Spheres of Govt

Most people think of the state when the subject of government arises. However, from a biblical perspective of government there are many forms of government. The state is just one form of government from a biblical perspective and its role is quite limited. When there are many forms of government jurisdictions political power is broken up into different spheres of jurisdiction. This prevents the accumulation of too much power in one jurisdiction, such as the civil government.

The most basic form of government jurisdiction is self-government. If individuals are self-governing the power of the civil government remains small since one of its reasons for existence is to provide civil justice and order. If people are behaving themselves and living under the biblical ethics provided by God in the bible, there is little reason for a large civil government to maintain order and justice.

Other levels of jurisdiction or sphere governments break up the coercive use of power by the civil government. This helps to prevent a large amount of governmental power accumulating in a coercive state that will seek to maintain order through force.

For further reading on this topic one can refer to this writing by Abraham Kuyper in which he discusses a biblical perspective of the role of government.


What are the political and social implications of the gospel?


In Our Program, Abraham Kuyper presents a Christian alternative to the secular politics of his day. At that time, the church and state were closely tied, with one usually controlling the other. But Kuyper's political framework showed how the church and state could engage with each other while remaining separate. His insights, though specific to his time and place, remain highly relevant to Christians involved in the political sphere today.


This new translation of Our Program, created in partnership with the Kuyper Translation Society and the Acton Institute, is part of a major series of new translations of Kuyper's most important writings. The Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology marks a historic moment in Kuyper studies, aimed at deepening and enriching the church's development of public theology.