In the New Testament, Israel was controlled by the Romans. Only Roman citizens had political standing (Acts 16:37; 22:25– 29; 25:9–12). Jesus had a political trial because the Jews did not have the authority to put Him to death (John 18:30–31). His accusers brought false civil charges against Him (Luke 23:1–2) to force Pilate’s hand (John 19:12).
We’re not subjects of Rome. “Render to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar” (Matt. 22:21) only applies to us in principle since we don’t live under Caesar. If anything, the Constitution is our Caesar, and it gives us the right and responsibility to boycott, protest, campaign, and vote to change our government by changing those elected to office those who violate their sworn oath of office and legislate contrary to the Constitution.
Restoring the Foundation of Civilization
There are many Christians who will not participate in civilization-building efforts that include economics, journalism, politics, education, and science because they believe (or have been taught to believe) these areas of thought are outside the realm of what constitutes a Christian worldview. Nothing could be further from the truth.Buy Now
Our duty as citizens is to see that civil government stays within its jurisdictional boundaries. This is exactly what Paul did when he questioned the authority of a civil official regarding his rights as a Roman citizen (Acts 22:23–30).
But when [the Roman soldiers] stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?”
If it was right for Paul to “protest” this single violation of his rights as a Roman citizen, why is it wrong to protest constitutional violations given the fact the Constitution gives us the right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances”?
The conditions in Israel during the Roman occupation of Israel did not lend itself for non-Romans to influence the government. Over the centuries, however, Christianity impacted the civil sphere so that the citizenry had a voice in civil government. The development and signing of the Magna Carta (1215) are good examples of this principle.
In this first of two talks given in LaGrange, GA, Gary discusses what the Bible has to say about tyranny. There is a lot of talk today about civil disobedience, but a Christian must be searching the Scriptures for the proper response. Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, Acts, and many other passages in the Bible give us much information and help us to think this difficult topic through completely.