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Don't cherry pick the Bible for government

It’s interesting that in American history Romans 13 has been used in the political arena two times of note.

Once by loyalists during the Revolutionary War to condemn the revolution and encourage loyalty to the Crown of England (the lawful authority of the time over the colonies).

The other was during the Civil War by southern slave owners defending the practice of slavery as the law of the land.

To use the Bible to undergird a political regime, or political policy, especially in a country founded on the separation of church and state, is a very slippery slope.

Would you preach the same sermon to the German Jews under Hitler? Or even to the German Christians? How about to those who suffered under Mao’s rule in China? Or to those struggling to hold body and soul together in countries with governments compromised by drug cartels or terrorist organizations?

The fact that Romans 13 cannot be applied unilaterally to all political situations and still reflect the Spirit of Christ clearly implies the need to be very cautious in its application to any.

To fail to do so would be to condemn the American Revolution as not God’s will and to preach the necessity of slaves being slaves, not because it is right or just but because it is the current state of the governments will.

Lincoln described our democratic republic as a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

As such, the government is to be an expression of our will, and as Christians, it is to be a reflection of our understanding of God’s will for it to be underwritten as properly ordained.

Rather than cherry pick a verse that can be used to support even a poor or corrupt government I think it would be wiser to embrace the whole of the Gospel and the entire person and purpose of Christ.

Look to that sacrificial compassion which was the life message of Jesus along with kindness, gentleness and all the other fruits of the spirit as the only true guides to any who would name the name of Christ.

Both in discerning the will of God concerning the proper empowerment of Government as well as our own behavior and treatment of those who share this world with us.

Larry Newman