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

Mutual Submission: Biblical or a Myth?

Tim Challies brings us another gem in his article on a consistently controversial yet vitally important subject. This post reminds us to shape our theology on a proper interpretation of the Word of God, not because of social pressure or political correctness.

“There is a lot of debate over how to take the command in Ephesians 5:18-21 to “Be filled with the Spirit … submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How you interpret this text is, for many, the dividing line between being egalitarian or complementarian in their view of the roles of men and women in general and husbands and wives in particular.

The two main lines of interpretation are

1. “Submitting to one another” indicates mutual submission, which means that Spirit-filled Christians are to submit equally to one another without making hierarchical distinctions. This is the traditionally egalitarian interpretation.

2. “Submitting to one another” is a call to recognize the differing roles of authority that God has established in society and to submit appropriately to each one. This is the traditionally complementarian interpretation.

Peter O’Brien, in his excellent commentary on Ephesians, offers a helpful outline of the arguments behind each of these interpretations. Below is a summary of what he has written.

The first interpretation is often supported by the arguments that

1. Grammatically, Paul uses the verb “submit” in a form (the “middle/passive voice” for you Greek-ers) that softens its meaning so that it indicates a more voluntary, self-sacrificing kind of submission.

2. Paul adds the expression “to one another” after the verb to indicate the elimination of any idea of hierarchy in how we understand who is supposed to submit to whom. Submission is to be across horizontal lines, among equals.

The second interpretation is often supported by the arguments that

1. Wherever else the verb “submit” occurs in the New Testament, regardless of its form, it implies an ordered relationship in which one party is “over” and another “under.” And since the same understanding of “submit” fits well in Ephesians 5:21 and it’s context, there is no warrant to go beyond its usual semantic range and interpret it otherwise.

2. The expression “to one another” does not always indicate a fully reciprocal relationship in the New Testament (see Revelation 6:4 and Galatians 6:2, where the actions in view are not always two-way streets).

3. The flow of the argument—seen in how Paul moves immediately in 5:22-6:9 to spell out what submission looks between wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters—illustrates that he sees a God-designed order in society for who ought to submit to whom.

O’Brien concludes that, “on grounds of semantics, syntax, and the flow of Paul’s argument we prefer the latter interpretation. The apostle is not speaking of mutualsubmission in the sense of a reciprocal subordination, but submission to those who are in authority over them.” You will not be surprised to learn that I find his argument compelling.”

Tim Challies, 01/23/2012, Posted at: http://www.challies.com/resources/mutual-submission

Women, Stop Submitting to Men

“Unpacking a controversial scripture.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

Quote Ephesians 5:22 in a small group, a meeting, a marital argument, a dinner among friends or even a Facebook status and just watch what happens. This little line from one of Paul’s many letters is perhaps one of the most hotly debated in all of Scripture. But why is it so controversial—and what does it really mean?

Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe women should submit to men. This isn’t true. Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.

First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (James 4:7).

And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1).

Too often in our culture, women and girls are pressured to submit to men, as a category. This is the reason so many women, even feminist women, are consumed with what men, in general, think of them. This is the reason a woman’s value in our society, too often, is defined in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Is it any wonder that so many of our girls and women are destroyed by a predatory patriarchy that demeans the dignity and glory of what it means to be a woman?

Submitting to men in general renders it impossible to submit to one’s “own husband.” Submission to one’s husband means faithfulness to him, and to him alone, which means saying “no” to other suitors.

Submission to a right authority always means a corresponding refusal to submit to a false authority. Eve’s submission to the Serpent’s word meant she refused to submit to God’s. On the other hand, Mary’s submission to God’s word about the child within her meant she refused to submit to Herod’s. God repeatedly charges His Bride, the people of Israel, with a refusal to submit to Him because they have submitted to the advances of other lovers. The freedom of the Gospel means, the apostle tells us, that we “do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Despite the promise of female empowerment in the present age, the sexual revolution has given us the reverse. Is it really an advance for women that the average high-school male has seen images of women sexually exploited and humiliated on the Internet? Is it really empowerment to have more and more women economically at the mercy of men who freely abandon them and their children, often with little legal recourse?

Is this really a “pro-woman” culture when restaurant chains enable men to pay to ogle women in tight T-shirts while they gobble down chicken wings? How likely is it that a woman with the attractiveness of Henry Kissinger will obtain power or celebrity status in American culture? What about the girl in your community pressured to perform sexual favors for a boyfriend; what is this but a patriarchy brutal enough for a Bronze Age warlord?

In the church it is little better. Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of “guys.”

Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be “spiritual leaders” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.

We have empowered this pagan patriarchy. Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritual impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular.

For women, sexual and emotional purity means a refusal to submit to “men,” in order to submit to God and to their own husband, even one whose name and face they do not yet know. Closeness with a husband, present or future, means a distance from every man who isn’t, or who possibly might not be, him.

Beauty is found not in external (and fleeting) youth and “attractiveness” but in the “hidden person of the heart” which “in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). And it will be beautiful in the sight of a man who is propelled by the Spirit of this God.

Women owe no submission to Hollywood or to Madison Avenue, or to those who listen to them. Worth and dignity cannot be defined by them. Girls, stop comparing yourselves to supermodels and porn stars. Stop loathing your body, or your age. Stop feeling inferior to vaporous glamor. You are beautiful.

There is no biblical category for “boyfriend” or “lover,” and we owe such designation no submission. In fact, to be submissive to her future husband, a woman must stand back and evaluate, with rigid scrutiny, “Is this the one who is to come, or is there another?” That requires an emotional and physical distance until there is a lifelong covenant made, until she stands before one who is her “own husband.”

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men.”‘

-Dr. Russell Moore, read here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/12/05/women-stop-submitting-to-men/

I Can Do All (Through Christ)

“Does God ever ask His children to do that which is impossible for them? Then if He asks me-no, tells me-to love my wife, then, if I am really “saved,” really a child of God, I can, with all the resources of what it means to be saved. Or if He tells me, as a wife, to submit myself to my own husband, then I can-or I am not a Christian. And this goes-God help me-for everything He has outlined for His children.”

-Tom Carson, May 7, 1988, at the age of 76 after spending the day doing housework and caring for his Alzheimer ridden wife, as recorded in D. A. Carson, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: the Life and Reflections of Tom Carson, 130

Biblical Womanhood

Titus 2 -Vodie Baucham

“Titus 2 Influencers are married women and men.” Someone who isn’t married and doesn’t have children doesn’t fit the Titus 2 model.”

I. Reverent behavior –She ought to conduct herself in such a way as to bring honor to God and not to draw attention to herself. Both how you present yourself and in your speech.

On the difficulty of finding modest clothes for his twelve-year-old daughter: “You go in the stores and it is hoochie mama central.”

Women should ask: “To what aspect of my person am I drawing attention? And is that honoring to Christ.”

Men should ask: “If you are around a woman and you find yourself doing the male neck exercise…in order to exaggerate so that you do not find yourself [seeing what should not be on display], either there is some more discipleship that needs to happen or she has just told you what she thinks is the most important thing about her…because that’s the thing to which she is trying to immediately draw your attention.”

II. Teaching what is good.

To his son: “look for a partner in raising my grandchildren” A woman who is not giving herself as a helpmeet to another man in a career, but giving herself as a helpmeet to her husband to raise their children.

“Women are these intuitive and emotional creatures, why should we need to teach women to love their husbands and their children? [This] gives away that we do not understand what Biblical love is, we’ve bought into the Greco-Roman myth…that love is a random, overwhelming, uncontrollable sensual force.” The world says “we do not choose who we fall in love with. …That is not the way the Bible defines love, it’s not random, it’s not overwhelming and uncontrollable, it’s not just sensual.”

“A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women, because they yearn for attention from younger women, and God gave them a daughter who could give them that. Why? We don’t what love is.”

Biblical love is “An act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object” Matthew 22

“Greco-Roman is too fickle for family life.” This is why women need to be taught how to love Biblically, not just culturally and emotionally. Because contrary to popular belief, they don’t know how to do it intuitively. [It] is a work of sanctification. [Intuitive, emotional love] is not enough to sustain what God intends to be sustained on the part of Biblical womanhood in the context of [a] marriage relationship. Biblical womanhood does not rely on this…version of love, [it] pushes past that to Biblical love. It is first and foremost an act of the will, it is a choice. It is accompanied by emotion. Love lead by emotion is a roller-coaster. It is not void of emotion either.” An example of this kind of love: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

III. Self-Controlled -not volatile

IV. Pure -This does not mean, don’t have sex until you get married. Purity is an act to be done now. Married women are to teach younger women to be pure, something that they, as older women, are to still put into practice.

Dig deep in laying a foundation for purity, like the foundation for a skyscraper, so that when the building is built, purity remains. Don’t build a bungalow marriage, but a skyscraper. Dig deep.

V. Working at home. “There is no priority that supersedes the priority of a woman’s role in her home.” There are tremendous distinctions between men and women. Praise God! If men and women were the same, one would not be necessary. “Most women today are raised to be men who are biologically women.” “You cannot have it all, but that’s okay because you do not need it all. I want Christ, and I want His blessing in generations of my family. The more my wife and I have come to understand what it takes to raise children Biblically, the more we realized it wouldn’t even be possible for us if she was out [not focused on her home]. It takes so much we couldn’t do it.” The Bible tells us children are arrows in a man’s quiver, his wife is helping to create inter-continental ballistic missiles for the kingdom of God. “[We] exist to be poured out for the cause of Christ, to be thoroughly used when it is all said and done and to raise, train, disciple and launch from our home as many warheads as is humanly possible, not as few as we can. No warrior goes into battle saying, hey man, just give me as little ammunition as you can. Because my wife is committed to our home, that is the attitude we can have.”

VI. Kind and Submissive to their own husbands. Why does this need to be taught?

A. Women war against submission by nature as a result of the fall. Genesis 3:16. “As a result of the fall, women, you will desire his headship, his role …you are naturally disinclined to submit to a husband.”

B. We have decades of feminist teaching, even from within the church. These teach egalitarianism and that submission is mutual or conditional. Ephesians 5:21 is used to teach egalitarianism.

The problem is, Ephesian 5:5-21 is a paragraph and Ephesians 5:22-24 is a new paragraph; you cannot add verses from other paragraphs to the context of a different paragraph. Submission in 5:21 speaks of submission as we ought, wives to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters, none of these is mutual. 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 11:3 have no statement of mutual submission.

It is not conditional, Ephesians 4:22 …in everything, as the church submits to Christ. The only exception is that she submits as he is obedient to Christ, 1 Peter 3:1-2, and sets an example of godliness even when he is not. The Likewise in 3:1 refers back to the previous paragraph in 2:18ff.

“Because you have been lied to, you believe that working for some man you don’t know…has more value than laying down your life beside a man who would lay his down for you. This is biblical womanhood, it is not what we’re accustomed to, it is not even what we’re comfortable with, but it is what is required if we are to see the kind of reformation and revolution [which glorifies Christ].”