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 Post subject: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:59 am 
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Hey guys, I'm writing a paper on the morality of rebellion, and I was wondering what people thought.

Romans says: "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."

And 1 Peter says: "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority"

On the other hand, Acts says: "we ought to obey God rather than man."

Also, the apostles often ignored the law when it told them they couldn't preach. And lots of other people in the Bible ignored rulers who told them to worship idols. The Israelites rebelled a ton of times. Finally, David rebelled against Saul. None of these things are called sinful by the Bible.

So, how do we resolve this dilemma? Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:30 am 
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I was taught that we are commanded to obey our authorities but in a weaker way than the rest of the law. So if, for example, the authorities make going to church illegal, you can rebel. Other than that, tho, I think you're supposed to obey them. There may be some fuzzy situations (like how much can the government charge you in taxes or should you pay taxes if there's a certain chance the government is doing immoral things). But in general, it's God's law first, then whatever the authorities say.

my 2 cents.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:17 am 
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^What he said. I always thought that you should obey the law unless it contradicts what God says.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:17 pm 
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Problem is, the Bible doesn't really say that. It makes no exceptions at all. It says that rulers do not punish the good. And that you should obey ALL RULERS, because ALL are ordained by God. How do you interpret those verses to not contradict God's commandments to put the law of God above the law of man?

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:30 pm 
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Acts 5:29 specifically says that it is God we follow, not men. This verse concerns a specific scenario where God's law conflicted with man's law, and the command given is to follow God, not man.
Romans 13:1 is about the whole following authorities thing, and it puts God first.
1 Peter 2:13 gives the rationale for following human commands: "for God's sake." So, I think it's reasonable to assume that God also wants us to follow His law.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:46 pm 
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Clearly there is some generalization going on in Romans 13 - both Paul and the immediate recipients of the letters (Christians in Rome under imperial rule) knew very well that government does not always punish evil and protect good. However, even most "bad" governments do a lot to facilitate law and order compared to anarchy. I see that passage as a claim about the purpose and function of government, which is true in a generalized way in actual governments - and that gives us not just a command but a reason to obey. God instituted government; we're better off with it than without it; rejecting that they hold temporal power over us is also an act of disobedience to the God who gave them that power.

I've heard some people argue that the command not to rebel only applies to "good" governments. I don't think this works in light of other verses, as well as the fact that Romans was written to people living under tyranny.

As far as civil disobedience: from a practical perspective ("we are supposed to always obey government, except not quite always") I guess this could be seen as a contradiction or exception. But I think it is consistent if you get back to the reason for the command. If I disobey for purely personal reasons, I'm claiming my authority is higher than government, which is instituted by God, so I'm claiming my authority is higher than God's. If I disobey because the command is immoral, I'm not acting on my own authority. I'm claiming that 1) the institutions God made do not always follow his moral law, and 2) that God has higher authority over me than government does. I'm ordinarily subject to government because I'm subject to God; I sometimes may disobey government because I'm subject to God.

And all of this is talking about Christians as private citizens. This doesn't mean that a Christian president shouldn't veto a bill he opposes out of some effort to be "subject" to congress. Or that a country should just be "subject" to an invasion instead of fighting back. David was made king by God - he could disobey Saul without necessarily disobeying the legitimate government - he was the legitimate government.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:16 am 
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Thanks guys, that's really helpful. Gives me a lot to think about. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:39 pm 
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Maybe a well thought out, published article will help as well.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/201 ... ience.html

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