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How Should We Deal With This Biblical Passage?


William D'Andrea
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     I've been reading through Paul's Letter to the Romans, and come across this passage:

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     "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.   For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    "This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.   Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."   (Romans 13: 1-6)

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     How should we as American Christians apply this passage, to the way the Government has been running things lately? 

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The USA is a democratic Republic, meaning the people send representatives to Washington, D.C. to make laws in accordance with the will of the people who elected them. A "government of the people, by the people, for the people." the highest law in our land, the Constitution of the United States begins with the words, "We, the people." therefore it is us, the people, who are the governing authorities in this nation, not the people in Washington, D.C. they are the singular of us. This concept has been largely lost recently, I believe. We call them "leaders"--they are not our leaders, we are. They are our representatives. 

 

According to the system of government we have, this passage can be interpreted that the members of the government are subject to us, as our representatives.

Edited by Emily Waldorf
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Some rulers were believed to be deities, and demanded their subjects worship them.  So, is Paul saying that we reject the true God to worship some guy with a god complex?

 

I think what Paul is referring to here is that to be a good Christian, you need to not cause trouble for trouble's sake.  There are more than the world's fair share of people who would love to use God as an excuse to cause trouble.  That's not what God desires.  The short version here is, "Don't be that guy."

 

Secondly, if I think there is a conflict in teaching, I always revert back to what Jesus taught.  And if there is nothing there, then I refer to the Old Testament.  After all, the Apostles were flawed men.  Even at their best they sometimes got it wrong.

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Guest Spaulding

I don't think it's that complicated. Abide by our law, until it goes against God's word. It hasn't gone against God's law yet.

 

Not only do we abide in, we also pray for our leaders. They are either our neighbors or our enemies, so there is no small print in this.

 

Mostly we pray for God's will in our lives, and it is never his will to be wrongdoers.

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17 hours ago, Emily Waldorf said:

As far as application, I would say that every American should be more involved in politics, so that they can justly govern the country over which they have been appointed a steward.

I used to believe this... back in the days when I wasn't busy deciding which of the two evils is less of a problem. (And, remember. It was a president of a Christian University who turned the tide on who would run against Hillary.) I've given up until we have people running worth voting for.

 

It helps to remember that in the first century Rome rallied against Christians, and thus helped Christianity to spread across the known world. Governments don't win, even when it gets to the point of killing 100,000 Christians per day. God wins. And, yes. Christians are killed, but death is not final.

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8 hours ago, Spaulding said:

Governments don't win, even when it gets to the point of killing 100,000 Christians per day. God wins. And, yes. Christians are killed, but death is not final.

     I pray to the Lord that things won't get that bad here in the USA.  When it comes to being a martyr, I'd probably run away and hide; praying for the Lord to keep me safe, and to order the devil to stay away from my hiding place.

     "To chicken out and run away,

       Means you shall live another day."

     Lord have mercy on all your people, and order the devil to stay away from all our hiding places.  In Jesus Name.  Amen. 

Edited by William D'Andrea
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@William D'Andrea

In the summer of 2019 when all those riots took place, (and America says it's because Floyd was murdered, than why did it happen in Europe too?), there was a riot two blocks from my house. That was my last straw. I did freak out. To the point of asking my counselor and PA if they could put me into a psychiatric hospital. (Not long after that did I find out I have cyclothymia, which is bi-polar without the delusions.) They wouldn't. (Ends up once checked in there is no help/hope for Christians.) Fortunately, I'm finally getting back to reasonable. (Pfft. I've never been normal. 🙄) With cyclothymia that's the best mood.

 

God gave me a word. "Sojourner." I've lived in Philly for 31 years, bought and paid off a house, and am quite attached to the area, and yet, this is not my home. This is not our home. Our home is with God. We're just passing through. A lot like Abraham, who spent at least 7 years a hill or two away from his nephew Lot. It feels like home, but we're just passing through.

 

And yup, I'm old and disabled with a husband who is older and disabler. If we had to run, we can't. If we had to fight, we couldn't. I'm a coward.

 

But this is not home and death is the borderline to our true home, so we will have to face that. And I'm hoping without this country becoming like the Roman Empire to Christians in the first and second centuries.

 

Another phrase that has helped me much in the last several years -- "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." 

 

Heaven. Home!

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4 hours ago, Spaulding said:

I don't think it's that complicated. Abide by our law, until it goes against God's word. It hasn't gone against God's law yet.

 

Sadly, I believe it IS more complicated sometimes.

For example... a rule where Jews had to wear a yellow star? Would you say that was something they should have had to do, since it didn't specifically go against God's Word? Or is that something that they--knowing they were giving the government more power than they should have--should have fought?

 

What about women not being allowed to vote?

To be clear, I don't believe rioting is ever the answer, but I do believe it can actually be complicated.

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23 hours ago, William D'Andrea said:

How should we as American Christians apply this passage, to the way the Government has been running things lately? 

 

I believe all we can do is pray for the lawmakers and the government leader. I say this with the proverbial three finger pointing back at myself. 

 

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   I also believe that we should pray for the Lord to keep everyone of us, His people, safe from any and all attacks, both human and demonic.  Beginning now.  

   In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask God, the Father Almighty, to send forth the Holy Spirit, and cast out the devil from all of our lives, so none of us will be harmed, nor do harm to anybody.  I ask that we will all be healthy and healed of any and all afflictions, and that our enemies will come to know and follow the Word of the Lord, which is the the Truth, and the Truth shall set them free. 

    I ask in Jesus Name.  Amen.

Edited by William D'Andrea
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1 hour ago, JosiAtara said:

 

Sadly, I believe it IS more complicated sometimes.

For example... a rule where Jews had to wear a yellow star? Would you say that was something they should have had to do, since it didn't specifically go against God's Word? Or is that something that they--knowing they were giving the government more power than they should have--should have fought?

 

What about women not being allowed to vote?

To be clear, I don't believe rioting is ever the answer, but I do believe it can actually be complicated.

I live in America. Yes, we're a wreck now, but no yellow stars in my lifetime. It is, however, against God's law, so, yeah. I'd be terrified to do what Corrie Ten Boom did, but I also don't have the heart not to hide people in my house.

 

As for women voting? I'm a woman, so it would irk me not to vote, but I don't see that as against God's law. (My grandmothers weren't that bothered by it when they were young. After all, they both had men who listened to them, so a vote per couple rather than each having a vote. But the gene travels down the chain. Ultimately, we all voted, all the time. I gave up last November.) I'd try to change that in society, but then again, I've been trying to change something in Philly. We're a one party town. I'm working toward Philadelphians getting how stupid that is, but still? Not against God's law.

 

Not complicated.

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5 hours ago, JosiAtara said:

I'm confused... how is a law that some people have to wear a yellow star against God's law?

Thou shalt not kill. The yellow star was to find them, take them away and kill them.

 

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2 hours ago, Spaulding said:

Thou shalt not kill. The yellow star was to find them, take them away and kill them.

 

Nope. People didn't know that right away. The reason was to know who was Jewish.

 

Yes, the killing is against His Word--I totally agree with you on that! But that's not what I'm talking about. It started small. Innocent. Propaganda that demoralized Jews. Labeling then so others can stay away from them, or with plans to "deport" them. The government lied about how their intention to deport was actually plans to kill. A lot of people didn't see it coming at first. A lot of people turned a blind eye. A lot of people thought Hitler was a great guy. The Nazi party was NOT just an evil group originally.

 

I'm sorry, but growing up hearing about the horrers that happened to the Jews (and elderly and homosexual and disabled and gypsies) and how it wasn't a sudden event, but a lot of small events that escalated... I'm prone to keep an eye out. And to stand up and speak up for those getting bullied. And bullying IS happening in America. I'd rather stand up at the start than realize too late that it's already around me.

 

So to answer the original question, William: Paul is not someone you can just read at face value all the time. He can be confusing. Another Biblical writer makes a comment about it, in fact. Think about what he says here, "rulers hold no terror for those who do right."

Anyone else get a flood of panicked adrenaline when you see flashing lights while driving and you think you're going to get pulled over even though you're doing nothing wrong? You can thank the justice system that we have, that falsely accuses people. So Paul's words don't seem to be 100% accurate... Unless, since there's an exception to "terror of the authorities" even though you're in the right, there might also be an exception to when it's ok to "rebel."

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8 hours ago, JosiAtara said:

Nope. People didn't know that right away. The reason was to know who was Jewish.

 

Yes, the killing is against His Word--I totally agree with you on that! But that's not what I'm talking about. It started small. Innocent. Propaganda that demoralized Jews. Labeling then so others can stay away from them, or with plans to "deport" them.

How was demoralizing them, distancing them, and neglecting them "innocent?" They did know they were being separated. They did know they were being taken away, just as the gypsies, the feeble, the Christians, the intelligentsia, and the homosexuals were. (19-21 million were killed. 6 million of them were Jews.)

 

The Bible does talk about how to treat God's people. It talks about how to treat strangers within the land. It talks about who to love. God's law. So, again, not complicated.

 

What goes wrong is the amount of add-ons people create.

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9 hours ago, JosiAtara said:

Anyone else get a flood of panicked adrenaline when you see flashing lights while driving and you think you're going to get pulled over even though you're doing nothing wrong? You can thank the justice system that we have, that falsely accuses people.

That ones on you, not the justice system. When people teach fearing cops? That is not Biblical.

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11 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Thanks for your recommendation!  I'm reading the first book right now.

 

Great, between the three books I think it should answer any questions one might have. If your interested I could provide some sources for how our founding fathers understood these passages, which is not any different from the books cited. 

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33 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Sure, I'd love to see them!

 

Of course this covers many other subjects as well but...

 

Amazon.com: American Heritage Series - Ten DVD Set : David Barton, David Barton: Movies & TV

Amazon.com: Building on the American Heritage Series : Building on the American Heritage Series: Movies & TV

Bringing Back The Black Robed Regiment - Second Edition: Fisher, Dan: 9781682706558: Amazon.com: Books

 

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I think that it is vital that we as citizens of our country always be aware of what is going on in our country--that is read, ask questions and stay informed because if we don't, socialism and other destructive and negative aspects of government can easily slip in. In the Bible, in Mark 12:17, Jesus said, in the New International Version, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him."

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