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Tom Geiger

All governments are from God?

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In some churches I would be considered Christian, in others a heretic. I am frankly tired of the debating and the grey areas and having to parse sentences into words written in a foreign language to try and divinate a meaning. Frankly, if God is so powerful, He should straighten out the confusion regarding His own Word now. If it is supposed to be for all men to understand, then make it so. Otherwise, all you have are books written with the accuracy and exactness of a political campaign platform where people are able to spin phrases and sentences to fit their own theology.

It is utterly ridiculous the lengths humans have gone to understand what is accurate in the Bible.

If life and holiness and afterlife is so darn important, make it as easy as falling off a log to understand. Then people have the free will to fall off the log or not.

Yes, I am exasperated and very tired of all the drama and mental stress this "rightly dividing the Word" induces.

When all is said and done, I, at this moment:

Do not believe in any such Trinity. There is God who is Holy Spirit and His son Jesus Christ. Period, end of story.

I do not believe everything in the current Bible is God breathed. I believe it (the Bible) was added to for personal or political reasons or contains mistranslations. I do believe that the original Word of God is truth.

And I do believe I will need to leave the church I have been attending soon as I cannot tolerate the error being promoted as truth when the lead pastor continually tries to work the trinity into sermons, shoehorning it into spots it does not even remotely belong.

Sorry for maybe being off-topic. Not sure if the above counts as doctrinal.

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It was a direct answer to a direct question that underscores how you approach the scriptures we're discussing. Continuing to digress would be off-topic, but you're on safe ground so far.

It appears you believe (and you will tell me if I am mistaken) that even if the Bible says governments are instituted by God, you would not believe it.

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Raf, at this point I would say that is accurate. I always leave open the possibility that I will have additional insight that will make me change my mind.

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In a church I have been attending, the pastor is presenting sermons on the book of Romans.

Maybe I have fallen asleep all the other times I have read Romans 13:1-7 or maybe the current political climate and world events made me more ware of these verses (from the NIV):

1 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. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 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.

OK, help me understand how, as the pastor taught, that all governments are from God.

Stalin? Pinochet? Hitler? Mussolini? Idi Amin? Taliban? Ayatollahs? Castro?

Socialism? Communism? Totalitarianism? Fascism?

So rebelling against a represssive or even murderous government is rebelling against God?

If so, my view of God is going to have to change.

I don't think there's a simple answer to your thought provoking post, Tom. This is one of those topics that confuses me too! If I lived under an extremely repressive or utterly cruel government I just can't imagine myself being a meek and gentle Christian and rolling over and taking it.

An easy answer might be to point to other forms of authority/leadership mentioned in the Bible like the role of parents, elders in the church, the husband in marriage, and perhaps even leaders in commerce and industry ; in my humble opinion, any of these roles as well as any government are prone to abuse in one way or another since we are a fallen race… And perhaps what makes Romans 13 an even tougher pill for me to swallow is to realize Paul wrote it at a time when Rome ruled with an iron fist! So what was Paul thinking?!?!....I don't know!

I don't really think I would have been a conscientious objector back in my day – I didn't have to deal with that dilemma during the draft for Viet Nam – they drew folks' birthdays in a lottery and I got a high number – so I was never called; probably would have went if I was drafted since my father was a medic in WWII (and received two purple hearts I might proudly add). I think there may even be some contingency for civil disobedience in Romans 13 – since verse 5 speaks of submitting as a matter of conscience and verses 8 thru 10 talk of loving your neighbor as yourself and doing no harm to your neighbor – see no biblical reason to support a government that would persecute my neighbor over race, religion, etc.

Well, enough of messing around with hypotheticals in these first two paragraphs…now onto business….

A couple of other passages usually pop up in my head when wrestling over Romans 13 – and they like Romans go along the lines of emphasizing God's sovereignty. One is in Jeremiah 27: 1-8 NIV

Early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 This is what the Lord said to me: "Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. 3 Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them a message for their masters and say, 'This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Tell this to your masters: 5 With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. 6 Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. 7 All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.

8 "'"If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the Lord, until I destroy it by his hand.

This is definitely a weird arrangement orchestrated by God. I don't mean to come across as irreverent or the black sheep of God's family – but this is one of those topics I usually avoid because I'm not into defending something or minimizing it if it seems whacked out to me; but I will say this about my idea of what love for God is about – maybe Christians need to accept Him warts and all just like He accepts us. Don't get me wrong – I'm not saying God is imperfect or ugly like me – the "warts" of God are the things He does or allows or orchestrates or doesn't do - that defy my attempts to fathom His reasons for doing such! I'm saying I love Him anyway!!!

Another passage along these lines is in John 19: 4-11 NIV, when Jesus was before Pilate:

4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"

But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."

7 The Jewish leaders insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

Once again the emphasis is on God's sovereignty. This almost has a fatalistic undertone to it – at least it does to me if I imagine myself in Jesus' sandals saying this to Pilate. And thinking along those lines I sometimes wonder if that is part of the mystery of how things work out – but not in some strict sense of fatalism – that events are determined by an impersonal force and cannot be changed by us mere mortals. But thinking along Christian lines I have this fuzzy notion that maybe God is the personal force that can orchestrate change… sometimes even through the actions of us mere mortals.

When thinking of God's sovereignty I also consider His foreknowledge AND our freedom of will...my mind cannot wrap around even the simplest concept of how this whole shooting match is run - if anyone is even running it!!! it is a comforting idea to think that there is a God who is in charge....I sure hope that's true! Does this address your questions about all governments being from God. Nope! Personally I am intrigued about things like this as thorny as they may get - maybe play at backwards engineering to speculate how such an intricate system could be put in place...btw - this is my disclaimer - my post is just a bunch of speculation - i could be way off.

It's mind boggling – if I had to write a screenplay for it – I would probably have God as the ALL traffic controller for the world – anything on land, sea or in the air. Every pilot, every sea captain, every driver has freedom of will – and for the most part everything flows pretty good as folks follow the traffic laws; but there's road rage, people being goofballs taking selfies at inappropriate times, teenage drivers :biglaugh:/>, accidents, terrorism, etc. (that's a whole other thorny topic – the problem of evil – which I can't adequately handle either); God as the all traffic controller does not make everyone follow the laws; I admit this is a really stupid analogy – but who is to say how things work out and come together in a crisis – is it God's spirit…His angels…courageous and compassionate people…all of the above – that come into play? That brings to mind Romans 8:28 NIV : And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Edited by T-Bone

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Mulling over this thread and what I had already posted previously …and since I have a tendency to change my opinion sometimes  :rolleyes: -- - I wanted to take a different approach in addressing the issues of Romans 13.

Perhaps there’s a lot more to it than simply concluding it means all governments are from God or the idea that I floated by previously - that there’s a dark side to God and that must account for the weird way he orchestrates how things turn out…or that he is like an almighty all-traffic controller…As powerful a sovereign we might imagine God to be - I wonder if I’ve neglected to give more consideration to a very important piece of this puzzle – something that may be almost as complicated as the Creator…and that is human beings created in the image and likeness of God.

As a Christian I believe God created human beings as free moral agents AND as social creatures

As Wikipedia’s link suggests – being social creatures we are greatly interactive with other members of our own species, with an individual’s success highly dependent on the overall cohesion and propagation of the group. the first institution established by God to help provide for social needs was marriage as seen in Adam and Eve - the two becoming one flesh...then further on the propagation of the group as Adam and Eve start a family.

Perhaps one of the more serious repercussions of the Fall is not only tainting perfection with sin but also throwing a wrench into the proper operation of interpersonal skills… Now let’s get a whole bunch of imperfect people to live together, conduct business together and in general try to get along without tearing each other apart. That gets into the human condition

and even though it’s a broad topic – the human condition is often a recurring priority addressed by many religions, philosophers, and psychologists.

Me being the two-bit sociologist that I am :rolleyes: - - I got to wondering if God didn’t perhaps build certain fail-safe “programs” into humans that would come into operation if something went wrong. Thinking about civilizations and societies one could interpret their tendencies to establish law and order as simply a response to satisfy some innate desire for such things…a workaround solution…an instinctive drive to restore proper socialization.

One more thing I wanted to mention before commenting on Romans 13 - - was a definition of institution

for the purpose of this post I’ll go with two common definitions of institution - An organization founded for a religious, educational, professional, or social purpose …and… An established official organization having an important role in a society, such as the Church or parliament.

What I hope to show is that Romans 13 refers to the institution of government in general as a necessary means to the continued existence of a civilized society – and that it does NOT refer to… or specifies …or endorses any one particular type of government.

From Commentary on the New Testament: The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans by R.C.H. Lenski , co. 1936, Hendrickson Publishers, on page 786, Lenski says of Romans 13:

No particular form of authority is specified: imperial, monarchial, oligarchical, republican, democratic. Whether this authority is exercised in a noble or in an oppressive manner, whether it was attained in a legitimate or in an illegitimate way, neither limits nor qualifies the Christian’s position. One implication is plain: anarchy is not according to the will of God. While it has had its theoretical advocates it could not be established so as to continue, for it is the abolition of all governmental authority.

When Paul wrote he scarcely had in mind his personal experiences as a Christian under Roman authority, the climax of which was yet to come when he suffered martyrdom; but he certainly had in mind the Jewish authority which forced Pilate to send Jesus to the cross and his own violence as a rabid tool of the Sanhedrin which led to the martyrdom of so many of the first Christians. The fact that authorities and authority may act criminally changes nothing as to God’s will regarding their establishment among men.”   (end of excerpt)

== == == ==

And from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology , general editor Walter A. Elwell, co. 1984, Baker Book House, page 477, under Government. The Biblical Witness:

From a biblical point of view government is one of the means God has established to rule his creation through human stewardship.” (end of excerpt)

 

We see from other passages that no earthly government takes priority over the authority of God. Commenting on Romans 13:1-7 in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, general editor Walter A. Elwell, co. 1989, Baker Books, pages 951 and 952 it says of Paul the author of Romans:

He sees the state as a gift of God’s common grace to guarantee civil order and to restrain uncontrolled evil (the ruler “is God’s servant to do good “ [v.4]; cf. 2 Thess. 2:6-7, where the final eschatological eruption of rebellion by the “man of lawlessness” is being held back by “that which” and “he who” restrains, very likely respectively, human government and the Holy Spirit…

…Elsewhere in Scripture the believer is enjoined to disobey authorities where they demand denial of the Lord (e.g., Daniel and his three friends [Daniel 3, 6]; Peter and John [Acts 4:19-20]; and Jesus himself in his disregard for Sabbath laws and refusal to replay to official questioning [Luke 23:8-9] ). Furthermore, Paul himself describes the power of the state as provisional in I Corinthians 6:1-6, and Revelation 13 characterizes Rome as the demonic beast from the abyss. Paul is aware of these negative and complementary aspects of human government but focuses here on the issue of respect for instituted authority as a necessary precondition for the Christian mission…” (end of excerpt)

== == == ==

Romans 13, like so many other passages in the Bible, touches on some things that are far bigger than just the immediate context of directives being given. Sometimes we may rush to a conclusion without giving any thought to the background or issues that a particular biblical directive addresses. What I tried to explain earlier in my post was the need for order and socialization that is written into our makeup – hardwired, if you will – by our Creator - and though we are fallen creatures - those needs are still present and crave to be satisfied. The institution of government is one of the many methods that God has provided for overcoming the problems and limitations of the human condition.

Edited by T-Bone
formatting, typos, clarity...the list goes on and on...

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3 hours ago, T-Bone said:

Romans 13, like so many other passages in the Bible, touches on some things that are far bigger than just the immediate context of directives being given. Sometimes we may rush to a conclusion without giving any thought to the background or issues that a particular biblical directive addresses. What I tried to explain earlier in my post was the need for order and socialization that is written into our makeup – hardwired, if you will – by our Creator - and though we are fallen creatures - those needs are still present and crave to be satisfied. The institution of government is one of the many methods that God has provided for overcoming the problems and limitations of the human condition.

In forms of government in which power is derived from the people, wouldn't a reading of Romans 13 suggest that we -- as citizens -- have a sacred responsibility (duty) to exercise that citizenship actively? As in, not copping out by dismissing that duty by simply saying all I -- as a citizen -- have to do is pray for those the people entrusted with the power (authority)?

When Romans was written, had there ever been a successfully implemented democratic society?

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6 hours ago, Rocky said:

In forms of government in which power is derived from the people, wouldn't a reading of Romans 13 suggest that we -- as citizens -- have a sacred responsibility (duty) to exercise that citizenship actively? As in, not copping out by dismissing that duty by simply saying all I -- as a citizen -- have to do is pray for those the people entrusted with the power (authority)?

When Romans was written, had there ever been a successfully implemented democratic society?

Rocky, some great questions there !

I haven't ever spent much time looking into any of that - but your questions got me to Google the issues -

Christianity and Politics

but setting aside any political affiliations one may have - my short answer to your question of what is the civic responsibility of a Christian - I read the previous chapter - Romans 12  - which speaks of everyone in the body having different gifts / functions - (like serving, giving, leading, etc.) I would think they all could have a wider application than just in the church.

 

History of Democracy

your question..."had there ever been a successfully implemented democratic society?" -  after reading the Wikipedia thing on Democracy - we may have to add qualifiers on "successfully" - the article suggests the Greeks and Romans made some attempts.

 

perhaps there's some history buffs in the house....sorry to let you down - I'm still stuck in World War I with my reading project. :rolleyes:

Edited by T-Bone
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10 hours ago, T-Bone said:

Rocky, some great questions there !

I haven't ever spent much time looking into any of that - but your questions got me to Google the issues -

Christianity and Politics

but setting aside any political affiliations one may have - my short answer to your question of what is the civic responsibility of a Christian - I read the previous chapter - Romans 12  - which speaks of everyone in the body having different gifts / functions - (like serving, giving, leading, etc.) I would think they all could have a wider application than just in the church.

 

History of Democracy

your question..."had there ever been a successfully implemented democratic society?" -  after reading the Wikipedia thing on Democracy - we may have to add qualifiers on "successfully" - the article suggests the Greeks and Romans made some attempts.

 

perhaps there's some history buffs in the house....sorry to let you down - I'm still stuck in World War I with my reading project. :rolleyes:

I haven't studied the issue enough to know when the earliest democracies were founded ... but ... I am at least conversant on modern democracies and writings that underpin the concept.

The Social Contract by Rousseau clearly sets forth ideas upon which the US was built as the first modern democracy (or democratic republic if you prefer).

The Declaration of Independence spells out the purpose of government.


" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

Lincoln famously stated in the Gettysburg Address his intent that "government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish."

The Arizona Constitution states (in Article 2, Section 2) " All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights."

A central theme of Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" was to debunk the notion of hereditary succession of allegedly God-ordained monarchy.

To me, that all combines to put Romans 13 in a different perspective than we have heretofore been led to believe... and therefore shines a light on the notion of civic responsibility.

It also suggests that the Bible does not have ALL the answers necessary for leading a "quiet and peaceable life."

Edited by Rocky
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thanks Rocky

some good reading...i browsed through social contract and common sense...you sound like you're into political science...I never cared for it much until lately - - and think I've been missing out - - i'm always fascinated how things work.

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2 hours ago, T-Bone said:

thanks Rocky

some good reading...i browsed through social contract and common sense...you sound like you're into political science...I never cared for it much until lately - - and think I've been missing out - - i'm always fascinated how things work.

I'm into history more than political science... and I too am fascinated by how many of these things work. :wave:

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11 hours ago, Rocky said:

I'm into history more than political science... and I too am fascinated by how many of these things work. :wave:

ya know, the more I thought about how I've enjoyed reading up on WWI - and of all the contributing factors that led up to it and to its continuation for so long - that the authors have noted - I realized it's actually the political science of it all that they're talking about.....who knew ?  :biglaugh:

Edited by T-Bone
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7 hours ago, T-Bone said:

ya know, the more I thought about how I've enjoyed reading up on WWI - and of all the contributing factors that led up to it and to its continuation for so long - that the authors have noted - I realized it's actually the political science of it all that they're talking about.....who knew ?  :biglaugh:

I suppose you're right. I was thinking that (knowing some political scientists) the focus on statistical data in political science isn't so fascinating for me, but yes, the rest of it is. :dance:

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Those verses in Romans present a conundrum for Christians no doubt. Here is something else to consider that makes this even more confusing: at the time Paul made these statements didn't Satan and the rest of the fallen angels have dominion over the gentile nations? Surely God isn't telling Christians to obey the dark side...so I'm leaning toward Twinkey's explanation that it isn't governmental authorities that God is instructing Christian's to obey. DWBH has an interesting perspective on this... that these verses are simply Paul's opinion and not God-breathed.

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On 11/1/2017 at 1:16 PM, Infoabsorption said:

Those verses in Romans present a conundrum for Christians no doubt. Here is something else to consider that makes this even more confusing: at the time Paul made these statements didn't Satan and the rest of the fallen angels have dominion over the gentile nations? Surely God isn't telling Christians to obey the dark side...so I'm leaning toward Twinkey's explanation that it isn't governmental authorities that God is instructing Christian's to obey. DWBH has an interesting perspective on this... that these verses are simply Paul's opinion and not God-breathed.

I fail to see the conundrum you’re talking about. could you explain your reasoning behind what you said:

“...Here is something else to consider that makes this even more confusing: at the time Paul made these statements didn't Satan and the rest of the fallen angels have dominion over the gentile nations? Surely God isn't telling Christians to obey the dark side...“

I think it would be contradictory of Paul to direct Christians to obey the dark side - when he just said obey the authorities for conscience sake (Romans 13:5)  besides the fact that it would go against what he said in other passages like I Thessalonians 5:5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. NIV. 

I tend to think obeying “the dark side “ would be a violation of conscience if one was a Christian.

 

 

Edited by T-Bone
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Hi T-Bone. Are the authorities Paul was referring to governmental authorities? Church authorities? Spiritual authorities? Some Christian organizations interpret the "authorities" as governmental. The point I was trying to make is simply that these verses are confusing to some Christians.

Reading on down to verse 6 it appears to be governmental: "6 This is also why you pay taxes",etc. Referring to Israel's theocracy perhaps? 

My favorite verse in this chapter is 11: " And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." 

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T-Bone, here is a parallel verse that we all have read a hundred times before: Matt. 4 :8-9

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
 
I believe that dominion ended near 70CE. Nonetheless, at the time Paul made these statements, the fallen angels had dominion over the gentile nations. It appears Paul was instructing Christians to obey the governing authorities and that they are God servants etc. I understand completely why this would present some confusion. I am confused by it as well.
 

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1 hour ago, Infoabsorption said:

Hi T-Bone. Are the authorities Paul was referring to governmental authorities? Church authorities? Spiritual authorities? Some Christian organizations interpret the "authorities" as governmental. The point I was trying to make is simply that these verses are confusing to some Christians.

Reading on down to verse 6 it appears to be governmental: "6 This is also why you pay taxes",etc. Referring to Israel's theocracy perhaps? 

My favorite verse in this chapter is 11: " And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." 

 

Hi InfoAbsorption,

As I expressed in an earlier post - I understand Romans 13 is addressing the institution of government (as something established by God) - and reiterating the commentaries I quoted in that post: those passages do NOT specify a particular form of government (democracy, monarchy, etc.)  - nor does it assume any  or all governments conduct their affairs justly.

As I tried to express in that earlier post - speculating as a Christian with a flair for 2-bit sociology - - in the big picture, we are all made in the image and likeness of God; it follows from that - as the Creator has endowed us with freewill - there is always the possibility of a person or group of people choosing to go against the Creator’s wishes or intent - be it an individual act of evil or a group effort (like a government). 

That does not mean the Creator condones the evil act(s) simply because he gave humans freedom of will. I could be wrong but I think Romans 13 is addressing Christians in the context of whatever government they live under - for conscience sake - which again I could be wrong but I take that to mean I should obey the government as long as they do not direct me to do something in violation of the principles of my faith. Again - not trying to be repetitive- but my previous post did list some passages where believers did go against government wishes for conscience sake.

 

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"I think Romans 13 is addressing Christians in the context of whatever government they live under - for conscience sake - which again I could be wrong but I take that to mean I should obey the government as long as they do not direct me to do something in violation of the principles of my faith. Again - not trying to be repetitive- but my previous post did list some passages where believers did go against government wishes for conscience sake. "

 

This may very well have been Paul's original meaning. It seems he was speaking in general terms but didn't address the exceptions such as violating a command of God,  being asked to commit an immoral act etc. I haven't read this section of Romans in years and forgot all about it. So now I'm re-learning. Here is an interesting commentary that addresses exactly what is being discussed on this thread: https://bible.org/seriespage/26-laws-land-romans-131-14

 

 

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1 hour ago, Infoabsorption said:

T-Bone, here is a parallel verse that we all have read a hundred times before: Matt. 4 :8-9

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
 
I believe that dominion ended near 70CE. Nonetheless, at the time Paul made these statements, the fallen angels had dominion over the gentile nations. It appears Paul was instructing Christians to obey the governing authorities and that they are God servants etc. I understand completely why this would present some confusion. I am confused by it as well.
 

Thanks for the link you gave for the commentary on Romans 13 - it handles a lot of these issues quite admirably

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Might it be okay to think of "government" as "orderliness"?  Rather than any specific form of rule, domination, etc. 

  • God had seen (Genesis) that the world had become chaotic, and imposed orderliness upon it.
  • God is not the author of confusion, but of peace - orderliness.

Christians are supposed to be peaceful, respectful, orderly, both in the church and in their relationships with other people.  We are not "peaceable" if we are being anarchic, butting up against people, arguing and fighting.  That, however, does to mean that we should not stand up for what we believe in:

  • Mordecai [book of Esther], whose act of civil disobedience was not words but simply refusing to bow when the pompous bully Haman passed by.  But Mordecai did not fight against the regime of the time - in fact, quite the opposite - his submission to that regime brought about hte liberation of his people.
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5 hours ago, Twinky said:

Might it be okay to think of "government" as "orderliness"?  Rather than any specific form of rule, domination, etc. 

  • God had seen (Genesis) that the world had become chaotic, and imposed orderliness upon it.
  • God is not the author of confusion, but of peace - orderliness.

Christians are supposed to be peaceful, respectful, orderly, both in the church and in their relationships with other people.  We are not "peaceable" if we are being anarchic, butting up against people, arguing and fighting.  That, however, does to mean that we should not stand up for what we believe in:

  • Mordecai [book of Esther], whose act of civil disobedience was not words but simply refusing to bow when the pompous bully Haman passed by.  But Mordecai did not fight against the regime of the time - in fact, quite the opposite - his submission to that regime brought about hte liberation of his people.

Twinky, I think you are right about orderliness which ultimately comes from God and in a fallen world some form of government needs to be in place to promote peace and prevent chaos. I disagree with the Anarchists although I've had some interesting discussions with some of them.

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5 hours ago, Twinky said:

Might it be okay to think of "government" as "orderliness"?  Rather than any specific form of rule, domination, etc. 

  • God had seen (Genesis) that the world had become chaotic, and imposed orderliness upon it.
  • God is not the author of confusion, but of peace - orderliness.

Christians are supposed to be peaceful, respectful, orderly, both in the church and in their relationships with other people.  We are not "peaceable" if we are being anarchic, butting up against people, arguing and fighting.  That, however, does to mean that we should not stand up for what we believe in:

  • Mordecai [book of Esther], whose act of civil disobedience was not words but simply refusing to bow when the pompous bully Haman passed by.  But Mordecai did not fight against the regime of the time - in fact, quite the opposite - his submission to that regime brought about the liberation of his people.

Great example. That's why I have considerable discomfort with common conceptions that Romans 13 presents a scenario in which Christians have no worldly role in the conduct of politics or government. Even before the era in which governments derive their just powers from the people, human action (beyond simply shrugging one's shoulders and defaulting to "it's a spiritual battle that I can't do anything about") made a huge and important difference for liberation of the people.

I continue to maintain that such common misunderstandings serve to keep people in bondage today rather than enable liberty to live in God's freedom.

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On 4/12/2016 at 5:25 PM, DontWorryBeHappy said:

Very easy Mr. Geiger.

Romans 13:1-7 is Pauline "revelation", most of which is not "godbreathed", and it preaches a different Christianity than its Founder, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Chew on that for awhile, 

This is the biggest bunch of nonsense I have read in any forum.  Do you think everything the apostle Paul wrote should be thrown out of the bible.  Chew on that for awhile.  Chew on that for awhile? I don't think so.  The very smell of it makes me want to vomit.

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22 hours ago, cwb01 said:

This is the biggest bunch of nonsense I have read in any forum.  Do you think everything the apostle Paul wrote should be thrown out of the bible.  Chew on that for awhile.  Chew on that for awhile? I don't think so.  The very smell of it makes me want to vomit.

The original poster may well think that. Some people do.  Others do not.  Don't be shocked to discover either in posters here.   Oh, and learn to live with people disagreeing with you. In the real world, outside the cults, there's differences of opinions. There's morons who miss the obvious even when diagrammed in front of them, and there's brilliant insights we'd never imagined that were obvious to other people,   Learn to evaluate it all.  "Prove all things, hold fast to what is good."  Sound advice, if strange to follow when in twi.

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On 7/11/2018 at 2:37 PM, cwb01 said:

This is the biggest bunch of nonsense I have read in any forum.  Do you think everything the apostle Paul wrote should be thrown out of the bible.  Chew on that for awhile.  Chew on that for awhile? I don't think so.  The very smell of it makes me want to vomit.

YES.

Chew your own vomit. I’m sure you love it. LOL!

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