What is “Moral Government Theology?” | Jesse Morrell

Someone asked me on My Facebook what is “moral government theology?”

Moral Government Theology teaches that God has a moral government over mankind and in the universe. He has created us free moral agents and has given us a moral law. And His moral law has sanctions. Sinners are rebels against the moral government of God by their own free choice and consequently deserve the governmental punishment of hell for their crimes.

But God, as the Moral Governor of the Universe, offers us pardon. The reason He can offer us pardon without weakening or dishonoring His moral law is because He provided His own son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, providing a substitute for the penalty that we deserve. Now the penalty we deserve can be governmentally remitted by His grace and mercy, if we will but repent and believe the gospel. The atonement did not render God merciful but rather a merciful God made the atonement so that He could exercise His mercy without weakening His moral government in the universe.

The concept of “moral government” essentially gives a foundation or a framework for theology. It is a way of viewing God and understanding why He does what He does.

Essentially, every Christian believes that God has a moral government because every Christian believes in “sin” and “commandments.” In this way, the truth of God’s moral government is on every page of the Bible.

But “Moral Government Theology” as it is called has its roots in what was called “New School Theology” which really wasn’t all that “new” if you consider the teachings of the Early Church. It was also called “New England Theology,” “New Haven Theology,” “New School Presbyterianism,” etc. The “New School” was a reformation within Calvinism which rejected the idea of Adam’s guilt being imputed to the innocent and said that everyone is accountable for their own sins, rejected the idea of natural inability and taught that God has given us a free will, and rejected the doctrine of limited atonement and said that Jesus died for all men in a governmental atonement so that all men could be saved if they met the conditions.

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