Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What about Romans 13?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Everyone must submit himself 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, he who 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 he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent 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 because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Love, for the Day is Near. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

As expressed in earlier posts, I have been withholding my census from StatsCan due to StatsCan's outsourcing of technology upgrades to Lockheed-Martin, one of the world's largest arms manufacturers. I decided I wanted to be on the side of the Prince of Peace, and that meant making a hard decision that could have consequences. Through the processing of all of this I have struggled with the passage of Romans 13 which calls Christians to submit to the authorities. I struggled to reconcile a the self-sacrificial resistance of Jesus and the idea that Paul may have written Romans 13 in Jail, with the idea that we should submit to the authorities. Other Christians have pointed it out to me and I haven't always been able to give a good answer. Last night Chelsea, myself and 3 other Kingston friends went to see Shane Claiborne and the Psalters in Toronto (who have both been inspirational to the House Famous) make a presentation called Jesus for President (Prime Minister?). All of them have been jailed for Peace Activism, and all of them are very inspiring Christians. I asked them about their take on Romans 13 was and they pointed me to their website which gave the best defense of civil disobedience in light of Romans 13 that I have heard. Their key arguement was that Romans 13 was speaking to a group of people who had already decided that their loyalty was to the Kingdom of God rather than to the State, therefore Paul needed to caution them not to try to overthrow the government, and thus taint themselves with power. They also demonstrate how one can be subordinate to the state without blindly obeying it at all turns.

“The conscientious objector who refuses to do what a government demands, but still remains under the sovereignty of that government and accepts the penalties which it imposes, or the Christian who refuses to worship Caesar but still permits Caesar to put him or her to death, is being subordinate even though not obeying” (John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994], 209).

Read it for yourself here: http://www.jesusforpresident.org/download/Web_Appendix_3.pdf


Marty said...

accepts the penalties-- well what about all the good - protection - benifits - health care - security - education - freedom of worship - freedom of choice - fredom of speach - freedom from fear - policing etc ect...

todd said...

did you read the article?

Anonymous said...

Paul was a self proclaimed apostle, beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing as Jesus warned. Paul has deceived the church for generations, causing the Bride of Christ to ignore Yahweh's commands to love and obey His laws. That is why our country is going through hard times. Read what Yahshua said about the so called rapture, and then read what Paul said... two different stories. Who are you going to believe? I believe Yahshua.
Read this site, and realize whose words you are following...