If you’ve missed the news over the weekend, the LORD be praised! If you didn’t miss the news, then you’ve heard about the rioting in D.C. mislabeled a “protest” and the miserably named “DC Women’s March” which was a vulgar, progressivist, demonstration attacking the unborn and rejecting pro-life women. By all accounts it was a disgrace. Police had to respond to the rioters with non-lethal force. Several arrests were made.
Sadly, this garbage filled most of social media throughout the weekend, and I saw professing Christians commenting in all directions. Today, let us look at what Scripture says to the Church regarding so-called “civil disobedience”.
Romans 13:1-7 (ESV) | Submission to the Authorities
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. When the Police stepped in to punish the lawless acts of the rioters, they did a good thing. They served their neighbors in their vocations by being a terror to bad conduct. They served their neighbor in their vocations as God’s servant for our good. That they did so using non-lethal means is a mercy and extension of grace to the lawless. The law of the land in the United States affirms “the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”, but there is no right to destroy public and private property. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are not to engage in such lawlessness. Heed Scripture’s warning that if you do wrong, be afraid, for [the governing authority] does not bear the sword in vain. Remember, Paul penned this under the rule of Emperor Nero, so don’t try to make an appeal to the culture.
DC Women’s March?
I sure hope my brothers and sisters in Christ aren’t participating or championing this vulgar display over the weekend. There was nothing praiseworthy in this murderous (pro-abortion) and scandalous demonstration. What does Scripture say?
Titus 2 (ESV) | Teach Sound Doctrine
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Working at home. I’d like to comment on this one, because I know that the vast majority of western households are dual-income homes. I don’t think this is a ban on women having a vocation in addition to “housewife”; rather, this is to indicate that our primary vocations are in service of the home. Mothers and housewives are nearly irreplaceable in the home, whereas outside the home you are easily replaced for the sake of business. Similarly, fathers and husbands are nearly irreplaceable in the home, but easily replaced outside of the home. The focus of this is on the work at home. Lydia of Thyatira was a seller of purple goods (Acts 16), she had a vocation outside the home, but it did not replace her vocation at home. Most homes were family businesses in those days, we see Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers by trade, they worked together in trade. Paul stayed with them and also worked with them in their trade (Acts 18). Is it a sin for a woman to work outside of the home? No, unless she is neglecting her duties to her husband, children, and home. Is a man in sin for staying at home? No, unless he isn’t working or he is neglecting his duties to his wife and children. note: earning a paycheck is not the sole definition of “working”.
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Here, again, we see no room for the Church to engage in lawlessness and public displays of vulgarity.
But there has to be an exception to the rule!
Sadly, it is often the case that those who focus on finding the exception to the rule do so because they have no intention of obeying the rule. In scripture we might see cases that seem to present exceptions to the rule, but when we look more closely we’ll see that such cases are being misrepresented as exceptions.
Acts 4:13-22 (ESV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
Acts 5:12-18 (ESV) Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.
These rulers were corrupt and hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They commanded the Apostles in opposition to Christ’s commandment to them to preach and to baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Their response to the council is often touted as an exception to the rule of submission to authorities. But notice, later on when they continue preaching in Solomon’s Portico and performing signs and miracles in the Name of Jesus, they were arrested and thrown into prison. The charge against them was unjust, and remained so for they submitted to their arrest and gave no further cause for punishment, that the Word of God may not be reviled, and that their opponent might be put to shame. God delivers them from jail in this case, but that is not guaranteed to happen every time. Paul wrote many of his letters while wrongfully imprisoned. Most of the Apostles died as martyrs, wrongfully punished for the sake of the Gospel. They submitted to the authorities, and they honored their calling in Christ to preach the Word. So is our charge as Christ’s Church.
The church isn’t called to produce “social change” or to somehow force pagan governments to bend the knee to Christ. Christ will do that Himself when He returns in glory to judge both the Living and the Dead. Despite what our society praises in the unholy sacrament of “civil disobedience”, the Church has no such call. Here in the United States, we are given some room to resist tyranny and to hold our government accountable. There is a process in place for just such actions. There are also those within this government charged with defending and protecting the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. This is their vocation and their good works of service to their neighbor. Outside of these vocations, we submit to the authorities and we place our trust in God alone.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,