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Friday, May 04, 2012

Christianity and the Presidency

Who gets credit for the Osama Bin Laden's death? Some recent chatter about this has been contrary to the Bible. It has gone beyond saying President Obama was not responsible. I have seen -- more than once -- a comparison of the President to a fast food company's clown. I'm afraid that that is going too far. Disagreeing with a political leader is one thing. Mocking and disrespecting is different. It's unbiblical:

Romans 13:Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing. Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.

1 Timothy 2:I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence.

1 Peter 2:13 Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14 or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. 15 For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Remember that the head of the government referred to here was the Roman emperor. Rome had conquered many nations, including the Jewish homeland, and was no special friend to Christianity. It was Roman soldiers who put Christ to death. Roman emperors persecuted Christianity, having Christians killed in various unpleasant ways. (Nero was most likely the emperor during the time when Romans, 1 Timothy and 2 Peter were written.) Nonetheless, Peter and Paul expected that Christians would honor their emperor, and Peter that we would be subject to the authorities, whether Emperor, or lesser officials.

President Obama didn't personally gather the intelligence, plan the mission, or go into Pakistan, and it is possible to say that this objective was achieved in spite of President Obama, not because of him. But even such a claim should still be done with respect for the office, and the person who holds it, as I understand the Bible. I hope to post tomorrow on some related side issues, but my main concern in this post is that I won't violate the Bible's teachings about honoring rulers.

In a subsequent post, I considered some side issues related to this.

Thanks for reading. For more on the subject of Christianity and government, see this previous post. For musings about some apparent failings of the Obama administration, including the attack on the embassy at Benghazi, see here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

NAVY SEALS and ARMY AVIATION killed bin laden; true heroes and authentic leaders do not seek credit for themselves.

Martin LaBar said...

The point of my post was that we need to be careful to honor and respect those in power. However . . .

No, true heroes don't seek credit for themselves, but unfortunately, we probably haven't had a candidate for President (or Governor or Congress) within the past few decades who didn't remind us of the good things that they had done, or that they wanted us to think they had done.

President Obama did give out lots of credit in his news conference announcing the killing of Bin Laden.

FancyHorse said...

Thank you for posting this, Martin. I get so discouraged hearing and seeing people who call themselves Christians bashing the President and other governmental officials. I may not agree with everything he says and does (and that goes for every President I've lived under), but he is the President, and I do respect his position and his authority.

Martin LaBar said...

You are welcome. I felt the same way, which is why I posted this.

Zay said...

Wonderful Post! I completely agree...

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Zay.

Toni Wilson said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention again. I do not like to get into the politics area as some others do. I pray that I will be more consistent in praying for the others of this country as well as others.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Toni. I should be more consistent, also.