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Whenever I talk about the wussification of many of today’s pastors and churches I am inevitably accused of violating a biblical principle that supposedly provides the blanket condemnation of Christian resistance to tyranny.
The assertion that Christians should simply lay down and comply with even the most ridiculous requirements of government is an old argument. It was thoroughly debated by America’s Christian founders when they took up arms to defend their declaration of independence in 1776 – and even before at Lexington and Concord when British troops tried to take away their guns.
Even though your screwball secular history professor told you otherwise the truth is – many of our founding fathers were biblical scholars – and they were well aware of Paul’s warning in Romans 13:1-7 – I’ll read it to you…
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
This passage of the Bible is misunderstood by the ignorant and abused by the progressives. However the bigger problem is the pastor who knows better but has been so wussified that he won’t stand for truth in fear of his denomination, church leadership structure or the people in his own church and community.
I believe we profoundly dishonor our heroic and inspired founders when we accuse them of disobeying Paul’s admonition and an even graver disservice to the Word of God when we read too much into seven verses in one book of the Bible to the exclusion of the complete context of its 66 books.
To me it’s clear Paul was teaching us not to overthrow government as an institution, because God ordained it. However, this passage in no way suggests that believers are simply to submit to unjust laws.
Look – that the founders were not anarchists was demonstrated by the speed with which they acted to form a new government in the very act of declaring their independence from a foreign power that had refused to negotiate further with them on their legitimate grievances. They recognized government was, in a fallen world, a necessary evil.
But the Bible is also packed full with acts of civil disobedience and deliverance from tyranny – so much so that they inspired not just the founders but men like Martin Luther King Jr.
I think of Pharaoh’s daughter and Moses’ mother in Exodus 2.
I think of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego in Daniel 3.
I think of Moses himself in Exodus 2 when he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave.
I think of Daniel praying in defiance of the king in Daniel 6.
How about Abraham, who mounted an army of several hundred men and took on four kings who had captured his nephew Lot. After they destroyed their kingdoms, Melchizedek, king of Salem threw a huge party for them in Genesis 14.
In Romans 13, Paul was not suggesting that any earthly kings or rulers have absolute authority and God’s blessing to torment their subjects, oppress God’s people, break covenants and, most importantly, ignore God’s laws.
Our founders believed – and I think they were right – that when King George broke his own laws, he was acting without authority. The same principle applies today to our own leaders when they break trust with the Constitution and God’s laws.