Saturday, February 21

Romans 13 and our Constitution

Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

In our system of government we are subject to the laws that governing authorities implement. We are subject to laws and not to men. It is a gross error to consider this passage as a mandate to submit to the agenda and policy preferences of a president or other leaders that are mere proposals. We have no biblical obligation to pray that policies that we do not agree with become law, even if such laws do not violate Christian ethics. Only when policies become law do we have any obligation to submit.

In our system of three equal branches of government the legislative branch is responsible for passing laws, and a Christian satisfies this passage by opposing or being for any bill that comes before congress as long as it does not violate the Law of Christ. Our Christian framers designed our system because they knew that power corrupts, and they wanted to divide power as much as possible. This verse does not bind American Christians to praying for the agenda of a president to be successfully implemented. Since Congress is an equal branch with the executive branch, Christians have ever right to pray that congressional representatives who oppose the president’s agenda will be successful. The bottom line of such a prayer would be that a president’s policy agenda proposals would fail to be enacted as law. This does not violate anything that Christians are called to do in Romans 13. In our system we submit to laws and not to men!

Even after agendas become law, Christians have the freedom to work to get such laws reversed even while they are peacefully submitting to them. They do this by lobbying their representatives and voting for and against people who agree with their ideology. This is called liberty and it is the system of government that our Christian forefathers fought and died to implement. We are under no biblical obligation to refrain from legally opposing and working to reverse laws we oppose. Perhaps we would under a king, but under our constitution we are given legal rights to petition and change laws that we do not like!

I am perplexed that even conservative Christian clergy think it is our mandate to joyfully submit to and pray for the agenda of the Obama administration to be successfully implemented into law, even where it is against our personal beliefs. I wish they would consider Romans 13 in context with our constitution rather than in context with a monarchy.


mark pierson said...

"I wish they would consider Romans 13 in context with our constitution rather than in context with a monarchy."

I never looked at that that way before. Great thought!!!

jazzycat said...

Thanks Mark. Our system of government was set up by Christians who did not want to be ruled by a monarch, and that is why we have divided powers and elections. We even have a means of impeaching government officials including the president. Our king is Jesus and in the United States our biblical duty as described by Romans 13 is to submit to laws and those who carry out these laws as long as it does not require us to sin against God. Contained in these laws is the right to oppose and lawfully seek to defeat any leader we do not want at the ballot box. That is not a failure to submit, that is simply obeying our constitution and the law we are under.

This idea that we should submit and remain silent to every policy of a president except on just a few biblical issues is just simply wrong in my opinion. We not only have the right but the duty to speak up and oppose policies we do not think are good for our liberty, and pursuit of happiness. This is in fact submission to our constitution.....

Shiloh Guy said...

Ah, Jazzman! I remember fighting this same battle back in the '60s and early '70s! I'm not sure who among your readers would have stood beside me back then but I was actively exercising my right to oppose the government under the law! Thanks to a providentially high lottery number in the draft I never had to disobey the law but I was ready to do so! We best be alert and awake these days lest things sneak by us and we end up having to make the painful decision to disobey our earthly rulers in order to obey our King!

Shiloh Guy said...

Mark Pierson,

I read your paper at BlueCollar today. May the peace of our Lord be with you always. You are not alone. I think of you often and will remember to pray.

Tried to leave this note at BlueCollar but, as you know, it wouldn't take it. So thanks for letting me put it here, Jazzman.

jazzycat said...

Good point. That war was a terrible waste, unnecessary and very poorly executed. I joined the Air Guard before I ever got a lottery number. That worked out well personally for me as I got to experience all the benefits and joys of flying.

I am sure Mark will appreciate your comment for him here.


Maalie said...

No doubt you were very encouraged by our Prime Minister's (Gordon Brown's) speech to your congress today.

jazzycat said...

Actually I did not hear or read about it. I know I don't want any part of a new deal for the world.

It seems Obama insulted your PM. The following article is from a UK paper: