There is no authority except that which God has established. (romans 13:1b)
when i first saw that i thought to myself, “that must be a typo.” so paul (with startling discernment, i might add) goes on to repeat himself…
The authorities that exist have been established by God. (romans 13:1c)
that whole concept is a little hard to deal with, so i tried to figure out an alternate interpretation. ummm, no. and if that weren’t enough, paul embellishes thusly…
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities…he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (romans 13:1a, 2)
i gotta admit, while i’m reading this i’m not liking it one bit (and i think everyone in the congregation was just as squirmy as i was). i mean, our government is the best in the world and it is broken–utterly and completely. and god is telling us that he himself set it up and put it in place?
and, remember, paul’s audience was dealing with that nero guy.
so now i’m trying to reconcile the pictures i’ve seen of the angry evangelicals who are determined to overthrow the government and “set things right.” they apparently think that by throwing out all the politicians who refuse to see things their way, and electing leaders who share their values, then america will finally be a nation that pleases god.
but doesn’t romans 13 say that all governments are established by god, even the current one? and if the current government is truly instituted by god, did he mess up? was god horrified when barney frank and harry reid and charles rangel got elected?
and what if this is exactly what god had in mind?
is there some way we (the church) can stand up for what we believe and still submit? it seems to me that the hostility (especially when coupled with arrogance) is the same as rebelling against what God has instituted. I not saying that the church should withdraw from the process, but can we do the right thing more quietly? (1 timothy 2:1-2)
i mean, if jesus loves nancy pelosi, shouldn’t we?