Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Biblical Qualifications for Civil Rulers (updated)

The following list of biblical qualifications for civil rulers is adapted from Robert Fugate's book, Key Principles for Civil Government:

Religious qualifications

(has a personal relationship with the one, true, tri-personal God, i.e., a Christian [1])
1.      Fears God/Yahweh (Ex 18:21; 2 Sm 23:3; 2 Ch 19:7, 9; Ps 2:10–12; cf. Lk 18:2, 6).
2.      Trusts the Lord/Yahweh (Pss 2:10–12; 21:7; Is 33:22).
3.      Submits to the Lord Jesus Christ (Ps 2:10–12).

Moral/ethical qualifications

4.      Truth (Ex 18:21; Pr 16:10; 17:7; 20:28; 29:12, 14; Is 16:5; Zc 8:16).
5.      Wisdom (Dt 1:13; 2 Ch 9:7; Pr 8:12–16; 20:8, 26; contrast Pr 28:16).
6.      Impartial (Lv 19:15; Dt 1:17; 16:19; 2 Ch 19:6f; Pr 24:23).
7.      Servant (Ro 13:4, 6).
8.      Righteous/just (Dt 16:18, 20; 33:21; 2 Sm 8:15; 23:3; 1 Ki 10:9; 2 Ch 9:8; Ps 45:7; Pr 8:15; 16:12; 17:15; 25:5; 29:2, 4, 27; Is 11:4f; 16:5; 32:1; 51:4; 56:1; Jer 21:12; 22:2–5; Ezk 18:11–13, 15–17).
9.      Keeps God’s law (Dt 17:18–20; Jos 1:7f; 1 Ch 28:7; Pr 28:4).
10.  Hates dishonest gain/bribes (Ex 18:21; Dt 16:19; 27:25; 2 Ch 19:7; Pr 19:6; 17:23; Jer 22:17; contrast Pr 29:4; Mt 28:12; Ac 24:26).
11.  Hates covetousness (Ex 18:21; Pr 28:16).
12.  Integrity (1 Ki 3:6; 9:4–5; Pr 29:10).
13.  Faithful (2 Ch 19:9; Pr 20:28; Is 1:26; 16:5).
14.  Humble/teachable (Pr 17:7; 25:6, 12; cf. Dt 17:19–20).
15.  Courageous (Dt 1:17; Jos 1:6–7, 9; 1 Ch 22:13; 2 Ch 19:11).
16.  Self-controlled and patient (Pr 25:28, 15).
17.  Not drunkard (Pr 31:4f).

Family qualifications

18.  Husband of one wife (Dt 17:17; Pr 31:23; cp. 1 Tim 3:2).

Practical qualifications

19.  Able (Ex 18:21, 25) and knowledgeable (Dt 1:13).[2]
20.  Elders/mature leaders (Nu 11:24f).
21.  Uses good advisors (Pr 11:14; 25:5; 2 Sm 8:15–18 24:2–4; Ps 101:4–7).

Biological qualification

22.  Male (Ex 18:21; Nu 11:24f; Dt 1:13; 17:14–20; 2 Sm 23:3; cf. 1 Cor 11:3ff; Gn 2:18, 23; 3:16; [3] Is 3:12; Pr 31:23).[4]

Adapted from Robert E. Fugate, Key Principles of Biblical Civil Government (© 2007), pp. 67–68
For more on Robert Fugate's books, click here

     [1] “If civil rulers are required to be those that fear God, then it must logically follow that Christians must not put anyone into office if they do not fear God. This means that we cannot even vote for non-Christians who may share conservative, anti-abortion, free-market values with us” (Daniel F.N. Ritchie, A Conquered Kingdom: Biblical Civil Government, p. 629). “In addition to being a Christian man…a civil ruler must be a baptized, communicant member of an orthodox [Trinitarian] Protestant church. … If he comes under church discipline, then he is automatically disqualified from office” (pp. 633f; cf. Gary North, Political Polytheism, pp. 70, 5

     [2] They must have proven themselves to be wise, able, and knowledgeable men of understanding in others areas of life prior to holding civil office (Daniel F.N. Ritchie, A Conquered Kingdom: Biblical Civil Government, p. 629). “They should have proved themselves in some form of enterprise. The implication is that they are not to be professional politicians” (Gary DeMar, God and Government, 1:95 [1982 edition p. 85]). A university degree and work experience with a political party are not adequate.

     [3] “You will want to control your husband” (Gn 3:16 net). The same Hebrew word translated “control” is used with this meaning in Gn 4:7. See Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 (1975): 376–83.

     [4] William O. Einwechter, “Should Christians Support a Woman for the Office of Civil Magistrate?” Chalcedon Report # 368 (March 1996) pp. 20–22, available at Einwechter, “The Palin Predicament Resolved,” available at


Michael said...

Why doesn't Ron Paul meet these qualifications? I didn't see "Has a fully theonomic and biblical view of civil government" anywhere here. A very, very small percentage of genuine Christians have a fully theonomic and biblical worldview. These genuine Christians still fear and trust God and trust in Jesus and can have all of these other qualifications as well. Ron Paul has all of the personal and practical qualifications listed as far as I can tell. Where exactly does he come up short on this list? I'm puzzled, since I was sent to this page from an article by Halbrook encouraging us not to vote for Ron Paul because he wasn't "qualified." Though Halbrook purportedly wants a "qualified" not a "perfect" candidate, it seems that the only qualification that counts is a nearly perfect agreement with his own interpretation of how God's law should be applied in the civil arena. Sorry Calvin. Sorry Luther. Looks like you're not qualified to govern. Sorry Roy Moore. You're a little soft on homosexuals and sabbath-breakers. Looks like you won't be getting elected anytime soon either. And this is where someone (probably named Lofton) brings up Ron Paul's perspective on homosexuality. I think Ron Paul is wrong about homosexuality, and I am thankful he intends to leave the legislation for that issue to local governments (where it should be anyway... pretty sure stoning was about as local government as you can get). I also think King David was wrong about polygamy. Being right on everything is not a qualification to government. Maybe all of these political critics who are right about everything should run for local office and try to take America back from the roots up. Until then, keep talking.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

I never argued, nor implied, that Ron Paul requires "a fully theonomic and biblical view of civil government" to be qualified. Although, as I've shown, Ron Paul doesn't even meet some of the most basic qualifications.