1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Authority of Government
A. God is ultimate authority - Rom.
1. God is omnipotent
2. God is sovereign
- Ps. 75:7; Dan. 4:34
B. God has instituted human government
- Rom. 13:1; Prov. 8:15,16
1. Not merely
"social compact" or "consent of governed"
or "will of majority"
2. Jesus recognized
authority of government
Caesar - Matt. 22:15-22
Pilate - Matt. 26:59; 27:1; John 19:11
C. Human government answerable to God
1. servants of
God - Rom. 13:6
2. judged of
God for failure to act in God's authority - Ps. 2:2-6,10; Rev.
D. Authority of government not dependent
on moral character of leadership
E. Form of government
1. No particular
form of government advocated - theocracy, autocracy, democracy
2. God is a God
3. Any form of
government better than no government, anarchy, chaos Judges 17:6;
II. Function of Government
A. Administration of justice
1. judge with
righteousness - Ps. 72:2
2. crush the
oppressor - Ps. 72:4
3. rescue from
oppression and violence - Ps. 72:14
4. avenger who
brings wrath on those practice evil -Rom. 13:4
of evildoers - I Peter 2:14
6. use the sword
- Rom. 13:4
7. law and order
has right and obligation to resist overthrow, punish treason,
B. General welfare of citizens
the afflicted, care for needy - Ps. 72:4
for poor and needy - Ps. 72:13; Jere 22:16
3. bring peace
- Ps. 72:3
4. praise of
those who do right - Rom. 13:3; I Peter 2:14 (moral standards?)
5. to allow for
tranquil and quiet life - I Tim. 2:2
6. public health
III. Responsibility to Government
A. Respect and honor toward government
- Rom. 13:7
B. Submit to government - Rom 13:1; Titus
3:1; I Pet. 2:13
C. Pay taxes to government - Lk. 20:25;
D. Pray for government - I Tim. 2:2
E. Serve in military?
F. Serve in public office?
IV. Disobedience of Government
A. Authority of government is not
1. Not blind
patriotism, "my country, right or wrong"
unqualified subjection due only to absolute, unqualified authority
B. Human government usurps God's authority
when demands subjection to laws contrary to
character and expectations.
C. Legitimate cause for civil disobedience
- Acts 5:29
1. Not mere personal
disagreement with ideology or policies
2. Biblical examples
Daniel - prayer - Dan. 6
Peter - preaching - Acts 5:27-30
Paul - Acts 16:35-40; Acts 17:7
D. Resist government, resist God - Rom.
1. Is there ever
legitimate time to resist, oppose, revolt, rebel, undermine,
subvert in insurrection,
V. Some practical questions:
A. Is there legitimate cause to tax-revolt?
B. Were European Christians right in
defying Nazi authorities?
C. Is Operation Rescue a legitimate cause
for civil disobedience
D. Should we seek a theocracy that reconstructs
the dominion of theonomy?