Two Roads Diverge   Leave a comment

Christian ethicists have debated long and hard whether it is ever legitimate for believers to defy the state. Usually, their argument against such action is based on Romans 13:1-7, which seems to encourage submission to the ruling authorities under all circumstances. Yet, Paul wrote that advice from prison, where he was being held for disobeying the authorities.

If anyone knew that the state could become evil, it was Paul who before he was a Christian had been given authority by the Temple officials to arrest Christians for the simple act of believing that Jesus Christ was God. Paul clearly did not follow his own instruction when it came to the government commanding him to do something contrary to God’s will. In practice, he appears to have followed the example of Peter and John in Acts 4:1-22:

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (v 19-20).

Christians are never given license to sin and we are not permitted to abandon the dictates of God in order to obey the orders of other human beings. Peter and John could have preserved their freedom and safety by obeying the Temple rulers, but they chose to obey the Great Commission instead (see Matthew 28:18-20).

In order to be faithful to God, they had to disobey the civil authorities. The trick here is knowing when we are obeying God or our fallen nature.

Posted April 14, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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