August 14, 2014

Regarding the use of Romans 13 to justify State expansionism

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Regarding the use of Romans 13 to justify State expansionism (especially in foreign policy), I heard a conservative pastor this morning stating that the use of the American military needs to be supported wherever it goes. Why? Because Romans 13.  Yes, you read that right. Apparently, because of the existence of Romans 13, every other standard of morality that his declared throughout the Bible is suddenly inapplicable.  America-can-do-no-wrongism is the very antithesis of the Protestant Doctrine of Total Depravity.

Romans 13 (my take on the chapter is here: http://bit.ly/1lXQiXJ), if it applies to the US government, applies to all governments around the world. Christian apologists for American State expansionism in all foreign policy settings have no argument against the military build ups of “the bad guys,” for they too can misquote Romans 13 to justify their wrongful deeds. Indeed, Romans 13 was written under the anti-Christian Emperor Nero.

Instead of letting Romans 13 justify the actions of the State, we ought to study the context of this passage with extreme care, and compare the State’s rulers to the Ten Commandments. If these commandments are the standard by which we determine whether we have a “good or bad” President or congressman, it becomes profoundly clear that earthly power offers a platform to demonstrate the extent to which mankind is morally depraved.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com