The Christian
and the Magistrate

Roles, Responsibilities, and Jurisdictions

by Pierre Viret

translated by R. A. Sheats

6x9 Softcover, 132 pages

ISBN: 978-1-938822-53-7



What is the Biblical definition of a civil magistrate? Should Christians be subject to them? Should civil governments be subject to God? Is physical resistance to authority ever justifiable? Under what circumstances? And what is a Christian's role with respect to the civil sphere?

16th century Swiss Reformer Pierre Viret once expressed his feelings of political turmoil: "By nature I have always loved peace, and was always horrified at all dissensions and troubles." Despite the man’s peace-loving nature, however, God chose to place Viret in some of the most politically tumultuous situations imaginable throughout his life. In these times Viret was compelled to search the Scriptures in an effort to instruct his congregations—as well as countless others asking his advice—on the Biblical definition and response to civil government, war, resistance against authorities, tyrants, and many other political matters. The writings contained in The Christian and the Magistrate are a collection of some of the applications Viret offered of the Biblical truths pertaining to magistrates and the Christian’s duty to them.


How Should Man be Governed?

Warning Against Insurrection and Rebellion

Christians the Best of Subjects

Honoring Those in Authority Over Us

The Ministry of the Magistrates

The Magistrate's Role Under God

Jurisdictions and Callings Ordained by God

Using the Magistrate for Good

When Can Christians Wage War?

True Obedience to Magistrates: Examples from Scripture

A Christian's Duty Under Ungodly Rulers



the Angel of the Reformation


Thou Shalt
Not Kill
A Plea for Life



Letters of Comfort
to the
Persecuted Church


Thou Shalt
Not Steal