Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes, Tea Parties, and Romans 13

With today being tax day, and all the news about modern day "tea parties", I thought it would be germane to reopen the discussion on Early America and Romans 13, particularly in reference to taxes.

We all know what Paul says about submitting to the ruling authorities. Immediately following that, and often ignored, Paul in Romans 13: 5-7 says:
"Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."


This topic has been fairly frequently discussed here on American Creation. For a refresher, there are some great posts and conversations at the link above.

Now, in Mayhew's Discourse he argues that we only need to submit to "good" rulers saying that tyrannical rulers are not God's ministers, but "the Devil's". Starting off with this premise, he concludes (paraphrasingly) that when we judge a ruler to be a tyrant, they are not "intitled [sic] to obedience from their subjects".

Theologically speaking, this is troubling because it can lead to man deciding what the will of God is. There is no shortage of stories in the OT where God uses tyrants to his will, sometimes foreign, sometimes domestic. Additionally, God did use Samuel to warn the people of Israel what having a king would be like in 1 Samuel 8 and it wasn't all wine and roses.

Taking the other side of the coin, we have John Calvin who, in Book IV of Institutes, says:
"But rulers, you will say, owe mutual duties to those under them. This I have already confessed. But if from this you conclude that obedience is to be returned to none but just governors, you reason absurdly."
Now Calvin does limit himself in this discussion to private men, and not to those within the government. For private men, Calvin advises that it our only duties to obey, suffer, and pray for deliverance.

To me, the contrast between the two viewpoints is fascinating. I can appreciate Mayhew's view, but can see where it can lead to making God in man's image, a view some would consider heretical. I can also appreciate Calvin's view where he reminds us that we can't know what God's will truly is, but find his support for unquestioning obedience a bit much.

We know now which view won out, as Mayhew's Discourse would be praised by John Adams as having "great influence in the commencement of the Revolution." Additionally, I believe that the prevalence of Mayhew's view over Calvin's is another signal in the shift of early American theology away from the influence of Puritan New England towards the more liberal theology of the Enlightenment period, further clouding the "Christian Nation" debate we all hold so dear.

I take more of the Hegel approach, believing that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

39 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, "liberal theology of the Enlightenment" is a mouthful. Here we see Algernon Sidney [published 1698, written decades before] crediting "The Schoolmen," the Scholastics of Catholicism with that "liberal theology of the Enlightenment."

http://www.constitution.org/as/dcg_102.htm

The question might be simply Calvin's role in temporarily braking a process that was well underway before the Enlightenment.

Our Founding Truth said...

Theologically speaking, this is troubling because it can lead to man deciding what the will of God is. There is no shortage of stories in the OT where God uses tyrants to his will, sometimes foreign, sometimes domestic.>

In the O.T. God punishes Israel for their disobedience, not in relation to his general blessing for Israel. God using tyrants to punish Israel for idolatry, is quite different than the text of Romans 13.

There are many scriptures approving general, and defensive war, to back up the Revolution.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, I don't have a dog in the Calvin fight, but certainly his interpretation of Romans 13 is reasonable.

Remember that the Israelites were required to submit to the tyrants and conquerors as legitimate instruments of God's justice. And---check me on this---I seem to recall a passage from Martin Luther wondering if the oncoming invasion of the Turks wasn't similarly God's justice for the impieties of Christendom [this would be at the high-water mark of the Turkish incursion into Europe, the Siege of Vienna] and that the Christians should submit to Muslim worldly rule if it indeed came.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Great post.

But to counter OFT's comment; scriptures do approve of "just war." Not one scripture approves of revolution. If "revolution" is permitted, it comes from an extra-biblical interpretation.

But, that's something that is not uncommon in Christian hermeneutics. This might be why the "natural lawyers" who respected revelation like James Wilson needed to point out the Bible is "incomplete" on these matters.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, Just War Theory is theology, too. Aquinas and The "Schoolmen," natch.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/j/justwar.htm

Since Aquinas wrote in the mid-1200s, it didn't take a James Wilson [late 1700s] to point out that reason is the handmaiden of theology. If the Bible were "complete," theology wouldn't even exist.

I tend to agree with Jon here that it took theology to "justify" war. The Israelites were not free to fight and kill on their own initiative, without the command of God; indeed they were sometimes required to submit.

Of course, after Constantine had a vision of the cross and the words "In hoc signo vinces" in 312 AD, as a practical matter Christendom was OK with war from that point on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_hoc_signo_vinces

;-)

Christian Salafia said...

Tom,

The phrase "liberal theology of the Enlightenment" was qualitative in nature only. It is not a value judgment.

...and yes, I think Calvin was trying to stop something that was already in progress.

Christian Salafia said...

OFT,

I couldn't disagree more. You're using the same position as Mayhew... when God punished "them" it was different.

Theologically speaking, when humans start to decide what God really means is when humans start to usurp God's authority.

Paul was pretty clear in what he wrote, using words like "all" and "every person". While I don't find alot of Calvin's theology attractive, he does take this round in points.

BTW, as stated in a previous article, "the Bible mentions some form of the words “rebel” or “revolt” more than 100 times – and all in the negative." .

Christian Salafia said...

Of course, after Constantine had a vision of the cross and the words "In hoc signo vinces" in 312 AD, as a practical matter Christendom was OK with war from that point on.In my opinion, worst thing ever that could have happened to Christianity. It went from a subversive, revolutionary, radical, not of this world faith to becoming a mark of, essentially, a world conqueror.

But that's just me. :-)

Tom Van Dyke said...

I hear that, Chris. Calvin had a point. On the other hand, so did Aquinas, et al. Tricky.

Our Founding Truth said...

But to counter OFT's comment; scriptures do approve of "just war." Not one scripture approves of revolution. If "revolution" is permitted, it comes from an extra-biblical interpretation.>

This is semantics indeed. Abraham destroyed an entire city because they kidnapped his nephew Lot. If every scripture approves of self defense, revolution is the same.

Common sense dictates to defend yourself from a nation that wants to destroy you, and not to keep them in power to destroy you. What kind of logic is that?

John Jay, James Otis, and the framers approved of "revolution" and took it from the Scriptures (Romans 13).

Christian:I couldn't disagree more. You're using the same position as Mayhew... when God punished "them" it was different.

Not if I'm adhering to the text, which Mayhew does not.

Theologically speaking, when humans start to decide what God really means is when humans start to usurp God's authority.>

Again, not if the decision is in line with the text.

Paul was pretty clear in what he wrote, using words like "all" and "every person". While I don't find alot of Calvin's theology attractive, he does take this round in points.>

I agree, but only in the context of "servants of God" which God specifically ordered. God did not demand in the text for Nero to punish Israel.

BTW, as stated in a previous article, "the Bible mentions some form of the words “rebel” or “revolt” more than 100 times – and all in the negative.">

You didn't post the text, so I will agree with you somewhat. However, the context was about Israel and their rebellion, not a right to overthrow nations, which God did to the Canaanites, Amalekites, Ammonites, etc.

Our Founding Truth said...

Abraham destroyed an entire city because they kidnapped his nephew Lot>

My bad. I meant to say he killed everyone in the city.

Tom Van Dyke said...

God did.

Mr. Salifa touches on an important theological point---Christians aren't "entitled" to violence because of some special status. And if I understand the Old Testament correctly, King David, perhaps God's most beloved, wasn't permitted to build the temple---that fell to his son Solomon---because of David's days as a murdering brigand fleeing from Saul [and I suppose the Uriah/Bathsheba incident]. David had innocent blood on his hands, as he killed without divine command, for his own purposes.

This also serves as a theological answer to those who complain about the God of the OT permitting the Israelites to "murder" the Canaanites, Amalekites, Ammonites, etc. If you read the stories, each people was totally depraved; they were slain for their wickedness, not out of God's whim or arbitrary Divine Command.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

However the Founders or any theologian old or new may want it, it is probably helpful to remember that when Paul wrote the Roman letter and told the Roman church to obey the state, he was talking about Rome -- Last I knew, Rome was not a democracy. Indeed, it would have qualified as fairly tyrannical!

Brian Tubbs said...

Romans 13 is written in a way that leaves the door WIDE open to God raising up a new government.

Did the Founders break Romans 13?

If you reject the existence of God and/or the possibility or practicality of divine revelation, then one could argue that the historical-grammatical implications of Romans 13 don't look good for the Founders in the American Revolution. But...

If you believe that God is real and that He can and does lead people and nations, then....the question becomes:

Did the Founders believe they were doing God's will in rebelling against British authority and starting their own nation?

Brian Tubbs said...

Romans 13 is written in a way that leaves the door WIDE open to God raising up a new government.

Did the Founders break Romans 13?

If you reject the existence of God and/or the possibility or practicality of divine revelation, then one could argue that the historical-grammatical implications of Romans 13 don't look good for the Founders in the American Revolution. But...

If you believe that God is real and that He can and does lead people and nations, then....the question becomes:

Did the Founders believe they were doing God's will in rebelling against British authority and starting their own nation?

Gregg Frazer said...

Brian:

GOD, of course, can always raise up a new government, but where, exactly, in Romans 13 does Paul leave ANY room (much less "wide" room) for MEN to do it? God often uses the SIN of men to accomplish His purposes/plan -- but that doesn't change the fact that it's SIN.

As an evangelical Christian, I believe in God and that He leads people and nations -- but He does not lead them to do things contrary to His revealed will. Whether the Founders "believed" they were doing God's will or not is irrelevant. What matters is whether they were IN FACT doing God's will. And God explicitly stated His will in Romans 13, which says to people living under the tyranny of NERO: "whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves."

Pretty straightforward. Good intentions are no excuse for disobedience to God.

Tom and I are on the same side? I've got to adjust to this. :)

Michael Heath said...

I can't find anyway to wiggle out of the founders not violating the clear commandments of Romans 13 coupled to the additional dogmatic idea of the divine right of kings and where they supposedly derived their powers - from God.

However, I can find wiggle room for our modern day teabaggers to call for revolt and not violate Romans 13 since the power of our government is not delegated from God but instead is delegated directly from "the people". God has nothing to do with it in the formal sense like it was understood in Roman times and during our revolution though people are certainly free to believe it's his will that our current day government exist and flourish.

I'm cognizant that one can read Paul's words here in the general sense and therefore the command for Christians is a biblical duty to submit on these matters to all government power in the belief that it's God will they rule. While this is certainly an arguable position, it's not altogether convincing when it comes to revolting against America given our secularly derived powers.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Despite Mr. Heath's gratuitous slag on the "teabaggers" [and I meself am not above gratuitous slags---a fellow's got to have some fun], he does hint at the difference between submission to totalitarian rule and being a citizen-ruler oneself in a democracy. Well observed, Michael.

Gregg, even though I admit only to being putatively Roman Catholic [my personal beliefs are personal], you will see me tend to come down on Thomas Aquinas' side, which permits regicide, over John Calvin's side, which does not.

I'm OK with theology---reason applied to scripture---over sola scriptura.

Although I---and any reasonable person---would admit that based on the Bible, John Calvin [and Martin Luther, see above] have a point. I'm OK with disagreements, pluralist that I am.

Our mutual friend Jonathan Rowe linked to an excellent Nathan Hatch essay

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num20.htm

that shows Luther and Calvin themselves having a bit of a problem with the common folk abandoning normative theology in favor of individual interpretation. Hoisted on their own petards, as it were.

Me, I'm OK with theology, the application of reason to scripture. That God gave each of us a brain in his or her head is undeniable, and some of us believe that was for a good reason.

As for your

As an evangelical Christian, I believe in God and that He leads people and nations -- but He does not lead them to do things contrary to His revealed will._______________________

..."right" reason might come into play here. The Founders were very interestingly well-aware that reason was subject to the passions, and that man might use his "reason" to lie to himself. They were a lot deeper on "right" reason than I suspected when I started on this blog.

If the Enlightenment elevated, reified, and/or deified reason, it was only those Frenchies and their revolution, not the Brits or their American offspring, who relied on "right" reason.

Our Founding Truth said...

I was going over Romans 13 last night, when one word stuck out to me in the text. The word was "damnation" in v. 2.

How could God bless Abraham for killing the kings of Sodom for taking Lot, and God damning Christians for the same thing?

It doesn't make sense, because the O.T. is a picture of a N.T. principle. God is consistent.

"Rulers" must refer to "good" rulers in the text.

Anonymous said...

That's the most idiotic rationalization I've encountered in ages. I recommend getting a better brand of weed, that roadside ditch stuff is a killer on the brain cells.

Our Founding Truth said...

That's the most idiotic rationalization I've encountered in ages. I recommend getting a better brand of weed, that roadside ditch stuff is a killer on the brain cells.>

Ok, could be so kind and let me know any proposition which can be discerned as fact by probablility apart from apodictic logic and mathematics?

Gregg Frazer said...

The difference between the Abraham situation and Romans 13 is that the Abraham/Lot situation was warfare between kings. Abraham was not under the authority of the kings against which he fought.

Romans 13 is talking about people under an authority. If the word "damnation" jumps out at you -- it should. We'd better get this right. It's not merely an academic matter.

Re Mr. Heath's suggestion that Paul's message doesn't apply to the Americans because our government is derived from the people and not God: Paul uses nothing but universal terms and is quite clear that there are no exceptions -- "every"; "the governing authorities" [no qualifiers] "no authority except"; "those which exist."

Also: he was immediately addressing Romans and the Roman government officially derived its powers from the people, too. [I teach Ancient Roman History and I can go into specifics (fasces, tribunes, role of the senate, etc.) if necessary]

Ultimately, the fact that a people (Americans, in this case) claim that their government's authority is derived from the people or that they think it is derived from the people does not make that reality. In reality, God's truth is what is true -- and God says that He is the source of all governmental authority.

Peter says the same thing in I Peter 2:13 -- "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to EVERY HUMAN INSTITUTION ...." [my emphasis]

Our Founding Truth said...

Gregg:The difference between the Abraham situation and Romans 13 is that the Abraham/Lot situation was warfare between kings. Abraham was not under the authority of the kings against which he fought.

The text in Genesis 14 doesn't specifically say the context is kings. Melchizidek tells Abraham God delivered him from his "enemies."

Paul uses nothing but universal terms and is quite clear that there are no exceptions -- "every"; "the governing authorities" [no qualifiers] "no authority except"; "those which exist.">

I see many qualifiers, including "good rulers" "to thee for good." For example, Nero was not specifically called by God for anything.

Also: he was immediately addressing Romans and the Roman government officially derived its powers from the people, too.>

I don't see that in the text either. It seems to be for a minister for God "for good."

4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Paul says righteous warfare is valid with us and in the law of Moses:

I Corinthians 9

7Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

8Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

9For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

Paul again:

I Corinthians 9

8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. [bold face mine]

AT THE MINIMUM, GOD ALLOWS DEFENSIVE WAR. But I could go farther than that based on the consistency of scripture.

Peter says the same thing in I Peter 2:13 -- "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to EVERY HUMAN INSTITUTION ...." [my emphasis]>

It appears the context is "Gentiles." Paul's words clarify the context of Peters' words.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ultimately, the fact that a people (Americans, in this case) claim that their government's authority is derived from the people or that they think it is derived from the people does not make that reality. In reality, God's truth is what is true -- and God says that He is the source of all governmental authority...

The Thomistic argument, which I believe Algernon Sidney employs, is that sovereignty must be earned, and then maintained. This is why I believe the D of I is basically a list of grievances, to declare the power of the king illegitimate. They wanted and needed such a justification to not be in violation of Romans 13.

I haven't done much work on Aquinas and Romans 13, but these fellows have, submitted for everyone's consideration.

http://www.shadowcouncil.org/wilson/archives/005614.html

http://vaxxine.com/hyoomik/aquinas/regicide.html

The argument that God gives sovereignty to the people, who give it to the king, can also be developed from Aquinas here:"

"If to provide itself with a king belongs to the right of a given multitude, it is not unjust that the king be deposed or have his power restricted by that same multitude if, becoming a tyrant, he abuses the royal power"; On Kingship, p. 27, in vol. 3, Supplementary Readings, p. 93.)

Our Founding Truth said...

I Corinthians 9

8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. [bold face mine]


It's actually I Corinthians 14

Michael Heath said...

Dr. Frazer,

Thanks for responding to my point. I’ve read most of the material you’ve written since coming into contact with Jon Rowe, whose work I follow. I’ve learned a lot and for that I’m most appreciative.

I think you partly misunderstood a minor aspect of my point given I was too pithy when presenting it. Your response however does afford me an opportunity I'd like to take to request a clarification merely for my own education since I am mostly ignorant on the Roman Government (though I am reading a biography on Cicero at the moment to mitigate this hole - Rome had very confusing governmental entities and convulted career paths). Your clarification may very well have me conceding one of arguments, though I also like to note I presented a corresponding argument as well.

I previously understood that Paul was unequivocal to his target audience in his letter. The original meaning is blindingly clear and unambiguous. But was the Roman empire really a power derived from these particular people in terms of Paul's audience? I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that they were not the people who delegated power to Rome. I believe most scholars describe them as Jews living in Rome. Were those particular Jews mostly Roman citizens with full citizenship rights?

If Paul's audience was Roman Citizens with full protection of rights as well as Jews, then I absolutely concede your point that Paul's universal proclamation included all governments, not just those formally noted as God-ordained (or imposed upon a conquered people and therefore arguably God-ordained which I failed to note in my original point, especially given the Bible is rife with examples where Jews believed others having dominion over them was God-ordained, which was my previous argument I failed to adequately elaborate on earlier). If Paul's audience of Roman Jews had Latini rights or some other second-class citizen rights, I'm not sure how one could truly argue Rome derived its power from these particular Jews which were the target audience in Paul's letter rather than their being granted certain rights by Rome but under the dominion of Rome due to the Jews not adequately executing their covenant with God.

In addition, while I certainly understand, respect, and was previously cognizant of your point that the Bible teaches the source of all government authority comes from God; I don't think one can make that argument in an unequivocal manner as you did in your last post. I make that assertion since I’m not aware of any successful effort to independently validate that claim in a manner supported by overwhelming empirical evidence that also convincingly discredits competing notions. So while I respect and support your position to hold it; I think it should be humbly presented as an opinion strongly held rather than presented as unassailable truth.

Our Founding Truth said...

Michael: If Paul's audience of Roman Jews had Latini rights or some other second-class citizen rights, I'm not sure how one could truly argue Rome derived its power from these particular Jews which were the target audience in Paul's letter rather than their being granted certain rights by Rome but under the dominion of Rome due to the Jews not adequately executing their covenant with God.

I think you're on to something here, but the scripture specifically mandates at a minimum, defensive war, given to the Church in I Cor 9:7-8, and 14:8.

After going over the text again last night with Morey's commentaries, "revolution" is clearly synonymous with defense, expulsion and elimination of an invading people. II Kings 19 is a clear example of defense, or "revolution" if that's what you want to call it.

Sennarcherib had already invaded and controlled several Israeli cities, including Samaria, when the Angel of the Lord killed 145 thousand Assyrians.

Judges 2:16, is another place where God raises up men, and women, to revolt against intruders who had taken over the land. God allowed the takeover, then raised up judges to deliver Israel.

The American Revolution is entirely consistent with the Holy Scriptures, the law of nature, and understanding of the image bearing nature in man.

Also, about John Calvin, I think Dave Hunt does an excellent job of refuting Calvinism in general. I Tim 2:1-5, is a good place to start for refuting Calvinism. If "kings" is all kings, how are they the elect if they are evil?

JimM47 said...

Michael Heath writes:

I can't find anyway to wiggle out of the founders not violating the clear commandments of Romans 13 coupled to the additional dogmatic idea of the divine right of kings and where they supposedly derived their powers - from God.

However, I can find wiggle room for our modern day teabaggers to call for revolt and not violate Romans 13 since the power of our government is not delegated from God but instead is delegated directly from "the people". God has nothing to do with it in the formal sense like it was understood in Roman times and during our revolution though people are certainly free to believe it's his will that our current day government exist and flourish.
Michael,

I think you may be giving short shrift to the Founding Fathers' (possibly idiosyncratic) understanding of the unwritten British Constitution if you think that the same justification you give for the Tea Party Protesters could not be claimed by the Founding Fathers. Many founders had a Thomistic-influenced understanding of the British Constitution that legitimated their actions as acting within — even preserving — that constitution.

Note, for instance, that the Declaration of Independence is addressed toward legitimating the American rejection of the Crown, and not of Parliament, because the Americans didn't feel they needed to justify their rejection of Parliament, which didn't hold any Constitutional power over them (an interpretation of Parliament's constitutional powers that Parliament itself did not agree with, to put it mildly).

Tom Van Dyke said...

Very nice, Jim. I would add that "taxation without representation"---and Lord, we heard that riff in school often enough, having no real idea of what it really meant---becomes a key justification for the seed of the Revolution: if only the colonies had been granted seats in parliament as part of Britain, the British regime would have been legitimate under any interpretation of Romans 13.

But the British refused. If the colonists had had representation in parliament---even if outvoted---the Boston Tea Party would not have been a legitimate and justifiable response to an illegitimate and unjust tax.

A formal argument, yes, and even harkening to the Bible or at least the prevailing theology drawn from it like Jonathan Mayhew's. But they cared about such stuff back in the day.

Our Founding Truth said...

Tom:"taxation without representation"---and Lord, we heard that riff in school often enough, having no real idea of what it really meant---becomes a key justification for the seed of the RevolutionI think the taxation was a part of the problem, but minor, as it was what, 15th on the list. It is tragic how the schools promoted the taxation problem, and neglected the more important grievances.

King of Ireland said...

If revolution is always wrong then God is a liar. He told Moses to go and break away from Pharoah and even helped him. So many people take one scripture out of context. There are numerous times that Kings were taken out by someone and it says that God was behind it. Ahab comes to mind. A reading of the book of Kings and Chronicles proves this.

As far as Luther he was a hypocrite. He challenged the Pope's Temporal and Religious authority himself. But when the peasants revolted and looked to him he backed up the Protestant Kings. Sounds a lot like most history. People want the right to revolt when they are oppressed and want to oppress the revolters when they are in power. Look at Castro among others.

Tom Van Dyke said...

King, your Israelites departing the Pharoah is apt, and found its way into revolutionary theology.

As for the rest of the hypocrites, that would be a practical matter, not a theological or even principled one. Not that I'm arguing with you.

King of Ireland said...

Tom Van Dyke,

The Theological should be practical. If something seems to contradict scripture, or more accurately someone traditions or what they have been taught, then they assume it is wrong. Usually, it is a misreading and often bad translations of old languages. I also think that translators can slant things based on their views.

Fraser is wrong on this.

Jonathan Rowe said...

I know Frazer disputes that they revolted against Egypt. I think he notes they just left as God commanded them to; God brought Egyptians down. I think that's how he explains it. I'll look for his exact quote.

King of Ireland said...

Jonathon,

That is why he is wrong. He sent Moses to revolt. I guess one could make the case that when he murdered the Egyptian that was his way of revolting and was wrong so he went back and just talked to Pharaoh and waited on God.

How about another one? Jesus told them not to take swords one time when he sent them out. When they came for him he told them to get their swords. Now he rebuked Peter for using it but this could very well have been for striking first.

If Fraser's argument is right then the Jews that resisted Hitler were wrong. I will not worship a God that says that. Nor should anyone. This is fatalistic
Calvinism. Not to bring up the whole evolution thing but this is what Darwin really had a problem with: Calvinist fatalism.

Deep down it is the problem that most have with Christianity. A God who does not give us much choice and just wants us to grin and bear and wait for heaven. He prayed for heaven to come to earth. Not is not fatalistic religious crap about waiting on God.

Gregg Frazer said...

King of Ireland:

God did NOT tell Moses to "break away from Pharaoh" -- where? What verse? He told Moses to go to Pharaoh (not organize a rebellion) and repeat to him God's demand that he let the Israelites go. When Pharaoh refused, Moses still did not organize rebellion -- he just kept repeating God's words to Pharaoh. Revolution is always wrong and God is not a liar.

[It's best to be accurate in what you say before casually throwing around an accusation against God]

As for rulers going down, God uses the sinful activity of men for His purposes and makes it work to fulfill His plan -- but that does not change the fact that the action was sinful/wrong [the end does not justify the means].

Where does the Bible say that God sent Moses to revolt -- what verse?

What is the connection between killing an individual Egyptian and revolution against the government of Egypt? FORTY YEARS elapsed between the killing of the Egyptian and Moses' return to Egypt to confront Pharaoh.

Where does the Bible say that Moses (or the Israelites) took up arms against the Egyptian government -- what verse?

On the contrary, Moses presented GOD'S demands (not his) and then merely obeyed Pharaoh's command to leave Egypt in Exodus 12:31-32 -- they didn't fight their way out or try to overthrow the government of Pharaoh. All of the attacks on Pharaoh's people and all of the deaths were done by God Himself -- not by Moses or the Israelites.

Jesus did NOT tell his disciples to "get their swords" when they came for Him -- what's the verse? BEFORE they came for Him, He told his disciples to CARRY swords in order to fulfill prophecy (Luke 22:37). When they said they had two swords (for 12 men), He said that was enough -- because they weren't to be USED. He rebuked Peter for USING a sword, which was never the intent (John 18:36).

There is a difference between "disobedience" and "resistance." Authorities should be "disobeyed" when they command disobedience to God, but "resistance" is never justified.

I am sorry that you will not worship a God Who says something you disagree with (in your infinite/infallible wisdom), but Who took on human flesh, came to earth, and died to provide a means of forgiving your disbelief and sins in order to make eternal life available to you.

I disagree with your assessment: I think most people have a problem with Christianity because "men love the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds are evil." [John 3:19] You complain about lack of choice, but when men have a choice, they reject God.

As for bad translations, I am basing what I say on the original manuscripts (original Greek & Hebrew).

Tom:
The Israelites "departing Pharaoh" is NOT apt, for the reasons noted above.

Christian Salafia said...

How could God bless Abraham for killing the kings of Sodom for taking Lot, and God damning Christians for the same thing?I'm curious, is this a serious question or sarcasm?

In the OT, God used the Israelites to create a physical holy nation out of a chosen people to establish an Earthly kingdom.

In the NT, as Christ says, the Kingdom is "not of this world" and Paul says we are to be "of the world, but not in the world."

Hence, since only God can end the Exile, the creation of "God's Country" (re: the US) is not only diametrically opposed to the NT, but can be considered blasphemy by some.

Christian Salafia said...

I think you're on to something here, but the scripture specifically mandates at a minimum, defensive war, given to the Church in I Cor 9:7-8, and 14:8.Actually, no, they don't.

Applying those scriptures to the context of defensive war is taking them horribly out of context.

In I Cor 9:7-8 Paul uses the soldier as an analogy to discuss the rights of an apostle to share in the fruits of his labor.

In I Cor 14:8 Paul is talking about how speaking in tongues is useless if it is just "noise" without wisdom, revelation, or even one to interpret.

Neither of these have anything to do with defensive war.

Our Founding Truth said...

In the OT, God used the Israelites to create a physical holy nation out of a chosen people to establish an Earthly kingdom.>

The text is what it says. Melchizidek Blessed Abram for overthrowing four Kings, and their people.

Christian:I think you're on to something here, but the scripture specifically mandates at a minimum, defensive war, given to the Church in I Cor 9:7-8, and 14:8.Actually, no, they don't.

Applying those scriptures to the context of defensive war is taking them horribly out of context.

In I Cor 9:7-8 Paul uses the soldier as an analogy to discuss the rights of an apostle to share in the fruits of his labor.

In I Cor 14:8 Paul is talking about how speaking in tongues is useless if it is just "noise" without wisdom, revelation, or even one to interpret.

Neither of these have anything to do with defensive war.>

They have everything to do with defensive warfare. The Law mandated war; Paul uses this as an analogy, but, it is true, these are Divine commands; God had therein ordered that the ox should not be muzzled while he was treading out the corn, nor hindered from eating while he was preparing the corn for man’s use, and treading it out of the ear. :

Paul:"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."