How Christians should submit to the government’s law
- Dr. Harry Reeder: The sexual revolution an ‘all-out assault’ on our culture
- British government resignations signal problems
- What Alan Dershowitz’ shunning says about snowflake culture and intolerance for debate
- Why the Supreme Court’s labor union decision is a win for freedom and education
- Parents denied access to public school sex education materials is shocking government overreach
- Leadership crucial in the church, life
- Reflecting on Independence Day and its meaning
- Justice Kennedy’s retirement and what it could mean for the direction of the country
- How the church and strong families can help adolescents deal with depression
- Should sex offenders be able to adopt?
- What the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly prayer gets wrong
- Is it just? Farm Bill requires able-bodied on food stamps to work part-time or get job-training
- Is Alabama-founded PCA church encouraging gay people to identify by sin?
- Alabama pastor to the suicidal: ‘Banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer’, ‘Many’ of us want to help
- How to think about ‘human rights council’ and elitist concept of abortion as ‘human right’
- Alabama pastor’s analysis of immigrant parent-child border separation controversy
- James Comey echo of J. Edgar Hoover — amassing power, declaring himself moral authority in FBI
- Historic North Korea Summit explainer and backstory
- News Fatigue? How to think about abundance of 24-hr ‘news’
- Where do you turn when your church strays from your faith?
- Unreal — Medical how-to book for counseling ‘religious’ women that abortion is okay
- Remembering RFK
- It’s inexcusable Clinton didn’t personally apologize to Lewinsky
- Planned Parenthood ignores crime in singular pursuit of death culture
- Do we really want a society that says ANY sexual behavior is fine?
- Reflections from Israel — and how it has changed in the past 30 years
- How to think about ‘aging pastors’ and ‘scarcity’ of millennials in ministry
- What does Christian liberty mean?
- Oh boy … Americans don’t think they sin very often
- How ‘church growth at all costs’ mentality weakens worship
- Should Facebook be the ‘new church’ and ultimate hate speech judge?
- How to think about Memorial Day
- When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?
- Government branches must hold each other accountable, not circumvent each other
- Why Christians should visit holy lands
- Making sense of Trump’s negotiations
- Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem
- Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it
- Insanity: NYC mayor wants to enable drug use
- Why it’s crucial that parents examine college faculties
- Why Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors
- A pastor’s perspective on Alabama Attorney General’s ‘Faith Forum’ at Briarwood
- Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?
- Don’t get hung up on church numbers — focus on church health, not size
- In the U.K., you only have value if you are wanted
- Startling number of Christians are persecuted around the world
- What is North Korea’s motivation?
- PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?
- Alfie Evans and the ever-encroaching overreach of the state, diminishment of parental rights
- Randa Jarrar and free speech
- Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales
- How should Christians think about Trump’s North Korea stance?
- Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave
- Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay
- Why the Syrian strike was justified
- Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
- Transgender chaos playing out as predicted
- Does Facebook smoosh conservative posts? YES. But regulation is not the answer
- What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common
- College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone
- Gender chaos leads to societal chaos
- Cultural Marxism: Do you know what it is and how to fight it?
- How parents can combat Planned Parenthood’s shocking deviant sex education
- Sorry and all, but yes there is a Heaven and Hell
- When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep
- Does archeology prove the Bible is true?
- Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?
- We must not sacrifice consistent morality for political pragmatism
- Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?
- Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted
- Freedoms of speech, religion go hand in hand and are being threatened — even in Christian college classes
- States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life
- Christian movie revenue shocks Hollywood, blows past estimates — here’s why you need to see it
- Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law
- Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it
- Cultural Marxists are using schools, courts to target Christianity
- No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word
- Despite what Washington Post writer says, Down Syndrome children are only undesirable to selfish, arrogant people
- Facebook’s ‘fact checker’ says the killing of unborn babies in abortion is a ‘disputed fact’
- Be sure your (Twitter) sins will find you out
- Reasons for pro-lifers to rejoice — and double-down — on abortion issues
- How to debate with decorum … and why profane, vulgar arguments reveal weak arguments & minds
- WAKE UP: Pornography is not victimless — it destroys lives and kills people
- Persecution, violence against Christians significantly increased world-wide in 2017
- 3 things contributing to the U.S. drop in life expectancy
- Gov’t attempted to silence this Christian who’s bringing Martin Luther King’s fight to modern times
- Iranian Christians fleeing persecution should get U.S. care and refuge
- What we can learn from the Alabama & Georgia quarterbacks’ post-game responses
- What does academic intolerance of real debate mean for free speech?
- Do you know the frivolous programs your tax dollars fund?
- Blaring Bannon coverage begs question: What’s happened to journalism?
- Call to Christians: Engage in politics & evangelism out of love for neighbor
- New York City votes to fine Biblical counselors for gender dysphoria therapy
- 10 campaign promises Donald Trump kept — or attempted to keep — in his first year
- Is it pointless to make New Year’s resolutions?
- The top 11 news, faith and culture headlines of 2017
- American attitudes about children contribute to our shrinking birth rate
- Here’s what Trump got right (and wrong) in his national security speech
- Tax reform explained: How it helps our culture, our families, our economics
- Advent and Christmas, ever wondered what’s the difference?
- Reformed Christians have lost one of their great theologians, pastors
- The 2 ungodly reactions to politics, current events that Christians must avoid
- Want our trust? The 7 things an elected official MUST do to gain it
- Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor
- Where the death culture leads: Lawsuits over disabled children who ‘should’ have been aborted
- What’s at stake in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court decision
- How to put Trump’s U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in historical and biblical perspective
- Pastor Harry Reeder: There is hope and a way forward for the Matt Lauers in our lives
- Pastor Harry Reeder: If Supreme Court gets Colorado cake baker, same-sex marriage case wrong, it will be culture tipping point
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Liberal ‘Christianity’ is antithetical to Christianity
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Abortion industry ‘doulas’ try to normalize killing of unborn, but we know abortion is not normal
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Trump’s judicial nominee list shows his commitment to originalists and constitutionalists
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Some evangelicals disagree, but here’s why it’s good to emphasize church celebrations during Christmas
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Our military is weakening and here’s why we need it strong
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Churches must stay on-mission as evangelists, not cultural acceptance-seekers
- Pastor Harry Reeder: The Museum of the Bible is a great idea…provided we don’t worship the Bible
- Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin
- Reeder: We have to be honest despite history rewrites– Pilgrims gave thanks to God
- Reeder: It is ‘absolutely ludicrous’ to think a mother’s absence in crucial first 3 years has no effect
- Reeder: Australian same-sex marriage survey a ‘profile in cowardice’ not courage
- Reeder: Believers ‘speaking up’ made real difference in adoption tax credit provision
- Reeder: Secular culture wants more than ‘tolerance’, insists upon abortion and sexual anarchy ‘celebration’
- Reeder on Roy Moore chaos: ‘Do the next right thing’
- Reeder: Here’s what Christians should say when traditional marriage views are labeled ‘bigotry’
- Reeder on church leaders not meeting privately with the other sex: ‘I’ll take the criticism….I learned it from Billy Graham’
- Reeder on LGBTQ campus activists: ‘They don’t want to debate what a marriage actually is. They want to silence those they cannot answer.’
- Yes, it’s ridiculous there’s a new religion dedicated to AI….but here’s why it matters
- Feeling any Christmas guilt? Here’s the type you should ignore and the type you should face
- Reeder on Tuesday’s elections: ‘To see this as a referendum on Trump is overstating it’
- Two terminally-ill patients who refused assisted suicide to help others & show life’s sanctity
- Lots of older pastors, not many young ones — what’s going on?
- Commercial Surrogacy: The objectification of child-bearing
- Elitist ‘gender-isn’t-real’ culture has descended into sophisticated imbecility
- Chaplain who refused marriage retreat to same-sex couple is up against elite culture enforcers
- Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office
- GENDER ABSURDITY: A nation, led by pop culture, descends into chaos
- How culture rot happens: Unthinkable –> Laughable –> Thinkable –> Accepted
- How Christians should submit to the government’s law
- How to avoid going ‘wobbly’ on the truth
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
JEFF SESSIONS CITES ROMANS, CALLING BELIEVERS TO OBEY GOVERNMENT — DOES HE HAVE A POINT?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, recently, Jeff Sessions was asked to come and address the Southern Baptist Convention. When he did, he quoted the apostle Paul, Roman 13:1-7, which overall instructs Christians to submit to the government. This really opened up Pandora’s box with critics of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions saying that is the same scripture that certain individuals used to justify things like the Nazi regime.
Harry, let me ask you a question: if you were living back in the 1700’s during the American Revolution, no doubt, there were probably times where you had certain people saying that those living in this new country of America — which was still under the king’s rule — should be submitting to the king of England and not engaging in a revolution.
DR. REEDER: We just celebrated our July the Fourth holidays. Were the Christians who participated in the Revolution — the Christian patriots — were they sinning against God? And, by the way, many of the Tories were actually believers in America that quoted this and said, “We can’t rebel against the king.”
PAUL AND PETER AGREE ON THIS POINT IN MIRRORED WRITINGS
Peter, almost verbatim, says the same thing when he’s writing in 1 Peter 2:13-17. In fact, he even goes on to say that we are to be subject to every human institution and to those in authority, as Paul does, and to those who are ruling over us, for the governing authorities are established over us by a sovereign God and they are there, called to be ministers of God.
One of the things that is being stated in this is that government is an act of God post-fall that has been given as a blessing of common grace to punish evil, restrain evil and to promote what is good and that is the role of the government. The government is not the church and, by the way, the church is not the government. The government has an intersection with the church and the church speaks to the government and its members participate in the government.
THE GOVERNMENT IS GOD-GIVEN TO KEEP ORDER AFTER THE FALL OF MAN
And how is it that Christians live their lives? Well, we who have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of life, we who are sojourners and exiles as we fulfill our mission to be ambassadors for Christ, we see ourselves answering to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, but that does not promote anarchy in our life — that promotes order in our life and that our call is to be in subjection to every human institution.
Are there exceptions? Absolutely, but don’t start with the qualifiers; start with the principle. The principle is, before I was a Christian, it’s all about me and I do what I want for myself. Now that I’m a Christian, it’s all about Jesus and I do what He wants and He tells me. The direction of my life is to be submissive. Churches are submissive to one another, Christians are submissive to one another, members are submissive to elders, I’m submissive to my employer, I’m submissive to the civil magistrate — that is the direction that we are called to live.
THERE ARE CASES WHERE LAWS ARE NOT JUST
Are there qualifiers? Absolutely. Notice the text does not say that every law is just or that every governing authority is just but it simply says that it’s there by God’s sovereign appointment. My initial response is to be in submission.
Are there times in the Bible that my submission is to be forfeited because of the government’s law — the law itself? When they told John and Peter they couldn’t preach in the name of Jesus, well, now we got a conflict. King Jesus says go and preach the Gospel and they just passed a law on me that I can’t preach the Gospel. And so, what did they say? “We must obey God rather than man.” Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down to the king’s image and commit idolatry, but they were still submissive — they willingly took their punishment.
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR HAD BELIEVERS UNITED UNDER THEIR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, NOT INDIVIDUAL CHAOS
Concerning the Revolution, you’ll notice it was not a collection of guerilla and it was not an act of vigilantism. They established a government in America which they were submissive to, which then informed the government that was exercising tyranny against them that this government in America would not submit to that government. In other words, the Christians were obedient to the governing authority in America which declared to the tyrannical government that was attempting to coerce and control through the mechanism of taxation without representation that they would not do it.
Therefore, it was not an act of individual revolution; they were submissive to the government that had been established in the colonies that then said to the government that would control them, “We no longer will allow you to oppress and take away people’s God-given inalienable rights.”
The same thing would be true in a Nazi Germany. Yes, did Hitler quote this text to try to control Christians? Yes, but Christians could say, “Yes, we will be in submission to the government but, when you exercise your laws, if your laws cause us to transgress the law of God, then we must obey God rather than man.”
IN NAZI GERMANY, THE LAWS WERE UNJUST AND THIS VERSE WOULD NOT HAVE APPLIED
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I remember in the book “The Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom wrote where she was challenged by a Nazi officer quoting this verse saying you are to obey the governing authorities. In that kind of situation, would it be proper for a Christian like Corrie Ten Boom to perhaps take an officer like that to Colossians 4 where it says, “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you, too, have a Master in Heaven whom you have to answer.”
DR. REEDER: That’s moving from the civil government to the civil relationships in society but the principle would be the same. What I would say is go back to the Romans 13, “You’re a minister of God,” God called you to imprison people just because they are made in the image of God and reside in a certain ethnicity?
For Corrie Ten Boom, when they come and said, “Do you have any Jews in your house?” is it okay for her to say no? Absolutely it was okay because the whole question was, “Do you have Jews in your house that we can imprison and exterminate?” and that answer is no. She also realizes that here is a law that stands against the law of God, “You shalt not murder.”
WE MAY BE CALLED TO CIVILLY DISOBEY AND SUFFER CONSEQUENCES IN OUR WORLD TODAY
At the moment, my country is guilty of allowing the murder of unborn infants. If they ever get to the point that they tell me, “You have to pay for it. You have to participate in it directly,” then I tell them, “No, I will not,” and I’ll have to be ready to take the punishment for it. In fact, I am called of God not to obey an unjust law. I actually have a moral duty before God to disobey that law in the context of being submissive to governing authorities.
When Sessions quotes that text, that text is rightly quoted but its right application always realizes that, if that governing authority has an unjust law, then Christians, in submission to that authority, are under obligation to the Lord, the Giver of the supremacy of the Ten Commandments and the Law of God that we cannot disobey the commandments of God within a nation. Yet we don’t do that in terms of personal rebellion; we do that under authority and, ultimately, under the authority of Christ, Who is our King, in which our citizenship ultimately lies.
WE HAVE BEEN LEFT A LEGACY OF OBEDIENT CHRISTIANS TO FOLLOW
When Peter wrote his text that’s parallel to Paul’s text, it’s interesting that he also adds directly, “Honor the king,” and the king at that time is a lascivious, immoral, ungodly, unconscionably evil person, Nero, who in just a few years is going to kill the man that’s writing this “Honor the king and honor the emperor,” Peter, and will also decree the death of Paul who also said the governing authorities are to be obeyed and who, in their submission, went to death for King Jesus because of their faithfulness to the call of Christ to spread the Gospel of His Kingdom throughout the world. Of course, history is full of those who have followed their steps of martyrdom.
The rule of believers is you move from the rule of self and the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ and now the rule of Christ in our life and it’s manifested in our submission to God-ordained authorities, always declaring the supremacy of our obedience to Christ. If those rulers take upon themselves the authority to tell us to disobey Christ, then we must obey God rather than man.
COMING UP TOMORROW: LEADERSHIP BLOOMING IN ARMED FORCES
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of “Today in Perspective,” I want to take you to a blog by Chris Bollinger. In this blog, he notes that there are certain members of a certain branch of our military who share a unique quality.
DR. REEDER: And are being called upon in a disproportionate measure for leadership in our country and there may be a reason why this is happening that we can explore tomorrow.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.