Reformed Seminary, College, Free Sermons, Scholarly Resources, and Overseas Missions Opportunities

Sola Scriptura | Reformation Christian Ministries



Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 5 — Civil Government

Section 7: Militia; standing military; Military subordinate to civil power

A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, nat­ural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear suitable weapons for that purpose shall not be infringed. A standing military secures the right of the people with respect to foreign enemies. In both instances, the militia and standing military are subject to civil control.

The reference to a militia is intended to designate a local military presence which is not a full-time occupa­tion. A standing army by contrast is the equivalent of a professional military body. In both instances, the mili­tia and the army are subordinate to civil power. There is a discussion over the lawfulness of a standing mili­tary. One view holds that a standing military is a lawful means to secure the rights of the people. The other view holds that a standing military is a prohibited means to secure the rights of the people, a militia being the appropriate means alone. I Samuel 8:11-12 and Deuteronomy 17:16 are cited in support of the latter. See also, Article 2, Section 11 for a discussion of the right of self-defense in the context of personal protection.


Section 8: Oath; Religious Test

All officers, representatives or civil servants of the people holding public office shall be bound by oath or affirmation before God to support this Declaration; but no religious test requiring any man to profess, renounce or affirm religious belief shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.

This section affirms that oaths are necessary to secure the administration of civil government, but notes that a man's religious belief cannot be compelled or prohibited. If an officer does not believe in God, he can­not be compelled to do so, but he must take the oath nonetheless. He will be bound before God, because God holds him accountable, irrespective of what he may believe or not believe.

Reformation Christian Ministries - Reformed International College - Reformed Theological Seminary.