Government is a God-ordained institution created to give order and stability.
In recent years, the pressure has mounted for the Christian church to become more vocal in the public arena. Many pastors are giving up their pastorates to help "fix" America, seeking to bring this country back to its moral roots. Although this is a lofty goal, is this the focus we see for the church in Scripture? Did Jesus advocate changing the government? In Matthew 22:15-22, we see the Herodians seeking to trap Jesus. (The Herodians were a political party that supported the wicked Herod dynasty that ruled as Roman puppets in Israel.) They came to Jesus and asked, "Is is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?" In other words, Herodians were asking whether the Roman government was the legitimate government to support. Jesus noted that Caesar was the one on coins, and tells them, "Pay therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God, the things that are God's." Jesus would not get involved with the politics of his day.
Jesus was concerned with the need of every man and woman to have a personal relationship with God, to have his or her sin forgiven. He had come to sacrifice his life for the sin of the world, and he did not become distracted from his ultimate goal.
How about Peter or Paul? How about Joseph, or David, or Nehemiah, or Esther, or Daniel? How did they handle unfair government practices? What do we see in Scripture? We see a respectful, prayerful, peace abiding calmness when these situations occurred. We see people totally confident that their God had set up government, and they must trust him in dealing with these situations.
Prayer was key to change in all these situations. In fact, Nehemiah prayed and mourned four months before he ever said anything to King Artaxerxes. God granted Nehemiah favor so he could go back and build the walls of Jerusalem. Queen Esther had all the Jews fast and pray before she ever dared to approach the king, and through her action, the Jewish nation was spared annihilation.
We see the Apostle Paul's admonition to the church of Rome in Romans 13, where the Bible says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers. As God's servants, we must obey to keep a clean conscience. What an outlandish statement. How could Paul say government was a servant of God, when he was living under the corrupt Roman government?
The Caesar, for the most part, ruled as an absolute monarch. He held control over the government and military. He was the supreme commander, had veto power over any business, and was looked upon as a god to be revered and worshipped. He used excessive taxation to build Rome into a beautiful imperial city. Nero, the emperor in the last part of Paul's life, instituted the first persecution of Christians. He burned half of Rome so he could rebuild it in grander form, and blamed Christians for the fire. He was responsible for the crucifixion of the Apostle Peter and the beheading of Paul. How could Paul advocate submission, honor, paying of taxes and respect to such people? He did so because he understood rebellion against Rome was in essence rebellion against God.
Notice what Paul and Peter further state on this subject. Titus 3:1-2 says, "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
What do you think would happen in our country if Bible-believing citizens learned to love, pray, and treat kindly and respectfully those who have been placed in authority over them? Do you think God could change Washington? Do you think God could change Albany?
As John McArthur once said, "We should not be known as protestors. We should not be known as those who lambaste, criticize and demean people in authority. We should speak against sin, speak against injustice, speak against evil, speak against immorality, fearlessly and without hesitation, but give honor to those who are in authority over us. This is the biblical pattern for every age, and every nation, and every Christian. It has nothing to do with America." It has everything to do with Jesus. May God give us the grace to respond this way.
The Rev. Steve Estes is pastor at the West Davenport Free Baptist Church.
Government is a God-ordained institution created to give order and stability.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
Gilbert Lake a jewel among N.Y. parks
New York does quite a few things right, and misses the mark on things almost as many times. But nobody does a state park quite like New York does.Continued ...
- Baseball cards: Different spokes for different folks
- It's just a short drive down my memory lane
- Sept. 11 Museum is sobering, inspiring
- Remembering the singing cowboy
- Gilbert Lake a jewel among N.Y. parks
- Cary Brunswick
'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define
A common perception may have been that writing human history is a mere description and explanation of events. We know better now, however, that even the driest facts are colored by the language and ideology of those doing the writing.Continued ...
- Gaskin and The Farm filled a void
- We shouldn't be surprised by Iraq's turmoil
- Brunswick column on hiatus
- Two-tiered Internet is a bad idea
- 'Insurgent' or 'patriot' can be hard to define
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
Baseball Hall of Fame evolves, but remains as relevant as ever
I am often asked how the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum continues to be successful, year-in and year-out. The answer is simple: relevance. Our methodology to remain relevant is straightforward: preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations.Continued ...
- Guns only dangerous in wrong hands
- Like it or not, the curriculum needed reform
- Police must crack down on motorcycle noise
- SAFE Act won't help get the lead out
- Baseball Hall of Fame evolves, but remains as relevant as ever
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Lure of local off-track betting gained little foothold
From now until Labor Day, many from across our region will take a trip to Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Some will go to take in the sights and sounds, others for the "swag" that's given away, and of course some will place their bets on a favorite racehorse.Continued ...
- Future Hall of Famer Mack visited Oneonta in 1924
- Successes, train derailment were newsmakers in July 1984
- Oneonta street boomed to prosperity in 1893
- Local landmarks, new conveniences made news in summer 1954
- Lure of local off-track betting gained little foothold
- Rick Brockway
Good old days revolved around a good old swimming hole
As I've told you many times, I grew up on the family farm outside of Laurens. During the summer, we spent many hours each day putting hay in the barn for the cows. It was hot and sweaty work, stacking the bales in the mow when temperatures were in the 90s and the humidity was about as high. But at the end of the day, we headed up the creek to a favorite spot â€" the old swimming hole.
- Sometimes hungry animals just come with the territory
- There's plenty to do at the Ellenville Fault Ice Caves
- Fireflies never cease to amaze as nature's night-lights
- Waterfalls are worth the trip
- Good old days revolved around a good old swimming hole
- Sam Pollak
Garagiola shows that nice guys can finish first
Through the long decades, I have managed to retain the ability to really, really annoy people, especially, it seems, nice people.Continued ...
- Macho, crazy America sticks to its guns
- My father is in my mirror, my dreams
- Being president doesn't look like much fun
- Some changes are just style over substance
- Garagiola shows that nice guys can finish first
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner
An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues