Okay, I am no historian or theologian, and I realize that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Having said that, I affirm that, Biblically, Christians are to submit to authorities and render unto governing bodies that which is owed – taxes, for example. What of the American revolution, then, a revolt against an established governing power primarily over, if I have accurately retained my high school American history over the last 30+ years, taxation without representation?
Perhaps this is a simple-minded question, but without regard to the moral character of those who participated on both sides of the conflict and while also unabashedly affirming God’s sovereignty over the affairs of mankind, was it a ‘righteous’ revolution in view of those verses that affirm that we are to submit to authorities as long as such does not lead to disobedience to God?
Part of the motivation behind asking this question arises from my rising consciousness and concerns over the errant synergism of church and state found in some pulpits and congregates, both on the left and right side of ecclesiology and politics. It arises, to, from the nervous hand-wringing of many that precedes recent presidential elections.
As an aside, I recently watched a bit of a local church service on television wherein two or three songs/anthems of a patriotic nature were performed prior to the sermon. Without regard to the tone and content of this post, I am not anti-American or unpatriotic. However, does the national anthem or patriotic tunes have a place in worship? Yea! Another poll for you!
Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
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.
They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ” Matthew 22:21