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Jurisdictional Authority

When God established the validity of certain organizational structures he did so by designating the jurisdictional authority for those organizations. For example, when God established the church and the state, he designated separate jurisdictional boundaries for each. The King or government ruler was not to infringe on the jurisdiction of the church and the church leaders were not to try and perform the functions designated to the state. Other jurisdictional governments God established were that of self government and the family. These different spheres of government had specific duties which the other spheres were to respect and not intervene. In this way God divided the responsibilities and authority of these various parts of the culture. The end-result was a more efficient form of levels of government. The power was also distributed so that a tyrannical leader would be less likely to rise to power. 

The Founders of America's government used this pattern of dispersed jurisdictional authority to establish of constitutional form of government. These ideas were brought into American culture primarily by the Puritans and Pilgrims who believed in a Reformed faith that was based the covenantal theology of the Calvinists. Further research can be pursued by reading The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World by Douglas F. Kelly.


The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World: The Influence of Calvin on Five Governments from the 16th Through 18th Centuries

The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World: The Influence of Calvin on Five Governments from the 16th Through 18th Centuries~ is a thoughtful challenge to conventional Enlightenment historiography. Kelly's book illustrates the influential Protestants roots of ordered liberty in the Western world, particularly in the United States today. The forgotten founding father of America was really John Calvin. Douglas Kelly illustrates how Calvin and Knox inspired the Protestant doctrine of interposition by the lesser magistrates and public officers against the usurpations of absolutists and despots in the higher echelons of power, and on behalf of the people. Some manner of institutionalized corporate resistance is vitally requisite to preserve any free constitution.

Douglas Kelly is not alone in his thesis. Also, respected historian Bernard Bailyn accounts for this covenantal influence in American political thought in his acclaimed book 'The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.' Bailyn illustrates the multi-faceted intellectual antecedents animating the American Cause of 1776, which includes the rich covenantal influence that saturated the American colonies. The American War for Independence was derided by its Tory detractors as a Presbyterian Parson's Rebellion and perhaps for good reason. The animating force behind the ideas fueling the colonial resistance was the ideas of John Calvin more so than John Locke. The American colonial charters preceded the birth of Enlightenment thinkers John Locke, John-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu by more than a century. It was an appeal to the customs and conventions of those charters, and their preservation, that compelled the colonial resistance led by James Otis and Samuel Adams to denounce the Tory oppression as unconstitutional.