Spiritual Discernment or Disobedience?   1 comment

When is it spiritual permissible for a Christian to disobey the law?

Let’s start with an understanding that the United States of America is different from ancient Israel. God established ancient Israel. He guided them through direct connection with their leaders — called judges. Ancient Israel was a theocracy. Even the king (given as a concession that God warned they would regret) was answerable to God.

We don’t live in the same situation. The United States was set up as a secular nation self-governed by the people, many of whom were Christians. They were expected to vote their consciences and thus there is ample evidence that the Christians were well-represented in the early years of the country. Individual Americans who are Christians are answerable to God. If we are working for the government or an elected official, we remain answerable to God and then to our employer. When our employer is at odds with God, we should obey God rather than man. Beyond that, however, there are many opportunities when Christians are faced with government regulations or laws that go against Christian principles and we cannot simply react to that. The Christian life is about being in the world, not of it.

So the questions arise — when can a Christian rightfully resist the authority of the government and in what ways?

Were the Christians of Nazi-era Europe obedient to God when they defied Hitler’s decrees and refused to turn their Jewish neighbors over the SS troops? It certainly appears they disobeyed Romans 13.

Andrew van der Bijl is a Christian minister who smuggled Bibles — thousands of Bibles — into Soviet-bloc countries through the mid-20th century. He violated the laws of those countries by doing so. Was he being disobedient to God when he did this?

Martin Luther King Jr. violated the laws of southern states by gathering with others to peacefully protest Jim Crow laws in those states. He spent time in jail for those crimes. Was he being disobedient to God? Were his actions a violation of Romans 13 or are we simply misunderstanding Romans 13?

How do we feel about these past examples of Christian civil disobedience? What do you think God has to say about them?

I do not believe God contradicts Himself. If we perceive a contradiction in His guidance, it is usually a sign that our fallen human nature is rearing its bent head. In light of Romans 13, were these Christians discerning or disobedient?

By the way, this an an interactive post.

What do YOU think? 

One response to “Spiritual Discernment or Disobedience?

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  1. Reblogged this on aurorawatcherak and commented:

    Another in the series. I should have labeled these in order, but I didn’t, so sorry if they seem to skip around.


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