A Lecture Series on John Calvin's Treatise on Government (Synopsis)

This is a three CD set, (7 messages) explaining John Calvin's Treatise on Civil Government written in 1550.   This treatise was the basis for the American colonist's understanding of government.   Included in this packet is a copy of Calvin's Treatise, lecture CDs, and a study guide.

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Preface to the Calvin Civil Government Study:

The cry of conservatives is that we need to get back to the Constitution.  Certainly this would be an improvement compared to our present, overreaching government; but is it the Constitution to which we need to return or the Biblical doctrines of government?  The Constitution of 1789 was tainted with the ideology of humanistic rationalism and may represent the first departure from the Protestant Christian view of government. 

The general public is unaware that our Constitution, rather than being the epitome of Christian virtue, may have been the one seed of our moral decline.   The Bill of Rights, being an incomplete, foundationless moral guide, has opened the door to an ungodly America, hardly different from the practices of the atheistic communist state. 

Nevertheless, in America’s early years we prospered as a nation because the populace held to Christian values and to Christian common law.   Now that America has embraced secularism, will a return to the Constitution alone give us the moral guidance needed to return America to her moral base?   Certainly not.  There were greater principles in America that preceded the Constitution and which caused the public to impose on the Constitution the Christian morality.   It is to these principles we must return. 

The Protestant Reformers and the early colonists established this land on a Biblical view of government and morality.  This radical Christian faith is seen in the documents of the early colonies. 

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut of 1639 reads:  “To maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also the discipline of the churches, which according to the truth of the said gospel is now practiced amongst us  . . . the Governor, shall have the power to administer justice according to the Laws here established, and for want thereof, according to the Rule of the Word of God.”  

The Delaware Constitution of 1776 reads: “Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust….shall….make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit:

 ‘I, ____________, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’"

   The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 reads: “No person shall be eligible for office [Governor], unless at the time of his election…he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion."  

America was founded by people who believed that the Bible, not man, was the law of the land, and that Christianity was the truth.  All other “isms” were false.   Today we are still reaping the blessings of this original belief in absolute truth.   But as time passed, men would not have this man, Jesus, rule over them. (Luke 19:14)   God and the Bible were gradually pushed out of society. 

This lecture series on John Calvin’s treatise, “On Civil Government,” is to help Christians learn the Biblical philosophy of government that has been long forgotten, overshadowed by American rationalism and ridiculed as being impractical and unjust.   The early colonist had a copy of the Bible,  Pilgrim’s Progress, and John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.  Apart from studying Calvin’s Institutes, one cannot understand the Christian mind of the colonists, nor will one understand the conflict between the Christian and secular visions for America. 

I trust this CD series will be a challenge and will propel the student into a whole new vista of Biblical understanding.


Pastor Bradford Winship

God and Country Radio