou shalt not decline from it, neither to the right hand, neither to the left hand, that thou mayest do prudently in all things that thou takest in hand. Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth; but meditate in it day and night, that thou mayest keep and do according to everything that is written in it. For then shall thy ways prosper, and then shalt thou do prudently," etc. (Josh. 1:1-9).

"And God gives the same precept by the mouth of Moses to kings, after they are elected, in these words: "When he shall sit in the throne, or seat of his kingdom, he shall write to himself a copy of this law in a book. And that shall be with him, that he may read in it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and all these statutes, that he may do them,"etc. (Deut. 17:18-20). Of these two places it is evident, that principally it appertains to the king, or to the chief magistrate, to know the will of God, to be instructed in his law and statutes, and to promote his glory with his whole heart and study, which are the chief points of the first table."

John Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558).  Extracted from Kevin Reed, ed., The Selected Writings of John Knox: Public Epistles, Treatises, and Expositions to the Year 1559 (Dallas, TX: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1995).  Cited in swrb.  Retrieved September 1, 2010.

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