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Ignorance of Our Nation   1 comment

What is the appropriate application of Romans 13 in a self-governed society?

When the American colonies revolted against King George, we were technically in violation of Romans 13. None of us alive today participated in that conflict, but we are the recipients of the liberty that was won through it. Our country was founded on the principle of civil disobedience in the face of tyranny, yet we who are the heirs of the liberty that was won in the conflict want to deny ourselves the option of using it now.

Why? Who are the civil authorities in the United States of America? Don’t we the people choose them and aren’t they supposed to represent us and our ideals, not their own interests? Yet when these “representatives” begin to usurp our authority and tell us how to live, we pull out Romans 13 like a magic shield that says we must submit to government in all guises — even to an illegitimate government that should not exist according to our founding documents.

We the people, including Christians, are the government of the United States. We are the sovereign authority of the nation — the king, if you will (though I think more regents of the True King, Jesus Christ). Read the Constitution and note the first sentence, if you doubt me. Moreover, the states are meant to direct the federal government, not the other way around.

This is a completely different situation from what Paul was writing to the Roman Christians who lived under a dictator. The emperor was THE higher power and as long as he ruled justly and did not command Christians to violate God’s law, Christians were bound to submit to him. They had no say because they chose to live in a society that did not permit mere citizens to have a say.

In the United States, however, we are a Constitutional Republic which was explicitly founded upon Biblical principles. Romans 13 cannot apply in exactly the same way as it did to the Roman Christians because the PEOPLE of the United States are THE higher power. We are supposed to be self-governed by God’s law, which means we are bound to disobey laws and statutes that interfere with our submission to the Creator. The Founders believed “There is no king but Jesus”. Any other attitude but this is nothing short of idolatry.

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