Once again, Gregg Frazer makes a very strong case from Sola Scriptura that rebellion against government is always wrong. This is King of Ireland's post to which he responds. And the following is what Dr. Frazer sent me through email:
There is far too much here for me to address everything, so I’ll have to respond to some of what I consider most important.
You ask from where I get the idea that people reject Christianity because of their sinful condition, but I told you where I get that idea: from the Bible. I quoted directly from John 3:18-19. If you don’t like my view, take it up with Jesus – He’s the one who said it; I merely quoted Him.
Of course, no one you encounter – whether here or on a foreign mission field – would recognize his/her own sin as that which causes him/her to reject Christianity, but that doesn’t change the reality. The issue is not what THEY think, but what God says.
As for your claim that you chose God, Romans 3:10-11 says that NO ONE does. Ephesians 2:1-9 is quite clear as to how someone is saved – and it’s God’s work, not ours. People will, of course, find that offensive – the Bible says they will.
If you think what I said about the two swords fulfilling prophecy is “nonsensical,” then, again, your beef is with Jesus. I merely repeated what He said in Luke 22:36-37.
As for the Judges 3 example, GOD may raise up a deliverer to accomplish His purposes – but the reason that the passage specifies that God raised him up and that the Spirit of the Lord was given to him is BECAUSE WITHOUT SPECIFIC REVELATION FROM GOD, what he did was wrong. It would be wrong for any person not specifically and specially “raised up by God.”
So, if you can point to revelation from God saying that He raised up George Washington and gave His Spirit to him, then I’ll agree that the American Revolution was a case in which it was right for someone to overthrow authority via rebellion.
The difference between the Declaration of Independence and Moses’ dealings with Pharaoh is found in one of your statements. You say that in both cases “people invoked the name of God to be relieved from the oppression of a tyrant” – but in Moses’ case he wasn’t simply “invoking” the name of God – HE HAD ACTUAL DIRECT REVELATION FROM GOD TELLING HIM TO DO WHAT HE DID. If I were to say: “in the name of the King of Ireland, I declare all rebellion to be unbiblical,” I’m invoking a name – but not legitimately! I have no instruction from you to do this – and you wouldn’t like it much, either. Neither does God like it when men make claims in His name that violate His clearly expressed Word.
God sometimes uses people to accomplish His ends, but often He does not. In the case of Moses, GOD sent the plagues which caused Pharaoh to let the people go – not Moses. Moses did not lead a revolutionary army. He spoke God’s words to Pharaoh and watched God work along with everyone else. Ultimately, he didn’t even disobey, but rather obeyed Pharaoh’s command to take the Israelites and leave (Exodus 12:31-32).
The fact that others (e.g. kings centuries ago) abused Scripture, misapplied it, and made false claims by interpreting it conveniently is not a valid reason for us to do the same today! According to your own testimony, you’re willing to reject what the Bible clearly teaches because some have used it to their own advantage. The fact that they’ve done so does not change what the Bible teaches!
You regularly use the term “legitimate authority,” but the Bible doesn’t use that term because ALL authority is legitimate. It would be like saying “canine dog.”
You want to know the difference between “disobedience” and “resistance.” To be in subjection/submission is to recognize the legitimacy of the authority over you – to recognize that they have rightful power over you to command you or make laws concerning you. To “disobey” is to refuse to comply with a particular law/command because it requires you to disobey God. To “resist” is to challenge the authority’s legitimacy, strike at it and attempt to deny and remove it.
Shadrach, Meschach, and Obednego “disobeyed,” but did not “resist.” They recognized the king’s authority and went into the fiery furnace – they didn’t fight back or organize a rebellion. Daniel disobeyed, but did not resist; he took the punishment and went into the lion’s den. To “resist” is to fight back – to deny the legitimacy of the authority.
When one disobeys a particular law but remains in subjection, one says that the law itself cannot be obeyed in contradiction to God’s command, but that the ruler (given authority by God) is not illegitimate and that his authority cannot be abrogated by making an unjust law.
You ask why, if disobedience is sometimes permitted, resistance is not also permitted. The answer is that God’s Word allows the one (under only one specific condition [Acts 5:29]), but explicitly disallows the other [Romans 13:2]. They are different things, so why should one necessitate the other?
As for the Jews under Hitler situation, I’ve addressed this numerous times, but I’ll try again:
Hitler had authority from God, as do all in authority. He sometimes used it for good (lowest crime rate in the world in 1930s) and often used it for great evil (massacring Jews and other well-known examples). ALL GOVERNMENTS DO THIS BECAUSE ALL ARE RUN BY FALLEN HUMAN BEINGS. The level of evil to which they rise varies, of course. The U.S. government today, for example, supports the murder of millions of unborn children and numerous other violations of God’s law. None of this makes the government illegitimate, removes its authority, or negates what Romans 13 clearly says.
[If governments that do evil are illegitmate, then there has never been a legitimate government in world history and Romans 13:1 is exactly the opposite of truth]
Believers living in Nazi Germany should do the same as believers living under any regime: submit to authority (without exception) and obey UNLESS/UNTIL the government asks you to disobey God. Then (and only then) you must disobey that particular law, but remain in subjection (as per Daniel, Shadrach et al, the apostles, etc.).
In the particular case: the government commands that you participate in murdering people – to remain obedient to God, you must disobey that command – but taking the next step to resistance and rebellion is not an option. You must remain in subjection (as per the believers to whom Paul was writing living under NERO!).
If you want to fight against the evil of Hitler, leave the country to get out from under his authority, become a U.S. citizen and return in war under the authority of the United States government.
Despite what you seem to suggest, war and revolution/rebellion are not synonymous! War is battle between two sovereign authorities. Revolution is attempted usurpation of authority by those UNDER an authority. You quote Ecclesiastes (and I, of course, agree with its truth 100%), but it does NOT say that there’s “a time for revolution.” You quote it accurately, but it is irrelevant to this discussion.
You ask how WE CAN KNOW when God is using a nation to judge another. The answer is that we can ONLY know WHEN HE TELLS US: I.E. THROUGH REVELATION (the Bible)! That’s where Peter went wrong at Jesus’ arrest – he THOUGHT he was defending the innocent against an evil aggressor, BUT HE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND GOD’S PLAN (and neither do we) – so HE FOUND HIMSELF FIGHTING AGAINST GOD’S PLAN and was rebuked. He didn’t get any “style points” for thinking he was doing the right thing, either.
You ask why not err on the side of what you perceive to be right. The answer is that we NEED NOT ERR AT ALL. All God asks of us is to obey His revealed Word. So, don’t resist authority and God handles the rest. God just wants us to be obedient to His commands – not to devise some clever plan of our own which violates His clear instruction.
I’m sure it seemed “nonsensical” to Gideon to go up against 135,000 Amalekites with just 300 men carrying pitchers and torches. But he just obeyed God and God took care of the sense of it (Judges 7-8).
I am not offended by your remarks – I’ve had worse said about me for standing up for what God’s Word says. If it is arrogant to present what the Word of God teaches as the truth – to take it seriously as it reads – then I’m guilty. But remember that I’m the one quoting Scripture just as it reads (Rom. 3; Rom. 13; John 3; Exodus 12, etc.). It’s always interesting to me that those of us who simply repeat what GOD says – word for word – are accused of arrogance; but those who devise their OWN system to work around it are, somehow, not arrogant.
I’m also not shocked that many people find what God says to be nonsensical – God said they would (I Corinthians 1:18-27, among other places).