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Civil Disobedience Essay

1865 words - 7 pages

When governments act in a way that is contrary to God's commands, how should Christians respond? Many believers throughout history have asked themselves this question or one similar to it when they are faced with government actions that are incompatible with Christian teachings. The issue also has relevance today as many believers are concerned with various issues such as government laws allowing abortions and, in Canada, with the passing of Bill C-250 that many fear will make preaching against homosexuality a hate crime. The morality of civil disobedience is controversial issue among Christians with some believing that obedience is of primary importance, while others feel that promoting justice is a more important Christian duty (Stevick, 1969). Christians must become informed on this issue so that they can act as good citizens in both their country and in the kingdom of heaven (Php. 3:20).The law that God gave to Moses and the nation of Israel reveals God's desire to have His people live in an ordered community. The Fifth Commandment, "Honour your father and your mother", is an instruction to honour all those who are in positions over them During biblical times, people often called their leaders and other people whom they respected their mother or father (Douma, 1996). For example, Deborah called herself as "a mother in Israel" (Judges 5:7), and Naaman's servants referred to him as their father (2 Kings 5: 13). Additionally, Ephesians 5:22-6:9 shows that God's desire for order extends to the relationship between husband and wife, parents and children, and master and slave (Stevick, 1969). This commandment also has a promise attached to it for those who obey: "Then you will have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). Thus, the benefit of honouring and obeying authorities are the gifts of order and peace in our lives.God has placed authorities over us because we are fallen beings, as is exemplified in numerous stories in the book of Judges. During that time, the nation of Israel had no earthly authority and they ignored their heavenly authority. A result, "everyone did as he saw fit", which resulted in chaos and an easy victory for invading foreign armies. Once the people cried out to God, He would send a judge to deliver them and rule over them until the time of his death. Then, sadly, the people would revert back to their old ways and the cycle would start all over again. Therefore, authorities are vital for maintaining order, providing protection, and encouraging morality in the nation.In Romans 13, Paul also commands the believers to submit to the authorities because God has given them their positions. They are God's servants to whom he has given the task of encouraging good and punishing evil (Stevick, 1969). The authorities in Paul's lifetime were unbelievers, which shows that God can use people to carry out His will without them being aware of it. Likewise, Peter directs Christians to obey whatever...

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