Once again I tentatively approach this issue of eTolls. What should the Christian response to this be? In my previous post on this issue I made slight allusions to a response, but my heart was more focused on ‘why this issue’ is the one that makes everyone irate.
Let me be clear from the outset that I am against the eTolling. I understand that it is corrupt. I am saddened by the economic consequences that it will incur. And when these economic consequences begin to take their toll (excuse the pun) the church needs to be there to minister to the province of Gauteng, and thus invariably the rest of South Africa.
The issue of government comes up in Scripture, let at least start with that. “Let everyone be subject 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, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves... this is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-2; 6).
Not only that but the words of Christ in Mark 12:13-17 ring in our ears, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This was Christ’s answer to the question about an insulting head tax that people conquered by Rome had to pay the government. He was asked, “Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? “Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” Jesus answered and said, ‘Give Caesar the money, because it’s his money, he printed it, but don’t give him total allegiance. He is not only saying give Caesar the money but not ultimate allegiance, but he is being even more ambivalent about Caesar than that, because he changes the verb that was used in the original question. In the original question they say, “should we give Caesar taxes” and they use a Greek word that means ‘a gift’ it means to present something. But Jesus uses a word that the NIV doesn’t really give us a good example of , it’s actually hard to get in English, Jesus changes the word and says, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesars”, and to God, the things that are God’s”. It’s a word that literally means ‘pay back what he deserves”. Can you see how ambiguous that is? What does a tyrant deserve? Perhaps he deserves his money back, but doesn’t he deserve some resistance as well? What Jesus Christ is saying is, “you may give Caesar some of what he wants, which is his money, but you cannot give Caesar ultimately what he wants, which is to completely accept his system” his...