Biblical Anarchy   23 comments

LELA: Becky Akers is kindly continuing her conversation with me about anarchy. Last week, we ended with me asking a question –

How can anarchy be consistent with Christianity when Romans 13-:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 say Christians are to obey government authority?

BECKY: Lela, a Christian whose family abused her throughout her childhood recently wrote me that she’s heard plenty of sermons about honoring parents but seldom if ever one on Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath…”

We can draw a multitude of analogies between abusive parents and the abusive State, but I’ll concentrate on the selective quoting of Scripture my friend raises.

For centuries, Christians have justified their silence toward or even enthusiastic cooperation with the State’s evil by citing Romans 13 (which begins, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God…”). If that doesn’t cow their siblings in Christ into kissing the government’s butt, they add I Peter 2:13-17 (“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors…”).

So exclusively do Christians rely on these two passages that we might assume the Bible otherwise ignores both the State and believers’ proper response to it.

LELA: So you’re saying there is another side to the story? Scripture is often balanced, in my experience. What’s the full Biblical message?

BECKY: Actually, I’m not so sure it’s balanced in this case! Far from condoning or even approving the State, God’s Word is rife with warnings against political government and its evil, descriptions of the Lord’s disgust with each, advice on mitigating their harm, and our duty to eschew violence, including that which the State sanctions.

So, just as my friend longs to hear a sermon on Ephesians 6:4, I’m craving one on Judges 9. This “Parable of the Trees” is the Bible’s first allegorical story; as such, you’d think it would merit close attention. Yet most Christians have neither heard of nor read this cautionary tale against the State. In it, one of Gideon’s sons compares government to the worthless bramble when the trees decide they want a king (i.e., a government. Monarchy was the usual if not the only form the State assumed then).

LELA – So, Gideon, it’s the time of the Judges. The Judges were wise guides as God spoke through them, not leaders or rulers. People were organized in family and tribal units. That sounds like de facto anarchy. So tell the story.

BECKY – The trees approach the olive, the fig and the grapevine in turn, asking each to rule them. And all three respond that they are too busy with productive pursuits, with providing oil, fruit, and wine, to waste their time. But the bramble, which infests fields and crops and is fit only for destruction, not only eagerly accepts the invitation to rule, it also immediately threatens the trees first with dominance and then with violence: “If in truth you anoint me as king over you, then come and take shelter in my shade,” – note that most trees weaken and die in shade –“But if not, let fire come out of the bramble 
and devour the cedars of Lebanon!”

LELA – I’ve read that passage and never actually saw the meaning though it is plain.

BECKY: And quite an expose of government! Shouldn’t Bible-believing Christians, preachers and scholars avidly heed this parable?

LELA – We should take the entire Bible into context with itself and not ignore those passages we disagree with.

BECKY – Indeed! Another passage I’ve never heard expounded from the pulpit comes from I Samuel 8. Here, God admonishes the Israelites about the greedy tyranny of human government: “[A king] will take your sons [for war]… He will take your daughters [to labor for him]… And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.” Today we call that “eminent domain” and “cronyism.” “He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage,”―would that it were only a tenth!―“and give it to his officers and servants. … you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves…”

I don’t read ancient Hebrew, but I daresay the word for “cry out” in the original does not mean, “Wildly cheer your fellow congregants who volunteer as killers for the armed forces while the pastor equates protecting your wealth from the IRS with cheating and lying.”

LELA: I take it to mean a speech.

BECKY:  There are scores, perhaps hundreds, of further passages. Some are as obvious as Psalm 2, when the Lord tells us He “laughs” and “holds in derision” the “kings of the earth … And the rulers” because they “take counsel together,
 against the Lord and against His Anointed…” Others are subtler. I Peter 4:15 says, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.” And what are the State’s primary occupations? Murder (though politicians call such slaughter “war”), theft (which they euphemize as “taxation”), and evildoing (just ask any victims of war or of the IRS). Meanwhile, bureaucrats do nothing but busy themselves in other people’s matters (OK, they also take very long breaks for coffee).

LELA – How else are they going to have the energy to meddle? So we’ve been talking about the Old Testament, but the two passages we’re discussing are New Testament. What did Jesus have to say about it?

BECKY: Many things. Let’s start with His direct order to His disciples not to “lord it over” their fellows, as the “Gentiles” do, nor to “exercise authority over them.” Yet throughout history, from Constantine to Jimmy Carter, politicians have called themselves Christians while deliberately flouting this behest. How many Christians today “lord it over” us as politicians, bureaucrats, cops or another of the State’s henchmen? Do these people think Christ was only kidding? Do we? If not, if you take Jesus’ words seriously, do you forbid your kids from watching movies or TV shows that glorify cops? Do you scotch any ambition they have of joining those gangs of official thugs? When a brother in the Lord says he’s thinking of hiring on with the TSA, do you tell him Christ forbids it?

LELA – In a town where active-duty military families are 15% of the population and 50% of the residents work for government in one capacity or another – not often, because those would be a lot of very uncomfortable conversations. Maybe more now that I have some passages to counter the standard ones.

BECKY: Lela, we could survey the Bible book by book for verses like these, whether it’s the Egyptian government’s utter wickedness in Genesis (and God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart for His purposes does not excuse that wickedness, any more than His using David’s adultery to write Psalm 51 condones the sin with Bathsheba) or the final triumph of Christ’s kingdom over the idolatrous usurpers here on earth in Revelation. But that requires two things: removing the biases and blinders that result from concentrating on Romans 13 and I Peter 2, and far more space than we have here!

Yet those passages in Romans and I Peter remain troubling, don’t they? They seem to defend, even advocate, the State; if in fact they do, they negate the other verses I’ve cited. Yet as sinners saved by faith alone in Christ’s blood alone through His grace alone, we know the Bible is Almighty God’s inspired Word. Therefore, it does not and cannot contradict itself.

LELA – So what gives? How do you reconcile that seeming contradiction?

BECKY: Alas, I see our time is up, Lela. May I answer that next week?

LELA:  You certainly may. Stay tuned for next week, folks! The topic will continue.

Posted February 17, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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23 responses to “Biblical Anarchy

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  1. Thank you for this dialogue; it’s wonderful and thought provoking. I hope and pray it gets a big audience. Regarding the Mark 10:35-45 passage you cite where Jesus speaks of those who “lord it over others;” would it be ok with Jesus if we voted for people who could “lord it over others” for us?

    Thanks again for this program. I’ll look forward to the next one.


  2. Becky, you did well be speaking to these Christians but it’s just futile. Most people, either Christian or Atheist, are such weak minded fools and so superstitious that they’ll come up with any pathetic excuse to justify their god called The State. You’re NOT going to get through these brainless maggots.


    • Hi, Mike–

      Readers who write me disagree with you. Many of them confess that they used to be card-carrying members of the Church of The State and that articles such as this one helped to open their eyes. And much of history negates your thesis as well: it is a graveyard of wrong, factually incorrect, outmoded and discarded opinions.

      Really, if we are to take so pessimistic a view of human nature as to assume we cannot dissuade folks from erroneous opinions, then why bother to communicate at all?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I said MOST. Not ALL. When I see MOST Christians stop pulling Romans 13 out of their behind while thinking that settles the argument then I’ll share your sentiment.

        “And much of history negates your thesis as well: it is a graveyard of wrong, factually incorrect, outmoded and discarded opinions.”

        The point is, people TREAT the government like it’s a god. Hell, most secularists do the same thing, only they just use other “arguments” to justify it. People have worshiped government as an institution for thousands of years and that is NOT going to change for most of them. Why? Most people just don’t THINK, period. They’re either too cowardly or just too lazy to bother.

        If it’s any conciliation though, I do think a lot of people like you, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, and company. It’s good to know there are a few people with a working brain out there. And BTW, Tom Woods is one of the most entertaining and brilliant scholars I’ve ever seen. If only most people were like him.


      • Mike, thank you for joining the conversation. If I may … I think I represent a lot of people who long for freedom, but who also have legitimate concerns that without government there will be chaos. I see in my own community (in the very live-and-let-live state of Alaska) where government is used by some people to tyrannize others, but I also see where neighbor conflict is mitigated by government and where needed services are provided by government that I am not at all certain would be provided in a voluntyrist society.

        Which is why I asked Becky to help me explore this topic, because my heart says there’s something worthwhile here. I struggle with accepting it totally. If I knew more, would I accept it more readily? Perhaps. And in going through this journey myself, perhaps I can also provide an opportunity for others to entertain the same thoughts and questions.

        So stick around. Convince me. Lela


      • @aurorawatcherak:

        “..without government there will be chaos.”

        I personally can’t think of anything government does right. It only seeks to make things worse. It also creates problems then turns around and creates “solutions” to the problems it created. And that makes sense. Think about prohibition for a minute. What did that accomplish? One thing: the creation of organized crime. Also did people stop drinking after it was implemented? Nope. Even the murder rate shot up like a rock during the 1920s.

        Same thing with this insane war on drugs. All it’s done is create a black market and created murder and mayhem. Sounds pretty chaotic to me.

        In the 20th century governments around the world murdered over 200 million people! I mean really. Do Christians really want to sanction this kind of institution? So many people say, “well, human nature, blah blah…”

        Ok, so to prevent crime we have to create the most evil and destructive institution in history that did what? Murder 200 million people in less than a century. Sounds insane to me. When you take human nature and then give them a MONOPOLY of power over millions of other people what do you think is going to happen? Also, what type of people do you think is going to be attracted to a “job” like that? It’s going to attract the WORST human beings. Why? Because they desire to CONTROL OTHERS. It’s the #1 best way on the planet for psychopaths to commit crimes and call it other things. Take a look here:

        If I kill someone it’s called murder. When politicians do it it’s called “foreign policy”.

        If I spied on my neighbor this is frowned and is illegal. When the government does it it’s called “national security”.

        If I put a gun to someone’s face and say, “Your money or your life” it’s called armed robbery. When the government does it it’s called “taxation”.

        Did you know that Congress can LEGALLY engage in insider trading while us peons would get arrested for it?

        I remember retired professor of history Ralph Raico once said in a lecture, “How much more empirical evidence do we need to see that government never stays limited?” He’s right. Why? Government is a MONOPOLY of power. Whose watching the watchers?

        Here are some easy to read books ebooks that you can read:

        Economics in one Lesson (as a starter)

        Click to access Economics%20in%20One%20Lesson_2.pdf

        For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (how civilization works without government)

        Click to access For%20a%20New%20Liberty%20The%20Libertarian%20Manifesto_3.pdf

        Education: Free and Compulsory (it’s sad that t
        his came from Christians)

        Click to access Education%20Free%20and%20Compulsory_3.pdf

        And there is a HUGE amount of material at that site. Free ebooks galore! All anyone needs is a mouse and a keyboard.


      • Thanks for the input, Mike.


      • “Thanks for the input, Mike.”

        You’re welcome. It’s been awhile since I bothered taking the time to post other than to mock idiots. Reason? Most of the time no one bothers to read any of the links or question anything (pathetic). See, I think THE most important thing a person can do in life is QUESTION. And I mean EVERYTHING! I don’t care how sacred someone thinks it is or how sure they are of it. Once a person stops questioning things that’s when they’ve stopped thinking and are then useless.

        BTW, this also means (listen up Christians) questioning your PERCEPTION of what you THINK the bible says. Been there, done that. I say this because every Christian seems to have their own interpretation and is always so sure of it. They’re sure “the Holy Spirit” is guiding them. They ALL think that, yet their views differ tremendously from one person to another. There are even some cultic nutcases in Christianity who think the Jesuits are some super power, secret organization who rule the world. That’s no better than saying Illuminati Jews run the world like the Nazis think. That is VERY paranoid thinking.

        Anyway, just read the links ASAP. Economics in One Lesson is a great book because it’s so easy to read and isn’t 1000 pages long.

        The foreign policy thing seems to be the biggest stumbling block most Christians have. So many of them think the Muslims “hate us for our freedoms”. Well, if that’s true then how come there were no attacks before WWII? How come Switzerland never gets attacked? Maybe it’s because their governments are not invading their countries, killing and torturing their families, overthrowing their governments and installing puppet governments. Ever seen Bin Laden’s list of grievances again the US? I don’t see “hating American freedoms” anywhere on the list.

        I remember Lew Rockwell once talking about what (the Shah) Reza Pahlavi (the US and UK installed him after overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953) did to Iranians who had “the nerve” to price their products above the market price (due to the stupid price controls at the time in Iran). Lew said that, “they would beat the soles of people’s feet off with bamboo staves, crippling them for life, for crime of changing a price”. Talk about barbaric!

        The coup was called “Operation Ajax” ( THIS is the reason they started calling the US “The Great Satan” after The Shah was overthrown on the 11th of February, 1979.

        Want some dynamite info on foreign policy? Check out Scott Horton’s Show here:

        And one more thing. NEVER listen to these maggot politicians. They’re the BIGGEST prostitutes on the planet. They’d sell their own family for a block of votes it they could get away with it.


      • I will look at the links, but I do have to respond to something you’ve said here.

        I am aware of the US involvement with the Shah and I think our government’s actions were deplorable, BUT ….

        I reject the notion that US civilians at the WTC and on the planes deserved to be killed for the “crime” of being American citizens because of past American involvement in activities like Operation Ajax.

        The vast majority of the US population in the 1950s had no idea what was happening in Iran and what they did know came through government reports. They were not responsible for what happened there. Yes, the government is us, but when the government gets so big and keeps secrets from us it has become some other entity that we the people do not control. Yes, we have a responsibility, now that we are aware, to dismantle the political infrastructure that allowed the government to do what it did in the past, but we are not guilty of what the government did without our knowledge or complicity.

        The vast majority of the people who died in the Twin Towers and on the airplanes were civilians who had NOTHING to do with anything in the Middle East beyond being citizens of the United States. I further reject the argument that because American investors are profiting from oil fields in the Middle East American civilians are somehow guilty and worth y of death. Those investments have brought much of the Middle East out of poverty and the rantings of men like bin Laden aside, that is a GOOD thing.

        We must recognize and educate the difference between economic activity and government activity. While no one is completely innocent in this world, the people who were killed at the WTC and on the planes were not guilty of what the government did in the Middle East. In other words, they were murdered for the crimes someone else committed, and that is never acceptable. It is no different than an American drone strike that kills Yemeni civilians.


      • “I reject the notion that US civilians at the WTC and on the planes deserved to be killed for the “crime” of being American citizens because of past American involvement in activities like Operation Ajax.”

        Sigh….I hope you’re not claiming that I said that the 3000 people “deserved it”? (how many times do I have to repeat this to people?). I’ve been accused of saying that SO many times over the last dozen+ years even though I’ve never said that. 14 years later I’m STILL getting accused of saying that. :/

        also, I’ve been accused of loving terrorists, hating America and so on. I still remember being told I should be shot in the head or executed as a traitor back in those days (by neocons of course) for opposing The Imperial City’s foreign policy. Lol. Meanwhile the Left thinks I want old people to die or starve to death because I don’t want the government taking care of everyone from cradle to grave.

        Here is what I often get accused of (VERY short list):

        *I must hate old people because I don’t believe in MM or SS or universal healthcare.
        *I must hate children because I don’t believe in public schools.
        *I must hate blacks (the usual tired race card crap) because I oppose the welfare state.
        *I must be anti-Semitic because I don’t see Israel as some kind of god (this one’s really funny since Mises and Rothbard, two JEWS, are my biggest influences in economics and foreign policy, among others).
        *I must hate women (the usual tired sexism card crap) because I oppose the statist ideas of feminism.
        *I must hate college students because I don’t think the federal government should be subsidizing their school tuition.

        The list is a LONG so I’ll stop there.

        It’s insane! Heck, depending on what we’re discussing I’ve been accused of “hating” just about everyone and everything. Instead of arguing the points it’s just the usual…”oh, you just hate [insert TV talking point here]”. Is it any wonder I’m so cynical?

        I remember something Frederick Bastiat once wrote:

        “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

        So exasperating! Anyway…

        “Yes, the government is us…”

        I never said that either and nor do I think the government is “us”. It’s just a gang of thieves writ large (tip hat to Murray Rothbard); a bunch of white collar criminals intent on using political power for their own gain. They don’t care one lick about the 3000 people that were murdered in the WTC towers as retaliation for the Imperial City on the Potomac’s foreign policy. In fact, I’d say they were ecstatic about it! It gave them the nation wide outrage they needed to feed their cronies in the military industrial complex with taxpayer money, invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the process destroying many American soldiers, Iraqi, and Afghan lives.

        So in closing I’ll say of course the 3000 victims of 9-11 didn’t deserve it (that’s completely asinine). But that’s not the same thing as saying that 9-11 was retaliation for the Us GOVERNMENT’S foreign policy. Imagine if China had their navy in the Gulf of Mexico or stated a coup and installed some puppet dictatorship in Washington DC? What do people think would happen? We’d just sit there and take it? I think we know the answer to that.


      • Thank you, Mike, for clearing that up. I was hoping you weren’t saying that either, but I’ve definitely heard that argument made by some — that the WTC victims, being Americans who worked for investment firms that were no doubt invested in Middle East oil, etc., were legitimate targets for terrorists and that Americans in general get what they deserve for allowing the government to do what it does. I’ve heard that argument from people who claim to be anarchists. Which is why I wanted to see your response.


      • You and I are not that far off, Mike. You’re certainly giving me topics to discuss with Becky.


      • “but I’ve definitely heard that argument made by some”

        So have I, which makes no sense at all. Before the internet most people had no idea what the US government was doing.

        “I’ve heard that argument from people who claim to be anarchists.”

        Yeah, there are some anarchists that are nutters, but not this one. 🙂 Just exasperated by all the government worship.

        “You and I are not that far off, Mike. You’re certainly giving me topics to discuss with Becky.”

        Good. So much the better.

        It wasn’t easy accepting that life can go on without overlords since I was brainwashed into thinking how much we need our overlords (we’re all taught this). If they’re so needed why do they feel the need to slam down our throats almost from birth about how much we need them. It kind of reminds me of a live from the movie “V for Vendetta” when the high chancellor Adam Sutler screamed to his minions, “I want everyone to remember why they need us!” That’s how they maintain their power and live the life of a legalized criminal. Why on Earth would God sanction that? That makes no sense at all. These people are just white collar criminals. Criminals that were smart enough to gain enough power to commit crimes without punishment (at least down here).

        Think about the market for a minute. Bill Gates can’t come to your door, point a gun in your face and demand you buy the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Now, try and tell the police why they have no right to smash down your door and point an M16 in your face (the militarization of the police is another point of disgust with me) because you didn’t pay your taxes. Steve Jobs couldn’t stick a gun in your face and force you to buy an iPhone. He had to PERSUADE others. Kind of a big difference isn’t it?

        Remember what I said earlier. When I steal it’s called theft. When the government does it it’s called taxation. Heck, in the bible you have Christ sitting with sinners. Now why are tax collectors associated with sinners in the bible? Kind of obvious isn’t it? Because the tax collector makes a living off of STEALING other people’s income. With the government it’s always a “do as I say, not as I do” type of deal. How hypocritical can they get? This is so obvious but most people just don’t see it because “it’s always been that way”.

        You know how mankind practiced chattel slavery for dozens of centuries? I bet people in 500 BC couldn’t possibly imagine how they could thrive without it. No one probably could. Well look what happened. We got rid of it, replaced it with a free market and BOOM! Human beings have become so prosperous (even though government keeps trying to strangle it with a metal cord) that we now live better than KINGS. At one time even the king had to poop in a bucket or something. He had no electricity, running water, washing machines, refrigerators, insulation, sanitation, much less cars, planes, and computers. I can even talk to someone on the other side of the planet in mere seconds now!

        We DON’T need these parasites! All they do is steal your income and redistribute it to their cronies. Have they EVER done differently? No. Never. Ever read Mein Kampf? I can’t tell you how many times Hitler says, “the state”. He’s OBSESSED with it. Why? Because it allows him to force everyone else to follow his will, as if he’s God himself. And Democracy? What a joke (heck, even Hitler used that process to get into power)! All you get to choose form is Tweedledee and Tweedledum every election cycle. Crony candidate #1, or crony candidate #2. Republican vs. Democrat? Ha! That’s like asking me which side of my head do I want to get shot on? What’s the difference? At LEAST the Democrats don’t pretend to be for “small government” or “free markets”. At least they admit they want government to grow. Oh, and for our “benefit” of course. LOL! Right.

        Have you seen the HUGE bodyguard Obama has with him everywhere he goes? I doubt even Hitler or Stalin had that much protection! And those guys made SO MANY enemies because of their cruelty.

        Why do we listen to these losers? They’re such losers that they can’t go get a real job and do something productive with their lives instead of living off the backs of us peons. And they LIE…..ENDLESSLY! Do people really want to give these people this kind of power? Seriously. I still am blown away by this: $3.1 trillion in “taxes” (stolen money) ends up in The imperial City. TRILLION!! It’s hard to even fathom that kind of money. Can you imagine what kind of perverse incentive this creates when someone or someones can just take this much from millions of people every single year? Politicians have NO incentive whatsoever to spend it wisely. Why? It’s not their money! This is just human nature and nothing is going to change that. This isn’t hard.

        Ok, anyway enough for now. See you later.


  3. The government in the USA is as the Constitution defines it. It’s powers are limited and spelled out specifically. To the extent that the government exceeds those powers it is not to be submitted to. Undeclared wars are unconstitutional and thus illegal. Money created by a central bank and not backed by gold or silver is the means by which these unending wars are financed and welfare is freely given. Unconstitutional. As a believer in Christ I do not submit to unconstitutional gov’t. When was the last time you witnessed the US gov’t as a ‘minister of righteousness’? Let them submit to the law which created them and I will then submit to them as my conscience either affirms or denies the dictates to be submitted to.


  4. Thank you Becky and Lela for speaking out on this subject. As trust and confidence in government falls, more people will be converted to this biblical view. Two more passages from the Gospels; 1)Matt4 8-10. Again the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:“And saith unto Him, All these will I give Thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship Me.“Then saith Jesus unto him, Away with you, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” All the kingdoms of the world serve Satan, Jesus serves His Father only.2)John18:36 Iesus answered, My kingdome is not of this world: if my kingdome were of this world, then would my seruants fight, that I should not be deliuered to the Iewes: but now is my kingdome not from hence.(KJV 1611) Even if one believes that Jesus will one day rule all the kingdoms of the world, that day is not now.


  5. The Harvest is Ripe. Please keep thrusting in that sickle.

    Ray Anderson


  6. Great talk guys!

    I just talked about Romans 13:1-4 last night during our Bible Class. I laid stress on the fact that Christians are not to blindly obey government (i. e. the state) no matter what. For example, if the government forbade us from worshipping or praying to God, Christians would not be required to obey it.

    In fact, there are several examples of God’s people defying (not obeying the laws of the government – the midwives in Exodus 1, the three Hebrews boys in Daniel 3, Daniel in Daniel 6.

    In short, blind obedience to government is not something God requires.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lela, I found your blog when Becky shared the first installation of your conversation on I have considered myself an anarcho-capitalist for several years, and I believe the teachings of Christ are wholly consistent with that philosophy. My husband and I moved to Alaska in 2012, partly to distance ourselves from the long arm of the State, so I am thrilled to see you sharing this message!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WRT Romans 13 (which begins, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God…”)

    When interpreting Paul’s epistles for application, very few Christians understand that they must be interpreted in the context of the particular historical era in which they were written. The message may be timeless, but it is misunderstood if the reader fails to grasp its historical context.

    When I hear a Christian speak of Romans 13 (“blah, blah Romans 13 blah, blah”), I have found it useful to ask them who was emperor of Rome at the time Paul wrote those words.

    Very few can answer the question. I then remind them that they have specifically made reference to the epistle to the Romans, and ask whether they would agree that the incumbent Roman emperor be relevant to understanding the verse.

    It’s pretty clear that Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans in the mid to late 50s AD. In all likelihood, Nero was emperor at the time. He would have been in his late teens or early twenties, having been established as emperor after his mother poisoned Claudius when he was 17. I remind them that Nero was so evil that he later murdered his own mother to secure his political career. During his reign, Nero launched the first systematic persecution of Christians in Rome. Many ancient writers stated that Nero killed both Peter and Paul.

    So, when Paul was writing about “governing authorities”, he certainly wasn’t making any implication that secular authorities are inherently worthy of love or the presumption of godliness.

    When understood with this context, it is abundantly clear that Romans 13 is pragmatic advice for Christians to avoid unnecessary trouble with the governing authorities. It is a reiteration of the exortation in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”


  9. shared


  10. Pingback: Biblical Anarchy 2 | aurorawatcherak

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