Romans 13: does it call us to do whatever our governments tell us to?


#14

MCarans, you might enjoy the pdf book God vs. Evil, particularly Murray’s take on this question of Christians and government:

QUESTION 26: HOW DO WE TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAUL’S “PHILOSOPHY” AND PAUL’S “EPIPHANIES” ? (p. 282, emphases added) —

Jesus NEVER said ALL governments were ordained by God to execute the sword over evil doers or that government officials were ministers of God. And yet Paul said all these things in Romans 13:1-7. But, one could argue that this differed from Jesus’ view because in the wilderness temptations it is revealed that all the kingdoms of the worlds are in the power of Satan to give to whom he pleased (Luke 4:5-6). 1 John 5:19 confirms that the whole fallen world lies in the power of the evil one – Satan. Thus, one could make the Scriptural argument that earthly governments are unspiritual at best and demonically influenced at worst.

Yet, Paul had a higher view of government as a godly authority, or at least he did when he wrote the book of Romans. But let’s think about that for a moment. Paul was a Roman citizen, a status which gave him a lot of protection. Time and time again, Paul was protected from death at the hands of the Judaizers BECAUSE he was a Roman citizen. To Paul, the government he was exposed to offered him and his ministry a level of protection.

…The point is that what Paul said about government was HIS philosophy, HIS best Christian opinion, and HIS best advice to a young church in need of practical counsel. BUT, what Paul said about government was NOT his “third heaven” revelation. Paul’s “third heaven” revelations consisted of his transcendent epiphanies of the Lord’s “SUPERNATURAL GRACE” and the matchless “IN CHRIST” realities available to all believers.

…By the way, the Holy Ghost has definitely managed a few “technically illegal” jail breaks in his day, such as in Acts 5:19; 12:10; 16:26. If Paul’s Romans 13:2 propositions were universally true, then the apostles, who frequently escaped numerous lawful prisons, along with the Holy Ghost Himself, would ALL be guilty of “resisting the power and ordinance of God.” I wouldn’t like to be the officer who tries to serve THAT arrest warrant on the Holy Ghost. …

HFPZ, although the above excerpts from Murray could be used in defense of the American Revolution, I still think Christians, like non-Christians, have too much appetite for war and violence. There is confusion in distinguishing between Christianity and patriotism. And as I have argued before, we serve a nonviolent God.

The “quick fix” may not always address the underlying problem. Please see my discussion with Gabe on the rationalization of the use of “lesser evil” to combat “greater evil,” where I remind him that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood”:


#15

On the first part of what you quoted about authority, as I mentioned in the article “The problem is that Peter says something similar to Paul, but elaborates on authority in 1 Peter 2: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.””

The second part makes sense.


#16

That’s where the argument in the article about what submitting means comes in - submitting may not entail obeying - it might mean disobeying but taking the legal consequences (eg. being imprisoned).


#17

I added two more approaches people raised to the post.


#18

Well, then the vast majority of Christian churches, theologians and professional Christian philosophers - are missing the logic. But then again, they might be missing the Zombie Apocalypse logic…as the most probable, end times tribulation scenario.


#19

Again, Peter indicates that every human AUTHORITY is sent by God to "punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” This seems to be the way in which Paul and Peter DEFINE authority. If a so-called “authority” doesn’t punish wrongdoers and commend those who do right, then then are not true authorities.


#20

You see Don, semantic gymnastics will always have to be made when we take verses like these to mean governments for all time, Peter was talking about the same thing as Paul, both being the Romans there and then. So many will start to make adjustments like ‘well this government or ruler must not be from God or this can’t be a government God wants us to obey blah blah’ It is so obvious that the Romans were what was being talked about in those verses, and the Roman Power was the God ordained ‘authority’ and the Jews that did not listen to the Christ (have faith, believe) were going to be destroyed. :neutral_face:

Yes, we could also say that a vast majority also missed the logic during the reformation, the lemming way does have it’s problems. :wink:


#21

Chad - I’m concerned that you might be:


#22

Let’s add a video - for emphasize:


#23

It is interesting that no one seems to be able to offer any scriptural reference as to why my posts are not relative… Everyone wants to go with the status quo. Have at it.


#24

Chad - I respect your posts and find them interesting; you have a unique point of view.
I’ve posted scriptures that seem to me to be pointing to a continuation of God’s ways into the present age, and you were kind enough, in one or two of them, to call them ‘crap’. :slight_smile:
Well, we have sparred in a good-natured, but pointed, way before this.
Where we kinda lose touch is on the ‘that was them, this is us now’ dismissal of scriptures that take them out of the running, and as a result I cannot find where the continuity of Christ’s reign to the present day and forever actually IS in your line of thinking.
Or another way to put it - where are the scriptures backing up your position.
More important - what exactly IS the position you are taking? I’d love to be able to talk about it.
Peace bro.


#25

Tit for tat. You know my position. You are bailing on me bro…


#26

I agree, folks go with the status quo. I have great difficulty, in getting people - to buy my theory…that the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE…is the most probable, end times tribulation scenario.

Of course, with sola scriptural …we have everything from Christian Science to Swedenborg … and anything in-between.


#27

first of all, where were they?


#28

You are fun.:wink:


#29

Okay, to understand the responsibility of current Christians to follow current political leaders we should look at some scripture and facts:

Joh 1:16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Joh 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John. 1:17).
The Law contained a foretaste or a shadow of what was to come. The “real deal” fulfillment would come through Christ, but the Law gave us images and concepts to help us understand the spiritual reality that is ours in Christ. Things like the tabernacle, the priesthood, sacrifice, the temple, etc., all pointed to the coming everlasting world where righteousness dwells.
To fully understand prophecy and the nature of fulfillment, we must look at the difference between the Old and New covenants.
The many pairs of contrasting words – flesh and spirit, works and faith, earthly and heavenly – point to the differing natures of these covenants.
John writes in his gospel, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John. 1:17). Since it is clearly stated that Moses gave the law, and Christ gave truth, it is evident that two paradigms existed that are different by nature. This raises the question: What law is spoken of, and what is meant by truth? Responding to this question may not be as easy as we think. To define truth, for instance, it would be easy to go to John 17:17 and apply the statement of Christ,
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
While the word of God is truth, this is not “truth” being spoken of in John 1:17! The “word of God” contains the law, as Exodus 20:1 tells us: “And God spoke all these words….” There was nothing contained in the law devoid of divine revelation. Paul said, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). One cannot make truth in John 1:17 mean merely the word of God without making the law something other than the word of God. The law was not the truth given by Christ, nor was this truth the law, but both were the word of God. What, then, is the difference?
If we can understand what the law was, especially in this context, we will be in a better position to understand what truth is. The book of Hebrews is devoted mainly to describing the nature and purpose of the law system. Hebrews 10:1 says,
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things….
The law, to some extent, was a temporal system of services and ordinances that were shadows or types of “good things to come,” but there’s not a 1:1 correlation. The “good things to come” were spiritual realities – “truth” – the very Good News of the in-breaking reign of God (“the gospel” itself). The purpose of the law was to foreshadow these spiritual things by their types, or shadows. This is the only way we can really understand spiritual dimensions. The physical realities, the types and shadows, had to be established so that they might serve as metaphors for spiritual reality. The picture here is of God as a divine author, establishing characters and settings in the first chapters so that the climax might make sense to the reader. The law was first necessary as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24), or to the truth. This relationship is illustrated in this delightfully old-school figure you see here. (We’ve been exploring these ideas since the early 1970s, y’all!)
This relationship between the law and truth is further explained as a pattern (KJV) or copy. The writer states,
So it was necessary for the copies [patterns] of the heavenly things to be cleansed with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things had to be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)
“Patterns” here refers to elements of the law system that were purged or sprinkled with the blood of animals. The heavenly elements were purified with better sacrifices, the sacrifice of Christ rather than animals. The law system contained the copies (patterns) of the gospel system, with the patterns being “only about food, drink, and various ritual ways to wash with water. They are regulations that have been imposed until the time of the new order.” (Hebrews 9:10) The things reflected by the copies were heavenly – or spiritual – in nature. The temporal ordinances were imposed on them until the time of the new order, or the time that truth would be brought by Jesus Christ.
This truth also is presented in Hebrews, that describes the priests under the law:
Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For [God] said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’ (Hebrews 8:5)
The tabernacle built by Moses never was intended to be anything more than a pattern or copy for the purpose of leading humanity to the archetypal – the heavenly or spiritual tabernacle – the one made without hands (Hebrews 9:11).
Those who served in this first tabernacle served to foreshadow heavenly things. Moses gave the temporal patterns, but the heavenly or spiritual product came by Jesus Christ. Those who are looking for a rebuilding of a temporal temple, and a restoration of national Israel to Palestine, fail to see the spiritual application of those temporal patterns given under the law. The pattern period has been completed, never again to be restored with divine blessing. These patterns have served their purpose – they have illuminated the spiritual copy that was intended.

Taken from ‘The Spirit of Prophesy’

So as we see (or at least I see) we are presented with a position that shows that the old covenant was indeed necessary but indeed done away with and a new covenant has been put forth, and the pattern as used in the above text, shows of things happening THEN, not at some point in our future.

Though the reality and completeness of the Christ event was totally sufficient for all of man kind, our adhering to and or our rebellion of current political leaders as a belief to some out dated ‘fundamental’ necessity, is both ludicris and unnecessary.


#30

Thanks Chad!!! For taking the time to do this; I want to understand. I agree with what you quoted and your remarks. But that was as you stated, the Old Covenant.
The next step, when you have the time, is to explain what the ‘new covenant’ IS, and why or why not it was only for THEM, or does it include us and if so, how?
Or if you could point me to an article that specifically deals with it. I’ve tried to locate something on my own but came a-cropper.
Dave


#31

No, read the text.


#32

#33

You have to understand the relationship between God and Israel to understand the text.