A Cloud of Devils   1 comment

Since the 4th century AD, when the Roman emperor Theodosius adopted Christianity as the “official” state religion of the empire, Christians have been told to interpret Romans 13 as a justification for statism. The problem with that interpretation is that it contradicts large portions of the Jewish and Christian Testaments and our known history as a people of faith.

Examples of Biblical believers resisting “the state” abound.

  • The midwives of Goshon resisted the authorities by not reporting the birth of children to Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Moses’ parents resisted the rules of Egypt by refusing to kill their baby. His mother resisted the rule of Pharoah when she put him in the basket in the Nile. Read in a secular light, you could say the Jewish religion would never have come into being if not for several acts of civil disobedience.
  • Later, Shadrach, Meshach and Obendigo were thrown into a fiery furnace because they judged it better to obey God than the king who said they couldn’t worship God. Daniel ended up in the lion’s den for the same reason. Again, would Judaism have survived if not for civil disobedience?
  • Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple because the human rulers of the Temple had turned His Father’s house into a market place.
  • Peter and John were imprisoned for preaching in the Temple after being told to stop.
  • Paul was arrested several times for “fomenting discontent” when he preached around the Roman Empire. He was under house arrest for that crime when he wrote the letter to the Romans.
  • With the exception of John, all of Jesus’ original apostles died for their faith because they disobeyed the civil authorities when they were told to stop preaching about Jesus Christ. John was imprisoned for doing the same.
  • For the first three centuries after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christianity was an “outlaw” religion and from time to time, Christians were persecuted, arrested, imprisoned and killed for practicing their beliefs against the laws of the civil authorities.
  • Following the Council of Nicea, Christianity was no longer “outside the law”, but with the ascendency of the church at Rome and the conjoined nature of state-church, non-Catholic Christians (mostly anabaptists) continued to act “outside the law” to practice Biblical Christianity.
  • The alpine anabaptists, the Protestant reformers, the Puritans, the Quakers, and the English Baptists are all examples of Christians who stood against the civil authorities in order to practice their faith.
  • My great-great grandfather was a Methodist preacher and abolitionist who ferried runaway slaves north into Canada. He wasn’t alone in what he was doing.
  • Corrie ten Boom and her family helped Dutch Jews escape the Nazis because they felt that God required them to disobey the civil authorities.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Southern Baptist minister who led widespread protests against the civil authorities of his generation to demand the equal liberty of black people in the United States. In doing so, he violated the law, disobeyed the civil authorities and spent time in jail.
  • Muslim countries today make it illegal for a Muslim to become a Christian, often punishable by long prison sentences or death, and yet conversions happen every day.

Yet, almost every American Christian I know will point at Romans 13 and say “you cannot disobey the United States government.”

What is wrong with this picture? Is there a long line of people claiming to be godly who are actual devils or is our understanding of Romans 13 influenced by statists for their own purposes?

One response to “A Cloud of Devils

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  1. Reblogged this on aurorawatcherak and commented:

    And another.

    Like

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