Monday, September 03, 2007

Romans 13 and the Razor's Edge


America's future hangs in the balance.
(Right-click the image at left and open the audio file in a new window to keep reading here while listening to the audio track.)
Recently, it has come to my attention that all over America, 26,000 pastors are being trained to tell their people to submit to martial law when (not if) it comes, using Romans 13 as the "justification". This is the same tactic that was used by Adolf Hitler. For the following reasons, I believe this is wrong from the perspective of God's Law.

The end goal is to wipe out all "fundamental" religions, and rebuild "Babylon", a one-world religious system with the "elite" as "lords of the planet" forever. To achieve this, they must destroy the middle class through taxation and the restriction of access to energy. Those who have understanding can see the similarities between Hitler's Third Reich and the NWO "Fourth Reich". Comparisons between Bush and Hitler are close to the mark, and this is why the Neocons' talking heads freak out when comparisons are made.

Romans 13 is mis-used to persuade Christians that they must submit to all authority, regardless of its conformity to God's law.

Quoting Romans 13:

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For 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: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."

I read Romans 13 and it is talking about God's laws, not man's laws.
By Greg A. Dixon

In recent years, Christians have interpreted Romans 13 as a command by God for unlimited submission to the governments of men. Many proponents of this belief have sat passively by, in the soft pews of their place of worship, while evil has triumphed in most areas of family and church life. In our pacifistic smugness, many have allowed government to become god without even knowing.

Yet, when confronted with the true meaning of Romans 13, absurd accusations are shouted in religious rhetoric toward those who would dare to break an unjust law or even to question the almighty government. The opponents of unlimited submission to government are deemed as rebellious, anarchist and disobedient. However, there is no practical, historical or biblical consistency in the shallow arguments of these simpletons.

A good case study in the heavy-handed tyrannical tactics and media mind-control methods used by the NWO and the mindless droids who serve them is found in

First, unlimited submission to government is not practical. For a philosophy to be a valid philosophy, it must be consistent. As a result, it does not make practical sense to blindly obey a tyrant like Adolph Hitler or deem a law such as abortion-on-demand a legitimate law just because one's government says it is public policy. (In other words, if the government "legalizes" the slaughter of unborn children, God's law still applies, and the Christian is not free to engage in infanticide). However, if Romans 13 teaches unlimited submission to government, then we must obey and acknowledge all laws, good and bad, as the will of God. If all governments are of God, then all laws are of God. This is not practical from any point of view.
Second, it is not historical. Our founding fathers recognized and understood tyranny and despotism. They perceived the ultimate end of the king's actions. Thus, they besought George III to relent in his persecutions and implored him to uphold his covenant agreement.

In July of 1774, our forefathers met in Fairfax County, Va., and considered ways of forcing Great Britain to redress American grievances. George Washington and George Mason were the instrumental agents in drafting what has come to be known as the "Fairfax Resolves."

Ponder for a moment Resolves five and six:

"Resolved that the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British Parliament, of making all such Laws as they think fit, to govern the people of these colonies, contrary to the first Principles of the Constitution, and the original Compacts by which we are dependent upon the British Crown and Government; but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people, and the natural Rights of Mankind; will render our own Legislatures merely nominal and nugatory, and is calculated to reduce us from a state of freedom and happiness to slavery and misery."

"Resolved that Taxation and Representation are in their nature inseparable; that the right of withholding, or of giving and granting their own money is the only effectual security to a free people, against the encroachments of Despotism and Tyranny; and that whenever they yield to one they fall prey to the other."

All of the Resolves are loaded with bullets that explode against a tyrannical and despotic government. The "shot that was heard around the world on Lexington green was loaded in the "Fairfax Resolves." How can one make that statement? After pleading with George III to uphold his covenant agreement and after seeking for a redress of grievances, the "coup de grace" is plainly stated in the 23rd Resolve:

"Resolved that it be recommended to the Deputies of the general Congress to draw up and transmit an humble and dutiful petition and remonstrance to his Majesty, asserting with decent firmness our just and constitutional Rights and Privileges, lamenting the fatal necessity of being compelled to enter into measures disgusting to his Majesty and his Parliament, or injurious to our fellow subjects in Great Britain; declaring the strongest terms of duty and affection to his Majesty's person, family and government, and our desire to continue our dependence upon Great Britain; and must humbly beseeching his Majesty, not to reduce his faithful subjects of America to a state of desperation, and to reflect, that from our Sovereign there can be but one appeal."

In simple terms, the Resolves offered George III two obvious choices. One was to fulfill his covenant obligations and be the king and ruler to the American Colonies that he had agreed to be or, second, to prepare for war. George III was asked to reflect upon the fact, that if he did not keep his end of the covenant, there could "be but one appeal."

Last --and most important -- it is not biblical. Daniel disobeyed Darius and went to the lions den. The three Hebrew children broke the law for not bowing. The parents hid baby Moses from Pharaoh. Rahab lied to protect the Hebrew spies. The Apostles went to prison for preaching Christ in the authority of Heaven. Paul and his followers in Acts 17 did contrary to all the decrees of Caesar in order to make Jesus the King. Even Jesus lived in direct opposition of the political religious leaders of his day and went to the cross for us.

Romans 13 is a treatise by Paul and the Apostles on the institution of model government. As we rightly divide the word of truth and take this passage in its total context, we will discover seven truths:
  • 1. Good government is ordained by God.
  • 2. Government officials are to be good ministers who represent God.
  • 3. We the people must obey good and godly laws.
  • 4. As we relate Romans 13 to America, our Constitution is the higher power -- not the IRS tax code.
  • 5. Good government is not to be feared.
  • 6. In America, we are to pay honor and custom and constitutional taxes to whom it is due.
  • 7. Government is to protect the righteous and punish the wicked.

Do our Christian friends who use Romans 13 to teach that we should not oppose President Bush or any other political leader really believe that civil magistrates have unlimited authority to do anything they want without opposition? I doubt whether they truly believe that.

For example, what if our President decided to resurrect the old monarchal custom of Jus Primae Noctis (Law of First Night)? That was the old medieval custom when the king claimed the right to sleep with a subject's bride on the first night of their marriage. Would our sincere Christian brethren sheepishly say, "Romans Chapter 13 says we must submit to the government"? I think not. And would any of us respect any man who would submit to such a law?

So, there are limits to authority. A father has authority in his home, but does this give him power to abuse his wife and children? Of course not. An employer has authority on the job, but does this give him power to control the private lives of his employees? No. A pastor has overseer authority in the church, but does this give him power to tell employers in his church how to run their businesses? Of course not. All human authority is limited in nature. No man has unlimited authority over the lives of other men. (Lordship and Sovereignty is the exclusive domain of Jesus Christ.)

By the same token, a civil magistrate has authority in civil matters, but his authority is limited and defined. Observe that Romans Chapter 13 clearly limits the authority of civil government by strictly defining its purpose: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil . . . For he is the minister of God to thee for good . . . for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

Notice that civil government must not be a "terror to good works." It has no power or authority to terrorize good works or good people. God never gave it that authority. And any government that oversteps that divine boundary has no divine authority or protection.

Civil government is a "minister of God to thee for good." It is a not a minister of God for evil. Civil magistrates have a divine duty to "execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." They have no authority to execute wrath upon him that doeth good. None. Zilch. Zero. And anyone who says they do is lying. So, even in the midst of telling Christians to submit to civil authority, Romans Chapter 13 limits the power and reach of civil authority.As a result, we have a practical, historical and biblical mandate to fervently disobey any unconstitutional laws and all government officials who cease to be good ministers of Jesus Christ. God almighty is the only power that deserves unlimited obedience.

Did Moses violate God's principle of submission to authority when he killed the Egyptian taskmaster in defense of his fellow Hebrew? Did Elijah violate God's principle of submission to authority when he openly challenged Ahab and Jezebel? Did David violate God's principle of submission to authority when he refused to surrender to Saul's troops? Did Daniel violate God's principle of submission to authority when he disobeyed the king's law to not pray audibly to God? Did the three Hebrew children violate God's principle of submission to authority when they refused to bow to the image of the state? Did John the Baptist violate God's principle of submission to authority when he publicly scolded King Herod for his infidelity? Did Simon Peter and the other Apostles violate God's principle of submission to authority when they refused to stop preaching on the streets of Jerusalem? Did Paul violate God's principle of submission to authority when he refused to obey those authorities who demanded that he abandon his missionary work? In fact, Paul spent almost as much time in jail as he did out of jail.

Remember that every apostle of Christ (except John) was killed by hostile civil authorities opposed to their endeavors. Christians throughout church history were imprisoned, tortured, or killed by civil authorities of all stripes for refusing to submit to their various laws and prohibitions. Did all of these Christian martyrs violate God's principle of submission to authority?

So, even the great prophets, apostles, and writers of the Bible (including the writer of Romans Chapter 13) understood that human authority – even civil authority – is limited.

Plus, Paul makes it clear that our submission to civil authority must be predicated on more than fear of governmental retaliation. Notice, he said, "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake." Meaning, our obedience to civil authority is more than just "because they said so." It is also a matter of conscience. This means we must think and reason for ourselves regarding the justness and rightness of our government's laws. Obedience is not automatic or robotic. It is a result of both rational deliberation and moral approbation.

Therefore, there are times when civil authority may need to be resisted. Either governmental abuse of power or the violation of conscience (or both) could precipitate civil disobedience. Of course, how and when we decide to resist civil authority is an entirely separate issue. And I will reserve that discussion for another time.

Beyond that, we in the United States of America do not live under a monarchy. We have no king. There is no single governing official in this country. America's "supreme Law" does not rest with any man or any group of men. America's "supreme Law" does not rest with the President, the Congress, or even the Supreme Court. In America, the U.S. Constitution is the "supreme Law of the Land." Under our laws, every governing official publicly promises to submit to the Constitution of the United States. Do readers understand the significance of this distinction? I hope so.

This means that in America the "higher powers" are not the men who occupy elected office, they are the tenets and principles set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Under our laws and form of government, it is the duty of every citizen, including our elected officials, to obey the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, this is how Romans Chapter 13 reads to Americans:

"Let every soul be subject unto the [U.S. Constitution.] For there is no [Constitution] but of God: the [Constitution] that be [is] ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the [Constitution], resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For [the Constitution is] not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the [Constitution]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For [the Constitution] is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for [the Constitution] beareth not the sword in vain: for [the Constitution] is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for [the Constitution is] God's minister, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."

Dear Christian friend, the above is exactly the proper understanding of our responsibility to civil authority in these United States, as per the teaching of Romans Chapter 13.

Furthermore, Christians, above all people, should desire that their elected representatives submit to the Constitution, because it is constitutional government that has done more to protect Christian liberty than any governing document ever devised by man. As I have noted before in this column, Biblical principles form the foundation of all three of America's founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.

As a result, Christians in America (for the most part) have not had to face the painful decision to "obey God rather than men" and defy their civil authorities.

The problem in America today is that we have allowed our political leaders to violate their oaths of office and to ignore, and blatantly disobey, the "supreme Law of the Land," the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, if we truly believe Romans Chapter 13, we will insist and demand that our civil magistrates submit to the U.S. Constitution.

Now, how many of us Christians are going to truly obey Romans Chapter 13?

1 comment:

T-bone said...

Hey good post. I would encourage you to check out Eph. 6:10- (also written by Paul)

Right up the alley of who we are NOT to obey.

Go in peacce.