Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.– Romans 13:1
Paul wrote that “everyone must submit to governing authorities,” but does this include an “authority” that exists and acts in opposition to God? Is there a case to be made for civil disobedience?
I think there is. God’s authority supersedes the authority of man. If any authority (which derives the privilege of rule from God) acts in opposition to God’s authority, we (as followers of Christ) are bound to obey the true Sovereign. Of course, this disobedience to an earthly authority should be peaceful and, if punishment results, we must bear it with dignity and the full measure of God’s grace.
Why would a holy God allow ungodly authority to exist? I cannot say, but He does … and I have seen (and come to understand) that sometimes the light shines the clearest and brightest in the deepest darkness. No matter God’s intended outcome, we may all agree on this: His plans cannot be thwarted and amidst the rise and fall of earthly authority, we must remain true to Him … for His truth is the only one that remains.
Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assured, glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep. – William Shakespeare
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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