I’m pretty sure my most recent posting of the Declaration of Independence led you to believe something was to follow. If so, you were right. I just didn’t want to smear the beauty and wonder of that document with my words, so it rests alone without contribution. But now, I would like to speak.
Honestly, I’m bothered by a pretty straightforward observation regarding the believer’s responsibility to Paul’s words found in the thirteenth chapter of his letter to the Romans and the rights we have as American citizens.
We can be a fickle bunch on this topic. On the one hand, pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is considered a hero of martyrdom for his involvement in Operation Valkyrie. He was part of the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. The atrocities committed by Nazi Germany were considered worthy of such extremes, so much so that the words of Paul regarding submission to governing authorities is never contrasted with his efforts. And yet, about the time someone suggests that we have the right to stand in opposition to our government’s policies, here come those words again, “submit to your government authorities.”
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you also struggle with those verses from Romans 13. Then again, maybe you have it all figured out… please share it with me then. In that marvelous document of our founding birth as a nation (The Declaration of Independence), God-fearing men of wisdom declared that the citizens of this country were endowed with certain unalienable rights. They emphasized that these rights weren’t given to us by men, but by our Creator. One of those rights was to recognize when a government becomes destructive, and do something about it… up to and including “altering and abolishing” it.
But what about us professing Christians? Where does the Bible stand on this? Two very differing views of those verses from Romans 13 are found in a couple of works I house in my library. One is “The Myth of a Christian Nation” by Gregory Boyd. The other is “Resistance to Tyrants” by Gordan Runyan.
I would love to make heads or tails of this debacle. Maybe with your help I can. I hope to keep these posts brief, but I’m really anxious to share these thoughts from both sides and hear how you feel about these things.
- The Declaration of Independence (mtsweat.com)