Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kings or Anarchy (3)

Most commentators on Romans 13 say that God is an orderly God, so he gave us kings and politicians to provide order for society. Kings might be bad at times, but anarchy would be worse. Here are some examples.

Paul’s assumption is that the government in power (even Rome with its erroneous religious views, etc.) is better than the evil that would result from anarchy. (George Herrick)

Anarchy simply replaces the tyranny of the officially powerful with tyranny of the unofficially powerful, the bullies and the rich. (NT Wright)

This assumption that kings and parliaments are part of God's order for society is common to most commentaries on Romans. They assume that God has given us human government because life would be awful without them.

The first problem with this assumption is that it is not supported by scripture. God did not establish kings and parliaments to provide order in society. God gave his law so that we could have order in his society.

Secondly, the assumption that kings are superior to anarchy is never proved. For example, the statement by NT Wright above does not make sense. The "officially powerful" are also bullies, who enjoy telling other people what to do. The officially powerful always seem to be come rich. Therefore the tyranny of the officially powerful is no different from the tyranny of the unofficially powerful.

Tyranny cannot be part of God's order, whether it is official or unofficial. If we think that Romans 13 advocates tyranny, then we have misunderstood God's word.

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