The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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


Well, that is my problem… (I mean that as a reality) as I read the article again, (actually I think it was a lecture) I am once again overwhelmed by the sheer amount of verbiage that seems to say little. There are points within the text that resonate with me, but once again, I am having a hard time keeping a focus as I read it. I have always thought that I may be a tad dyslexic, or maybe have a attention disorder.

Maybe we could attack this in another way. Why don’t you explain to me in your words, what you think biblical authority represents and to whom.

My position is that for the most part, the bible, is historical… a story about God and His people. Yes, it has serious ramifications on all of humanity but just for me, the whole narrative (and by default the authority structure) needs to be approached from a different angle than the evangelicals have approached it. Wright does touch on that.

So the original Idea (OP) of someone reading Paul or Peters words from 2000 years ago and trying to shoehorn their meanings into a current context is crazy insane. To be honest it would totally wipe out the idea of a representative republic, which America is supposed to be, and you and I live in today.

I’ll ask one last question, if there is any smidgen of validity to the idea of submitting to your government and it’s leaders, which style of government is it talking about? China, USA, Russia, Cuba, UK, Middle eastern… does it call for us to follow if we are Christian and live in a predominantly Muslim country?

This will obviously bring on a few questions :wink:


These deep thoughts, got me to thinking. If my theory is correct…and the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, is the most probable - end times tribulation scenario. And the devil is the REAL leader, behind this charade. Should we submit to a world government, run by zombies???

As far as understanding, past Biblical texts - in the present environment…well, that’s part of sacred tradition…which the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and affiliated, historical churches endorse.


Okay, that clears up a lot of questions.


So you decided not to offer an answer to my inquiry?


No, actually we’re back at square one. It’s my view that the ‘that was then, this was now, the bible is history’ stance is pretty far off-course from scriptural teaching; but then we’ve been to this point before and I won’t belabor it further. Your ideas are, as always, interesting though.
Gracias, muchacho…


Chad… go back to Wright’s article that Dave linked to above and do a word-search (ctrl+f) on ‘timeless’ and you’ll see Wright is actually making similar points to what you’ve said; take just this for example…

If we are not careful, the appeal to ‘timeless truths’ not only distorts the Bible itself, making it into the sort of book it manifestly is not, but also creeps back, behind the Reformers’ polemic against allegory, into a neo-allegorization which is all the more dangerous for being unrecognised.


Wright often gives a good thrashing to those who tried to take Jesus’ eschatology and change it into sapiential wisdom teachings, or paths to enlightenment, that sort of thing.
I’ve not read him to say that Jesus’ specific message, nor the praxis/preaching of the very early Church, fall into the category of 'timeless teachings."
After all, I"m not trying to shoehorn anything in. Anyone except those harnessed into a particular “inerrantist” model can tell the difference between historical, and therefore contingent, practices, and those eternal (not ‘Timeless’) truths. I don’t see what the problem is.


Well he wasn’t… and that was my point; which would point in Chad’s favour in terms of noting the historic pertinence of given texts, i.e., not everything needs to be lifted out of its context and applied somewhere else and thereby claiming “fulfilment” or some other such thing (at least that’s the gist I get as to what Chad is saying — I could be wrong).


Then we’re in agreement as far as I can tell. Chad used the word ‘shoehorn’ (as well as ‘crazy stupid’ or cognates) and I agreed with him - about the shoehorn.
I don’t see the big deal, unless one is wed to some strange hermeneutic.


The problem is when you don’t take what experts, like Anglican New Testament NT Wright - has to say (I’m a big fan)…Or what the Eastern Orthodox / Eastern Catholics have to say, about sacred tradition being a lens - to interpret Holy Scripture…then it is open season, on what Holy Scripture means. I have no issue with someone, taking a stab at interpretation…Whether Chad, LLC, Mary Baker Eddy, Swedenborg, some Zombie theologian or philosopher, etc. It’s just not my cup of tea. And these viewpoints are no more - or less - “far out”, then my theory…that the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, is the most probable - end-times tribulation scenario. Except that everything else I believe in (or subscribe to theologically)…is in accordance with historical Christian creeds.

Or let’s put things this way. If you are sick, then anyone can give a medical opinion.


But if I want to REALLY know, the root cause of my illness. I’ll do two things.

  • Find someone who is an expert, in Oriental Pulse Diagnosis. Within a minute or so, they can tell all that is wrong with you.

  • Have a GP or specialist - in traditional medicine…run the appropriate medical tests (blood work, X-ray, etc.)

Between these two approaches - especially if they agree - will tell you what’s wrong.

If you do not have a memory like an elephant, leave impressions like one. – Author Unknown


Correct, and I had said farther above that there are “points within the text that resonate with me.” I realize many hold Wright to a great reverence, and I think he is doing much to open peoples eyes to the possibility of looking at scripture in alternative ways. I just have a hard time staying with him in his writing and lecturing. My problem, no one else’s.

Hmm :thinking:


Funnily enough I’m not finding it as satisfying as I thought it would be reading a book of his. It’s well researched, but somehow his style just doesn’t work for me.