We believe that, because of the depravity of mankind, our gracious God has ordained kings, princes, and civil officers.1 He wants the world to be governed by laws and statutes,2 in order that the lawlessness of men be restrained and that everything be conducted among them in good order.3 For that purpose He has placed the sword in the hand of the government to punish wrongdoers and to protect those who do what is good (Rom 13:4). Their task of restraining and sustaining is not limited to the public order but includes the protection of the church and its ministry in order that *the kingdom of Christ may come, the Word of the gospel may be preached everywhere,4 and God may be honoured and served by everyone, as He requires in His Word.
Moreover, everyone – no matter of what quality, condition, or rank – ought to be subject to the civil officers, pay taxes, hold them in honour and respect, and obey them in all things5 which do not disagree with the Word of God.6 We ought to pray for them, that God may direct them in all their ways and
that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Tim 2:1, 2).
For that reason we condemn the Anabaptists and other rebellious people, and in general all those who reject the authorities and civil officers, subvert justice,7 introduce a communion of goods, and overturn the decency that God has established among men.