Sunday, March 13, 2011

When Should Christians Disobey Their Government?

In November 24, 2004, a Scottish cardinal challenged the British Government to make St Andrew a public holiday . In 2005, Cardinal Tumi called out President Paul Biya against corruption and bad governance . In 2009, Kenya media went viral when Cardinal John Njue rebuked president Kibaki about corruption . Still in 2009, in the US, a dozen of pastors challenged the IRS. In December, 2010, Bosnian Cardinal- Vinko Puljic disobeyed the government orders to vacate his residence so that it would be given to a former communist secret police agent . Many have asked if that is not mingling church and state, and others wonder aloud if Christians should even challenge rather than pray for their presidents. Many have asked me whether a Christian should challenge his or her government, considering that there are biblical recommendations for them to obey their governments and other governments (Romans 8:7). Shouldn’t Christians be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? They ask. Aren't they failing from being the special spice to the insipid world and light to the dark world? Don’t they negate their duty of being the lighthouse and the aroma if Christians go along committing the same atrocities like the non Christians? Should you simply acquiescently obey everyone in authority, even if their command is sinful (Matt. 23:2-4)?

It would have been great if the Christian was not held accountable by God for associating or being mute at evil and evildoers. One must dissociate himself or herself from the evildoers to escape the judgment of God (Rev. 18:4).  Omission is punishable as sin (James 4:17). That is, if you know that there are people being oppressed but you do not do anything to set them free, to God that is sin.

Immediately, the Christian is faced with two laws: the law of God and the law of man. The law of the spirit governs the spiritual man, and the law of the flesh governs the physical man (Rom 7:23; Gal 5:16). The Christians cannot be taken out of the world; consequently, they can only be preserved from evil because though they are in this world, they are not of this world (Jn 17:15-17). There will be a time where earthly authority will kill the Christian thinking they are doing services for God, but it is the law of God that will judge all men (I Pet. 4:17). The question will be; where does the Law of man end, and where does the law of God start? Which law is superior: God’s or humans’?

We could have been left wanting if there was no precedence of children of God resisting wicked rulers in the Bible. One thing we must note is that every prophet went head to head against the kings and emperors of their days. It is normal when we know that the prophet represents good sees anything evil in the king. That is why we had the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, Elijah and Ahab, Jeremiah and Zedekiah over obeying Babylon’s government (Jer. 32:2-5) & John the Baptist against Herod’s marriage of Herodias and his other sins (Luke 3:19). Furthermore, as you read Daniel 3:15-18, you will see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego go against the edict of king Nebuchadnezzar. Whenever you want to rebuke the president or earthly authority, do that openly because doing it behind amounts to gossiping, and he will be told anyway by his aficionados and myrmidons.

The earthly ruler is the minister of God to bring goodness and not evil; thus, when he starts to spit evil, he loses his authority. In general, the Christians must supplicate, pray and intercede for all men including kings and all those in authority whether we agree with them or not, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceably life on earth (I Tim 2:1-2; I Pet. 2:13-15, 17). Remember that your peace shall depend upon the land in which you dwell (Jer 29:7).

When it concerns the physical man, the worldly authority has the power to crucify the Christian like it was done to Polycarp or to release him as was the case of Peter. Yet, that power is only by the will of God (John 19:10-11). Those who live should know that God rules all kingdoms, and He gives power to whomsoever he wills at times to the basest of men (Dan 4:17). If that kingdom is of God, man cannot overthrow it no matter how much he fights because it will be Man Versus God, and we know already who will win (Acts 5:39).

In the face of a conflict between the authority of man and the authority of God, Christians “ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). You must not be afraid of what man will do unto you. God’s power is the superior power to which all must subject themselves to whether they like it or not. In the last days, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In the course of submitting to the law of man, it should not be just because we are afraid of punishment but because of our conscience too (Rom 13:7). The fact that there will be an end of the world tells you there is a superior power and authority that will bring it to a close one day one day. There is an earthly authority called Caesar, and we must give to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is God (Mt 22:21). It simply means that the Christians are not exempt from obeying the rules of their earthly governments when they do not infract the laws of God. Sometimes though, the Christians will not be committing sin if they disobey certain laws, but because they are not inherently sinful, though inconvenient should be respected for the sake of peace and societal tact (Mt 17:27).

Until then, Christians should not respect a wicked ruler!

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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