Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)
January 20, 2021 saw the first successful coup d’état to unseat a legitimate sitting President of the United States in history, and replace him with an illegitimate puppet of the left. I realize that is a strong statement and many may disagree, but, for the time being, the First Amendment to the Constitution still grants me the right to say it.
I heard from a friend earlier this week who was upset with his pastor for condemning the President Trump supporters that showed up in Washington DC on January 6 as unlawful rioters. Trump supporters showed up by the thousands to “encourage” lawmakers to only count “legal” votes. They met on the Mall about a mile away from the Capitol and listened to speeches and raised their voices loudly hoping that “their representatives” in Congress would hear their voices. Their protests were vocal but peaceful. President Trump also spoke to the masses. He encouraged them to “fight” but the context, which the media overlooked, did not imply physical violence, but rather to struggle (“fight”) for the right through the means made available by our Constitution. President Trump did not incite the riot for which he has been accused.
Meanwhile, while President Trump was still speaking, a mile away from the Capitol Building, ANTIFA thugs dressed as Trump supporters surrounded the Capitol and began their assault on the Police guarding the Capitol. Later, many of the Trump supporters made their way to the Capitol to continue their peaceful protest. Several of them unwittingly got swept up with the ANTIFA thugs and ended up going into the Capitol Building with the real rioters. Because a small number of Trump supporters were implicated with the ANTIFA rioters, the media found an easy scapegoat to blame for the riot and assault on the nation’s Capitol. The Trump supporters got the blame and ANTIFA went unmentioned.
So, Pastor Bob (not his real name), my friend’s pastor, ignorantly hopped on the media bandwagon and condemned the Trump supporters for rioting and behaving unlawfully. Biblically, I believe that is called “bearing false witness” against your brother – brother because I am sure that many of the Trump supporters are Christians. From there, Pastor Bob launched into a sermon on Romans 13 that deals with a Christian’s responsibility to submit to the governing authorities.
I have wrestled with this passage for many years, probably since President Obama first took office. On its face, the passage could not be clearer. The “higher powers” are ordained by God and resisting them is resisting God. God placed these rulers in place for our benefit.
At the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, the Roman Empire ruled the western world. Nero was Emperor at the time, and he was no friend of Jews or Christians. All prior empires were ruled by a single monarch possessing absolute authority. Some early civilizations had codified laws, but they were laws made by the monarch. Subsequent to the Roman Empire, nations continued to be ruled by one kind of monarch or another. Romans 13 makes sense in all of these instances. The subjects of these kingdoms had no choice in who ruled over them. They had to submit or forfeit their lives, so the best advice was to submit.
The United States does not fit that pattern, although, arguably, there are those now working to change that. The United States is unique among all the nations of the world throughout world history. We do not have a ruler. We have a Constitution, a national code of laws, the “Law of the Land.” The preamble to the Constitution opens with the words “We the People.” Our form of governance comes from the people by way of representatives that legislate, supposedly, according to the dictates of the people. The Constitution makes clear that, while there are three equal branches of government that keep each other in check, the only rule comes with the consent of the people. We have no monarch ruling over us. The law of the land, the Constitution, ensures, supposedly, that those that govern and those that are governed are subject to the law.
So, how do we apply Romans 13 to our unique form of government? All citizens of the United States are subject to the Constitution, not to legislators, presidents, or judges. When our elected officials make laws that violate the Constitution, we, as Christians and citizens, are not bound to submit to laws that violate the supreme law of the land. We, as well as our leaders, are subject to the law. If our leaders fail to uphold their oath to the Constitution, then we the people are obligated to remove those leaders from office. We should not submit to unlawful legislation.
This new administration, empowered by a Demonrat Congress and Senate, a feckless Supreme Court, and promoted by left-wing media, will destroy the Constitution, and soon, the United States of America will become a nation like all the ones that have gone before. When that happens, Christians will have to take Romans 13 as Paul originally intended, but while the Constitution remains, Romans 13 implies that we are to defend it and submit to it. However, it could be that our time to do that has expired. If that is the case, Christians need to prepare for persecution as we wait for our Lord’s return. We need to pray as Jesus did in the Garden, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!