Resistance to Tyranny




Historic Treatises 

The Westminster Divines

Against Separation from Impure Civil Governments

That the Mere Will, Determination, Judgment or Saying So of Authorities is an Insufficient Ground of Faith & Obedience, & that Authorities are Never to Act or Require Something without a Naturally, Morally or Spiritually Sufficient Reason, & that Manifest to Consciences



The Best

Kayser, Phillip – Armed Resistance to Tyranny: The Biblical Mandate and Limits from the Life of David1995, 12 pages, outline notes 

This is the most Biblically detailed short exposition of lawful resistance to tyranny available




Murray, R.H, – The Political Consequences of the Reformation: Studies in Sixteenth Century Political Thought  1960

Ch. 5, ‘Calvin’s Disciples’, pp. 169-211

Murray surveys the history and main works of Calvin’s three main disciples on this topic: Beza, Hotman and Duplessis-Mornay.

Ch. 7, ‘British Speculators’, pp. 238-282

Bacon, Richard – The Reformed Doctrine of Resistance to Tyrants: Goliath’s Sword in Righteous Hands, HTML, 1998, 33 paragraphs

Excellent short introduction to the topic

ed. Clark, Stephen – ‘Rutherford & Armed Resistance’  (2005)  4 pp.

This is a summary of Samuel Rutherford’s doctrine of Armed Resistance as found in his Lex Rex.

Hausam, Mark – Against Cameronianism Part 1, Part 2, 2012, 28 & 18 paragraphs

Cameronianism teaches that if a civil government is not fully Christian then it does not have lawful authority from God.  The view came from the covenanter Richard Cameron in Scotland in the 1680’s and is currently held by Still Waters Revival as well as some other Reformed Presbyterians. 

McAnnally, Ryan – ‘Resistance & Romans 13 in Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex‘  in Scottish Journal of Theology, vol. 66, issue 2 (May, 2013), pp. 140-58  Abstract

Sommerville, J.P. – Protestant Resistance Theory, HTML, 16 paragraphs

This webpage gives historical sketches, pictures and excerpts of the development of English, French and Scottish resistance figures and theory  

Wikipedia – Monarchomachs, 7 paragraphs

“Monarchomach” comes from the Greek, meaning fighters of monarchy (kingly rule).  It was originally a pejorative term for reformed writers of the late-1500’s that advocated the Biblical doctrine of resistance to civil tyranny, including François Hotman (1524–1590), Théodore de Bèze (1519–1605), Simon Goulart (1543–1628), Nicolas Barnaud (1538–1604), Hubert Languet (1518–1581), Philippe de Mornay (1549–1623) and George Buchanan (1506–1582).  Wiki gives helpful background to the historical era.




Gardiner, Samuel, ed. – The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution: 1625-1660, HTML, 1906, 470 pages

This documentary history chronicles the thought and legal interpretations of the English puritan Long Parliament’s resistance to King Charles I, his trial and execution, the takeover by Oliver Cromwell and the subsequent restoration of Charles II.

 Mason, Roger – Knox: On Rebellion  Buy  (1994) 290 pp.

A collection and analysis of all of John Knox’s material on resistance to tyranny, including much selected from his complete writings that is not linked above (see Part II of the Table of Contents through Amazon’s “Look Inside” preview through the Buy link above)




Murray, R.H. – ‘General Works of Reference’  1960  1 p.  in The Political Consequences of the Reformation: Studies in Sixteenth Century Political Thought, p. 283



Examples of Godly Resistance 

Iraqi Christians Take up Arms to Defend Themselves from Muslims, 2014, CBS Video News clip, 2:38 min.




The Death Warrant of King Charles I of England

“At the High Court of Justice for the trying and judging of Charles Stuart, King of England, Jan. 29, Anno Domini 1648.

Whereas Charles Stuart, King of England, is, and standeth convicted, attainted, and condemned of high treason, and other high crimes; and sentence upon Saturday last was pronounced against him by this Court, to be put to death by the severing of his head from his body…”


Execution of Charles I




Related Pages

Civil Government


On the Ethics of Material Cooperation with, & Associations with Evil