Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Romans 13 in the 21st Century

God will choose 
(Bob Thiel says don't vote for either )

Political leaders are for our good.
(Bob Thiel says watch out!)

They only will give you problems if you are a wrongdoer.

... Says the Apostle Paul

How Do We View Romans 13 in the 21st Century?
( or ever?)

Romans 13New International Version (NIV)

             Submission to Governing Authorities

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. 

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


Byker Bob said...

I believe this was all Israel-centric, a throwback to times when nations or tribes were theocracies. As an example, you really can't accurately apply these statements as generics to the citizens of North Korea, some of the areas of Africa ruled over by warlords, or perhaps the Third Reich of the World War II era.

Distilling these verses down, they are a common sense teaching to keep people from worsening their positions, or causing the loss of the personal freedoms which allow individuals to freely conduct their faith. Armstrongism applied it very literally to English-speaking nations around the world as if those nations were continuations of the theocracatic form of government of ancient Israel, and as if Worldwide Church of God and its latter day cookie cutter groups were the true, if unrecognized, government of God in our times. That is a ridiculous, artificial construct on both counts.

There is a statement, once applied in our nation's past history: vox populi, vox dei. The will of the people is the will of God. It is intended to apply to democracies composed of believers. I'm not even sure that that statement can accurately be made regarding the United States of America in 2016, or applies to the current electiion cycle. Biblical statements about the "basest of men" may be more relevant to our times. We'd probably be better off with a third term for Obama than stepping down to either of the major party candidates.


James said...

I'm of the opinion we should hang all of our current "leaders". And Thiel? Laugh at him. He's a moron.

DennisCDiehl said...

Since one did not vote for an Emperor or a Caesar, perhaps a confidant of Nero or good Roman Christian "suggested" to Paul he include something, in his letter supportive of the Empire and the powers that be and encouraging the less than militant Christians to remain that way? And pay their taxes

Paul railed on the Jews. The Romans, not so much.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Let's face it: Romans 13 is the darling of the .1% Armstrongist leaders who need to keep their tithe slave / narcissistic source followers in slavery to them.

They themselves don't believe in submitting to authority because they see themselves as THE authority.

nck said...


Paul was a Roman citizen.
Which was a proud achievement for the city of Tarsus.
Did you ever see one of those mass ceremonies where immigrants pledge allegiance and become American Citizens. Always a jubilant and happy affair and a proud moment for all involved.

All are very much made aware that they are to contribute to the society that grants them to live in pax and prosperity.


DennisCDiehl said...

Nck. Paul as both Roman Citizen and "Pharisee of the Pharisees" is one of the "how can that be" of theology, though he did claim it. He must have pulled a Josephus along the way. It also never paid not to cooperate with zRome or Nero

DennisCDiehl said...

I'm just contrasting BT's silly need to speculate and denigrate the chosen in light of NT admonitions and the possible story behind them. I suspect it was a veiled warning not to join the zealots in Isreal agitating against Rome. It did end with the "not in vain" sword for those Jews n Christians

Anonymous said...

Not cooperating with God's chosen Henry XIII also seemed risky.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Roman Pax and prosperity?

For the upper echelons perhaps. Being highly taxed and under the heel of heavy handed highly competent trained Roman troops certainly cast a shadow on the pax and prosperity.

Which is why Starz Spartacus: Blood and Sand found resonance among those who are somewhat suspicious that the government is there only for our good.

Come to think of it, after Eric Snowden, it's difficult to set aside those feelings of discomfort that the government is watching all of us and not for our benefit either (you might consider the German Chancellor's take on this).

nck said...

Ah yes I see,

I walked in literally every footstep of Paul. From the house and road in Damascus, Turkish South Coast, Malta, Rome, Greece, Jerusalem, Cyprus (south coast with his assistant) and the room where he was brought before the magistrate, synagogues where he preached etc But readily admit that I cannot presume to speak for him or interpret the man. Interesting fellow, always an enigma.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of "throwbacks"-

Since Moses was a minor desert "sandmonkey" warlord (as BB says), could these words have been possibly used as an attempt to retroactively ascribe power to, and to further elevate a quasi-historical figure to legendary status?

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of human leaders, kings, chiefs, czars and presidents have done many evil and unjust things. While Dan. 2 v 21 states that God removes kings, and raises up kings, it doesn’t say all kings.

If all rulers are setup by God, then He is responsible for Hitler, Stalin, Tojo and Mao and they clearly were not God’s ministers rewarding those who do good. God’s plan requires humans to choose between good and evil. There is no way Paul thought Nero was a “minister” of God. If God does all the choosing of leaders then humans don’t have free will and the “Plan” for humans to choose is broken.
The word translated into power in Romans 13 is one of more than half a dozen Greek words which are all translated into the single English word power within the New Testament. The Greek word used in Romans 13 by Paul is exousia, which is defined: “power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases." It is translated “right” in Hebrews 13:10 and Revelations 22:14, and it is even translated “liberty” in Paul's own 1Corinthians 8:9.

In Bryn Mawr's Classical Review, the word exousia is said to express “the new concept of freedom, in opposition to the already defunct and unhelpful eleutheria." Even the Greek Glossary of Aristotelian Terms states that exousia means “right”. Aristotle has “The right (exousia) as to do anything one wishes..."
The Greek word exousia is considered to be one of the strongest words in the Greek language representing the idea of liberty. Accepting the idea that Romans 13 is actually a statement by Paul in support of individual liberty, rather than a command to submit to the commands of authoritarian rulers.

Romans 13 should be read and understood as saying:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher liberty. For there is no liberty but of God: the liberties that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the liberty, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the liberty?

Religious leaders in Christ's time were also call rulers. These ministers were to punish those who do wrong using the sword, "Gods Word".

Anonymous said...


you and paul walked a lot. where do yous guys buy your shoes?

Gerald Bronkar said...

Romans 13 seems to be more evidence that much of the bible is not applicable to the 21st Century. To believe that God selects our leaders, and it is our job to shut up and follow is not a path to greater good. When it comes to leadership, the cream does not rise to the top, and if it does, it soon spoils.

I am still unable to explain life and the Universe without a super intelligence, but if God does exist somewhere, He seems to be on vacation and completely ignoring our world's leadership issues. Hello out there!

I am not convinced our leaders are any worse than past centuries, but their flaws are more exposed. Recording devices certainly should make them more cautious. Can you say Anthony Weiner?? OMG!

nck said...


I get them at the temple of NIKE.


nck said...

Black ops 8:07,

I would recommend viewing the documentary. "The life of Brian."
In this documentary they expound on the question:
"What did the Romans ever do for us."

My guess is you have never experienced anarchy in your life. Except perhaps a brief stint in the hood. But not a total collapse of government. It is not fun.


Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel's two videos had some very good reasons not to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Of course, I cannot support Bob Thiel either, since he is a false prophet.

Hoss said...

In Spokesman's Club when I had Table Topics I asked, You've just been told you are now President. What are you going to do?
After some awkward silence, one man jumped up and said he'd appoint (WCG) ministers to all the cabinet positions.
I think the minister's evaluation was that it wasn't a good question.

Black Ops Mikey said...

The Life of Brian is not a documentary.

I don't know what it is, but some people posting here remind me of the depictions of managers in the Dilbert comic strip.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Bob Thiel said before throwing a Bible in the viewer's face, "Greetings friends around the world"

MY COMMENT - To borrow the words of VP candidate Lloyd Benson in 1988....I knew Garner Ted Armstrong.....Garner Ted Armstrong was a friend of sir, are no Garner Ted Armstrong!

Nice drapes but you would never see such drapes on the studio set of The World Tomorrow Television.


Michael said...

Bob, Bob, give it up, you're just not cut out for this.
Possibly insurance sales or something but not as a charismatic video presenter, leader or teacher.

No shame in that. I was never cut out for it either, which is why you won't see me trying to force it.
Just quit, Bob Thiel, the sooner the better.

Byker Bob said...

For the record, I have a lot more respect for Moses than to characterize him as having been a "minor desert sand-monkey warlord". Mythical or real person, civilizations have been built upon a conceptualization of Moses for millennia.

Somehow, I sense yet another straw man coming on. Oh well, nothing new.


Anonymous said...

Fast off to heaven like Moses on a motor-bike!

3rd term for the one who enabled criminals? WTF! You will probably get your wish, BB!
Trump demonstrated how much of an outsider he is by suggesting that we should be fighting the terrorists in Syria along with the Russians! And need I remind anyone that he is the only one who said she belongs in jail!