Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves (Exodus 18:25 – 26). 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 (Romans 13:1 – 7).
The Bible mandates civil government. It categorically denies the legitimacy of the idea of a society without civil government. Throughout the history of Christianity, all ecclesiastical traditions have asserted the legitimacy of the state. There are no exceptions.
Paul went so far as to mandate that churches pray for civil rulers. ‘First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way’ (I Timothy 2:1 – 2). If civil government were illegitimate, Paul would not have commanded such a thing. He did not say to pray for leaders of gangs or criminal syndicates.
This post was published at Gary North on July 04, 2017.