Although there could be others there are at least three major views regarding the subject of civil disobedience. These are the anarchist view, the extremist patriot view, and then the scriptural view. Let’s take a look at each one of these, one at a time.
The anarchist view takes the position that a person can disobey the rules of government whenever they wish and certainly anytime they feel personally justified with their choice to do so. However, as we saw last week, in Paul’s writings in Romans chapter 13 he consistently reminds them and us that God expects us to be in submission to those in authority over us. And that includes the government and it’s representatives because they have been placed in those positions by God himself. So, it is therefore obvious that this view has no biblical support and is certainly not God’s view at all.
The extremist patriot view, totally opposite position as the previous view, says that a person should always obey the laws of government, without consideration of what the law is, be it right or wrong in God’s eyes. This argument has been used many times by those who commit atrocities by orders from someone else and then takes no personal responsibility or accountability for their actions if they are morally wrong. Again, this view has no biblical support because we realize that there are laws higher than mans laws.
So that leads us to the third view which is the scriptural view. This view expects us to be in submission to the civil authorities but allows us to act in civil disobedience to the government if their commands are evil in nature, such that they would require us to act in a manner contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word. In other words, there truly are laws higher than mans laws and God’s ways are higher than our ways.
I’m sure there are other views concerning this subject and many opinions to be offered by people holding on to various beliefs. But as we have said before, it really doesn’t matter what any of us think or believe it only matters what God has to say about the subject. And the way we find out what He has to say is through the reading and study of His infallible Word.
Next week we will share numerous biblical examples of civil disobedience and we will see how God responds to the actions of the characters in the examples. We will attempt to summarize what we have learned and hopefully all come to the same conclusion on this elusive subject.