God and Government Christians and Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

At first, the passage in Romans seems unequivocal -- a rebellion against established authority seems to be the same as a rebellion against God. But a closer and more considered examination of the situation suggests that this is not the case. First, Romans was written with a very specific government in mind -- the Roman government, as a matter of fact. It considers authority as the earthly servant of God. At the same time, this passage suggests that free will exists, in that men have the ability to rebel against God and authority. Therefore, individual authorities could rebel against God and use their authority in ways that were not in his service. This would make the authority no longer the arbiter of sin, and rebellion would be almost morally necessitated.

For many who rebelled during this nation's revolution, and even those who came to the continent in the preceding century and a half, the most powerful motive was the belief that their government was no longer serving God's word and will. The passage from Romans implicitly makes obedience to the government contingent upon that government's obedience to God, and a rebellion in authority makes a rebellion of the people necessary if they are to continue serving God. In addition, the new authority they established could be seen, given a certain reading of this passage, as an assign that the revolution was blessed by God. As "there is no authority except that which God has established," it could be claimed that the rejection of England's authority and the establishment of a new continental authority was a manifestation of divine will. God established a new authority to replace that which had turned away from him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s illegal acts were made in the same spirit, it could be argued, though his was not an attempt to reject or replace an authority but rather to change it. This makes the issue far more cloudy. A look at the results of his actions, however, makes it seem as easy to decide as the Declaration of Independence. The government was effectively replaced, and it was acknowledged that equal rights were morally and ethically demanded of a just government. In order for this to make King's actions truly moral, however, this would require that sin could be transformed by later results. This is a dangerous proposition, and so it must be concluded that King's actions were at best nebulous according to the Book of Romans.

St, Augustine is more certainly negative in regards to King and his civil disobedience. This is not because St. Augustine considered the government a true moral or divine authority. He makes this clear in his anecdote concerning Alexander the Great, who questions a pirate about his thieving and receives this reply: "because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor" (St. Augustine, IV:4). But he did not consider disobedience worth the effort, and in fact suggested that it was unharmonious and therefore wrong when it mattered so little. King's actions were certainly -- and purposefully -- disruptive, and so it is fairly certain that St. Augustine would have disapproved.

This throws some question on the applicability of ancient Christian doctrine to today's democracy. The two systems are not fully compatible, and one must be dominant. This country and its inhabitants are more free to due democracy's current rising star.

Work Cited

Augustine of Hippo, Saint. City of God. Accessed 26 April 2009. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120104.htm

Romans. New International Bible. Accessed 27 April 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2013

Sources Used in Document:

Work Cited

Augustine of Hippo, Saint. City of God. Accessed 26 April 2009. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120104.htm

Romans. New International Bible. Accessed 27 April 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2013

Cite This Essay:

"God And Government Christians And" (2009, April 27) Retrieved November 16, 2018, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/god-and-government-christians-22426

"God And Government Christians And" 27 April 2009. Web.16 November. 2018. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/god-and-government-christians-22426>

"God And Government Christians And", 27 April 2009, Accessed.16 November. 2018,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/god-and-government-christians-22426