Is Clandestine Christianity OK?


#21

I’ve thought about this a LOT. Law abiding citizens of which government? Corrie and her sister (who was actually the one who said the Jews were under the table, not Corrie) were citizens of their own country (Holland, wasn’t it?) But who were the Nazis? What right had they to murder Dutch citizens or guests? WHICH government were the Ten Booms obligated to obey? Which had precedence? Or take the United States during the revolution. The Tories were loyal citizens of King George, but the Revolutionaries were loyal citizens of the new republic (soon to be the USA). Is the USA a legitimate government, seeing it took over forcibly from the Brits? Or for that matter, was the British govt legit either, seeing they ousted the Native Americans? As for Peter and Paul, their government (of Israel/Judea) was overcome first by the Greeks, who were then overcome by the Romans. What’s more, the Hebrews overcame the Canaanites (albeit in God’s behest according to the text). Which government has the right to rule, and what about that time in the cusp–while one is overthrowing the other?

I don’t think Paul said what he said about obeying the authorities for the same reasons we typically think he said it. I think this was purely logistical. Obey the authorities; they don’t carry the sword in vain. IOW, don’t make unnecessary waves; that will NOT end well for either you or the Kingdom. Submit, because that way you have a better chance of living a long and peaceable life.


#22

I’m with you there. I think it may have been to a certain group of people at a certain place and a certain time, and that we want to make it time / substance relative (did I say that right?) to today. I also think there are biblical topics that are predominantly time/culture/person specific, but have a transcending message that can be useful to later peoples/generations. I’m not sure this is one of them though!


#23

Render to ceasar that which is ceasar. Technically, there was no justification for America’s independence. We simply didn’t want to pay high taxes. Can you justify that Cindy?

Your post just agrees with my previous one. You raise so many dilemmas that you defaulted to my position… That each one must do what they feel is the right decision.


#24

For mine, if… “a young missionary couple moves to one of those Asian countries that is known for its opposition to Christianity” and is prepared to pay the potential penalty of punishment for knowingly flouting and thus not respecting local laws then that’s fine. I might however question any attempt at describing such retributions in terms of “persecution” or “attacks of the devil” etc and simply reframe it in terms of “stupidity” i.e., THEIRS.


#25

Gabe,

You’re right. Each person must do what the Holy Spirit leads them to do.

As for the USA, is it a legitimate government? It is as legitimate as any government run by human beings, because they ALL fall into the same category. For ALL of them, there was a time in which they began in revolution or in conquest of some kind. No exceptions. Perhaps in ancient history at the very beginning there are exceptions (though I doubt it), but there certainly are none today.

I think the “Render unto Caesar” statement may have had more than the obvious meaning. The money had Caesar’s picture on it. It came from Caesar and it was illegal (against Temple law) to have in the Temple complex–yet the religious leaders had no difficulty in producing a denarius at Jesus’s request. The Jewish leaders required all Roman money to be exchanged (at a high rate) for Temple currency, thus robbing the people who came there and had need to buy animals to sacrifice.

1.) He called them out on their hypocrisy in disregarding their own regulations.
2.) He pointed out that the things that belong to the world are NOT the things God wants to be given. God doesn’t accept unwilling gifts–debts paid grudgingly and out of obligation. It is the heart that matters to Him. Though a gift of money hallowed by a loving heart is accepted, a payment of funds as a transaction and an obligation is not.
3.) He foiled the Jews’ plot to implicate Him on the one hand, before the Roman overlords who kept a very high profile and large presence of arms in the Temple, and on the other hand, before the people, who hated them and hated the taxes. He also, imo, made a profound statement concerning the kind of offerings that God finds acceptable.

Note: He did not feel it necessary to “out” Himself before the Romans by saying the taxes were wrong no matter the consequences. He was wise and wiley and circumspect. He also did not come out in favor of the taxes before His Hebrew listeners. He addressed the question from a completely different direction and made a trap into a teaching opportunity.


#26

Perhaps, when there was no conflict with their ministries. In the case of Peter and John there was such a conflict, and they chose to disobey the authorities and to obey God: