For Reformed Christians there has never been any question whether Christ is Lord over all things. When the Dutch theologian, pastor, and Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) declared in his 1898 Stone Lectures at Princeton that there is not one square inch over which Christ has not said, “mine” he was repeating what we have always believed. We have not, however, always agreed about what the implications are of that conviction. Kuyper himself came to reject parts of the original text of Belgic Confession art. 36, which called for the magistrate to enforce religious orthodoxy and to punish heretics. His forceful arguments against that aspect of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed teaching caused both Dutch and American Reformed churches to revise the Belgic Confession. In our time, Christians face serious challenges about how to express the Lordship of Christ over all things. Calvin spoke of a “twofold kingdom,” i.e., a single kingdom with two distinct spheres, the sacred and the secular. United States Senator Ben Sasse is, then, a minister in the secular sphere of God’s kingdom, he is what Calvin called a “lesser magistrate,” (Institutes 4.20) whose job is it is to act as a check and balance upon other co-equal branches of government, the executive and the judiciary. Sen. Sasse is the junior United States senator from the great state of Nebraska, elected in 2014. Since his inauguration, he has become a leading advocate for a renewal of the prerogatives of the Senate, for civil liberties, including religious liberty. A fifth-generation Nebraskan, he grew up in in Fremont, Nebraska. He is die-hard Husker fan, a scholar (with a PhD from Yale in in American history) and he has been a college professor, a business consultant, a college president, an executive of a Christian non-profit, a chief of staff in the Department of Justice, a congressional aid, and an Assistant Secretary in Health and Human Services. He is outspoken about his Christian faith and he he joined us recently for Office Hours.
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