Romans 13 and Civil Disobedience
Pastor Austin T Kreutz
Romans 13 is interpreted several ways. The passage is Paul's exhortation for obedience to the Government. Should we question Paul and his exhortation?
The current demonstrations in Lansing and around the country raise serious issues for Christians. Those who use a strict fundamentalist interpretation, will view the passage without consulting other passages in their Bible. This interpretation during World War II, was used by both the Nazi and the Christian Churches. The Nazi proclaimed you must obey us it is your Christian duty. Many in the German church told their members they must comply to the teaching of the scriptures.
I find the one verse fits all approach ignores the rest of the Bible. The Bible is not an ethics textbook. Biblical ethics are often found in tension and opposing points of view. For instance, there is no verse that says, "You Shall not abort." However, there plenty of verses that deal with life in the womb and murder. The conclusion is abortion is murder.
Back to our original question. How does one act during government overreach when it conflicts with religious and moral conscience? How do you carry out civil disobedience?
The American Revolution was founded on religious conscience and government overreach. As England restricted the self-governing colonial governments, it became more difficult to tolerate the acts she imposed. The pulpits of the time engaged the culture and took a stance using The Bible and Natural Law to Judge the actions of Great Britain. So, when King George asserted his divine right as king, the colonist asserted their rights came from a higher authority, God.
True Civil Disobedience is nonviolent. It is simply not complying with the demands of the government, particularly when they overextend their authority. We see numerous examples of this in the Bible. Moses's mother protecting her son, the apostles obeying God rather than man, and Jesus with the leading religious authorities of the day, the Pharisees. All of these examples are a matter of conscience.
Currently we have seen how the public can be scared into willingly giving up their liberty and rights. The fear of death is being used to control the general public. After some time, those who have been observant, began to question the legitimacy of statistics used in the reporting of cases and deaths. Health workers are testifying of being pressured into classifying deaths as Corvid 19 deaths. The percentage of deaths compared to recovery also brings questions how legitimate the need is for a lockdown.
When “science” does not line up with reality, and government continues to confine the public, it no wonder that people will no longer continue to obey their government. It is at this point civil disobedience begins to crumble authoritarian Government. Peaceful demonstrations turn violent when desperation replaces hope. It is at that point demonstrations become revolutions. I pray this will never happen to our nation.