Respect for Authorities. When does a Christian submit to authority and when should a Christian resist an authority? That is the issue which lies at the heart of this weekÕs study.
Questions to Discuss:
- Cautious respect. Jesus has called his children to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That more positive role stands in tension with those passages of Scripture which warn believers against being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:17) or against making friends with the world (James 4:4). So how can the Christian be a light without becoming a flawed light?
- Christians in Government. Both Joseph and Daniel ended up serving in very honored positions in their respective governments.But both of them started out as captives. Does that mean that Joseph and Daniel can no longer be role models for us who are not captives? What would be the advantages and dangers for a believer who wants to be actively involved in government?
- Obey or resist? Both in Romans (13:1-5) and in 1 Peter (2:13-15) believers are counseled to support properly constituted authority. At the same time, however, we have the example of the apostles who declared that they must obey God rather than human beings (Acts 5:39). How does one recognize where the true danger lies?
- Taxes. The broad principle which Jesus used to argue for paying taxes, is found in Matthew 22:15-21: Give Caesar what is his, but give God what is his. What are the dangers and opportunities in such an approach?
- Promoting Christian values. The Old Testament gives several examples of believers who attempted to influence their governments. The following are perhaps the most notable.
All of these were foreign intruders, so to speak. But for those of us who are actually free, what principles could help us know when and how we should attempt to influence government policy?