|Mike Hosey, An Elder|
When reading the bible, you will never come across God’s government described as a democracy. It is always described as a kingdom. The Kingdom of God is ruled by a single monarch. He sets the laws, and then prosecutes those laws. He metes out punishments, and supplies reward. God is in charge of everything in his kingdom. To use the academic term, he is sovereign. This means that he has supreme and ultimate authority and power. But this does not mean that God’s kingdom is incompatible with other forms of government. In fact, God uses all forms of government to achieve his purposes. Consider Romans 13:1-2. This is a very radical verse. Notice in that verse how Paul argues that ALL authorities are instituted by God. There is no proviso allowing for an exception. In this case, all actually does mean all. This means that God has instituted the authority of kindergarten teachers, police officers, mayors, congressman, bureaucrats, virtuous American presidents, godless communist regimes, and even evil dictators. He is so adamant about this that in verse 2 he counts rebellion against civil authorities as rebellion against God. You may find that shocking, but Paul wrote that verse while living beneath a brutal Roman government which was often marked by a bloody iron fist, and at times, an astonishing moral depravity. His argument was that even evil governments bring order to society, and in most instances, it goes well for people who live within that order. Evil governments, after all, also insist on order, and God uses such order to advance his kingdom. A brutal and morally depraved Roman society which persecuted Christians with abandon, also advanced the peaceful spread of Christianity throughout the world with a near unstoppable force.
None of this, however, means that God is pleased with evil dictators or godless regimes. It simply means that he uses them, and that he expects us to obey them so long as we are not being asked to do something which conflicts with God’s law. Civil disobedience of God ordained authorities is acceptable when those authorities abuse their position by placing anti-God requirements on the people they are established to serve (Daniel 3:14-18, Daniel 4:1-37, Daniel 6:10, Acts 4:19, Acts 5:29). So even when you don’t agree with the outcome of an election, remember that God has established the political powers for a reason, and you have a responsibility to respect them, and advance the gospel in spite of them by living a godly life of order and goodness.