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God's Plan for Civil Government – Part 18 from Lesson 9 -
IS there a conflict?

In January through April of 2012 I led a Bible Study on the Bible and Civil Government. It lasted 13 weeks. These lessons are being posted on a website (link below)

The Lessons were a bit long for people to read on social media, so the lessons are being posted on MeWe in shorter pieces.

Bible and Civil Government # 17 - Biblical References in Patrick Henry's Speech

In Chapter one we reviewed briefly three different interpretations of Romans 13:1-7 which were summarized as:

  • As Christians we must obey governing authorities completely as they are chosen by God.
  • As Christians we must obey governing authorities completely unless we are individually commanded to do something opposed to God’s Word as they are chosen by God.
  • As Christians it is our duty to submit to governing authorities when they are in compliance with God’s Word, when they are not we have no duty to obey.

This presents a conflict in interpretation of Romans 13:1-7. The three interpretations are not compatible and present a conflict. To resolve our lack of understanding we looked to the Scripture and documented historical records to answer four questions.

Does the Scripture show that God chooses all magistrates and ordains their authority over us?

The answer to this question was No. Hosea 8:3-4 clearly informed us that God did not chose all magistrates. Further the Scripture in Deuteronomy and I Samuel inform us of our duty to select men that meet the requirements given by God and that we will be judged corporately on how we fulfill our duty.

The Scripture we studied show that the first two interpretations above are in conflict with the Scripture. The third interpretation is not in conflict.

Did the apostles contradict their own words?

Historical records show that all but John and Judas were murdered for disobedience to civil authorities. The first interpretation would imply that the apostles contradicted their own inspired words and is false teaching.

Does God’s Word command us to obedience in all cases?

The answer to this question was No. The Scripture contains many examples of disobedience to civil authorities being Blessed by the Lord. The first interpretation is in conflict with many passages in the Bible. The second interpretation is also in conflict with Scripture. We studied Joshua 2:3-7, Matthew 2:8-15, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 and Ester 4:11 & 5:1-2 which are in conflict with the second interpretation.

The third interpretation was not in conflict with any of the Scripture we studied.

Did our Founding Fathers deliberately violate God’s Word?

Based upon these modern interpretations our country would have been founded in disobedience to God. The first and second interpretation would imply that our Colonial forefathers were in disobedience to God in obtaining independence from England. Our Colonial forefathers believed that they were following God’s Word.

The underlying Biblical foundation stated by our Colonial forefathers was a failure of the king of England to honor his compact (a Biblical covenant). We studied references in the Scripture on Biblical covenants and confirmed the Biblical foundation. We also studied later statements by our Colonial forefathers that it was their belief that they were not in rebellion, but were acting in Biblically justified self defense.

The first and second interpretations do not take in account any recognition of the Biblical covenant between magistrate and God nor magistrate and the people. Nor do they teach us our duty or that the people can be judged corporately by God for failure to perform their duty. The first and second interpretations are either incomplete or in conflict with Scripture.

The third interpretation does recognize both the convenantt between the magistrate and God and the covenant between the magistrate and the people who remain God’s people.

The conclusion of the Bible study to this point indicates that the modern interpretations are incorrect and we will now look at Romans 13:1-7 (and other New Testament) passages on civil government in detail based upon the third interpretation.

To fully understand Romans 13:1-7 we need to cover or refresh on four Biblical foundations.

Next: Lesson 9 - Part 19 Lesson 9 continued: Foundation 1

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