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Respect for secular authorities

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Robine, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. We are told to respect our authorities or rulers and pray for them (Romans 13).
    How do you cope with respect for authorities that are doing wrong things?
    Have you ever done something against them (I mean something like demonstration or participating in any effort to depose them)?

    This topic came to my mind when our president spoke in a vulgar way in direct transfer few days ago (more). He is quite unpopular, known for drinking and for some serious affairs in past. I try to remind myself that he is miserable lost man and I pray for him sometimes. But I don´t like him.
  2. If you have a chance - and the inclination to do so.... Read Josephus "Jewish War"... It's available in the Internet....

    Josephus was a Levite priest involved with temple service.... He ended up being a general in the Jewish war against the Romans 66-70 AD... It's worth a read.... It REALLY illuminates the reason for this.....

    Here's the thing... You get more bees with honey than with poo....

    If you strongly and violently oppose civil authorities - YOU force them to use their civil powers to destroy you.... 99.9% of the time - the reason that YOU did it is completely lost on them...

    One of the strategies of our opposition is to goad US into confrontation with the government and with them... Why? Because then, they can force the Government to protect THEM against us.... when in reality - WE are the ones who need to be protected against THEM..... So.. Then - we are scandalized.... WE are made out to be the crackpots and nuts... and THEY - the real nuts are made out to be martyrs and saints.....

    So... If you look... Jesus is NOT saying "Do not take any action" ... What He is saying is TAKE ACTION - but Do not be a troublemaker.... Use the authorities to help you ACHIEVE the purposes of the Gospel - do not make them destroy you....

    Nanon and Where is the Messiah say Amen and like this.
  3. Thanks for response. I read Lion Feuchtwagner´s trilogy about Josephus Flavius many years ago and it was very interesting. I should read also the Josephus Jewish War.
  4. This is a tough one for me right now as I am in a position of wondering if I am not called upon to report an elected official for wrongdoing. I am not at all comfortable with this primarily because of the likelihood of retribution which could be rather serious. I have failed to pray for this individual - and I should have.
    The democratic process is a good one, but can be passive and see bad people remain in positions of authority.
  5. That's really a tough position to be in.

    Here's something to think about.... Is there any way to encourage the fellow the "Turn" rather than to report him - and face the chance of either nothing happening or retribution against you? The reality is that the reasons people do things are complicated... Not black and white....

    I am not talking about confrontation or scandal... just perhaps bring God in and let Him work....

  6. I use the most deadly weapon against such things.. Prayer!

    Paul writes,

    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior
    Robine likes this.
  7. Very interesting, and now you have the wheels in my brain turning.

    Some questions that pop into my mind.. I wonder what would have happened if the world had respected Hitler? When Jesus made a whip and drove people out of the temple, I wonder if He did it respectfully? I'm sure He did, but now I wonder what the biblical definition of respect is. If someone is physically disrespecting me, may I physically respect them back?
  8. #8 Via Cassian, Nov 5, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
    Christ's love in the Christian's heart overflows to all: other Christians, friends, strangers, and enemies. Respect is a part of that selfless love. We are humbled by how much God has forgiven us. Out of humility comes a gentle spirit in the face of civil authority. It is Christian meekness, not stupidity or fatalism. It is not the way of the world.

    Having said all of the above, Paul is an example of the discretion Christians can exercise in various situations and encounters with civil authorities. Paul stayed in jail when he could have escaped -- Paul's action saved the jailer's life. But when the city officials told Paul it was OK to leave Paul said "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men that are Romans, and have cast us into prison. And now do they thrust us out privately? Not so: but let them come" [to the jail and let us out themselves]. Paul's action caused a public humiliation of the City officials. When Paul was arrested in Jerusalem he later used his keen knowledge of the legal system to appeal his case to a higher court.

    A related question is how do we gain the same discretion Paul had. It is possible and many great Christians have shown the same discretion and respect when before civil authorities.

    God's grace and the Holy Spirit give the Christian the words to say, the light for the next step. We follow a crucified savior.
    Robine and Where is the Messiah say Amen and like this.
  9. Respect for authorities is having respect to the law which the authority enforces. But it is well within the law (depending on your country) to have demonstrations, to vote against the person etc.. With that said, if the law conflicts with your conscience and Gods law, then Gods law prevails in all cases and you are not obliged to follow it but are obliged NOT to follow it.

    God Bless,
    Via Cassian likes this.
  10. Thank you. Good reminder.
  11. Thanks to all! Your thoughts are really inspiring.
    Yes, I think that the cases you mentioned are kind of clear. If the authorities violate human rights, start a war or if there is a totalitarian regime, I wouldn’t hesitate much about going against them.
    Thank you! This story from Acts wouldn’t cross my mind without your reminder.
    This is the very thing that I am not sure about. Is it right to go against authorities if they didn’t do any "evident evil" (no murders, no laws against God etc.)? What act or behavior entitles me to go actively against them instead of praying for them and respecting them as rulers established by God?

    I am thinking about David who respected Saul for many years although it was clear that Saul was doing really bad things and disobeying God; while David was already anointed to be a king.
  12. I will contend that Romans 13 is a charge "to Christians under Roman rule to submit to good government" and also a charge "to Rome to be a good government." For if a government is despotic to force a Christian to commit despotism, then civil disobedience by Christ's example is a scriptural mandate.

    If Rome during the time of Paul would have lawfully charged all Christians to slaughter one hundred innocent children, then should Christians in Paul’s day submit to Rome in this despotic charge? Of course not. Thus when should the Christian "submit to ruling authorities?" I contend when the government is not "despotic" to trespass against life, liberty and property. For life, liberty and property are delegated by God, and no man is worthy to arbitrarily take these three delegations away using despotism and unjust law.

    We must obey God more than man, but when we do so, we must emulate Christ's example by showing love and respect for "just-law," and the "authorities" that manage them.
    Robine likes this.
  13. See... It's important to realize that "Give unto Caesar the things pertaining to Caesar, but Give unto God the things pertaining to God" swings both ways.... We are not to give to Caesar the things pertaining to God..

    We must remember that Obedience to God is always first....

    You have to remember that Jesus was intentionally seeking a confrontation with the Roman appointed temple leadership.... He was directly challenging the Pagan Roman Senate's right to declare the things of God - God had already set those things in order, and now, the Temple authority was setting aside the things God had ordained for practices that Rome granted them...

    Remember also that Jesus paid a heavy price for his confrontation with the Temple Authorities....
  14. post removed (problems with formatting)
  15. The history I have with this individual, in his official capacity, exceeds a decade. He has gone from bad to worse during this period. Talking to him appears to be out of the question.
  16. So... Be very careful here... You must count the cost carefully... Going after public officials has a tendency to come back on yourself... Those guys have a LOT of clout - and they also have an "Ethics board" system that is built around keeping them in power....

    Luke 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

    Do you have actual, hard evidence? Actual hard physical documents?
    Have you personally witnessed the action in question?
    Do you have others who have also personally witnessed the action in question?
    Will they testify if confronted?
    Have you thought about the sort of repercussions that could potentially come about?
    Are you willing to accept repercussions against yourself, your family, and your friends?
    What will likely "Real life" outcome if the case goes before an "Ethics Panel" - will they simply let the fellow off with a slap on the wrist?

    I am not telling you NOT to do it... just consider very carefully...
  17. John: I appreciate your thoughts. You have hit upon almost everything that has been running through my mind. Having a family does tend to make one more hesitant.
    Difficult to know what to do. Sitting idly by seems woefully insufficient, but ....
  18. Should we would obey the law of man over the will of God?

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