Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves (Rom 13:1,2).I believe that these first few verses of Romans 13 have been seriously misunderstood. Over the next few days, I am going to post some different thoughts in effort to get closer to their true meaning.
The passage above has been used to justify all forms of civil government. The common argument is that Paul was writing to the church in the Rome at a time when Nero was Caesar. If a terrible ruler like Nero was instituted by God, then all forms of political power are justified and Christians must submit to whatever political authority arises to power.
Here is my first problem with this view. In the last verse of chapter 12, Paul says.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Why would Paul tell us not to be overcome by evil, and then in his next breath, tell us to submit to evil kings and emporers. This does not compute.
Paul was not stupid. I believe that we have seriously misunderstood, what he was saying about submission.
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