| Submission to Government|
In church we were discussing Romans 13, 1 Timothy 2, and 1 Peter 2. All of these were dealing with Christians and the government.
Several days ago I was reading and responding to posts concerning a topic similar to this. So I wanted to go to the scriptures and see what it says. It seems to me that Christians are not supposed to be rabble-rousers, rebellious, but submissive to governing authorities, praying for those in leadership, while attempting to lead a quiet life with dignity and godliness.
OF COURSE we ought to be obedient to God. I would never advocate total obedience to the government even when the authorities are commanding us to sin against the Lord or violate the conscience that God gave us.
The issue that arose in Sunday School was this: I stated that we needed to submit to our governing authorities, regardless over whether we agree with everything they say or not so long as we are in obedience to the Lord--that means paying taxes, not overthrowing the government, not disobeying laws we disagree with without any biblical reason, etc. The specific example I used was that if they made owning a gun illegal tomorrow, then I would, as a Christian, need to surrender mine.
I was then accused of taking verses out of context, to which I replied "Then what DO these verses mean?" And that is one of my questions to you guys. What DO these verse actually mean? I have looked up on the internet and in one camp all these guys break down the Greek and make those verses say "Submit to the government, so long as God already approves of what it is doing." The other camp makes these verses say "Submit to every ordinance of the government, regardless of what they say/do." I say that you submit to the government as long as you don't have to sin. And if you can vote, try to vote for what is good and right.
We are going to have to resolve this next class period. So I am hoping that I can get enough counselors in here so that I can gain wisdom. If I am wrong, then I am wrong and I will walk in there without a stitch of pride and say I was. However, my understanding is this: the general response of Christians, especially here in the south is rooted more in dominion theology than in the truth of God's word. Yes, we were/are blessed to live in a country where we have so many wonderful freedoms, but I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it commands me to rebel against the government if the government does not give us those freedoms or takes them away.
| 2013/10/9 13:59||Profile|
Monroe, LA - USA
| Re: Submission to Government|
Act 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Act 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Act 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
Act 5:27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
Act 5:28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
Act 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
| 2013/10/9 16:41||Profile|
| 2013/10/9 16:48|
| Re: Submission to Government|
Havok, you have the balance brother. If the government ever tell you not to speak about Jesus, ignore that. If it is a matter of guns or health care, obey that. Seems simple enough. It did make me smile though when you said you were going to have to settle that in your next study :) Let me know how that goes. Your touching on the golden calf brother, watch yourself :) .............bro Frank
| 2013/10/9 16:52|
| Re: |
This raises a very interesting question for your Sunday School class. I think it would be interesting to see Americans views alongside British and Canadians may have their own interesting perspectives as well.
The question then is this -
Do you (generic you - I mean anyone) hold that the US War of Independence was then an unjust war and done in clear violation of God's Word in the Romans 13:3 ?
Was the Declaration of Independence conceived in rebellion to God and the Revolutionary War and subsequent US Constitution then based upon raw rebellion to God and His ordained authority?
Were the founders of the Republic also engaging in an "evil work" in your (anyones) opinion?
On the surface it seems that however a person views one might be how they have to view the other if it happens in our day.
After all ... when it is said and done the US War for Independence from Britain was fought over taxes. It was a tax revolt pure and simple. The British politicians believed that the colonists should foot part of the costs for garrisoning the troops there to protect them. These British troops were in the colonies at the colonists request. When asked to pay part of the cost of their expenses by a small set of very modest taxes the colonists revolted. British powers responded with force to "enforce" the taxes ... each side amassed arms... shots were fired at Concord ... and the rest is history, as they say.
Would people today feeling they were having a similar taxation set on them without just representation in their minds be in the same position as the colonists?
The way they might feel this way was that approximately 70% of people informed the representatives that they did NOT want Obamacare put into place. The representatives rejected the majority desires of their constituents and voted to pass it anyway.
The Supreme Court later upheld it a "A TAX". As Congress has the power to tax/spend the Supreme Court held Obamacare as constitutional AS IT WAS A TAX PASSED BY CONGRESS. Those are the exact words of Chief Justice Roberts. It "IS A TAX". Many seem to now view that as taxation without representation (70% of the people rejected it yet their representatives impose a massive new tax on them anyway).
Were the colonists being ungodly? Is a person rebelling at what they believe to be unjust taxes being ungodly?
I would appreciate posters opinions as to whether they think the founders and colonists were in rebellion to God by engaging in The American Revolution.
They did so for a far, far, far less tax burden than is currently being imposed.
| 2013/10/9 17:14||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi Solomon, the answer to that question is not going to end well :) I have the distinct advantage of looking at it through Scottish eyes and American eyes, so a wee bit of an amalgam of the two, having left Scotland at the age of 24, lived in England for 2 years and now have lived in America for 23 years. When I went to Bible school, a very conservative Bible school, I asked that very question of a grumpy old prof who was teaching Romans. The class went quiet, remember, I am at school in the heartland, and the center of the Bible belt, he stared at me for about 4 seconds
(if looks could kill I would not be writing this now) and he said "no, now lets move on." The question, " Was the American war of independence a just war given what Romans 13 says.
Is it a helpful question nowadays to look back over hundreds of years and pass judgement? Yes and no. No obviously because it is done and past and it can never be changed. Yes in the sense if America is an idol to you, this question will deeply trouble you. And yes because if this country was born in rebellion against God's clearly stated word, then we know that God is not mocked, what a man or a country sows it shall also reap. If the seeds of rebellion against government and a deep hatred of taxes was planted deep in those days, then perhaps we are seeing the fruit of that rebellion and hatred play out right now before our very eyes in this government shutdown and this constant battle and obsession with taxes..........bro Frank
| 2013/10/9 17:56|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: Submission to Government|
I say that you submit to the government as long as you don't have to sin. And if you can vote, try to vote for what is good and right.
es, we were/are blessed to live in a country where we have so many wonderful freedoms, but I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it commands me to rebel against the government if the government does not give us those freedoms or takes them away.
I would agree with your statements about submitting to government but there is a deeper issue here concerning government that we need to consider. Democracy can only work as long as we deliberately choose God as our individual ruler and submit our rights and ourselves to Him; As Christians this should be our message and policy and the world should see and hear it.
I think it is interesting that you chose gun rights as an example. If such a law would be passed as to remove that right it would just be further advancing the trend of recent years for the government to step in and curb selfish tendencies. Because of the utter selfishness of men, our countrymen have insisted more and more on using their rights selfishly for their own purposes instead of living for God with concern for the needs of others. So, although the constitution doesn't give the government the right to step in and curb selfish tendencies, it has usurped the power to do so for what it calls "the common good." This is just another example of how government tries to treat the symptoms while ignoring the disease and it will ultimately lead to a totalitarian welfare state unless we turn to God.
| 2013/10/9 20:08||Profile|
| Re: |
What was the reason that you moved from Europe to America ?
| 2013/10/9 20:56||Profile|
| Re: The Deeper Issue|
I also think there is a deeper issue here for Christianity. If we moralize America to the point that the Law agrees exactly with Christianity, have we accomplished anything? Isn't our primary responsibility to preach the Gospel, not develop a moral society? Now, I am not saying we shouldn't vote or nothing like that.
Something I think is that America proves that even with a government that was founded on Christian principles--mankind is still so depraved that it will fall directly back into blatant rejection of the Lord, as America is doing now. Even with Christian men and freedom of religion and all of these wonderful other things, mankind still chooses wickedness. It proves Jeremiah 17:9 right--"The heart is deceitfully wicked and desperately sick. Who can know it?"
Does that make any sense?
Also, where did that quote come from at the bottom of your name!? I have never heard that before. I really liked it.
| 2013/10/9 21:23||Profile|
| Re: Submission to Government|
Good discussion, thanks all for sharing. I have had similar thoughts throughout my years as a Christian.
The priesthood of believers:
"But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY" (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
Our citizenship is in heaven:
"Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Pet. 2:11-12).
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21).
"Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king" (1 Pet. 2:13-17).
| 2013/10/9 22:26|