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Is Christian Resistance Ever Right? by Don Boys, Ph.D. Posted March 25, 2012

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Bible Christians (as opposed to churchy “Christians”) have always known that they must obey God in all things. The Bible has precedence over all authority! However, most Christians have never considered the possibility of disobeying authorities when those authorities become oppressive. We have been taught that if it is law, it is right and should be obeyed; however, that is simply not true as proved with many Bible examples.

 

Frederic Bastiat, the French authority on law, wrote, “There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also proper. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are just because the law makes them so.” But laws cannot make something just. It can make anything legal (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) but not just.

 

I am not obligated to resist every unjust law nor every unconstitutional law, but I am obligated to resist any law that conflicts with Bible principles such as a license to preach. The 55 mile per hour speed limit was a ridiculous law, but it did not conflict with the Bible. We are told it saved lives, but if  officials really want to save lives, they could enforce a 35 mile per hour limit! (If government really wants to save lives, they would do something about liquor and drug laws, but don’t hold your breath.)

 

There are some laws I may resist and others I must resist. Any law that is contrary to the Bible must be disobeyed, and I must be willing to pay the price for disobedience. The First Century Christians could never rightly be accused of being wicked or dangerous, although they were accused by Roman officials of being both. That was obviously untrue since they were the most kind, dedicated, and committed people who ever lived. Many Christians sold themselves into slavery or went to debtors’ prison to reach the less fortunate. Even the ungodly emperor, Julian, admitted that “the godless Galileans [Christians] feed our poor in addition to their own,” so obviously the Christians were generous, gracious, and godly people. (Note that Julian called them “godless” because they refused to worship his pagan gods!)

 

We must always seek to emulate Christ and be concerned for others; however, we must never confuse meekness for weakness as many Christian leaders are doing. We must also be very careful about being identified with far right “nuts” such as the American Nazi Party, KKK, and other hate groups. I’m convinced that Christians have not been quick enough to condemn the haters on the left and right.

 

It is very simple: If any law is passed that conflicts with God’s law then Christians have an obligation to disobey that law. Of course, we must never use this principle as an excuse for personal rebellion when no scriptural issue is involved.

 

It was illegal for First Century Christians to attend church  meetings at night, but they broke that law. Some preachers in our day have obeyed authorities when told that they could not use their own church buildings except on Sunday! But I suppose, during those permitted Sunday services those same pastors waxed eloquent about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who wouldn’t “bend, bow or burn!” Such church leaders are wimpy, weak, and wobbly while others are warped, worldly, and even wicked!

 

The Roman Empire fought the Christians, considering them “criminals,” “desperate and forsaken people,” “lawless men,” “public enemies,” “dregs of the nations,” and “monstrous phenomena.” The Christians submitted themselves to the emperor but only after God; however, it was illegal to put God first and breaking that law required them to be ready for martyrdom at any moment.

 

Meanwhile they built strong families and strong churches. They supported widows and orphans among them, and they insisted that everyone work! No idle person was permitted among their number. (Should modern Bible-preaching churches permit healthy church members to remain on welfare?)

 

Christians became the most productive citizens in the Empire, but they were persecuted off and on for more than two hundred years. While some Christians fled into the temples to burn incense to Caesar, (as many are doing today), many others stood valiantly for the faith, were persecuted, and executed. And the churches grew.

 

Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Let us not forget why the Christians were killed. They were not killed because they worshipped Jesus...Nobody cared who worshipped whom as long as the worshipper did not disrupt the unity of the state, centered in the formal worship of Caesar. The reason Christians were killed was because they were rebels.” The issue was, and is today, who will sit on the highest throne. I say it is Christ.

 

Christians must make sane, sincere, and scriptural decisions concerning resistance and live with the results: no preacher should ever permit any authority to tell him what to preach; no religious authority should permit government to control their churches or colleges; no teacher should ever be forced to teach the silly theory of evolution; parents should not permit the government to keep them from reasonable discipline of children; churches should never send reports to government agencies; church schools should repudiate, resist, and refuse accreditation; etc. Christian resistance is serious business, not to be done frivolously.

 

We must "render unto Caesar" what belongs to him but everything does not belong to him! Are you listening Obama? No president or congress or Supreme Court has absolute authority. That belongs to God alone.

 

Ambrose said in 385 A.D.: “What belongs to God is outside the emperor’s power.” It still is today!

 

Copyright 2012, Don Boys, Ph.D.

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