March 2021 A.D.
On Resisting the Government
[Romans 13:1 ESV] 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.
[Acts 5:29 ESV] 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
[Luke 20:25 ESV] 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
We know that we are to obey the government as a general rule, according to Romans 13. And, we know that there are times that we should resist the government and obey God rather than men, Acts 5. There are some who would only apply this to a command from government that contradicts a command from God. For example, the government commands that you murder babies, as Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives to do in Exodus 1. Well, this is easy, you obey God rather than men. Or, the government commands you to not to gather as the church of God to sing His praises and take communion together often—that’s easy—obey God rather than men.
But, are there other exceptions to this general rule to obey governing authorities? What if the government demanded (for sake of argument, let’s say it was legal and went through the legislative branch) that you social-distance and wear a mask, not just in the state, but in your home and in the church? If you say, “Yes, obey, because it doesn’t contradict God’s commands”—what about if they demanded that it be a Richard Nixon mask or a clown mask? Or what if a national authority commanded you to wear a mask, but your local authority said that you must not? Which authority do you obey, if at all? And, why? What if a police officer commanded your child in your home to eat candy, but you told your child, no. Which authority does he obey? Is it ever okay to lie and deceive your governing authorities? The Hebrew midwives did and God praised them. Is it ever okay to resist with force? If so, under what circumstances? If the government ‘lawfully’ demanded that they were going to take your children to re-education-indoctrination-camps, what would you do? Would you have a duty to resist?
Hopefully, I have sparked your interest, granting some of the above sample questions are easier than others. I commend to you the three podcasts below that discuss and wrestle with such questions from a Biblical and historically Lutheran perspective. You know, we aren’t the first Christians/Lutherans to wrestle with such questions and applications. I’ll give you a hint of how to think through these applications: God has given authority in three estates and the lines are clearly drawn: home, church, and state.
To God be the Glory!
Share this Post