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A discourse concerning unlimited submission and non-resistance to the higher powers: with some reflections on the resistance made to King Charles I. and on the anniversary of his death: in which the mysterious doctrine of that prince's saintship and ma

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Jonathan Mayhew's "Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission" has long been recognized as "the morning gun of the Revolution." Mayhew first presented this sermon on January 30th, 1750, the 101st anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In this sermon, Rev. Mayhew explained that Romans 13 does not require Christians to submit to tyranny and that, in fact, the Bible clearl Jonathan Mayhew's "Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission" has long been recognized as "the morning gun of the Revolution." Mayhew first presented this sermon on January 30th, 1750, the 101st anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In this sermon, Rev. Mayhew explained that Romans 13 does not require Christians to submit to tyranny and that, in fact, the Bible clearly places a duty upon Christians to resist tyrannical rulers. This widely read sermon was the source of the popular claim that "rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," and it set the stage for the American colonies to resist the British Parliament's unlawful encroachments upon their liberties.


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Jonathan Mayhew's "Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission" has long been recognized as "the morning gun of the Revolution." Mayhew first presented this sermon on January 30th, 1750, the 101st anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In this sermon, Rev. Mayhew explained that Romans 13 does not require Christians to submit to tyranny and that, in fact, the Bible clearl Jonathan Mayhew's "Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission" has long been recognized as "the morning gun of the Revolution." Mayhew first presented this sermon on January 30th, 1750, the 101st anniversary of the execution of Charles I. In this sermon, Rev. Mayhew explained that Romans 13 does not require Christians to submit to tyranny and that, in fact, the Bible clearly places a duty upon Christians to resist tyrannical rulers. This widely read sermon was the source of the popular claim that "rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," and it set the stage for the American colonies to resist the British Parliament's unlawful encroachments upon their liberties.

21 review for A discourse concerning unlimited submission and non-resistance to the higher powers: with some reflections on the resistance made to King Charles I. and on the anniversary of his death: in which the mysterious doctrine of that prince's saintship and ma

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    As I read this it seemed like Mayhew cleverly came up with a way to circumvent Romans 13 and justify the American Revolution by saying that Christians only have to submit to governing authorities when they govern for our good. So I went back and did more research on him and below are some additional things I came up with. Here are a couple of significant quotes about Jonathan Mayhew: 1) “ The beginnings of the rise of theological liberalism can be seen in the position of Jonathan Mayhew of the Wes As I read this it seemed like Mayhew cleverly came up with a way to circumvent Romans 13 and justify the American Revolution by saying that Christians only have to submit to governing authorities when they govern for our good. So I went back and did more research on him and below are some additional things I came up with. Here are a couple of significant quotes about Jonathan Mayhew: 1) “ The beginnings of the rise of theological liberalism can be seen in the position of Jonathan Mayhew of the West Church in Boston who applied rationalism to theology …” (C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History, p. 35). 2) “A more rationalistic party of Congregationalists, joined in spirit by latitudinarian Anglicans, found in Enlightenment trends from Europe an antidote to what they considered the overheated supernaturalism of the revivals. Led by Boston ministers including Jonathan Mayhew and Charles Chauncy, these rationalists were ‘liberal’ in their notions of Christianity but ‘conservative’ in their disdain for the intemperate enthusiasms of the common people. The course they chose led eventually to Unitarianism.” (Mark Noll, A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, p. 98). In other words, Mayhew was a “liberal” theologian who later became a Unitarian and denied Jesus’ deity. “Jonathan Mayhew of Boston expounded Romans 13 to defend the people’s right to revolt when their rulers did not govern for their good.” (Mark Noll, Christians in the American Revolution, p. 49) “Jonathan Mayhew, who had himself renounced the particular theology of the Awakening, displayed a rhetorical style that was as ‘evangelistic’ in the service of liberty as Whitefield’s was in the service of the gospel.” (Mark Noll, Christians in the American Revolution, p. 63) “Mayhew, a Locke imitator, cleverly devised a way to make what men feel appear to be rational.” (Gregg Frazer, God Against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy’s Case Against the American Revolution, p. 42) “Because their teachings are diametrically opposed, Paul cannot be right if Locke and Mayhew are right, and Locke’s reason must be determined to be superior to revelation from God if he and Mayhew are right.” (Frazer p. 43) “Micklejohn turns to the ultimate example: Jesus Himself. Referring to John 19:10–11, Micklejohn notes that Jesus, “when Pilate was boasting of that power he had over him, . . . puts him in mind from whence he had received his authority; and gives him this mild and instructive answer, Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” Keeping in mind that Pilate was a governor representing a militaristic, pagan empire that had conquered Israel, Micklejohn says: ‘Here we learn from the mouth of our Redeemer himself, whence is derived that dignity and sacredness, which belongs to those who are invested with any public power and office.’” (Frazer, p. 46). “Chandler is also one of several who notes that Nero was the Roman emperor at the time that Paul wrote the command to the Romans that “every soul” be in subjection to the governing authorities. According to Chandler: “No tyrant was ever more despotic and cruel, than Nero, and no Court ever more corrupted than his; and yet to the government of this cruel and despotic tyrant, and his corrupt ministry, peaceable submission was enjoined by an Apostle, who had due regard for the rights and liberties of mankind.” (Frazer p. 48) “Man’s view of what constitutes his good may differ significantly from God’s view. Paul does not say that magistrates govern for the good of the subject as approved of by the subject, just that they govern for the good of the subject from God’s perfect perspective. For example, God may determine that an individual may have to fight a battle with cancer for his or her ultimate good, but virtually no one would view it as good in the midst of the fight.” (Frazer 49-50) Mayhew “puts into the hands of the subject a power that God never gives him. The critical question is, who gets to judge whether a magistrate is legitimate or not? The subtle textual change allows for the idea that the people are the proper judges. The actual text makes God the judge. If the people are the proper judges, then rebellion may be an option. If God is the proper judge, then only He may remove a magistrate by extralegal or nonlegal means.” (Frazer 50) Mayhew “again begs the question: who decides? And on what basis? Does God give men the right to decide whether or not to be subject to authority on the basis of “natural and civil right”? If so, where does God give that right? Who has the right to determine the legality or illegality of taxes—private individuals or magistrates raised to office by the rules of the political system? Who has the right to determine what is “due” to government—individuals or the body endowed with the legislative power?” (50-51) Here are several links in approximate order of value regarding this issue: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/... http://reformedbaptist.blogspot.com/2... https://www.beliefnet.com/news/2003/0... https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-l... https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/... https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006... https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/bl... https://christianhistoryinstitute.org... https://www.beliefnet.com/news/2003/0... https://www.compellingtruth.org/Ameri... http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp... https://www.debate.org/opinions/was-t... https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/fir... Articles on Civil Disobedience: https://www.puritanboard.com/data/att... Articles on Just War: https://www.equip.org/articles/just-w... https://www.galaxie.com/article/jmat0... https://www.gty.org/library/questions... https://www.tvcresources.net/resource... https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/cgi... article=1010&context=social_encounters https://intervarsity.org/news/just-war http://www.leaderu.com/humanities/dem... http://www.godandscience.org/apologet... https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series...? Helpful Books: Gregg Singer - A Theological Interpretation of American History Mark Noll - Christians in the American Revolution Gregg Frazer - God Against the Revolution Thomas Kidd - God of Liberty James Byrd - Sacred Scripture, Sacred War

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Schuschu

    Annoying in that he didn’t think that tyrants existed, interesting in that he starts talking about wondering about who was more wrong in the English Civil War era.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emi

    In this discourse, which was also delivered as a sermon in 1750, Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766; he coined the phrase "No taxation without representation") responds to the widespread concern that revolution is unbiblical and that people should submit to any authority figures as ones ordained by God. He does so by an expository analysis of Chapter 13 of the Letter to the Romans. This publication turns out very persuasive, easing the conscience of the colonial people at the time to move them in support In this discourse, which was also delivered as a sermon in 1750, Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766; he coined the phrase "No taxation without representation") responds to the widespread concern that revolution is unbiblical and that people should submit to any authority figures as ones ordained by God. He does so by an expository analysis of Chapter 13 of the Letter to the Romans. This publication turns out very persuasive, easing the conscience of the colonial people at the time to move them in support of the American Revolution, thus not only freeing their minds from conventional interpretation of the biblical text but also playing a minor role in liberating them from the British government. As you read, you may notice the influence of John Locke from 60 years prior (although not yet published in the US) -- particularly echoing the right to revolution delineated in Locke's Two Treatises of Government: “whenever the Legislators endeavor ... to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge, which God hath provided for all Men, against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.” Such are the ideas Mayhew sheds light upon, from the perspective of the Bible, turning what had become a crutch and stumbling block into the staff of Moses that pours forth water. Note: Jonathan Mayer to which Goodreads is linked is NOT the author of this book. The book was part of my son's required reading, along with Locke's Second Treatise, for an 8th grade accelerated US history class.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eli

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lvautier

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter LeDuc

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brad Hart

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erick

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cami

  12. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather Gray

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth James

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anita

  16. 5 out of 5

    Briana

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Mangen

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pickerl

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Park

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