The vast majority of our readers (although from our web stats we know we have a not inconsiderable number of international readers) are Americans. And I am an American. So, this is going to be written from an American perspective, but (obviously) I think it holds true regardless of your nationality. We know that the Founding Fathers of the United States were overwhelmingly Christian and got a lot of ideas that went into the Constitution from the Bible. And we know that most Americans consider America to be a nation Created and Blessed by God. Of course, our government has largely abandoned the principles of the Founders and laid upon the populace abuses worse than anything Mad King George imagined in his fevered nightmares. There have been debates for years over whether or not the usurpations of the British Government over the American’s rights were sufficient Biblical justification for the Americans to throw off the British government and establish our own. And we know that Ben Franklin famously said when asked of what kind of government the Constitution created, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” And that John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” We also know that in Romans chapter 13 the Apostle Paul tells us that human governments are ordained by God.
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
And keep in mind, that Paul was writing this at a time when the Roman government considered Christianity to be a cult that should be exterminated from the earth. So, I think that it is safe to conclude that while the Constitution was written to secure the blessings of liberty, the form of the United States Government is not the only government that God could possibly ordain. And in fact, one could argue that the communist Chinese government is ordained of God, as loathsome as most Americans and Westerners would find it to live under that kind of regime. We must understand, then, that a Libertarian-style government is not guaranteed us. And a government that has some measure of democracy is not guaranteed us.
We will continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty that the Founding Fathers attempted to bestow us as long as we honor God of our own free will, and it is not certain that we can hold that line for much longer. I’m not even sure that we can make the case that we have held that line to this point. The US government routinely violates its own founding documents (How does having to go through a metal detector to appear in court for a summons jibe with the 4th Amendment guarantee against searches without probable cause? Appearing for Jury Duty is probable cause for a search?)
The nature of the question is that, politically, it seems that our best case scenario for the United States is a peaceful separation of the political left and right. There seems to be no common ground in the US anymore. The government is hopelessly gridlocked with a budget not being passed in years. As I see it, there are 3 options for the United States:
- Revival. The country returns to God and quits trying to destroy Christian culture and values in the country
- Peaceful separation. California secedes and we send them on their merry way and build a wall across the border so that their poisonous ways cease to affect the rest of us
- A second civil war. Which seems more and more inevitable with every passing day.
I fear that our only hope to avoid bloodshed is for God to intervene mightily on our behalf. But even if He does, I don’t know if it’s too late for our form of government to survive.
What did Alaska and Hawai’i do to deserve being on the other side of the wall? (Hawai’i, okay, sure, but Alaska!?)
The author’s contention that God has ordained evil governments is false, according to Paul’s complete description. Note, doing ‘right’ in Romans 13 may, in fact, violate government edicts.
Chuck Baldwin ( https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/511/Romans-Chapter-13.aspx ) has a very clear treatise on Romans 13, which clears up many, many misunderstandings about ‘governing authorities,’ that while human, aren’t necessarily secular, especially when they do not follow God’s ordinances. To believe otherwise is to agree that God ordained the killing of over 53 MILLION infants via abortion, ordained government malfeasance that cause various disasters from Texas City, Texas, in the 40’s where over 600 people died, to SCOTUS decisions that the government cannot be sued (taken to mean, ‘the king can do no wrong’ that is extrapolated to immunity for crimes against the population that are prosecuted if the population commits them against a government agent or entity, to the normalization of deviancy to the teaching of children in ‘public’ schools that the State is the highest authority, and is, in fact, over God’s law.
Evil governments are God ordained? God cannot commit sin. Evil governments, by their nature, are sinful. Communists are about the worst; many monarchies follow suit, as do fascists, socialists, etc.
As to ‘principles’ of government, the unanimous Declaration is the foundation of our Republic and provided the principles of ‘Life, Liberty, and Property, along with, ‘The pursuit of happiness’.
The Constitution once ratified, created the central federal government, not the other way around; therefore, the documents do not belong to the government; the government is a creature of, and subject to, the DoI and Constitution if it is, in fact, a moral and God ordained entity. Moreover, when government does not subject itself to the limitations of the Constitution and the principles in the DoI, it rebels against the lawful authority that created it, which is also the, ‘Supreme Law of the Land.’ Rebelling against that authority, by definition, makes the government an ‘evil actor’ whenever it violates the Supreme Law of the Land, and Christians are no longer bound to obey, just as a wife is no longer bound to submit to a husband that violates his Biblical instructions.
Consider Baldwin’s quote below:
“Do our Christian friends who use these verses to teach that we should not oppose….any…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.”
I would agree that Christians need some serious time on their knees asking God to send His Spirit to reverse the course the citizenry’s apathy (yes, Christians are included in that) that allowed this country to get to where it is today.
Under the premise of the way this post originates, option 3 would be sinning against God’s ordained authority, would it not?
Woah, calm down there cuz. Please be careful with the strawmen, as they are quite fragile. Let’s bring that big ol’ paragraph down into a few succinct points of what you are trying to really say. Then we can discuss it.
Oh, and just cause you slap Latin words together…doesn’t mean it was ever “law”…or, you know, even happened…
First, I am calm. 🙂 Second, that’s a quote from Baldwin. No strawman in my argument that Romans 13 doesn’t mean complete obedience to the civil government that may or may not have been ordained by God (which is the primary point the author made, is it not? My counter point is simply that God does not necessarily ‘ordain’ evil governments because he cannot sin; however, rightly or wrongly, I do believe that God allows evil governments to become established and even flourish, for reasons of His own.
For Romans 13 to be taken as a requirement for unconditional obedience to civil government is to demonstrate an incomplete understanding. Else we should have never conducted Nuremberg, because all that was done under the 3rd Reich, abominable though it was, was done in accordance with the law of a duly established and recognized government.
Happy to discuss, really.
Oh, and Baldwin’s example was simply that: An example employing a ‘What if?’ It’s irrelevant to the discussion if it, in fact, ever happened or was a custom or law. His point is valid.
Seems to be very different things we are reading then above. Mr. Avenger, as far as I can tell, is no where calling for complete subservience to the state. He reads the leaves, and predicts three outcomes. So…that is where I’m confused by your speech and links connection with what was written above…
If your point is: we shouldn’t be completely subservient to the State…I will be shocked if you get anything other than a head nod of agreement here.