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Are All Rulers God-appointed? Romans 13, John 19

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Paintanker, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. (I've used the NKJ version just for ease of understanding in this post).

    Are all rulers appointed by God?

    Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves."

    This one says they are, because we have no doubt Obama (for example) is someone with authority/power/however you want to translate ὑπερεχούσαις.

    Romans 13:5 "Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due..."

    This passage seems to claim that anyone whom you have to pay taxes to is an authority (among others excerpted about whom I don't want to talk about right now). It goes as far as saying that those who demand taxes are God's ministers.

    John 19:10 "Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered,You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above...""

    In this passage Jesus affirms (not explicitly, but I think clearly enough for anyone to see) that Pilate does have authority given by God.

    So, do all "authorities" get their power from God? I know of a few authorities who I'm sure have collected taxes whom many people wouldn't like to think got their authority from God, like Stalin, who was even an atheist.
    Jeffin likes this.
  2. Did God appoint Mao to kill millions of his own people?
    Did God get Hitler elected and appoint him as supreme ruler of Nazi Germany?
    Does God approve of Obama?

    When asking a question think of specific examples and the question will usually answer itself.
    The answer is NO.

    I would gather that God strongly disapproves of most of the world's rulers. (being that they are evil)
  3. Well I can understand quite easily why one would like to think that, but what do you say the the scripture I cited above? It seems to argue the contrary - something we don't want to think is true.
  4. The question posted was "are rulers appointed by God".
    The answer is that "no, for the most part, they are not".

    Does Paul suggest that people should be good citizens of the nation they are in?

    Whatever authority God may have given Pilate does not necessarily apply to
    any of the other thousands of rulers and despots through the ages.

    Do not assume that just because God has not hindered a politicians career, that He in any way
    approves of said politician. He does not arbitrarily strike down evil rulers any more than He arbitrarily strikes down evil peasants.
  5. ...the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
    ...for they are God’s ministers...

    I just don't see how to get around this, especially the first, which is quite clear.

    EDIT: Well, actually, I can see someone getting around this by saying that it was true when this was written: all the rulers back then WERE appointed by God, but that that has changed since then, and so this part of the Bible is inapplicable and no longer true. Is that what you're saying?
  6. Regardless of how many may tend to accept bits of scripture at face value.
    In what way was Stalin God's minister?
    He murdered more people than Hitler, practically wiped out the Orthodox Church in Russia.

    I do not in any way support the taking of bits of scripture and applying a universality to them which
    flies in the face of reason and experience. Paul may well have been speaking of the nation in which they found themselves and no other, but we will never know, there are no Cliff notes or commentary from that time.

    Just because the Bible appears to say so does not make it so.

    Example, mustard being the "smallest of seeds", a literalist will bend Heaven and Earth to make this so, but it is not so. Mustard is not even close to the "smallest of seeds". It was however the smallest seed that folks around there knew of, so while not literally true, it served the purpose for the parable.
    Jeffin likes this.
  7. People have a hard time to grasp this Glomung points out, Why would God Appoint Hitler, Mao Stalin etc ? However we can never understand Gods mind or reasons why, we just accept thats what God does. Punishments and judgements also play a part, A good example the Babylon enslavement, God raised up Babylon to over run Israel as punishment for Israel sin rejection of Him.

    We can not see the big picture, these rulers are there for a purpose, part of a huge complex puzzle being solved over time in order to bring about the events and people needed before Christ's return.

    Would the Jews have been given Israel had Hitler not sent millions of them to their deaths?
  8. If you are taking what Paul wrote about authorities as just referring to the existing authorities of the time, then they were not exactly nice people either. For starters, a number of Emperors living through Pauls life were utterly evil, especailly when we come to Nero who used to kill Christiains in any barbaric way he could think of. An infamous account tells of how he had living Christian candles at parties, basically setting Christians alight in cages to provide light for the party.

    There were plenty of other nasty evil corrupt men in charge of provinces etc all doing nasty things, So if Paul is indeed writing just about the times and authorities in that time, then you have more of a difficulty in explaining why he is saying they are appointed by God when they are clearly evil men.
  9. I think it makes a lot of sense not to apply this universally, but to look at it as written by a man with his own experiences, in which case I think you are saying we cannot believe everything the Bible says just because it says it, but test it to see if it makes sense, and, if not, to understand the context in which it was written. Have I done your opinion justice here?

    I think that opinion makes a lot of sense, but will be met harshly by those who think that Noah lived to be 900 something years old, and rode dinosaurs (but they kinda meet everything harshly, don't they?).

    Agricola, am I to understand you do believe that Tyrants are appointed by God for reasons beyond our understanding? I can see why someone would think that, as well.
  10. Yep, you got the sense of it.
    As far as Noah living to 900+, I don't have a problem with that. There have been more than a few who lived to great age waiting for some promise God had made.

    " and rode dinosaurs"? Not going to touch that one.
  11. I'm sorry, I shouldn't treat things so lightly. I ought to have said "those who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible."
  12. [quote="Paintanker, post: 269983, member: 10965"=
    Agricola, am I to understand you do believe that Tyrants are appointed by God for reasons beyond our understanding? I can see why someone would think that, as well.[/quote]
    Yes. Not just beyond our understanding, a ruler can bring about the demise of a nation through their actions, Obama could be a punishment on America and will bring about Americas downfall, a punishment for turning against God. Time will tell.

    All the time Great Britian had God as center of Government etc and the church was very much part of decision making, our Empire grew and grew and flourished, then we turned against God and now we are a nation crippled in debt and struggling to stay afloat , literally!
  13. Yes, perhaps he is the punishment, but, on the other hand, anything that happens that seems to be bad might in fact be part of the plan, just like you claim Nero may have been. It would seem to me in that case it wouldn't be prudent to make these judgements about Obama, and how American is crippled, but to remain open to the idea that, as you said, it may be "beyond our understanding." But I digress.
  14. Are all rulers appointed by God is the question.

    My friends......I think some of us are missing the point, it does not matter what we think or like. It is what the Scriptures say, not what we think.

    "And he changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth
    kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise,
    and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth
    the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwelleth with him." ( Dn 2: 20-22 )

    As we have read, Daniel, who knew best, declares that God is the one who removes and appoints kings. It is not a vague statement that you have to ponder about, it is a plain statement that you just have to hear in order to understand.

    "Thou, O king, art a king of kings, for the God of heaven
    hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, glory.”
    ( Dn 2: 37 )
    I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold,
    a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven. 14 He cried
    aloud, and said thus….. 17 This matter is by the decree of the
    watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the
    intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in
    the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and
    setteth up over it the basest of men.( Dn 4: 13-17)

    "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For
    there is no power but of God. The powers that be are
    ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power,
    resisteth the ordinance of God (Rom. 13:1)
    forgivenWretch likes this.
  15. I think you are right that scripture does indicate all rulers are selected by God. Be that as it may, I can still see Glomung's reasoning for believing something else to be true. But, since you hold this belief, let me ask you this (and this is again a bit of a digression): If all rulers are appointed by God, as you believe, then do you believe that voting is pointless? After all, if God wants John to beat Mac in the next election, he will make it so, regardless of what you want or try. Right?
  16. And sometimes he gives us what we ask for.

  17. And here we get to the crux of the issue and the abuse of scripture to support worldly authority.
    The powers that be are
    ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power,

    resisteth the ordinance of God (Rom 13:1)

    So, it stands to reason that the French Resistance of WW2 opposed God, for it was God who instituted the Nazi and Vichy governments who were therefore the rightful rulers.

    And so it follows, that when the antichrist establishes his government, since his government will have been ordained by God Himself, if I resist or oppose the duly ordained government of the antichrist, I am in opposition to God.

    Kind of leaves me in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position.

    On a funnier note, seems that God must mumble, when Pat Robertson spoke to God a few months ago, the Eternal God said that Romney would win the election. Since Romney lost, Robertson has been backpedaling a bit, seems God doesn't speak clearly or he didn't hear Him right.
  18. Welcome to the forum. I look forward to speaking with you.

    Again, it is not what I think but what God says. We can not just ignore those verse posted which say that God sets up kings and tears down kings. There are many things in Gods Word I do not like....BUT He never asked me my opinion. He just asked me to BELIEVE.
    Psalm 75:7
    “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”

    Daniel 4:35
    “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

    Daniel 2:21
    “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:…”

    That brings on the thoughts of did God set up Hitler, who was a monster and murdered millions of Jews?
    Did God set up President Bill Clinton who brought extreme shame to the Oval Office?
    Did God set up President George W. Bush?
    Has God always had His will in elections and in the progression of kings?
    or…are we humans indeed “setting up and bringing down”, albeit under the authority and permission of God?

    You have asked a good question my friend. You ask my thoughts and I would say that this as does all things, come down to one thing.......CHOICES.

    A dear Catholic friend of mine once said..."I would think that nothing takes place without God’s permission. But having said that, men and women also have the choice to make good and moral decisions, or evil and immoral choices."

    God is not responsible for the choices that we or others make, because we have the ability to choose. With that ability comes the responsibility of dealing with the consequences that we make.
    This is by far one of the greatest doctrines taught in the Scriptures. We must live by the choices we make.
    Both President Clinton and Bush had their own choices, and they did what they did. We cannot judge them for what they did, for that would presume that we know the inner workings of their hearts; that would mean that we are telling God, “Let me do the judging, since I think you’re not doing a good job.”
    But we can judge their actions….

    Let us also not forget that both of them were elected by the people of America who too had their own choices to make. The Americans chose them to be President, and with that choice comes the responsibility of living with the consequences of that choice.

    Of course no American would have expected any President to bring shame to the country. But to pin the blame on God when there is someone else more immediate is merely passing the buck.
    Alternatively, one can look at it this way. If we blame God for all the bad things that happen, do we give him due credit for all the good things that happen as well? And if we do recognise that God is in charge of all the good and bad things that happen, then we recognise that he does so because of his far superior knowledge and morality. So why question his choices?

    Now, let me ask you a question. If we vote for a man who is pro abortion, are we also pro abortion?????​
  19. Hey Glo.......
    It would be helpful I think to remember that God does not explicitly say why He allows evil men to rule. At times, God has used evil rulers to bring judgment on His people and bring them back to righteousness. It is worth noting that all rulers are accountable to God for their actions. For example, God raised up Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in order to punish Judah for their repeated idolatry. Later, after Babylon had fulfilled its purpose, it was judged for its own wickedness. Their king, Nebuchadnezzar, suffered an individual judgment (Daniel 4). God did the same with Assyria, allowing its rise for a purpose, and then judging that nation’s pride and cruelty.

    God sometimes allows an evil kaiser, czar, fuehrer, sultan, or despot to rule, and the reasons for His choice are not readily apparent. But we know this: God always sets boundaries for the potentates (see Psalms 74). Human rulers are not omnipotent, they are not eternal, and they are not immune from punishment. There will be a day of reckoning. Rulers who die in their sins will face the ultimate punishment, eternity in hell. Hitler, Lenin, and others who have rejected Christ and abused the people of God have been serving their sentence in hell for a long time.
  20. Hello Major, I'm more than aware of all that.
    The point of the discussion was whether God actively ordains the governments of despots and tyrants as often assumed by reading Romans 13, not whether He allows people to make stupid choices while exercising their free will.

    There is a HUGE difference between allowing and ordaining.

    In the case of Nazi Germany, I would venture that God did not approve of Hitler, his movement, or anything associated with the Nazis. But allowed the German people, through the abuse of their own free will to create a monstrosity which became responsible for the death of millions. That is quite a bit different than the notion that God instituted the Nazi party to rule and somewhere along the line it went sour, they were sour from the start.

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