Authority and Sovereignty

What follows are select extracts from Abraham Kuyper’s political party’s manifesto, Our Program, Article 2 on the subject of authority, with commentary.

We wholeheartedly confess what Jesus’ apostle has put on the lips of every Christian: namely, the governing authorities “that exist have been instituted by God”; or, to use the words of our Program: the source of sovereign authority does not reside in the law or the will of the people but in God.

Kuyper denies popular sovereignty. And rightly so. There is a profound difference between popular influence and popular sovereignty. You cannot have two sovereigns in any sphere. This is the same reason why you cannot have two sovereigns in the family. The king cannot be sovereign and the people at the same time. Popular sovereignty is simply direct disobedience to Romans 13. Kuyper knew this. Modern Democrats and demagogues wish to speak out of both sides of their mouth in trying to affirm that we can have both Romans 13 while still demanding that the king submits to us.

Many people who were children of the Enlightenment’s rejection of God (and a rejection of God’s political program) believed that freedom could only be secured if the people were king. After all, if the king must submit to the people, how can he abuse them and oppress them?