HERE ARE SOME KEY BIBLE VERSES:
- “But [the Apostles] Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you [i.e., the rulers, elders, scribes and high priest – see Acts 4:5, 6] more than unto God, judge ye.” – Acts 4:19
- “Then [the Apostle] Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29
((Editor of ETI comment: This statement was made to the high priest, the council, and all the senate of the children of Israel (see Acts 5:21)!!!))
HERE ARE SOME RELEVANT QUOTES:
“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God!” – William Tyndale (1492?-1536; English theologian and translator of the Holy Bible; executed for distributing Bibles)
“By ‘power’ [Ed. Note: the word ‘power’ found in Romans 13:1] the apostle [i.e., the Apostle Paul] intends, NOT lawless strength and brutal force, without regulation and proper direction, but JUST authority;…
…Some have thought it warrantable and glorious to disobey the civil powers in certain circumstances, and in cases of very great and general oppression, when humble remonstrations fail of having any effect; and, when the public welfare cannot be otherwise provided for and secured, to rise unanimously even against the sovereign himself, in order to redress their grievances; to vindicate their natural and legal rights; to break the yoke of tyranny, and free themselves and posterity from inglorious servitude and ruin…
…If we attend to the nature of the argument with which the apostle here enforces the duty of submission to the higher powers, we shall find it to be such a one as concludes NOT in favor of submission to ALL who bear the title of rulers in common, but ONLY to those who actually perform the duty of rulers by exercising a reasonable and just authority for the GOOD of human society…
…If those who bear the title of civil rulers do NOT perform the duty of civil rulers, but act directly counter to the sole end and design of their office; if they injure and oppress their subjects,…they have NOT the least pretense to be honored, obeyed, and rewarded, according to the apostle’s argument…
…It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors ‘God’s ministers’. They are more properly ‘the messengers of Satan to buffet us’. No rulers are properly God’s ministers but such as are ‘JUST, ruling in the fear of God’. When once magistrates act CONTRARY to their office, and the end [i.e., design] of their institution, – when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare, – they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and NO MORE deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen…
…Common tyrants and public oppressors are NOT entitled to obedience from their subjects by virtue of anything here laid down by the inspired apostle…
…when he [i.e., the king] turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to THROW OFF our allegiance to him, and to RESIST;…
…NO civil rulers are to be obeyed when they enjoin things that are inconsistent with the commands of God. All such disobedience is lawful and glorious… All commands running counter to the declared will of the Supreme Legislator of heaven and earth are null and void, and therefore disobedience to them is a DUTY, not a crime…
…If, therefore, in any case, the common safety and utility would NOT be promoted by submission to government, but the contrary, there is NO ground or motive for obedience and submission, but for the contrary.” – Jonathan Mayhew (Pre-Revolutionary War preacher) (from his famous sermon, “Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers)
“The king is as much bound by his oath NOT to infringe the legal rights of the people, as the people are bound to yield subjection to him. From when it follows that as soon as the prince sets himself ABOVE the law, he loses the king in the TYRANT. He does, to all intents and purposes, un-king himself.” – Jonathan Mayhew
“We canNOT suppose that this text [Ed. Note: i.e., I Peter 2:13, 14] enjoins absolute submission to ALL laws that may be made in a land; for some are so wicked, so oppressive, and unjust in their nature and tendency, that the best of men have thought it their indispensable duty to DISOBEY them.” – David Jones (in a sermon on July 20, 1775)
“The preachers [of the American Revolution era] did NOT confine themselves to a dissertation on doctrinal truths NOR mere exhortation to godly behavior. They grappled with the great question of the rights of man, and especially the rights of the colonists in their controversy with the mother country. In reading these discourses one is struck with the thorough knowledge those divines possessed of the origin, nature, object, character and end of all true government…
[These Revolutionary War era preachers] showed…how all laws and regulations were designed to be for the good of the governed; that the object of concentrated power was to protect NOT invade personal liberty, and when it failed to do this, and oppressed instead of protected, assailed instead of defended rights, resistance became lawful, nay, obligatory…
The clergy were not a whit behind the ablest statesmen of the day in their knowledge of the great science of human government.” – J.T. Headley (author of the book, The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution)
“It is evident that the Scriptures mean far more concerning obedience to civil government than blind, mindless, spineless, unqualified obedience and submission that is being so carelessly promulgated today.” – Pastor Robert McCurry
“The ‘powers’ that now have control over America, and truthfully, over the whole earth, are simply just that, ‘powers’! [They have] NO real authority – just raw power! True authority only comes from God. When any man or groups of men overstep that authority to impose unjust laws that oppose God’s eternal laws, then they lose their authority! When this happens, to obey man is to disobey God!” – Pastor Butch Paugh (Preacher; author; and host of the “Call to Decision” broadcast)
“In the exercise and enjoyment of present blessings we are prone to be oblivious to the history of the past, and it is easy to let slip the great principles by which our privileges were won. The world would be in far worse shape today if, in the years long gone, there had not been men and women willing to die for the purity of simple Biblical truth, especially the business of whether or not a Christian owes unlimited submission to the civil magistrate. The Bible, of course, never teaches that God’s people owe unlimited submission to civil magistrates, even though God Himself has established and ordained the ordinance of civil government. Civil magistrates are to be obeyed only in-so-far as they command that the people obey the laws of God! All of history proves this precept to be correct, and all American preachers who grovel at the feet of the goddess ‘Unlimited Submission’ should turn their backs on truth and go back to England, begging the Queen to let them and their little Tory congregations set up a colony somewhere on the English Channel.” – Pastor John Lewis (Preacher; host of the “Black Brigade” broadcast) (Statement made on June 11, 1990)
“The subjection and obedience that is demanded in Romans 13:1, 2 is conditional. It is conditioned upon the authorities being the ministers of God as mentioned in verses three, four, and six.” – Pastor John Weaver (Preacher; historian; and author)
“God ordained government for our benefit and blessing. When government becomes a curse, a means of slavery, thievery and fraud, it is NOT in the will of God.
…if our government does NOT keep its end of the covenant, if our government does NOT obey the Constitution and if it makes laws contrary to the Constitution, the citizens are NOT obligated to obey those laws. They are freed from obedience to the government in such cases.
…The God who established and ordained government also sets the limits and boundaries for the government.
…No one is obligated or bound to obey usurped power and those who do will be judged by God for rebellion. Obedience to tyrants is rebellion to God.
…God has ordained and established government for our benefit, for our blessing, for our good, for the punishment of evil and for the praise of good. God is NOT going to contradict Himself and demand that we submit to a government that is destroying His law, mutilating the people and annihilating His church. God has NEVER given government that authority.”
Pastor John Weaver
“There is probably no subject so CRITICAL and TIMELY for Christians in America today as that of the Christian’s responsibility to civil government. Sadly, most pulpits in America’s weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, gutless, sissified, effeminate, ‘won’t stand-for-anything’ Churchianity preach a PERVERTED rendering of Romans Chapter 13 that does NOT square with the ENTIRE counsel of God.
These preachers who teach UNlimited submission to civil government are ‘blind guides’ who are in essence teaching the DIVINE right of kings when they preach that we are to bow down to tyrannical government and obey every statute and law that wicked government frames! (See Psalm 94:20)
Anyone who has taken the time to study the ENTIRE counsel of God from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 knows that the Holy Bible does NOT teach UNlimited submission to civil government, but rather teaches clearly that Christians are to obey government ONLY when that government rules in accordance with God’s laws, and within the narrow limits prescribed by God for government! In addition, the U.S. government must also govern WITHIN the bounds and limitations [the ‘chains’] prescribed for it by the U.S. Constitution!
Indeed, obedience to any government acting in a tyrannical and oppressive manner, and breaking God’s laws, is REBELLION against a Holy God!” – Darryl Eberhart ((Editor of “Tackling the Tough Topics (TTT)” and “Examining the Tough Issues (ETI)” newsletters))
(Quote taken from letter of September 29, 1999 to Jeffrey Bennett)
Before we examine the issue of whether or not Christians owe UNLIMITED submission to the civil authorities, let us first look at a “position” that some preachers expound, i.e., that the Lord Jesus Christ never got involved in “politics”, and therefore neither should His followers. Some preachers will also tell us that the apostles and the early believers likewise never got involved in “politics”.
Well, would not telling the ruling authorities off fall into the arena of “getting involved in politics”? ((NOTE: One does not have to “run for office” to be involved in politics – merely speaking out against corruption by the ruling authorities will quickly draw one into the political arena! In fact, some preachers in America who have recommended to their flock “whom they should or should not vote for” have found themselves quickly drawn into the political arena, and even into court!))
In the last two Bible verses listed on page 1 (Acts 4:19 and Acts 5:29), we find the apostles not only tangling with the religious authorities, but also with the political authorities! Acts 4:5, 6 and 5:21 reveal that the RULERS and SCRIBES [i.e., “lawyers”] were present at the first confrontation and ALL THE SENATE of the children of Israel were present at the second confrontation.
It is important for us to note that the “scribes” are also called “lawyers” in the New Testament. In fact, the plural form “lawyers” appears five times in the New Testament (King James Version), and ALL these occurrences are NEGATIVE to the lawyers! In these passages, and elsewhere in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, confronts these lawyers (called “scribes” in many verses), and calls them such names as “hypocrites”, “blind guides”, “fools”, “whited sepulchers”, “serpents” and “vipers”!
The Compact Bible Dictionary by T. Alton Bryant says of the Jewish “scribes”: “A class of learned men who made the systematic study of the law and its exposition their professional occupation… Also called LAWYERS (Matthew 22:35), “doctors of the law” (Luke 5:17)… They often served as JUDGES in Jewish courts…”
In several Bible passages we find the Lord Jesus Christ confronting both the Pharisees (the religious leaders) and the scribes/lawyers (the political & judicial leaders) at the same time; and the most common “label” He applies directly to both groups, often throwing it “right in their faces”, is the word “hypocrites”! ((See especially Mathew Chapter 23 and Luke Chapter 11.))
Likewise, some preachers will try to tell us that the Romans were the sole political authorities, and that the Lord Jesus Christ ONLY confronted the religious authorities. But history has clearly shown us that the Roman authorities ONLY took the very highest levels of political power in the Roman province of Judea, and that they left the vast majority of local governance to the Jewish Sanhedrin! Thus, the Jewish authorities in Jesus Christ’s day NOT ONLY had religious power, but they also had a tremendous amount of POLITICAL & JUDICIAL power! ((NOTE: The only power of criminal punishment that the Romans took away from the Jewish authorities was that of capital punishment – and even in that arena the Romans often “looked the other way” when the Jews carried out capital punishment on other Jews, e.g., by stoning! As long as the Jews were not messing with a Roman citizen, the Roman authorities didn’t seem to care a whole lot.))
And not only did the Jewish authorities have religious, political, and judicial power – they also had a fair amount of financial power. Yes, the Romans collected their taxes (actually, “tribute”, since Judea was an “occupied nation”); however, the Jewish authorities had their “temple tax”, and they made a whole lot of money during “currency exchanges” at the Temple when Jews came to buy animals and doves for their sacrifices. ((The Temple dues could only be paid in “sacred coinage” and the moneychangers made a very nice profit during those “currency exchanges”.)) Not surprisingly, it was the Jewish High Priest’s family who ran this little currency exchange concession at the Temple! Thus both history and the Holy Bible clearly indicate that the Jewish authorities wielded a tremendous amount of religious, political, judicial, financial, and commercial power at the time Jesus Christ walked this planet.
Indeed, the “Temple moneychangers” of Jesus Christ’s day could be favorably compared to our modern-day “bank-sters” [financial gangsters] who prey upon the average citizen in many nations. The corrupt practices of the Temple moneychangers so angered and offended the Lord Jesus Christ that He twice went into the Temple and “cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and OVERTHREW the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves”. ((See Matthew 21:12))
Thus, if a modern-day preacher says that the Lord Jesus Christ ONLY confronted the religious authorities of His day (and not the political authorities), he is showing his ignorance of both the Holy Bible and of history. Yes, the Holy Bible clearly shows us that the Lord Jesus Christ directly and fearlessly CONFRONTED (often with very scathing attacks) the religious, the political, the judicial, and the financial & commercial powers of His day!
We all must realize that the Jewish authorities pushed the Romans to crucify Jesus Christ not only because He threatened their religious power, but also because He threatened their political and financial power! ((“If we [i.e., the Jewish leaders] let Him [i.e., Jesus Christ] thus alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our PLACE and nation.” – John 11:48)) Yes, the Jewish leaders were afraid of losing their privileged position with their “higher authorities” (i.e., the Romans), and their positions of power (religious, political, judicial, financial and commercial) with the Jewish people!
- Do Christians Owe UNlimited Submission To Civil Government?
((Hopefully, we will later see how the long introduction ties into this very important question.))
The idea of “unlimited submission” to civil government goes back very far into “recorded history”. It probably originated with the ancient Babylonian doctrine of “the DIVINE right of kings”. Centuries ago some European kings called it “Rex Lex” – in other words, “[whatever] the king [says] [is] the law”!
For much of Europe’s medieval history, preachers in “State-CONTROLLED” churches and in “monopolistic-large-denomination-CONTROLLED” churches were REQUIRED to preach the ungodly, unbiblical, and most wicked doctrine of “UNLIMITED submission to the civil government”. Those preachers who refused to preach this ungodly doctrine were quickly silenced! Oh yes, for centuries in Europe, whether the “Church” controlled the “State”, or the “State” controlled the “Church”, the results were always the same: the preachers were strictly controlled, and they dared NOT preach anything BUT “Rex Lex”, i.e., unlimited submission to the civil authorities.
For centuries the Roman Catholic Church actually ruled over the kings in Europe, and the “Rex Lex” doctrine was expanded to be “the DIVIINE right of popes and kings”. In this expanded version of “Rex Lex”, the “divine right” of the king was subservient to the “divine right” of the pope. The “bottom line”, however, always remained the same: whatever atrocities and horrors that either the “king” (i.e., the civil government) or the “Church” inflicted upon the citizens of any particular nation, the only “recourse” that was taught to the people was that “they had to peacefully accept and endure the atrocities and horrors, and ‘pray for’ their leaders”! In other words, if the “king” or any of his officials (i.e., the civil government), or the “Church” and its inquisitors, were torturing and brutalizing you and your family, or stealing your land and other property, or abusing you in a thousand different ways, you were to just sit back and offer NO resistance! And why offer NO resistance? Because you had been TAUGHT that both the “king” and the “Church” had the “divine right” to do whatever they liked to you and your family!
When the Protestant Reformation occurred, many courageous preachers arose who began to teach the truth of the entire counsel of God found in the Holy Bible concerning the Christian’s responsibilities to the civil authorities. ((This teaching of the truth cost the lives of a number of these preachers.))
England enjoyed a brief respite from the doctrine of “the divine right of kings and large denominational churches” when Oliver Cromwell and some other brave Englishmen overthrew wicked King Charles I (who was a most vile tyrant) and chopped off his royal head! However, after the death of Cromwell, it did not take long for more royal tyrants to come along, and for the Anglican Church to again adopt the doctrine of “the divine right of kings”. ((NOTE: Wherever this wicked doctrine of “the divine right of kings” (i.e., unlimited submission to civil government) is taught, it usually does not take very long before the “State” and the “Church” get together and begin to prosecute, persecute, and execute any who would dare to stand up and criticize tyranny and despotism, whether in the “State” or in the “Church”!))
When the religious persecution and government tyranny began again to flourish in England and other European powers, many of our founding fathers fled those countries in order to escape the persecution; and they came to America.
At first, many of the American “colonies” enjoyed real religious freedom; however, it did not take long before the long arm of British tyranny (i.e., King George III and his parliament) began to reach deeply into its American colonies. It also did not take very long before wicked King George III decided he needed to place all those “independent-minded” American preachers (Congregational, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc.) under the control of the Anglican Church in America. King George III hated these courageous American preachers because they refused to preach the ungodly, unbiblical doctrine of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government”! ((There were, of course, a number of American preachers who were still preaching “the divine right of kings” (i.e., unlimited submission to the civil authorities) prior to and during the Revolutionary War. These preachers, and their supporters, were called “Tories” and “Loyalists”; and their descendents live among us today – still espousing the “divine right of rulers”.))
Oh how badly did that tyrant King George III hate those courageous American preachers who did NOT teach “unlimited submission to civil government”! In fact, King George III accused these brave preachers of “stirring up and leading the ‘rebellion’” against his wicked tyranny! ((NOTE: And King George III was correct on that score, for indeed it was the chaplains and clergy of the Revolution who stirred up and led the fight against tyranny!)) The British called these brave American preachers “the Black Brigade” and “the Black-robed Regiment” because of the black robes the pastors wore while preaching to their congregations.
- Today in America
Is it not truly amazing that today in America, the “land of the free”, that we once again have many preachers teaching that “Christians owe UNLIMITED submission to civil government”, and that “Christians are to obey the government NO MATTER how despotic it is!”??? ((Don’t we ever learn from history?)) According to these preachers, Christians are supposed to “sit back and allow TYRANNY and DESPOTISM to walk all over us”, and that Christians are to “obey the government in ALL matters, no matter how wicked that government might be”!
Of course, some of these deluded preachers will add the “qualifier” that “Christians are to obey the government in everything until such time as the government forbids the preaching of the ‘gospel’”. This begs the question: “Why in blazes would many modern-day American preachers return to a doctrine that the Reformers and many courageous preachers of the Revolutionary War repudiated?” Do not these modern-day preachers who teach “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” realize that they could not even have an “independent” pulpit to preach from, or a constitutional Republic with great freedoms to live in, were it not for the sacrifices of the brave preachers of the Revolutionary War, who along with other patriotic Americans, fought against and overthrew vile, wicked tyranny in civil government??? Could it be that these modern-day preachers who teach “unlimited submission to civil government” are ignorant of world history, American history, and church history – and also ignorant of the ENTIRE counsel of God on the subject of the Christian’s responsibility to civil government???
- The Bible and Civil Government
Proponents of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” normally will quote Romans 13: 1 and 2 (without fully elaborating on verses 3 and 4). They will also quote I Peter 2:13 (normally the first half of the verse, without fully elaborating on that part of the verse that says “for the Lord’s sake”), and then tell us that the Bible “teaches” that we are to obey every ordinance of man! Well, as at least one wise person has said, “If you take a text out of context, then you have a pretext!” For example, someone might say that the Bible teaches that “there is no God”, and then say that such a statement can be found in Psalm 14. Obviously, that individual is taking ONLY part of this verse, because when we check, we find that this verse states: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…”.
Yes, it is indeed easy to take a portion of a verse, or even a verse or two “in isolation”, to make it or them appear to “teach” a certain doctrine; however, when something doesn’t “sound quite right” that is being “taught” from the Bible, we all need to be good “Bereans” and go check out the Bible verses before and after the verse in question (so as to check out the “context”). We should also compare any verses given to us (that “supposedly” support “questionable doctrine”) with related passages of Scripture!
Let us now examine some interesting examples found in the Holy Bible concerning “dealings with the civil authorities” and the general theme they point to; some other general themes in the Bible; and then let us examine Romans Chapter 13 and I Peter 2:13 and some other Bible verses.
- INTERESTING EXAMPLES IN THE BIBLE CONCERNING “DEALINGS WITH THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES” & THE GENERAL THEME TO WHICH THEY POINT
((NOTE: Four of the five examples given will be taken from the Old Testament. For those modern-day Christians who think that the Old Testament is not applicable to them, editor of ETI would like to recommend that they check out the following New Testament verses: Mathew 4:4; Luke 4:4; Romans 15:4; I Corinthians 10:11; and II Timothy 3:16, 17. These New Testament verses clearly teach us Christians that “ALL scripture is…profitable for doctrine…”.))
- EXAMPLE #1 – The Hebrew midwives
In Exodus 1:15-22 we read that Pharaoh, king of Egypt [i.e., the head of government], commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all the male Hebrew newborns; however, the Hebrew midwives feared God and disobeyed the king of Egypt! Later, when the Hebrew midwives were called before Pharaoh and asked why they had NOT obeyed his commands, the midwives lied right to Pharaoh’s face!
So, how did God handle this “failure” on the part of the Hebrew midwives to “obey every ordinance of man” and to “be subject unto the higher powers”? Did God punish the midwives for their “disobedience”? NO! God blessed the midwives, for in Exodus 1:21 we are told: “…because the midwives feared God, that He made them houses” [i.e., God rewarded the midwives by giving them families – children of their own!].
- EXAMPLE #2 – Rahab the harlot and the Hebrew spies
In Joshua Chapter 2 we read how Rahab, an inhabitant of the city of Jericho, hid the Hebrew spies on her roof, and then lied to the king of Jericho’s officials when they came to ask her if she knew the whereabouts of the spies!
Well, how did God handle this “disobedience” and “lying” to the “higher powers” by Rahab? ((NOTE: Since Rahab was a resident of Jericho, she was also committing treason by “aiding and abetting” the Hebrew spies.)) Did God rebuke Rahab for her “treasonous acts”?
NO! God blessed Rahab, for in Joshua 6:25 we read: “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had…”. Additionally, we see that Rahab is commended in James 2:25, and she is listed in the “faith hall of fame” in Hebrews 11:31. Also, in Matthew 1:5 we find her (under the name “Rachab”) listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ!
- EXAMPLE #3 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego
In Daniel Chapter 3 we read the wonderful account of the three brave Hebrew young men who disobeyed Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s command right to his face!
And how did God handle this “failure” on the part of the three Hebrews to “submit to every ordinance of man” and to “be subject to the higher powers”? Did God rebuke and punish this gross “disobedience” to government??? NO! God saved the three Hebrews in the midst of the fiery furnace! God blessed the righteous disobedience of the three Hebrews to a wicked, tyrannical command!
- EXAMPLE #4 – Daniel in the lions’ den
In Daniel Chapter 6 we find Daniel directly disobeying the decree of King Darius, and then getting tossed into the lions’ den for his refusal to obey the decree.
And how did God handle this “failure” on Daniel’s part to “submit to every ordinance of man” and to “be subject to the higher powers”? Did God rebuke and punish Daniel’s “disobedience”??? NO! God blessed Daniel and saved him, shutting the lions’ mouths!
- EXAMPLE #5 – Peter and the other apostles
In the book of Acts, chapters 4 and 5, we find Peter and the other apostles directly disobeying the commands of the religious authorities and the civil authorities! (See especially Acts 4:19 and 5:29.)
And how does God handle this “disobedience to the higher authorities” on the part of Peter and the other apostles? Does God rebuke and punish Peter and the other apostles??? NO! God blessed Peter and the other apostles! In Acts Chapter 12 we even find God sending an angel of the Lord to “spring” Peter from jail!
((Editor of ETI can hear some Christians now saying concerning the last three examples (numbers 3, 4, and 5): “Well, those examples concerned the individuals’ ‘religion’, so it was OK in those cases for them to disobey the higher authorities; however, in most cases it is not.” Is that really so??? Let us ask ‘such a Christian’: “Isn’t it against your ‘religion’ to support the slaughter (i.e., murder) of the unborn in their mothers’ wombs?” And, “Isn’t it against your ‘religion” to support the legalization of sodomy and the extension of ‘special rights’ to sodomites?” And yet, it is the policy of the U.S. government to support abortion (i.e., the murder of babies) and sodomy (to include teaching this perversion as an “alternative lifestyle” in our public schools)! Yet most “Christians” remain silent about these issues, ignoring God’s clear commands to rebuke and expose evil (see Ephesians 5:11; II Timothy 4:2; and Titus 2:15) and God’s clear commands to speak up for and to deliver those being drawn to death (see Proverbs 24:11, 12; Proverbs 31:8; Psalm 82:2-4; Isaiah 1:17 and 58:6; and Jeremiah 22:3)!))
((NOTE: In the five examples from God’s Word listed in Section “C. 1.” of this newsletter, and in many other examples found in God’s Word, we can see that an undeniable “general theme” is being taught, i.e., that God does NOT expect, NEITHER does He require, that His people obey ungodly and wicked commands, orders, laws, rules, regulations, and statutes from the “higher authorities” (i.e., government). Rather, it is most clear from the five examples presented from God’s Holy Word in this issue of ETI that God blessed the righteous “disobedience” of these individuals to ungodly and wicked commands, even when those commands came straight from the mouth of the ruler! And as an interesting side note: Not only does God bless righteous disobedience to ungodly commands, but He also at times raises up individuals to overthrow and kill rulers, such as Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi whom God raised up to judge two wicked kings: Joram, king of Israel; and Ahaziah, king of Judah. Jehu overthrew and slew both of these kings!))
- OTHER RELATED GENERAL THEMES OF THE BIBLE
- The general theme of delineation of power
We can clearly see this theme in the three spheres of authority that the Bible establishes:
(1) God created the FAMILY to be His ministry of education;
(2) God created GOVERNMENT to be His ministry of justice (NOT injustice); and,
(3) God created the CHURCH to be His ministry of grace.
Each of these “ministries” is given certain limited authority in accordance with God’s Word, and all of them are to be in obedience to God who created them! We also see this delineation of authority within “government”, with executive, judicial, and legislative powers shown in the Bible – powers clearly seen by our founding fathers who put these powers of “government” under three separate branches, placing limitations on their power as set forth in the U.S. Constitution: the Executive Branch (the President); the Judicial Branch (the Supreme Court and other federal courts); and, the Legislative Branch (the Congress).
((For a good example of one “sphere of authority” stepping over its boundaries (i.e., limitations) into another “sphere of authority”, the Bible shows us in II Chronicles 26:16-21 that King Uzziah (i.e., the “government”) went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense (thus intruding into the sphere of authority that God had reserved for “religion/the Church”). In this Bible passage we read that Azariah the priest along with 80 other valiant priests went in after King Uzziah (the “government”) and rebuked him! And how did God personally deal with King Uzziah for his intrusion into a sphere of authority that God did NOT grant to him? God struck King Uzziah right on the spot with leprosy! And then the “valiant priests” tossed the “head of government” out of “God’s temple”! It sure seems like this is a clear message from God to the “State” (i.e., the government) to NOT go sticking its nose under the “tent of religion”!!! And our founding fathers sent “government” the very same message when they penned the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits “government” from sticking its big nose into the business of “the church”!))
- The general theme of conditions, preconditions, stipulations, and limitations
We see throughout the Holy Bible that God’s wonderful blessings are NOT “automatic”, but rather are conditioned upon the people’s obedience (and the government’s obedience) to God’s Word! Likewise, God places limitations (or, boundaries) on the duties and responsibilities of kings (i.e., rulers), judges, priests, etc.
Preachers who teach “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” generally do NOT include in their sermons such passages as:
(1) II Samuel 23:3 where God tells David: “…He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” ((NOTE: Tyrannical, despotic, oppressive, and wicked government certainly does NOT rule “in the fear of God”, NEITHER is it “just”!))
(2) Psalm 94:20 where God asks if His people will “have fellowship” with a wicked government (i.e., “the throne of iniquity”) that frames “mischief by a law” (i.e., it makes sin “legal”).
(3) Romans 13:3 where God’s Word states: “For rulers [i.e., the government] are NOT a terror to good works, but to the evil…”.
Indeed, there are many such guidelines (and limitations) for rulers (i.e., government) to be found in the Holy Bible!
- The general theme that one Scripture passage will NOT contradict another Scripture passage
For example, in Exodus 20:13 we read one of the Ten Commandments, which is stated: “Thou shalt not KILL.” Obviously, in other Scripture verses God gave Joshua and the children of Israel commands to KILL every inhabitant in certain areas they conquered. The Hebrew word used for “KILL” in Exodus 20:13 means to “commit premeditated murder”, so obviously the Bible does NOT prohibit a man from defending his family (even to the point of using deadly force) or from defending his country in wartime (which means KILLING enemy soldiers). Thus, the “Thou shalt not KILL” in Exodus 20:13 can NOT possibly mean “Thou shalt never kill anyone” because there are plenty of examples in the Bible where we are permitted to kill! ((In all cases we must check the entire counsel of God in His Holy Word in order to place any single verse or couple of verses in their proper context, and to compare them with other related Scripture passages!))
Likewise, the Holy Bible says in Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 that wives are to submit themselves to their husbands; and in Ephesians 5:24 it states: “…as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be [subject] to their own husbands in every thing.” Also, in Colossians 3:20 we read: “Children, obey your parents in all things…”. Is there anyone with a half ounce of brains and a little common sense who thinks that the words “EVERY” and “ALL” in the above-mentioned passages mean “EVERY and ALL vile and wicked things that dad/husband may command his wife and children to do”??? Obviously, if dad tells his wife and children to go downtown to rob the local bank, they ought to tell him that they love him, BUT they can NOT obey him when his orders go contrary to the Word of God (agreeing with Peter and the other apostles in Acts 5:29 that “We ought to obey God rather than men.”).
God’s Holy Word does NOT give contradictory commands! Clearly the words “every” and “all” in Ephesians 5:24 and Colossians 3:20 concerning which wives and children are to obey dad, are “every” and “all” things that “square with the Word of God”! Yet, amazingly some of the very same preachers who would agree with the above statement concerning wives and children, will turn right around and tell us that we owe “UNLIMITED submission” to the civil authorities, and that the word “every” as found in “every ordinance of man” in I Peter 2:13 means just that, every ordinance of man, NO MATTER how vile or wicked! Not only is that being inconsistent with their interpretation of “every” and “all” found in Ephesians 5:24 and in Colossians 3:20, but it also clearly contradicts other Scripture, such as Acts 4:19 and 5:29!
- SPECIFIC VERSES USED BY SOME PREACHERS TO “TEACH” UNLIMITED SUBMISSION TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT
- I Peter 2:13, 14: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; [Verse 14] Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
Let us lay out the three choices we have for the word “every” in “every ordinance of man”:
(1) …every ordinance of man (that squares with the Word of God);
(2) …every ordinance of man (no matter how vile or wicked it may be); and,
(3) …every ordinance of man (except…[each individual decides the exceptions]).
If one goes with “choice” #2 above, then we become mere robots who follow every law and edict of the “State”, no matter how vile, ungodly, and wicked they may be! We then become like the Nazis who ran the death camps, or the folks who helped to burn “dissidents” and other assorted “heretics” at the stake during the Inquisition! Yes, that old and “infamous” excuse: “We were JUST following orders!” ((That excuse was NOT accepted by human judges at the Nuremberg, Germany trials in the aftermath of World War II, and it is highly unlikely that the Judge of all judges (i.e., the LORD God Almighty) will accept it either!))
If one goes with “choice” #3 above, then everybody gets to choose where they will draw the “line” as to when it is OK to disobey the civil government. That sounds to Editor of ETI a whole lot like “situational ethics”, and reminds me of the Bible verses that state: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (See Judges 17:6 and 21:25) NO! We do NOT have to try to come up with our own “cutoff” of when to stop obeying civil government, because the Holy Bible clearly spells out for us the limitations that God has placed upon civil government, and what the Christian’s responsibility is to civil government! Serious study of the Word of God will reveal to us those limitations and guidelines that God has ordained for civil government. Two of those guidelines are contained in the very passage of Scripture described earlier in this newsletter, i.e., I Peter 2:13, 14:
(Verse 13) – That our submission to man’s ordinance is to be “for the Lord’s sake”. ((NOTE: Are we to assume that we are to submit to the government’s ordinances that require us through our taxes to support the killing of babies (i.e., “abortion”) or to support sodomy in America? Would the Lord Jesus Christ support those two things, or any other ungodly, wicked laws, were He walking this planet today?))
(Verse 14) – That government is to exist “for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well”.
- Romans 13:1, 2: “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [Verse 2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
As mentioned previously, those preachers teaching “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” do NOT elaborate on the next two verses that follow (i.e., Romans 13:3, 4) that set clear guidelines as to what those governing are to be doing and what they are to be:
(Verse 3) – That “rulers are NOT a terror to good works, but to the evil.”
(Verse 4) – That the ruler “is the minister of God to thee for good.”
Additionally, Romans 13:1 states that every soul is to be subject to the “higher powers”. Would not “every soul” also include the rulers??? Are not the rulers also responsible to be subject to the real “higher powers”?? ((NOTE: Earthly rulers are NOT the top of the “command chain”! The LORD God Almighty is!!! Romans 13:1 itself states: “For there is NO power but of God…”! The power that earthly rulers have comes from God, and these rulers themselves ALSO must be subject to God and His laws!))
We previously mentioned II Samuel 23:3, which states yet two more guidelines for earthly rulers:
(1) Rulers must be JUST; and,
(2) Rulers must rule “in the fear of God”.
The Holy Bible absolutely does NOT teach UNLIMITED submission to civil government!
Those preachers who teach “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” are not only going against the clear teaching of Scripture, but they also are “aiding and abetting” evil, corrupt, and tyrannical governments, wherever they may be! How it must thrill the hearts of tyrants and despots to hear preachers teaching that “Christians are to obey government NO MATTER HOW DESPOTIC it is”!
Indeed, this teaching of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” is very wicked because such teaching:
(1) Spits on the graves of the brave preachers of the Revolutionary War who risked, and sometimes gave, their lives fighting against tyranny;
(2) Spits on the graves of the brave soldiers who left bloody footprints at Valley Forge while fighting against tyrannical government, and who bought with their blood the freedom that these teachers of “UNLIMITED submission” still enjoy;
(3) Causes many American Christians of today (who ought to know better) to “sit back and take everything that tyrannical and oppressive government dishes out to the people”;
(4) Has created a class of “silent” Christians who have retreated into a “bunker mentality”; who will NOT take a strong stand for anything; who will NOT obey God’s clear commands to expose, rebuke, and reprove evil; who allow babies to be murdered and sodomites to parade naked in our city streets; who allow socialists and secular humanists to run our public schools and universities, and to control the mainstream media and our government; and who meekly follow, fund, and support a socialistic, command & control government that has brought this once-prosperous nation to the brink of moral and financial collapse;
(5) Has created a brand of “Christianity” [some would say, “Churchianity”] in America that is so weak-kneed, feeble, powerless, and gutless that most local churches do NOT even have the will or desire, much less the power, to shut down a whorehouse or pornography shop two blocks down the road from the church;
etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam!
Possibly even worse than those past and current results of this ungodly, unbiblical, and wicked doctrine of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” will be its FUTURE ramifications! For if this wicked doctrine continues to be preached and taught from most of America’s pulpits, then America will surely die. We will lose our Republic! And we will lose our freedom!
There is little doubt in this editor’s mind that this ungodly teaching and preaching of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government” will also yield a very ugly piece of fruit in the very near future when this nation comes under martial law: for we will see Christians turning in other Christians to the “higher authorities” because they have been taught by misguided preachers that they “are to obey every ordinance of man” and are to be totally “subject to the higher powers”!
And now let’s “tie in” the long introduction at the beginning of this newsletter:
John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ exposed and confronted evil and corruption in the false religious system and rotten government of their day! Likewise, the courageous prophets of the Old Testament exposed and confronted evil and corruption in the false religious system and rotten government of their day!
Yes, where are today’s Nathans to tell the “king” (i.e., the ruler), “Thou art the man!”? Where are today’s Elijahs to tell the “king” that it is the “king” who is “troubling” the nation? Where are today’s Johns the Baptist to tell the “king” that it is the “king” who is breaking the law? Where are today’s priests Azariah with 80 valiant priests to kick the “king” out the arena of the “Church”? O that the LORD God Almighty would raise up many such men in America today, and men like those brave preachers of the Revolutionary War era who stirred up and led the resistance to tyranny! Brave preachers like James Caldwell, Jonas Clark, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Moses and Thomas Allen, Naphtali Dagget, etc. Oh yes, we do have a few brave preachers today in America, but it sure seems their numbers have not been great enough to influence the course our nation has taken during the past century! ((And thank God for such men!)) But sadly, it sure seems that there are many more Tory and Loyalist preachers out there in America today teaching that ungodly, unbiblical, and wicked doctrine of “UNLIMITED submission to civil government”! O LORD, please deliver us from the Tories and Loyalists!
- WHAT CAN WE DO?
If you agree that the Holy Bible clearly does NOT teach UNLIMITED submission to civil government, then please consider doing the following:
- Make at least two copies of this issue of ETI newsletter, and give them to others.
- Support those true Christian ministries that expose, reprove, and rebuke evil and corruption – even when they occur in “government” or “false religion”.
- Get informed and then inform others on this critical topic. An in-depth study of the Word of God (the Holy Bible) should be priority #1. Priority #2 should be to obtain good informational tools (such as books, video tapes, and audio tapes) that deal with the subject of the Christian’s responsibility to civil government. There are many such informational tools available. Please allow Editor of ETI to recommend just one: The outstanding book The Christian and Civil Government by Pastor John Weaver. ((You can order this great book by sending $15 cash or postal money order made out to “Aid & Abet” to “Aid & Abet Police & Military Newsletter” // HC 11, Box 357 // Kamiah, Idaho 83536.))
- If your preacher is teaching “unlimited submission to civil government”, please give him a copy of this newsletter.
- Pray for America!