Johnson: Services Provided by Planned Parenthood

As a woman who worked at a Planned Parenthood facility for 8 years and was their health center director, I feel like I need to address something. This is for people who say Planned Parenthood provides so many services for women. Here are the facts. Planned Parenthood should NEVER be your “go to” for healthcare.

Planned Parenthood does NOT provide:
-Mammograms
-Prenatal Care
-Breast Biopsies
-Breast Cancer Diagnostic Care
-Primary Health Care
-Diabetes Management
-Treatment for Elevated Cholesterol
-Treatment for Elevated Blood Pressure
-Holistic Medicine
-Obstetrical Care
-Pediatric Care
-Care for HIV Positive Individuals
-Infertility Treatments
-Natural Family Planning Instruction
-Care for Uterine Fibroids
-Treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
-Adoption Placement
-Prostate Exams
-Uterine Laser Ablation
-Cervical Laser Ablation
-Miscarriage Management
-Bladder Disorders and Urinary Problems
-Prolapsed Pelvic Floor Concerns
-Laparoscopic Procedures
-Hysterectomy
-Treatment of Endometriosis
-Polyp Removal
-Endometrial Ablation
-BRCA Testing
-Bone Density Testing
-Treatment of Pelvic Pain
-Treatment of Vulvar Pain
-Molar Pregnancy Follow Up

Planned Parenthood DOES provide:
-First and Second Trimester Abortions
-Limited STD testing
-Pap Smears for Women in Child Bearing Years
-Limited Contraceptive Methods

Just wanted to put some of the myths to rest. Women are just fine without Planned Parenthood. In fact, if we remove money from their facilities, that funding could go to comprehensive health care centers that actually DO provide all of the services on the first list.”

-Abby Johnson, https://www.facebook.com/114382035238545/posts/3619832914693422/?extid=BhY8j1jWwJf9kZFV&d=n

Keller: Speaking About our Opponents

“I’ve been asked why it is especially wrong for Christians to speak of their opponents in a demonizing and dehumanizing way. Historic Christians believe that our sin has made us worthy of condemnation and hell.

From those living respectable lives to those leading criminal lives, all of us fall infinitely (and therefore equally) short of loving and serving God in the way that is due him. Therefore, we can only be saved through Christ by sheer grace.

The Westminster Confession of Faith 15:4 say “As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.” (Rom 6:23; Gal 3:10; Is 55:7; Rom 8:1)

So Christians can never feel morally superior to any one else at all. That means (MAIN POINT) when we call out evildoing in others, as vital as that is, we can never imply by our attitude or language that they deserve God’s condemnation, but we do not.

Therefore: “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Right now our very social fabric is tearing apart because of, among other things, increasing, mutual demonizations ON BOTH SIDES. Christians must not contribute to this in any way.”

-Tim Keller, https://www.facebook.com/327083893998170/posts/3533799303326597/?extid=yGl6garMNHDaHjvo&d=n

Martin: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87

I’ve attached a very informative article from the New York Times about the life and judgeship of Justice Ginsburg.

In addition, Sheologians, posted this short reminder yesterday morning: “RBG has met the Judge of all the Earth and it is truly a terrifying thing to consider since she did so without the shed blood of Christ.” -Sheologians

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. What shall it profit us us if we gain the whole world and forfeit our soul. We shall all stand before the Judge of all the earth, and he will always do what is right. The death of any image bearer should bring us sorrow and the only hope we can have for Judge Ginsburg now—and for every person at their death—is that she privately trusted Christ in her last hour, for falling into the hands of a just God while covered in Christ, is better than we can imagine.

Lord have mercy on our nation. We thought this year was traumatic. We thought this election cycle was heated. Things just got even more complicated. Lord, give us leaders and judges that act in accordance with your Kingdom. May they do righteously and justly. May they uphold truth, defend the vulnerable, and govern in a way that increases human flourishing for all men, women, and children. Jesus is Lord. Caesar’s kingdom will never last, no matter what his political party. Come Lord Jesus. We long for your promised return to fix all things. Even now, come in your providential workings to bend the hearts of kings and all in authority to do your will. Your Kingdom come; Your will be done.

-Erik

Martin: Trump’s Photo Op

‪Grace and peace friends,

Whenever a serial adulterer holds up a Bible but has no testimony of repenting of his sins, does not confess Jesus is Lord, does not evidence humility, and claims he has nothing to repent of, we should be very cautious to applaud his “religiously,” lest we make a mockery of our faith and ignore our Lord’s words that the road is narrow that leads to life. Let’s not ignore the warnings of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: without the washing of regeneration, the justification that comes from union with Christ, and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit which gives rise to the fruit of the Spirit, none of us has hope in the world. Especially anyone who refuses to repent and acknowledge their sin. How deeply we all need a Savior. Let’s pray that our President experiences the life-transforming grace of our Lord.

-Erik

Could the Persecuted Church Rescue American Christianity?

Christianity in this country is big, powerful, and familiar. We need it to become strange again.

An edifying article by Russell D. Moore.

“I was distracted at the Baltimore Orioles’ game the other night. At the end of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), my wife and I joined friends at Camden Yards, but a new friend with us there in the stands kept driving my attention to a jail cell overseas.

A few hours earlier, that new friend, Naghmeh Abedini, had joined me on the platform of our gathering of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. I called the SBC to stand with her husband, Saeed, an American citizen who is imprisoned in Iran for his evangelical faith. As we ate hamburgers and watched umpires call balls and strikes, I wondered what was happening, at that very moment, to Saeed. Was he being beaten? Was he, like Paul and Silas of old, singing hymns behind the bars?

I couldn’t help but wonder if we were living a parable.

After all, before and after we had prayed for Saeed and the persecuted church on our knees on the convention floor, we had prayed for awakening and revival in our American churches. Southern Baptist baptism rates are robust compared to tanking mainline Protestantism, but they are anemic given our history and our aspirations of reaching our neighbors with the gospel.

It would be easy to assume that American evangelicals are the “strong” ones, standing up for our “weak” brothers and sisters imperiled around the world. In one sense, that’s obviously true. We can pressure the State Department to act. We can send relief to communities in peril. We can use information technology to alert the global community to what is happening to religious minorities (not only Christians) due to persecution.

But more and more American Christians are recognizing that we should not only advocate for our persecuted brothers and sisters; we should also learn from them how to live as Christians.

Evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer warned in the 1970s that affluence is spiritually dangerous for Christians. He pointed to the ancient words of the Hebrew prophets and said that those who need never to wonder where daily bread will come from soon stop praying for it — and turn to immorality.

It’s hard to question his diagnosis, especially since it echoes Jesus himself.

For a generation, American evangelicals have talked quite a bit about “faith” and “values.” We want “faith-friendly” movies and we build coalitions of “people of faith.” We talk about “traditional values” when it comes to policy questions. But “faith” and “values” aren’t necessarily praiseworthy. Jesus told us there are all sorts of faith responses to the Word he was preaching. He compared these to seeds that fall on different kinds of soil. The seed that falls on rocky ground, Jesus said, appears to be vital, until persecution comes and then the hearer walks away.

But what happens when there is no persecution?

We have grown accustomed to an American civil religion, nominally Christian, where in many places it does someone social good to join a church. To say “I’m not a Christian” has been in those places the equivalent of saying “I’m not a good person.” This has inflated membership rolls, yes, but it has done so at the expense of what Jesus calls the gospel: the call to carry a cross.

Moreover, this nominal Christianity has emphasized the “values” and “meaning” aspects of Christianity while often downplaying the “strangeness” of Christianity, namely the conviction that a previously dead man is alive and returning to judge the living and the dead.

This Bible Belt experiment will not long survive the secularizing of American culture, where increasingly even the “values” seem strange to the culture. The church will survive, and, I believe, flourish — but it will mean the stripping away of the almost-gospels we’ve grown accustomed to.

In the “religion” aisle at any given bookstore, one can see volumes promising “every day a Friday” and so on. Jesus is the totem to acquire what American culture has told us we deserve. This is closer to Canaanite fertility religion than to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have become the people Jesus warned us about.

When we encounter those persecuted around the world, we see a glimpse of what Jesus has called all of us to. We see the sort of faith that isn’t a means to an end. We see the sort of faith that joins the global Body of Christ, across time and space, in the confession of a different sort of reign. We see a gospel that isn’t the American Dream with heaven at the end.

When we pray for those in prison for their faith, we remember that the gospel came to us in letters written from jail. When we plead for those whose churches are burned in Egypt, we remember that our hope isn’t in building religious empires but in a New Jerusalem we’ve never seen. When we weep for those crucified in Syria, we remember that our Lord isn’t a guru or a life coach, but a crucified Christ. That can remind us of the gospel we signed up for in the first place, and free us from our fat, affluent, almost-gospels that can never save.

Maybe at next year’s denominational meeting, we’ll go to another ball game. And, I pray, it’s possible that not only Naghmeh but also her husband can join us — as a free man. We’ll celebrate, and we’ll pray for those still in chains. But then I think we’ll just ask him to preach.

We American evangelicals need our persecuted brother more than he needs us.”

-Russell D. Moore, http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/06/18/could-the-persecuted-church-rescue-american-christianity/32586

 

What Would Jesus Bake?

Helpful thoughts from Greg Beale and Kevin DeYoung

“As Christians continue to debate to what extent they can be involved with gay weddings, advocates for participation as no-big-deal have been hurrying to the Gospels to look for a Jesus who is pretty chill with most things. It’s certainly great to go the Gospels. Can’t go wrong there. Just as long as we don’t ignore his denunciations of porneia (Mark 7:21), and as long as we don’t make Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John our canon within the Canon. For Jesus himself predicted that the Holy Spirit would come and unpack all the truth about the Father and the Son (John 16:12-15). The revelation of the Son of God was not limited to the incarnation, but included the pouring out of the Spirit of Jesus and the subsequent testimony written down by the Messiah’s Spirit-inspired followers.

But even if we were going to limit ourselves in ethical matters to only those things Jesus said, why doesn’t anyone talk about the letters to the seven churches? Grab a red-letter edition of the Bible and you’ll see: Revelation 2-3 is all crimson. They are letters from Jesus. To be sure, this Jesus warns against losing our first love, but he also rebukes several churches for being too cozy with the culture. Pergamum countenanced false teachers who encouraged sexual sin (Rev. 2:14-15). Thyatira was too tolerant of a Jezebel-like woman leading people into sexual immorality (Rev. 2:20-21). Many in Sardis had soiled their garments with the world (Rev. 3:4). Compromise was in the air, and only some of the Christians could say they didn’t inhale.

What did this compromise look like? We can’t be sure, but Greg Beale–who has written the best scholarly commentary on Revelation–suggests that, at least in part, the compromise had to do with participating in the festivals put on by local trade guilds. Christians who worked in professions belonging to these guilds were put in a precarious spot. Would they go along with the run-of-the-mill idolatry associated with the feasts? Or would they opt out and risk losing their livelihood, their respectability, or worse.

Beale explains:

‘This was no mere issue of indifferent things and matters of conscience, as some propose was the case in 1 Corinthians 8. Perhaps token public acknowledgments to Caesar are in mind or participation in pagan festivals, or even both, since all the guilds formally recognized Caesar’s deity. (Polycarp was accused of being a “puller down of our gods, teaching many not to sacrifice or worship” [Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:1-2].) In particular, what may be included are trade guild festivals involving celebration of patron deities through fests and sometimes immoral activities. Refusal to participate in such activities could result in economic and social ostracism (cf. 1 Pet. 3:11-21). Therefore, there was much pressure to compromise. And just as Israel was influenced to fornicate both sexually and spiritually, the same was true of Christians in Pergamum.

Like Balaam, this was a group of false prophets who were encouraging participation in idol fests by teaching that such permission was permissible for Christians. We may speculate, as have others, that this course of action was rationalized by thinking that it was only an empty gesture that fulfilled patriotic or social obligations and was legitimate as long as Christians did not really believe in the deities being worshiped. And, like Balaam, they probably also believed they would be blessed for their prophetic instruction (cf. Num. 23:10).

Part of the false teachers’ effectiveness, perhaps, lay in their sincere belief that they were teaching correct doctrine; while possible, it is unlikely that they were intentionally trying to deceive the church. Of course, their teaching would ultimately dilute the exclusive claims of the church’s Christian witness to the world, which was still the church’s strength. Perhaps part of the motivation for the teachers’ attitude was the threat of economic deprivation, which may have facilitated the comparison with Balaam, since the original narrative and subsequent reflections on it associate his deceptive motives with financial gain. (NIGTC, The Book of Revelation, 249)’

Granted, the issue in Asia Minor was not baking cakes for same-sex ceremonies. We shouldn’t think Revelation 2-3 was written to solve our controversies. But we shouldn’t assume they have nothing to do with our controversies either. High pressure social obligations, rationalizing participation as only an empty gesture, popular teachers urging permissiveness, the threat of social and economic ostracism—sounds familiar. Maybe our problems aren’t so new. Maybe the Bible isn’t so unconcerned with the parties we make possible. Maybe Jesus wouldn’t bake that cake after all.”

-Keven DeYoung, http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/02/27/what-would-jesus-bake/

It’s Not Baptist or a Church, it’s The Westboro Cult

From Marty Duren

“To All Media Outlets, Reporters, Writers and Editors:

the westboro cult protestors

It is abundantly clear to most Americans that the “Westboro Baptist Church” is neither “Baptist” nor a “church” according to any commonly accepted meaning of either word. As a Christ follower, and a long time church attender, I enter this plea to stop using the phrase “Westboro Baptist Church” in favor of the more accurate “the Westboro cult.”

The journalistic profession has turned out a small number of plagiarists whose words were stolen from the creativity and hard work of others then passed off as their own. Yet, though some among your number bring a pall on the word “journalist,” I do not refer to each of you as “cheats,” “word thieves” or “plagiarists.” It would be inaccurate to label you thusly because of a few whose actions obviously do not represent the whole. But in the mass media we see, with alarming near-universality, a refusal to call the wackos from Westboro anything except a “Baptist church” or a “church.”

Please begin referring to all family and followers of Fred Phelps as “the Westboro Cult,” for that is exactly what they are.

A search last Friday, August 3, 2012, on news.google.com–the news search, not the web search–of the phrase “Westboro Baptist Church” returned thousands of stories from news outlets. An immediate follow up search of “Westboro cult” returned four (4) results, all of which appeared to be people making comments on news stories. The most consistent users of the phrase “Westboro cult” appear to be a few conservative bloggers.

Westboro “Baptist Church” is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions, associations, or denominations. It stands proudly independent, with little desire for “friendly cooperation.”

The overwhelming majority of churches in the United States do not fit these popular definitions of a cult regardless of how hard one stretched the description. But Westboro does. This is the definition from Wikipedia:

The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices.

Or what about this definition of cult from BING:

1. religion: a system of religious or spiritual beliefs, especially an informal and transient belief systemregarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false, and directed by a charismatic, authoritarian leader
2. religious group: a group of people who share religious or spiritual beliefs, especially beliefs regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false. [Emphasis in all cases mine.]

Even a general religious definition used at Cultwatch.com, defines “cult” as

a group claiming to be Christian [yet] teaches significantly different things from what the Bible teaches.

A brief glance at Westboro’s website (Godhatesfags.com) reveals they place even their picketing schedule above what they “believe.” The listed “Sister Sites” are filled with hatred. The Westboro cult is interested in attention and free publicity.

You will find no Christian leaders in America or the world, no ordinary church attender, and precious few non-Christians or atheists who consider the actions of Phelps’ group to be representative of orthodox, normal, true, or customary Christianity. Few would consider them to be a legitimate expression of a “church,” properly understood.

Simply stated, Fred Phelps and his Topeka followers are a cult, and should always be designated as “the Westboro cult.” They should never be called a “church,” nor should they be called “Baptist,” and it is grossly inaccurate, as well as offensive to millions of Americans, to continue to do so.

Sincerely,
Marty Duren”

http://www.martyduren.com/2012/08/07/a-plea-to-all-media-outlets-re-the-westboro-cult/

Is it Wrong for a Christian to Sue the Government?

from Russell Moore

“Dear Dr. Moore,

I’ll make this very long story as short as I can. A close family member of ours lost his health due to what appears to be some serious negligence from a government agency. Several people have suggested that we sue this branch of the government.  On the one hand, this might help alert the state to other situations, similar to that of our family member, in hopes of bringing reform. Yet, on the other, the Bible is pretty negative about Christians suing and mandates us to obey and honor the government. I don’t know if we’ll sue, but, if we did, would we be wrong?

Grieving and Confused

Dear Grieving,

First of all, I’m not a lawyer so, of course, I can’t tell you whether your lawsuit would be wise, or even if you have a case. But the questions you raise about your ethical obligations as a Christian are, I think, important. You are right that, first of all, the Bible does command us to not only obey the governing authorities (Rom. 13) but to show honor to them (1 Pet. 2:17) and pray for them (1 Tim. 2:2).

That said, a lawsuit in our legal system is not necessarily an attack. It is, however, when it’s the result of vengeance or acrimony between individuals. But the suit of a governing agency is less like an assault than like an appeal for a grievance to be answered. The normal mechanism of a citizen seeking justice, in our system, goes ultimately through the court system.

In that sense, I think, if all other avenues are exhausted, suing this branch of government would simply be the equivalent of Paul appealing to Caesar to settle his legal dispute (Acts 25:1-12) and pointing to his Roman citizenship in order to question the legality of his scourging (Acts 22:25-28).

This is a very different matter from Christians suing one another, which is forbidden by Scripture. But why is it forbidden? It is not because God is uninterested in justice. It’s that when two Christian persons sue one another they are signaling to the outside world that the church is incompetent, not gifted by Christ, to settle disputes among brothers. That is a defective eschatology, and ultimately says something profoundly untrue about Christ and his gospel. It is better, Paul says, to be defrauded than to do such a thing (1 Cor. 6:1-8).

A suit of a government agency is a different matter precisely because the church has no jurisdiction over the state (Jn. 18:36; 1 Cor. 5:12-13).  A suit could be simply an appeal to the state to do justice on its own terms in a particular matter.

That said, you must examine your motives. If you are really seeking to address a systemic wrong, to prevent others from being injured, that is one thing. If you are seeking some form of personal vengeance, that is contrary to the spirit of Christ and to the letter of Scripture (Rom. 12:17-21).

Finally, there is a difference between something being ethically permissible and being wise. A war, for instance, might be just and yet be imprudent. In the same way, it may be that you can, in clear conscience, sue this government agency and yet that be an unwise use of your family’s resources and emotional energy right now. Only you, in seeking God’s direction in prayer and the counsel of wiser Christians, can discern that.”

-Russell Moore,  http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/08/01/is-it-wrong-for-a-christian-to-sue-the-government/

What is really behind the boycott of Chick-fil-A

by Trevin Wax

If you’re like me, you’re weary of the excessive politicization of nearly everything in American culture.

Can’t we just enjoy Oreo cookies without making a statement about gay rights? Or savor a chicken sandwich without fear of being labeled a hater or homophobe?

Though I’m weary of our culture’s tendency to politicize everything, I believe this Chick-fil-A boycott has revealed some fault lines in our culture that will lead to increasing pressure upon Christians who uphold the sexual ethic described in the New Testament. Furthermore, in listening to the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, it’s clear to me that – political posturing aside – this discussion may not be about the alleged homophobia of Chick-fil-A’s president but the actual Christophobia of the leaders of the cultural elite.

Christophobia? Isn’t that a strong word? Yes, it is. So let’s define our terms.

First, let’s define homophobia. According to the Anti-Defamation League, homophobia is “the hatred or fear of homosexuals – that is, lesbians and gay men – sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility.”

Consider the comments made by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy that triggered this escapade:

“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

That’s it. Cathy said, basically, “We believe in the traditional family.” In context, it appears he was speaking primarily about divorce. (What’s next? A sit-in protest led by divorcees?) But this was enough to bring down the wrath of gay-rights advocates upon Cathy and the company.

Though Chick-fil-A hires homosexuals and serves homosexuals (“with pleasure,” no doubt), the company and its president were suddenly labeled “homophobic” and “anti-gay” for articulating the traditional vision for marriage that has been the norm for thousands of years. If the word homophobic has any meaning, then we should reserve it for egregious offenses against homosexuals – not throw the label on anyone who has a conviction about what marriage is.

Now let’s define Christophobia. It is “anti-Christian sentiment expressed as opposition to Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity.” When the mayors of prominent U.S. cities in the north and west told Chick-fil-A they would not be welcome there, they were making a statement that goes beyond one’s position on gay rights. These remarks were an example of social ostracism – not just toward those who hold to traditional views on marriage but especially Christians who hold these views and seek to practice their religion accordingly.

Why do I think they were singling out Christians? Why would this be an example of Christophobia?

Consider a different scenario. What if Dan Cathy were a Muslim? What if he had been a Muslim speaking to an Islamic news organization when he said something about marriage and family? Would there have been an outcry against his organization? It’s doubtful. I can’t imagine Rahm Emanuel taking on a prominent, well-respected Muslim businessman, no matter what he would say about marriage and sexuality. (Perhaps that’s why Emanuel has no problem partnering with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – an outspoken critic of gay marriage – in a crime-reducing initiative.)

And therein lies the discrimination. Do you see the double standard? Those who are problematic, those who must be shut down and made to feel unwelcome, are not really the people who believe in traditional marriage but conservative Christians who seek to practice the tenets of their faith in the public sphere.

What we are seeing today is a massive cultural shift that permits leaders to label Christians as intolerant and bigoted simply for expressing their views about how society should function. But strangely enough, the same social ostracism and cultural condescension are not extended to Muslims and faithful adherents to other religions. No, the prejudice appears to be directed toward Christians who dare to speak publicly about their deeply held religious convictions.

That’s why, at the end of the day, this conversation isn’t really about marriage, gay rights, or restaurant permits. It’s not about the cultural divide between north and south, liberal and conservative.

It’s about Jesus. It’s about the radical sexual ethic He put forth in His teaching – a moral zealousness that hits our current culture’s sexual permissiveness head-on. And it’s about His forgiveness offered to all sexual sinners, so long as we agree with Jesus about our sin and embrace Him instead.

As weary as we may be of the culture wars, the Chick-fil-A controversy is a harbinger of further ostracism to come. In the United States, the words of Jesus are coming to pass for those who hold tightly to His vision of sexuality: You will be hated because of Me. 

So how should we respond? We’ve got to go beyond boycotts and political statements and feigned offense at perceived persecution. We’re called to love those who ostracize us, not boycott back. So let’s trumpet the message that Jesus is for all kinds of sinners, from the self-righteous deacon to the promiscuous transsexual, no matter what kind of vitriol comes our way.

The world tells homosexuals, “It gets better.” The church tells homosexuals, “Jesus is better.”

And that is why this boycott is really about Him.”

-Trevin Wax,  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2012/08/01/why-the-chick-fil-a-boycott-is-really-about-jesus/

Was the American Revolution Sinful?

by Jesse Johnsonhttp://thecripplegate.com/was-the-american-revolution-sinful/

orriginal colonial flag

“The Bible is clear that Christians are not to rebel against their government, and that rebellion is sinful. The passage that speaks to this most clearly is Romans 13:1-7:

“Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do good and you will have its approval. For government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s public servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.”

So where does that leave the American Revolution? After all, did our founding fathers not rebel against England? Granting that they did, does that mean that fighting for Independence from Britain was sinful?

I don’t think so. Here are three reasons why those fighting for independence were not engaged in the kind of sinful rebellion prohibited in Romans 13:

1) They were not rebelling against their government, but were submissive to their government. The war of independence was declared by the governments of the colonies. In most cases, these were elected governments, often with leaders appointed by England. It was these governments that declared the tax rates unjust, the forced conscription of sailors and theft of property as immoral and illegal, and these governments were the ones that raised an army to enforce the rule of law in the Americas.

Keep in mind that by the 1775, many of the colonists were fourth generation Americans. They had never been to England, and over the previous 100 years cultural and language differences had already developed. The colonies’ assemblies may have had pictures of the King on their walls, but the point is that those legislatures were duly constituted, and were the legitimate government in the Americas. When they declared independence, and rejected the legal prerogative of British Parliament to tax, it then became an American’s duty to obey their government. One could just as easily argue that it would have been a form of rebellion against government to refuse to support the revolution.

Moreover, it was the crown itself that had established these colonial governments. William Penn’s “holy experiment” was described by him as “self appointed government under the crown.” Thus, even the British crown recognized the legitimacy of the local governments, and expected British subjects to do the same.

2) The claim of authority of the Americas by England was arbitrary. If you were a fourth generation American, and had never been to England, a legitimate question to ask is: “Why is the British King my authority?” The British parliament claimed that they had the right to tax the citizens of the Americas. Why were the Indians not the governing authority? Why not the French? Why not the American governments? They all also claimed that same right.

In fact, this is precisely the issue that solidified George Washington’s understanding of British rule in the Americas. As an officer in the British military, Washington’s first mission was to tell a French military outpost in Ohio to disband and leave the area. The French claimed the area fell under their authority, and the Indians agreed with the French. The British claimed it was theirs, and their claim was in essence based on their maps, which simply extended the boarders of the colonies indefinitely to the West. Obviously this kind of claim is not a valid use of Biblical authority and does not compel submission.

colonies with lines

Simply because a government makes a map with you under their authority, does not then bind you under the obligation of Romans 13 to that government (remember how Iraq, after invading Kuwait, quickly published new maps showing Kuwait as a province of Iraq?). In the colonies, Americans were bound under the government that was constituted to collect taxes, pass laws, and enforce peace. By 1775, this was the colonies’ government, not the French, not the Indians, and not the British.

3) There is such a thing as just war. Since the receding of the flood, God had given governments the power to enforce laws and punish wrong doing (Gen 9:6). Since Babel, God has given the earth different governments as the nations spread out from one central point (Gen 11:8-9). Often those governments come in conflict with each other, and this conflict is a form of common grace. It is a check that God has given on evil, and a way of limiting any one man’s power. It is left for the anti-Christ to wield international power, and until then every time a government tries to expand her reach beyond her borders, that government is met with military resistance. When England tried to expand her influence not just to the shore of the Atlantic, but to the mid-Americas, conflict was guaranteed.

It was Calvin that wrote that a lawful magistrate could declare a legitimate government once the leadership of the existing government had given up its right to govern through wrong behavior. This is the difference between a sinful revolution and a just war. It is not individuals that decide they have had enough and rebel–that is unjust, sinful, and lawless. Rather, a just war is declared by a lawfully appointed government in response to a moral wrong imposed on others, and as an act of protection, under the banner of common grace.

Christians have a duty to honor the government. Even if it is unjust, unfair, and wicked, believers are still to submit. If Peter could command people to obey a Roman government martyring Christians for sport (1 Peter 2:13), modern-day believers can certainly submit to their God-ordained governmental authorities.

But that being said, they are compelled to obey the government they have now, not one from generations past, and not simply any claim made on them by any government anywhere in the world. They are called to obey and submit to the one that collects their taxes and enforces their laws, even when that government declares a war for independence.”

-Jesse Johnson