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God & Government

Posted by truthtalklive on August 30, 2007

Does Romans 13 require that Christians always obey the government?

Todays guest host: Gary Demar www.americanvision.org

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24 Responses to “God & Government”

  1. Brant said

    I thought that there was another passage in the Bible stating something about the Government is suppossed to do certain things (Protect us ect..) and that if it was not then we as Christians are to fight for the rights that we are promised. Emergency or not. I provide for my family through Venison along with beef and other foods to survive I need my rifle.

  2. Linda said

    What do you do if you do not surrender your weapons? Do you have a shoot out in the street? Our Lord told us to expect trouble in this world but for us to take heart that He has overcome the world. You cannot win this war by force of arms. Read Ephesians if we have our armor on we do not need a 357 magnum. The Bill of Rights was written to a free people that governed themselves by the Bible we no longer do this. We cannot expect those laws to be of value now when we are governed by a poll. Thanks for the discussion Linda

  3. Troy said

    I only caught the end of today’s show hosted by Gary, but I must say praise the Lord. Someone finally willing to not only talk about the subject, but someone who understands biblical and historical context.

    Romans 13 is thrown around so loosely by so many Christians today, especially leaders and pastors, it was a blessing to hear it discussed intelligently.
    Thanks Gary.

  4. Shawn said

    Thank you Gary so much for talking about this topic. I particularly appreciate the Biblical examples you’ve provided of Godly people acting against abusive government laws. Our founding fathers did establish a government of law rooted in Biblical principles but our government representatives have ignored God’s Laws, much less His will, and they have ignored the limits that the Constitution has placed on government. Our founding fathers warned us about being passive when we see government taking more and more power, eroding our personal freedoms. I believe we have a responsibility to protect our freedoms. Christians have been lazy and taken the easy way out. It is a copout. God wants to partner with us in every aspect of our lives but when it comes to subjects like money and politics we don’t work with him. We take over the wallet and give our government over to fate. We deserve what we get if we don’t wake up and reestablish our Constitutional government.

    There are 13 Christian leaders that were recruited years before Katrina. They are just now expanding this to smaller congregations. John Hagee used to speak out against the New World Order but abrubtly turned his focus to Israel and how it is the Christian’s responsibility to protect Israel. He hardly speaks of anything else anymore. He has been beating the drums of war ever since. I often wonder what Jesus would say about this war. Is He smiling on us or is he disgusted with leaders that speak in His name in favor of war?

    There is a wonderful website that helps Christians evaluate their role in government. I hope it is helpful to anyone that is exploring the topic further:
    http://www.wallbuilders.com

    Also, if you want to know what your government has been up to while you’ve slept you can google: The Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act, The Law of the Seas Treaty, CODEX alimentarius, RFID, North American Union, Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, the Amero, the NAFTA Super Highway. There is so much more but I believe this much will overwhelm a beginner.

    It is time that we started educating our neighbor about what our government officials are doing, what their motives are and how we can stop them. Mass awareness is key.

    I’ve heard Christians say, “just because you don’t believe in Hell doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” The same holds true with the information I’ve just shared with you. You can no longer claim ignorance. It is your responsibility to research these topics. You may then choose to believe what the globalist- controlled media is spoon feeding you or continue to research with a discerning spirit.

  5. kandace said

    If government demands one to disobey a clear command of Scripture, we must obey God rather than men. Otherwise, we obey the government.
    However, this does not mean we do nothing. We are to be involved so that our representative voices are heard.

    All it would take to cause a dicatorship is for Christians to do nothing and give over the reins of government to those who would destroy our precious freedoms.

  6. Troy said

    Shawn nailed it. I recommend his suggestion search and reading.

    I’ll point out one other hurdle most evangelicals have, and that included me. The “rapture” mentality. Many believers are banking on being raptured out and therefore feel no need to involve themselves in the vigilance required to maintain the free republic that God used our founding fathers to set up. That is the most destructive mindset we have to deal with today and is setting believers up for great delusion and deception. Christian apathy has been responsible for allowing unthinkable horrors, like that of Nazi fascism in the twentieth century.

    Pure an simple, nowhere in scripture are we given permission to yield moral duty/responsibility to our interpretation of future events. That rivals trust in horoscopes in it’s ignorance, but it is much more dangerous and has all but destroyed the churches influence in American politics. We have handed the reigns of this great republic to godless ideals and we are headed for the waterfall.

    Seeing our Savior face to face is the hope we all have, but our moral compass on earth is all of scripture, and it has a lot to say, especially about resisting and exposing evil (Eph 5:11). It is suicidal to take counsel in anything else.

  7. ^That’s true, but on the other hand, it’s entirely possible to run to theonomy on the other extreme.

    In point of fact, we forget that while many of those Fathers were deists, they were also Presbyterian, and Presbyterianism is naturally given to republicanism. However, we Baptists have historically differed with Presbyterians and Congregationalists, for we affirm a regenerate church membership. One cannot and should not, in our view, legislate the first table of the Law. Many modern Presbyterians agree. Those who call themselves “Baptists” today and do this need to be honest that they are out of step with Baptist thought in this area.

    The problems in the US are NOT the result of Christians being “apathetic” as some would have us believe, for generally this criticism is leveled at those of us saying we need to recover the Gospel and then get involved in politics afterwards. Rather, the problem we have is the desire of some to index the church and state’s power. History has proven this to be a problem, have we learned nothing from the Middle Ages or Magisterial Europe?

    I am particularly disturbed by those who would call themselves “Baptist” who do this. I’m prolife, but it is not my “duty” to vote for a pro-life candidate if that candidate is corrupt or if his party (since our political system is now constructed around party politics) fostering corruption. My duty is to preach and teach the gospel, for legislation will not remove the underwriting reasons people get abortions. The problem that I see far too often is the move by some, usually those from the those theological traditions that harp on “free will,” to do via government what they have failed to do – and continue to ignore – in their own churches. The problem isn’t “apathy” it’s the loss of the Gospel in the churches.

    The SBC, for example, has, on paper 16. 4 million members. The SBC, if folks would look around the internet, would find out that’s a lie.

    See:

    http://www.founders.org/library/elliff1.html

    And if you don’t believe me here’s a typical “flagship” church in the SBC.

    2001
    3506 members
    203 baptisms
    253 other additions
    2200 primary worship attendance

    2002
    3812 members
    296 baptisms
    190 other additions
    2100 primary worship

    2003
    4011 members
    209 baptisms
    137 other additions
    2031 primary worship attendance

    2004
    4163 members
    237 baptisms
    204 other additions
    1874 primary worship

    And this is quite common. It is not at all atypical.Would this church meet anyone’s criteria for “declining?” It went from a counted Sunday morning worship attendance of 2200 in 2001 to 1874 in 2004. If my math is correct, that is a 15% decline.

    Granted, they have baptized 945 people during that 4 year period and they have added 784 people by other means. But the church membership only grew by 657. It took 1729 new members for the church to grow by 657 members.

    In addition those 1729 new members resulted in 326 fewer worshipers! If the church continues to grow at this rate then by the time it adds around 10,000 new members the preacher will be preaching to an empty auditorium at his “primary worship” service.

    Yet the SBC’s own Richard Land is openly advising Mitt Romney, and all the while claiming he is not “endorsing” anybody publicly. The SBC continues to parade members of the Bush Administration before the Convention every June. It is undeniable that the SBC’s leadership is wedded to the Republican Party. That wedding is an unsavory union, not because of what either group stands for, but because it draws together the church and state too closely. The SBC is actually debating regenerate church membership (a thing I never thought I would see Baptist do) and discussing recovering church discipline. Why then should the world pay attention to us? And this problem goes beyond the SBC, so, I ask again, why should the world listen to the Church. The Church needs to mend its own house before it goes running to the government and wedding itself to politics.

  8. anonymous said

    Gene,

    I find myself agreeing with you on this one. For many more conservative Christians, one would think that Jesus is a Republican, and for just as many very liberal ones there is just as much lockstep agreement with the Democratic Party. The church has got to always have a place to stand outside of the partisan debates so that it can truly be prophetic.

    There is a real tendency today to romanticize about our past, to make the founders all good evangelicals, and to say that everyone who came here in the 1600s came for religious reasons. As some have pointed out, the prevailing intellectual climate in the late 1700s was very rationalist and deist. Three of the five members of the committee that drafted the Declaration weren’t Christian by the standards of most who follow this site. All the founders to my knowledge (except Thomas Paine who was outspokenly hostile to religion) did acknowledge the importance of religion in civic life, though. I should also point out that the fact that many were deists does not mean that God did not use them. God can use whoever he wants, after all he used the pagan Persion Cyrus to free the Hebrews in exile in 539 BC. One can believe that the nation was blessed at its founding without romanticizing or even falsifying it.

    The Puritans who came to New England were indeed far more pious than most of us today, and came to set up a shining “city on a hill”. It is equally true that the folks who came to Virginia in 1607 came in search of the almighty dollar (or pound as the case may be).

    We would do well to remember that pretty much every generation believes that it’s kids are “going to Hell in a handbasket.” One exception might be the late 19th century and early 20th where liberalism was growing, and evangelicals believed that they were going to convert the whole world to usher in the Kingdom of God.

    Anyway the Christian’s, and the church’s ultimate loyalty is to Christ and we should be open to see when our country or party does not measure up.

  9. Troy said

    Genembridges, I stand by my assertion that apathy in the church is where much of the blame may be placed for the progressive decline of morality, liberties and thus the overall condition in America, as it was in “democratic” Germany up to the rise of the Third Reich, to draw an extreme parallel. And it is the same reason today’s Christians fail to spread the gospel. They are two results of the same condition.

    My point is the unique place in history of the American Republic where all Americans, to include Christian Americans, have not only the right but more implortantly the duty to vigilantly protect the liberties and freedoms that were won for us by the founders throught the grace of God. And America was without question founded with many Christian underpinnings… it’s barely debatable.

    Christians could focus soley on “soul winning” and exclude themselves from politics all together, but in time I believe they would be winning souls in an underground church covertly, as the tendency of man-made authority unchecked is tyranny. (The founders knew this from all of history.) Why is this necessary when we had the most religious freedom in history from the beginning? America is the only country formed by man through miracles provided by God almighty to allow such a great system, despite the flaws inherent to all human government. And this is not to imply government forced Christianity at all, that is contrary to the original intent.

    All that being said, our number one commission is to make disciples of all men. How is it necessary to make a choice between maintainging the gift of a nation that we were blessed with or doing God’s work? I propose that it is not necessary, we can and must do both. The falsehood rivals that of the “lesser of two evil” way of voting that the church has been sold. Theere is always a choice other than the “two parties” and yes voting on principle can be the Godly thing to do.

  10. Troy said

    Genembridges, I stand by my assertion that apathy in the church is where much of the blame may be placed for the progressive decline of morality, liberties and thus the overall condition in America, as it was in “democratic” Germany up to the rise of the Third Reich, to draw an extreme parallel. And it is the same reason today’s Christians fail to spread the gospel. They are two results of the same condition.

    My point is the unique place in history of the American Republic where all Americans, to include Christian Americans, have not only the right but more implortantly the duty to vigilantly protect the liberties and freedoms that were won for us by the founders throught the grace of God. And America was without question founded with many Christian underpinnings… it’s barely debatable.

    Christians could focus soley on “soul winning” and exclude themselves from politics all together, but in time I believe they would be winning souls in an underground church covertly, as the tendency of man-made authority unchecked is tyranny. (The founders knew this from all of history.) Why is this necessary when we had the most religious freedom in history from the beginning? America is the only country formed by man through miracles provided by God almighty to allow such a great system, despite the flaws inherent to all human government. And this is not to imply government forced Christianity at all, that is contrary to the original intent.

    All that being said, our number one commission is to make disciples of all men. How is it necessary to make a choice between maintainging the gift of a nation that we were blessed with or doing God’s work? I propose that it is not necessary, we can and must do both. The falsehood rivals that of the “lesser of two evil” way of voting that the church has been sold. Theere is always a choice other than the “two parties” and yes voting on principle can be the Godly thing to do.

  11. kandace said

    Troy, I agree with you.

  12. Anonymous said

    “America is the only country formed by man through miracles provided by God almighty to allow such a great system, despite the flaws inherent to all human government.” – Troy

    You lost me there.

  13. kandace said

    To Anonymous:
    Troy’s quote reveals the utter depravity of mankind apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Our system of government depends upon individual self-control to avoid dictatorship. One can write laws until the oceans run dry, but if people don’t want to obey them, dictatorship is the only result to avoid anarchy.

    As one man wisely said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

  14. Genembridges, I stand by my assertion that apathy in the church is where much of the blame may be placed for the progressive decline of morality, liberties and thus the overall condition in America, as it was in “democratic” Germany up to the rise of the Third Reich, to draw an extreme parallel. And it is the same reason today’s Christians fail to spread the gospel. They are two results of the same condition.

    The parallel fails insofar as Germany operated with a state indexed Lutheran church. Evangelical Lutherans had, by then, moved to America. Lutheranism in Continental Europe had fallen into Theological Liberalism by the Second World War as well.

    Germans living in that era were also living in a time of extreme economic and political depression and oppression. They were not “apathetic.” They were precisely the opposite. They were driven by a nationalistic spirit to recover what they had lost after the First World War – they are, in that regard, more like what you are advocating than unlike it.

    The reason that Christians have “failed to spread the gospel” is because the gospel has been lost and the people live in ignorance. Today, “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Prayer of Jabez” and those sorts of books dominate the best seller lists in Christian bookstores, not “Knowing God” by JI Packer, for example, not theology books, or books on doctrine, or even Foxes Book of Martyrs. The problem is that American Christianity – including evangelicalism – is awash in a see of relativism. Churches operate without even a simple confession of faith, saying “The Bible is our confession” without thought to what that means. Among the dispensationalist “Free Grace” crowd, it is admitted by leading proponents like Bob Wilkin that 1/3 of them view the doctrine of eternal security – which I myself affirm – as meaning that a Christian can be converted and never bear any spiritual fruit, in short, antinominanism. The problem is that the majority of Christians in this nation if they aren’t nominal Christians, are not taught, and they couldn’t defend, much less present, the gospel or basic Christian doctrine if they were asked. – and this, my friend, is an artifact of the 20th century, for this wasn’t representative of Christianity in the 19th and backward. In those centuries people that sat in the churches new things like the Charleston Catechism or the Philadelphia Confession. They could pick up a Baptist state newspaper and read theological debates – with interest at that – between Presbyterians and Baptists. Today, this is virtually unknown. Today, what was common knowledge in the 19th century is considered “too hard” or “for preachers” or other such nonsense. That, friend, is the real apathy in the Church today. Until the Church can do something about that it has no business playing politics. It is precisely the failures in its own house that drives many Christians to run to the state.

    My point is the unique place in history of the American Republic where all Americans, to include Christian Americans, have not only the right but more implortantly the duty to vigilantly protect the liberties and freedoms that were won for us by the founders throught the grace of God. And America was without question founded with many Christian underpinnings… it’s barely debatable.

    I do not deny this for I affirm with the Second London Baptist Confession:

    It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called there unto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasions.

    I do not deny that Christians can and should participate in government. What I deny is the indexing of the power of the state and the church in something more akin to the medieval ideal than biblical Christianity. What I oppose is the legislation of the first table of the Law. If the monuments to the Ten Commandments were removed, I it would not bother me in the least, not because I oppose the Ten Commandments, but because the Church has lost the gospel and it would be a just judgment of God, and what bothers me most is that the churches that have lost the gospel are often the same churches that resort to the civil power to do what they have failed to do, or the other extreme, theonomy, in which gospel churches seek to nevertheless impose the First Table of the Law.

    I affirm the Baptist Faith and Message in this matter:

    God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

    It is precisely the failure of many in the SBC to abide by this part of their own confession that I oppose.

    Christians could focus soley on “soul winning” and exclude themselves from politics all together, but in time I believe they would be winning souls in an underground church covertly, as the tendency of man-made authority unchecked is tyranny

    The Apostolic and Subapostolic churches thrived under the oppression of Rome. The indexing of the church to the power of the state is precisely what led to the declension of the Middle Ages. It also led to the Wars of Religion in the Reformation. Many of the “founders” came here for religious freedom but denied that freedom to others. My Baptist forefathers were quite oppressed when the came here. So, your appeal to the “founders” is a highly selective appeal.

    The founders knew this from all of history.) What they knew and opposed was state religion. Like them, I differentiate between revealed and civil religion. They should be separate. I support, for example, prayer at the Forsyth County, NC Board of Commissioners – but not prayer by Christians alone. I do not support the notion that I am somehow obligated to walk lock step with a political party – no matter what party that might be.

  15. kandace said

    Nobody is saying that one should be any particular political party, nor that the church should be wedded to politics. It is the individuals within the church that should be involved in the political arena in some respect.

    Although Christianity thrived in times of persecution, why is it necessary to force the issue? Let’s influence the culture for Jesus Christ. Let’s use our liberty to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ while we can still do so.

  16. Troy said

    Gene, I understand and agree with much of what you replied with. The fact is, most who call themselves Christian today are so caught up in their own busy lives and retail Christianity that they know nothing of what we once had in America.

    Kandace, I agree we should influence the culture for Jesus Christ but I don’t believe it is a choice between such and retaining (regaining) the republic our predecessors lived in. Neither issue is helped by Christian non-involvement in government and politics.

    We were all born into generations who are ignorant of what a unique country this truly was and is. It was the most unique country in form and the founders attempted to warn the generations what it would take to retain it.

  17. Anonymous said

    “…they know nothing of what we once had in America.” – Troy

    OK, tell us what we once had that you long for?

  18. Troy said

    Oh, sorry… Anonymous? A real good start would be with the representative republic as prescribed by the founders and outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

  19. Anonymous said

    But we have those things today.

  20. Troy said

    We technically still have those things, maybe, but the increasing view promoted in word and deed by our representatives and the media today is that this is a “democracy” and people are confused by what the difference is. The deed I speak of that is so dangerous is the slippery slope of draconian legislation and judicial activism that is eroding personal liberty, the main focus of protection supposedly guaranteed to Americans by the Bill of Rights. If one is paying attention this is obvious and has accelerated since 9-11-01 in the name of “security” and “safety”. Refer to my reply in the “Should Christians Support the War in Iraq” thread (reply 9.) for more specific examples of this slide we are on. Of course this “democracy” scam has been gaining steam for a lot longer but the last six years has seen a great boost.

  21. Anonymous said

    Libertarian? Me, too, at least intellectually. The thing is that we always have the next election to look forward to don’t we? The current occupants of the White House will be gone soon and then President Ron Paul will set things straight!

  22. Troy said

    Hope and pray for Ron Paul, yes.

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