Luther Contra Theonomy

A second kind of abrogation of the Law, an outward one, is that the political laws of Moses do not apply to us at all. Therefore we should not restore them to the courthouse or chain ourselves to them in some superstitious way, as some men who were ignorant of this liberty did several years ago. Nevertheless, although the Gospel does not subject us to the civil laws of Moses, it does not completely set us free from obedience to all political laws; but in this bodily life it subjects us to the laws of the state in which we live, and it commands everyone to obey his magistrate and his laws, “not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (1 Peter 2:13–14; Rom. 13:5). Nor would it be a sin if the emperor used some of the civil laws of Moses; in fact, it would be a good idea if he did. Therefore the sophists are in error when they imagine that after Christ the civil laws of Moses are fatal to us.

Martin Luther | Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1–4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 448.


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  • Tony Phelps
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    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

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