US Mennonite Brethren

One Family. One Lord. One Mission

Article 12: Society and State

The State as Instituted by God

We believe that God instituted the state to promote the well-being of all people. Christians cooperate with others in society to defend the weak, care for the poor, and promote justice, righteousness and truth. Believers witness against corruption, discrimination and injustice, exercise social responsibility, pay taxes, and obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God.

God has given governments authority to maintain law and order and to punish wrongdoers. Followers of Christ respect and pray for those in authority so that peaceful order may prevail. We deplore the loss of life in the exercise of state-sanctioned violence.

Christian Allegiance in Society

The primary allegiance of all Christians is to Christ’s kingdom, not the state or society. Because their citizenship is in heaven, Christians are called to resist the idolatrous temptation to give to the state the devotion that is owed to God. As ambassadors for Christ, Christians act as agents of reconciliation, and seek the well-being of all peoples.

Because Christ forbids the swearing of oaths, we simply affirm the truth in legal transactions. Believers do not participate in secret societies which demand the swearing of oaths or which otherwise conflict with a Christian’s allegiance to Christ and the church.


Exodus 20:13, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Psalm 82:3-4; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 3:17-18; Daniel 4:17; Matthew 5:13-16, 33-37; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 17:24-27; Matthew 22:17-21; John 15:19; John 17:14-18; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; I Corinthians 5:9-13; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 3:20; I Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; James 5:12; I Peter 2:13-17.

 

Article 12: Society and State

The State as Instituted by God

We believe that God instituted the state to promote the well-being of all people. Christians cooperate with others in society to defend the weak, care for the poor, and promote justice, righteousness and truth. Believers witness against corruption, discrimination and injustice, exercise social responsibility, pay taxes, and obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God.

God has given governments authority to maintain law and order and to punish wrongdoers. Followers of Christ respect and pray for those in authority so that peaceful order may prevail. We deplore the loss of life in the exercise of state-sanctioned violence.

Christian Allegiance in Society

The primary allegiance of all Christians is to Christ’s kingdom, not the state or society. Because their citizenship is in heaven, Christians are called to resist the idolatrous temptation to give to the state the devotion that is owed to God. As ambassadors for Christ, Christians act as agents of reconciliation, and seek the well-being of all peoples.

Because Christ forbids the swearing of oaths, we simply affirm the truth in legal transactions. Believers do not participate in secret societies which demand the swearing of oaths or which otherwise conflict with a Christian’s allegiance to Christ and the church.


Exodus 20:13, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Psalm 82:3-4; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 3:17-18; Daniel 4:17; Matthew 5:13-16, 33-37; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 17:24-27; Matthew 22:17-21; John 15:19; John 17:14-18; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; I Corinthians 5:9-13; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 3:20; I Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; James 5:12; I Peter 2:13-17.