Friday, August 31, 2007

Romans 13 Means Christians Have to Obey Only Good Government?

For those Christians who want to weasel out of Romans 13's sometimes difficult command to live up to, they often claim Romans 13 means Christians have to obey only good government. The problem is Paul doesn't say this in Romans 13. And the leader whom Paul admonished believers to obey -- Nero -- was not a godly leader and did not have a "good" government. He was an unelected tyrant who never sought sought consent to rule over believers. If Nero's government qualified as "good," that's a pretty low standard for tyrannical leaders to meet.

Plain and simple, the Bible tells believers, in no uncertain terms, to obey government as it commands children to obey their parents. The Bible doesn't say children obey only "good" parents. And indeed, for over fifteen hundred years after Christ that's the exact analogy Christians literally interpreting their Bibles would use to describe the proper relationship between man and government: Men have no more rightful control over who their civil leaders are than children do over who their parents are.

The notion of republican self-government is extra-biblical. It's not necessarily inconsistent with the Bible, but it certainly does not derive from the good book. Republican self government, especially the metaphysical justifications for such, derives from the Enlightenment. It is an a-biblical, not necessarily an anti-biblical concept.

6 comments:

Our Founding Truth said...

Romans 13
3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4For he is the minister of God to thee for good.>>

Rulers in this case is the govt. correct? God says this ruler is the minister of God, correct?

Only good govt. is ordained by God, that evil govt. is ordained by God is not possible, though all power is ultimately from God. This is all common sense. Most all the heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews rebelled against authority, they are exalted because what they rebelled against was contrary to the Law of Nature.

Founding Father James Otis (a leader of the Sons of Liberty and the mentor of Samuel Adams) in a 1766 work argued that the only king who had any Divine right was God Himself; beyond that, God had ordained power to rest with the people:

Has it [government] any solid foundation? any chief cornerstone. . . ? I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of God, the Author of Nature whose laws never vary. . . . Government. . . . is by no means an arbitrary thing depending merely on compact or human will for its existence. . . . The power of God Almighty is the only power that can properly and strictly be called supreme and absolute. In the order of nature immediately under Him comes the power of a simple democracy, or the power of the whole over the whole. . . . [God is] the only monarch in the universe who has a clear and indisputable right to absolute power because He is the only one who is omniscient as well as omnipotent. . . . The sum of my argument is that civil government is of God, that the administrators of it were originally the whole people.
James Otis, The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved (Boston: J. Williams 1766), pp. 11, 12, 13, 98.

Rebellion against corrupt govt was approved by the framers as well:

[T]here was no anarchy. . . . [T]he people of the North American union, and of its constituent States, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.
John Quincy Adams, An Address Delivered at the Request of the Committee of Arrangements for the Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821 upon the Occasion of Reading The Declaration of Independence (Cambridge: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1821), p. 28.

Samuel Adams affirms rights of our once Christian nation in his writing the DOI is based on:

The Rights of the Colonists as Christians. These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.
Samuel Adams, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, William V. Wells, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865), Vol. I, p. 504.

Does God not allow self defense? Common sense.

God allows man justifiably to take human life on three occasions.

The first occasion is for the cause of civil justice (e.g., Deuteronomy 19:11-13, Numbers 35:16-27, 2 Samuel 4:11, etc.). The shedding of blood in such cases is not the shedding of innocent blood. The second justifiable cause is general military conflict (e.g., Numbers 32:27, 2 Chronicles 32:8, 1 Samuel 4:1). The third cause is in defense of one’s life, family, or property (e.g., Nehemiah 4:13-14 & 20-21, Zechariah 9:8, 2 Samuel 10:12). In these three situations, the taking of life is not viewed by God as the shedding of innocent blood.
http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=128

Plain and simple, the Bible tells believers, in no uncertain terms, to obey government as it commands children to obey their parents. The Bible doesn't say children obey only "good" parents.>>

Incorrect. Jon, trust in Jesus, he will show you the truth.

Children, obey your parents?
Both father and mother; (See Gill on Ephesians 6:1).

in all things;
not in things sinful, which are contrary to the law of God, and Gospel of Christ; in things repugnant to the duties of religion, the ordinances of the Gospel, and the doctrines of Christ, parents are to be neglected and disobeyed. God is to be regarded, and not men; but in all things good and lawful, and in all things that are of an indifferent nature, which may, or may not be done, in these things the will of earthly parents is to be attended to; of which there is a considerable instance in the Rechabites, see (Jeremiah 35:6-10) and even they are to be obeyed in things that are hard and difficult to be complied with, and which are disagreeable to flesh and blood, as the cases of Isaac and Jephthah's daughter show.

Ephesians 6
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

it should be "in the Lord"; which may be considered either as a limitation of the obedience, that it should be in things that are agreeable to the mind and will of the Lord; or as an argument to it, because it is the command of the Lord, and is wellpleasing in his sight, and makes for his glory, and therefore should be done for his sake:

for this is right;
it appears to be right by the light of nature, by which the very Heathens have taught it; and it is equitable from reason that so it should be; and it is just by the law of God, which commands nothing but what is holy, just, and good.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/GillsExpositionoftheBible/gil.cgi?book=eph&chapter=6&verse=1







The Bible doesn't say children obey only "good" parents.>>

Jonathan said...

I think a logical place to draw the line for both rules -- obeying parents and obeying govt. rulers -- is the Bible commands you to obey both until their commands force a believer to sin. Otherwise, parents & rulers can seem crappy or otherwise tyrannical; but up until they command the believer to sin, the believer must obey.

Anonymous said...

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Our Founding Truth said...

Jonathan said...
I think a logical place to draw the line for both rules -- obeying parents and obeying govt. rulers -- is the Bible commands you to obey both until their commands force a believer to sin. Otherwise, parents & rulers can seem crappy or otherwise tyrannical; but up until they command the believer to sin, the believer must obey.>>

That all sounds nice, but unfortunately, it isn't in the Bible, which means it's wrong:

Acts 5:28-29
28Saying, 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.

29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Anything that is contrary to the Bible and Reason should be rejected, and not adhered to because:

James 4:17 (King James Version)
17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Jonathan said...

Nowhere does the Bible say believers have to obey "good" government, and the government Paul told believers to obey was not "good."

Our Founding Truth said...

Nowhere does the Bible say believers have to obey "good" government,>>

Actually, yes, it does say that, as well as the entire Bible.

4For he is the minister of God to thee for good.>>

This ordains only a government for good.

and the government Paul told believers to obey was not "good.">>

Read verse four above. Paul said only obey government for good.

Any action contrary ordained by govt which violates: James 4:17 (King James Version)
17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

is not to be obeyed witnessed by Peter in Acts 5:28-29:
28Saying, 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.

29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

The Bible is filled with over throwing wicked government. You cannot escape it.

This is the sum of the matter.