What if the civil magistrate said no to wickedness. . .

Brothers, I hope you’ll permit me this brief advertisement…

Good Christian men today rightly bemoan the wicked decisions and actions of this generation’s civil magistrates as they continue to condemn the innocent and call evil good and good evil. But what should the civil magistrate do? How would the godly call him to that? And what would it cost?

Whether you’re a pastor, layman, governor, legislator, police officer, father, mother, or student, there’s something to challenge you in Patrick Johnston’s Revolt Trilogy. Published in 2011, I found it riveting, realistic, relevant—and helpful in thinking through these things.

Thinking the work needed broader circulation, I contacted the author and got permission to make and freely distribute an audio reading of book 1 of the trilogy, titled The Revolt of 2020.

So without further ado I’m pleased to present chapter 1 of The Revolt of 2020, audio edition, over here. You can download the mp3 individually there or subscribe to the RSS feed with your podcast software.

Lord willing I expect to begin posting more chapters after the first of the year on some kind of regular schedule.

If you only listen to one chapter, listen to this chapter 1. Watch out, it’s not an academic treatise! It’s about 30 minutes long. Let me know what you think.



I was inclined to stop listening after 2 minutes and finally quit at 28 minutes. With all due respect to Mr. Johnston, I found the writing painfully ham-fisted.

Dear Joseph,

You failed to mention the painfully poor production quality of the recording audio, which I neglected to warn about!

What I came away with personally after chapter 1 was, wow, a civil magistrate could actually do this: say “No killing of innocent babies shall be allowed within this jurisdiction” and make it so. What would it take to get there? In this series the rest of book 1 is how chapter 1 happened. And books 2 and 3 deal with when all hell breaks loose in response.

I think we’re good at telling the government what it does that is wicked, but bad (to the point of total neglect) at teaching the government what it should do. What prophet ever condemned the wrong without teaching the right? You can’t turn from something bad without knowing what you should turn to.

Maybe Johnston’s writing is sloppy (I know my reading is!), but I maintain that his work is useful in helping us wrestle through these things. For me I’ve found these issues an ongoing fog and paralysis, and Johnston’s work gives me footholds, places to argue, consider, rebut, and build my thinking. If there are other better resources for this purpose, by all means let’s use them too.

So, I hope you’ll continue to listen to 28 minutes each of the next chapters. :slight_smile: Every one of them is difficult and disturbing. But also helpful, I think.


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Thanks Daniel for taking steps in faith to bring a vision to our minds and imagination, of what it could look like to do this thing we are all talking about. I certainly don’t want to discourage those steps of faith by you or the author. They are flawed for sure, but I did find my imagination engaged. I thought as I was listening that this is written more like a script than a novel, which is why it is so challenging for a single reader to bring it to fullness. Some of the wording may be clumsy but those seem to be descriptive instances, and given the right visual context, the dialogue could be authentically portrayed. Anyways, that’s just the reactions of someone that left theater over 15 years ago, but was deeply involved for years before that.

“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

"For John had been saying to him [Herod], ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ " (Matthew 14:4).

“Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison” (Matthew 14:3).

“He sent and had John beheaded in the prison” (Matthew 14:10).

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