Home > Good Advice > What Is the State? – Dr. Hermann Sasse

What Is the State? – Dr. Hermann Sasse


The Caesar cult in its manifold forms, the deification of the state, is one great form of the defection from the [true] idea of the state. There are also other possibilities of such defection. The government can forget and neglect its tasks. When it no longer distinguishes between right and wrong, when its courts are no longer governed by the strict desire for justice, but by special interests, when government no longer has the courage to exercise its law, fails to exercise its duties, undermines its own legal order, when it weakens through its family law parental authority and the estate of marriage, then it ceases to be governing authority.

Raising such a question can lead to heavy conflicts of conscience. But it is fundamentally conceivable, and it has time and again become reality in history, that a governing authority has ceased to be governing authority. In such a case there may indeed exist a submission to a superior power [God]. But the duty of obedience against this [state] power no longer exists.

[Quoted by Pres. Matthew Harrison, Synod president responds to SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling]

Categories: Good Advice
  1. Mark
    July 17, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I read Eric Metaxas’ book, “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” and it strangely reminds me of the USA in the last seven years. The Nazi party put vise-like pressure on the German Church and polity to comply with its vision. Our current government, media, educational institutions, and entertainment industry have combined to put war-like pressure on American Christianity to conform and some churches, as they did under the Third Reich, have capitulated to the political zeitgeist; i.e., political correctness and diversity.

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