“God punishes wicked subjects by wicked rulers”

“God punishes wicked subjects by wicked rulers” October 17, 2016

Luther did not actually say the words attributed to him, that he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian (HT: Carl Vehse).  Though we might wish a wise Turk were running.  All we seem to be getting are foolish Turks.

But here is a political observation that Luther did say, from Treatise on the Ban (1520) paragraph 16:   “God punishes wicked subjects by wicked rulers.”

I quoted this in a previous post, but it’s worth thinking about and discussing for its own sake.  So, assuming that Luther is right and that both of the candidates have their own kind of “wickedness” (keeping in mind that maybe they don’t or will be changed), what did we do to deserve whichever candidate wins the presidency?

I’ll start with some reflections about how God punishes societies after the jump.

How can we say that God is punishing America for our overall approval of abortion, gay marriage, sexual immorality, etc., etc., by giving us a ruler who would just give us more of the same?

Read Romans 1:18-32.  It describes how, because human beings “suppress the truth” because of their unrighteousness, choosing idols over the true God, He “gave them up” to “the lusts of their hearts.”  This manifests itself in everything from homosexuality to false tolerance.  The point is, God punishes evildoers, in part, by letting them do what they want.  And while this no doubt sounds like great news to sinners, in reality, sin unrestrained grows into a kind of Hell on earth.

We don’t want the restrictions of family life?  OK, see what your life and society as a whole are like without strong families. You want untrammeled sexual freedom?  OK, see what does to your sex objects, to you, your relationships, and to the culture.

We don’t want to learn, so a ruler who presides over the further replacement of education with political propaganda will give us what we deserve, so we’ll see what ignorance does to us and to our country.  We want the government to solve all of our problems, so we might get a ruler who seizes enough power to do that.  But that power will come at the expense of our own, and a ruler with that much power can only be a tyrant.

These are general observations.  Notice that Luther’s principle does not necessarily help us determine whom to vote for.

Given that the public chose these candidates in the primaries, these are the candidates that best met the public’s desires.  I do acknowledge that many of their supporters had good motives for choosing and still supporting them.  But what sinful desires might have also been in play with each candidate?  How might each candidate, in his or her own different way, end up punishing us wicked subjects?


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