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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Faber

Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

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 With Romans 13:1 in mind I sometimes ponder the following examples:

 

1. If you were alive in 1858 (in the United Staes) would you give aid to any/all slaves that escaped from their slavery even though this was illegal at the time?

2. If you were alive in 1943 and were a German citizen living in Germany would you hide any/all Jews that were hiding from the Nazis?

3. If you were a German citizen living in Germany in 1944 do you think it would be a sin to participate in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler?

   - On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name Operation Valkyrie—originally referring to part of the conspiracy—has become associated with the entire event.

The apparent aim of the assassination attempt was to wrest political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party (including the SS) and to make peace with the Western Allies as soon as possible. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20_July_plot

 

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Quoting Romans 13 as i often do maybe i should include what is in my heart at the same time.. Gods laws first, then mans . Corrie ten boom and family are heros. Those fighting to free slaves are heros. As are the men of the American revolution. We should as Martin King did be ready to face the consequence of our actions. 

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Acts 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

 

In Christ

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I'm glad you see this truth. I find it strange/scary that so many, that call themselves Christian, don't see it. I believe people have to have a love for the Truth ... only then can the HS lead and guide us in Truth. 

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Hi everyone, 

I was just reading this thread and I thought about a very recent news article that I came across that has the potential to bring this conversation a little closer to home. It is below.
http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1134750.shtml

Normally, I don't get into politics, but I was thinking about what a proper Biblical response to this would be, if it happened to the Christian religion within a country?

Here is what the article states that most concerned me, "Governing religion is a common challenge faced by all modern countries. The main purpose of China's five-year plan to sinicize Islam is to seek governance that tallies with Chinese practice, and it is not only limited to Islam." 

Would Christians be right to obey their government (i.e. Romans 13:1-7) in the country in which they live, if they classified "religious extremism" (terminology from the article) as say, posting certain information from the Bible on the web (or really any form of evangelism that could be classified as "soliciting ideas") or would we go with Acts 5:29 because Jesus told us to go into all the world?

This is a sincere question that I would appreciate others thoughts on because I want to be able to give others a sound Biblical response as well and most importantly, if the time comes, to act in accord with what God wants and the article makes me think that time may come sooner rather than later, so I want to be prepared.

 

In peace and Christian love,

Trevor

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4 minutes ago, Trevor said:

Would Christians be right to obey their government (i.e. Romans 13:1-7) in the country in which they live, if they classified "religious extremism" (terminology from the article) as say, posting certain information from the Bible on the web (or really any form of evangelism that could be classified as "soliciting ideas") or would we go with Acts 5:29 because Jesus told us to go into all the world?

 

 Go with Acts 5:29.

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Hi Faber,

 

Well, that is straightforward enough and I agree! I guess the challenge will be not compromising on our convictions if/when it starts to cost us a lot personally. Like Jesus said, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:25

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22 hours ago, Trevor said:

Hi everyone, 

I was just reading this thread and I thought about a very recent news article that I came across that has the potential to bring this conversation a little closer to home. It is below.
http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1134750.shtml

Normally, I don't get into politics, but I was thinking about what a proper Biblical response to this would be, if it happened to the Christian religion within a country?

Here is what the article states that most concerned me, "Governing religion is a common challenge faced by all modern countries. The main purpose of China's five-year plan to sinicize Islam is to seek governance that tallies with Chinese practice, and it is not only limited to Islam." 

Would Christians be right to obey their government (i.e. Romans 13:1-7) in the country in which they live, if they classified "religious extremism" (terminology from the article) as say, posting certain information from the Bible on the web (or really any form of evangelism that could be classified as "soliciting ideas") or would we go with Acts 5:29 because Jesus told us to go into all the world?

This is a sincere question that I would appreciate others thoughts on because I want to be able to give others a sound Biblical response as well and most importantly, if the time comes, to act in accord with what God wants and the article makes me think that time may come sooner rather than later, so I want to be prepared.

 

In peace and Christian love,

Trevor

Interesting question. I have long thought that someone ought to define "religion" as in the 1st amendment according to historical context etc. Are Cults, Satanism, etc considered "religion" in the context of what our forefathers had in mind when protecting religion under the Constitution? Early forefathers wrote for example that Islam is incompatible with the West. Are these things to be taken into account with regard to historical context? In a lot of ways I see the use of religion aligned more to denominationalism rather than Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

 

For me personally, I don't trust any body today to actually define religion in its historical context. For one SCOTUS has demonstrated a political leaning where liberal judges strip a law from context thereby making it a living breathing document. Thus, liberal judges disregard context. This in my mind is unacceptable because they are justifying presuppositions rather than exegeting what our forefathers had in mind. I'd hate to stand before a judge that uses the law in anyway they deem right or wrong rather than appealing to the source of morality which forefathers turned upwards to.

 

Lately, I have come to terms that I more align with Classical Libertarians. Don't mistaken that with today's liberal party. I believe that government should be reduced and only exists to secure the nation and police the peoples from causing harm physically or to property. However, I am a Constitutional Conservative by compromise, I realize that today especially considering the population and limited resources that government has to exists, but there are certain non negotiable rights that I am inflexible on (Declaration of Independence and the Constitution). These founding documents basically suggest that government has to exists and at the same time limits the over reach of the government.

 

Back to the topic of religion, which is difficult because if I were the final authority I would not protect Cults such as JWs, Mormons, SDA, etc., as well as Satanism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. Our founding governmental framers historically speaking represented a largely out of proportionate Protestant majority. 2/3rds of which were Calvinist that died on the battle field of the Revolutionary War. They did not elect monarchs but representatives. Our government is actually framed using the Presbyterian government with all her checks and balances. This is why I have a difficult time grasping the notion that our forefathers intent was to protect what "We the People" historically were opposed to and the "religions' very ideology which opposes America and is destructive to her (incompatible to the West, I speak of Islam). How the 1st Amendment even came to umbrella and protect Pornography as right to expression shows why we shouldn't trust any "body" nor give them the power and authority to further define our "religion".

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On 11/13/2018 at 8:37 AM, Faber said:

 With Romans 13:1 in mind I sometimes ponder the following examples:

 

1. If you were alive in 1858 (in the United Staes) would you give aid to any/all slaves that escaped from their slavery even though this was illegal at the time?

2. If you were alive in 1943 and were a German citizen living in Germany would you hide any/all Jews that were hiding from the Nazis?

3. If you were a German citizen living in Germany in 1944 do you think it would be a sin to participate in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler?

   - On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name Operation Valkyrie—originally referring to part of the conspiracy—has become associated with the entire event.

The apparent aim of the assassination attempt was to wrest political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party (including the SS) and to make peace with the Western Allies as soon as possible. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20_July_plot

 

I can't say but refer to the Garden of Gethsemane. Even Jesus needed strengthening by an angel before His act of sacrifice upon the cross. I'd hope that even then under such persecution that my prayers to be used instrumentally would not waver. Just remember that Jesus did not charge head on into opposition with a death wish. Often times Jesus avoided conflict and steered clear of the Pharisees etc.

 

Our Father.... . Deliver us from Evil.

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Hi William,

 

Thanks for your thoughts. Any ideas on how to prepare for something like that now (spiritually and practically) while things are somewhat relatively peaceful in our country? Also, unfortunately it seems like there are Christians out there, even at this moment, that are suffering that same persecution (i.e. the church over in China). Any ideas on what we could do to help them and encourage them through their sufferings?

 

In the article, it was the Islamic religious leaders who made an agreement with the government to socialize their religion and ironically it seemed to be the same scenario in Jesus’ day, where the religious leaders, who had long since compromised on their convictions from God, resulted in them stating their King was Caesar, instead of the loving God incarnate himself (John 19:15) which was standing before them and whom they were sending to the cross.

 

What is to stop the same thing from happening to the Christian religion today, if its religious leaders were to compromise their own convictions from God, for say, money (like Judas), power, or just because they weren't strong enough to make a stand themselves? That would leave professing Christians in a confusing and difficult situation where they would have to make a choice. Either go with the institutionalized religion of the day or go with God. (I hope we all choose the latter.) That does seem to be what happened in Nazi Germany too, where people were in concentration camps down the street from churches singing praises to God on Sunday, but were turning away from the atrocities that were happening close by. Obviously, they weren't "loving their neighbor as themselves", because I am sure they would have wanted someone to do something, if they were in that situation. Although, thankfully some made a stand, but sadly few did. Obviously, this is an unpleasant scenario to think about, but it could happen to us and has happened throughout history (i.e. “separating the wheat from the tares” and God spewing out the lukewarmness (Rev 3) comes to mind) and only the sincere followers of Christ will remain standing strong (Matthew 7:24-27).

 

It would seem that it "would be" (i.e. Premillennialism), "was" (i.e. Preterism), or "is" (i.e. Amillennialism), a band of true believers and God vs institutionalized religion and an unrighteous tyrannical government which seems to be the layout in the book of Revelation.

 

Also, I liked your response to Faber below.

 

When you were talking about praying to the Father:

21 hours ago, William said:

Deliver us from Evil.

and...

21 hours ago, William said:

I'd hope that even then under such persecution that my prayers to be used instrumentally would not waver.

Amen to that!

 

In peace and Christian love,
Trevor

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5 hours ago, Trevor said:

Any ideas on how to prepare for something like that now (spiritually and practically) while things are somewhat relatively peaceful in our country? Also, unfortunately it seems like there are Christians out there, even at this moment, that are suffering that same persecution (i.e. the church over in China). Any ideas on what we could do to help them and encourage them through their sufferings?

Hi Trevor,

 

I have some thoughts, and hopefully ones derived from Scripture. I suggest that you pray for your enemies. Democratic leaders are going to be opposed by Evangelist and we should pray that the Evangelist's faith, example, and word of God they share are effective in turning our enemies from their sins to God (repentance). Just remember that when God judges a nation he sometimes gives them wicked rulers.

 

We as a Christian body are large enough to wage war against the enemy on multiple fronts. Regarding the hellish doctrine of our enemies remember what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18. Not even the gates of Hades shall prevail. The church is not to be on the defensive but we are to be on the offensive attacking the gates of hell. Although there are multiple fronts which we may partake today, financing freedom of religion, pro life resources etc, our best efforts may be focused in our local community. If our church isn't outspoken and applying the word of God to our community and spurring our prayers on behalf of our nation then perhaps it is time to schedule a meeting with the Pastor. A lot of churches don't want to lose their 501 non profit status and they refuse to try to risk it by dancing on the red line. Though they can't endorse a candidate they can lead the congregation based on criteria to vote for the best candidates on important issues. The Prophets of Old continually warned the Nation of Israel. They were the voice of Israel's conscience. Let's pray that our churches do not place money before God and that they too once again as the voice of America speak to her conscience. Let true freedom from sin or liberty ring!

 

God bless,

William

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 At times I struggle with the idea that our tax dollars are used to fund murder by abortion. I read from somewhere awhile back someone stated that Jesus and Paul never spoke in favor of refusing to pay taxes even but I think the situation was different in that both of them were under a foreign power. I am not sure about where to exactly stand on this so if others have any good input I would be interested in reading about it.

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We here in the USA are blessed to have the laws that give us the rights to protest. Protesting the the unjust law of abortion is a Godly thing to do..  Having to pay the tax is lawful, peacefully protesting  the same  law is also lawful ... I will not support by vote or word a democrat, i have read most of their platform i do not believe a Christian can claim being a democrat and remain a Christian.  As for Republicans they are only a tiny bet better . 


I am old enough to remember life in the med 50s, So very many Christian folks, believing they were doing the right thing, backed away from politics which left a void filled by nonChristians . Dad was a small town pastor . We lived in the church the 'fellowship' hall was our living kitchen area. I dont recall just what i was doing but i remember hearing mom and dad, seating at the kitchen table  talking about the Lords return.  1948 plus 7 is 1955 so He was coming any minute. Back to topic mom and dad were discussing education for  my brothers, we girls  'should the Lord tarry' were to get married. The boys will not need higher education because Praise God Jesus will be coming soon. Mom and dad were not alone in that thinking. Plans for future were not made. So many Christians became the silent  majority. Being blessed to live in a land like this and doing nothing , looking back was a sin. They meant well . 

 

The Church has given its God given responsibility of taking car of the widows and fatherless over to government . The worst part of doing so is the justification when we can plainly see the damage government handouts have done to Gods plan of family. Churches will not even speak out because they do not want to loose the tax status ... 

 

We Christian need to unite or as said a long time ago we need be of one accord .

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Hi William and Becky,

 

Thanks for all your thoughts and advice. I definitely agree about the praying for your enemies (which I think William mentioned) because that is what Jesus taught us to do (Matthew 5:44). I can’t help, but to think of Paul making his radical conversion after recognizing the errors of his ways. I would think others Christians would have been praying for him as well, when he was giving instructions to persecute and kill them (in fact, I think Stephen did), just like Jesus prayed for his crucifiers.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but after reading through what everyone wrote a few times, one thing that stood out in my mind was the point about God and money.


William said,

15 hours ago, William said:

A lot of churches don't want to lose their 501 non profit status and they refuse to try to risk it by dancing on the red line.

Now from the very little I know about taxes, I know they obviously deal with money (duh : ). Then William stated,

 

15 hours ago, William said:

The Prophets of Old continually warned the Nation of Israel. They were the voice of Israel's conscience. Let's pray that our churches do not place money before God

I hope the churches can be America’s conscience too, and do not place "money before God", but since Jesus said their are only two masters and "no one can serve both" (the two masters being "God and money" (i.e. mammon) Matthew 6:24), that seems to be super close to the "red line", if not already over it. And what William said was further backed up by what Becky said,

 

8 hours ago, Becky said:

Churches will not even speak out because they do not want to loose the tax status ... 

 

 

Do you guys today think that we could be in the same situation today that the prophets of old were in and that Jesus himself was in, where the religious leaders of the day have already compromised? I hope not, but the other master (i.e. money) in Jesus' teaching in Matthew 6:24 seems to be right there, possibly leading the way in decision making.

 

With that in mind, I would think it could be difficult for us to unite as The Church, as Becky stated,

8 hours ago, Becky said:

We Christian need to unite

 

Is there anyway for us in the congregation to know which master (God or money) the leaders of our particular churches are serving? Probably, the most important thing is to make sure we ourselves are sincerely desiring to follow Jesus, no matter what the costs and not money. It makes me think we probably need to be on high spiritual alert in the days ahead, doing our best to listen very carefully to God's instructions.

 

What makes me feel comforted though is what William quoted Jesus saying in Matthew 16:18,

15 hours ago, William said:

Not even the gates of Hades shall prevail.

which has to be the true church Jesus was referring to that God set up and which doesn't compromise for money. I just want to make sure I am a part of it.

 

Those are my thoughts for now, so I will leave it there.

 

In peace and love,
Trevor

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Hi Faber,

 

I know what you mean when you shared your struggle with the idea of your tax dollars being used to fund murder by abortion.

 

All I really know what to share with regard to taxes is what Jesus said, and maybe that will be some help to you. The two instances I can think of where he refers to taxes is: 1. when he was dealing with the Pharisees in Matthew 22:21 (i.e. “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give unto God what is God’s”) and 2. in Matthew 17:24-27, when Peter told the tax collectors that Jesus did pay a tax, but Jesus later said, “The children of the King are exempt from paying taxes, but so not to cause offense, go get coins out of the fishes mouth to pay the tax”.

 

When taking into account both things Jesus said, it seems that technically Christians are not obligated to owe taxes to Caesar because they are God’s, but it seems that it is not immoral for Christians to pay taxes in certain scenarios. This is far from what I have normally heard though, that Christians are obligated to pay Caesar.

 

Now, if we know the money we are paying in taxes is going to fund murder, is it our Christian duty to refuse to fund it by not paying them?  It may be unlawful, but we all know the laws of the land don't necessarily constitute morals in God's eyes. Take the example of Nazi Germany. We can and should protest, but that still doesn't get around the fact that we are funding the problem. Is it worse to disobey a law of man or is it worse to disobey God? I would think Acts 5:29 and Acts 4:19 would apply here.

 

In peace and Christian love,
Trevor

Edited by Trevor

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4 hours ago, Trevor said:

Now from the very little I know about taxes, I know they obviously deal with money (duh : ).

If you wish to research look up the Johnson Amendment. Trump promised Evangelicals that he would repeal the law. Basically the law states that a 501 non profit cannot endorse a political candidate. During the Obama years, liberals have used this law to weaponize the IRS. They audited not only Conservative institutions but also Christian churches demanding transcripts from sermons that were preached in opposition to political issues such as the LGBT~Q movement.

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16 hours ago, Trevor said:

Now, if we know the money we are paying in taxes is going to fund murder, is it our Christian duty to refuse to fund it by not paying them?  It may be unlawful, but we all know the laws of the land don't necessarily constitute morals in God's eyes. Take the example of Nazi Germany. We can and should protest, but that still doesn't get around the fact that we are funding the problem. Is it worse to disobey a law of man or is it worse to disobey God? I would think Acts 5:29 and Acts 4:19 would apply here.

 Hi Trevor,

 

 What if you were alive 200 years ago and your tax dollars were used to keep the slave trade going in the USA (for at that time slavery was legal). If you refused to pay it for that reason how would people today in the USA view your stance? How would God?

 

 These kinds of questions I think about.

 

 Related to the slavery issue, was John Brown wrong for what he did?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown_(abolitionist)

 Related to Nazi Germany, were the German citizens who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler wrong to try to do so?

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10 minutes ago, Faber said:

 Hi Trevor,

 

 What if you were alive 200 years ago and your tax dollars were used to keep the slave trade going in the USA (for at that time slavery was legal). If you refused to pay it for that reason how would people today in the USA view your stance? How would God?

 

 These kinds of questions I think about.

 

 Related to the slavery issue, was John Brown wrong for what he did?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown_(abolitionist)

 Related to Nazi Germany, were the German citizens who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler wrong to try to do so?

Just want to say that theTerrorist perspective which led to the 911 attacks was that the U.S. citizen funds the government which has unjustly waged war against them. Therefore, The People are a fair target because they fund the militia and are represented by those which waged war against them.

 

The power is in The People from our enemies perspective rather than in an Adolph Hitler.

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 Their perspective is in error. If it is war they desire though then war is what they get.

 

 I was wondering though what the response would be to my two questions that I asked.

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15 minutes ago, Faber said:

Related to the slavery issue, was John Brown wrong for what he did?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown_(abolitionist)

 Related to Nazi Germany, were the German citizens who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler wrong to try to do so?

I refer to Just War Theory.

 

The principles of the justice of war are commonly held to be: having just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used.

 

Can a just war or action be carried out by a private citizen, non national sanctioned body etc? And was the physical action of killing a last resort after all rational discourse failed?

 

Biblically speaking, the penalty for man stealing was death. Should a private citizen carry out the death penalty? If so, then obviously there should be no blood guilt. If not, then they are acting outside their authority and jurisdiction.

 

The thing about America is that we are rather unique. The People are a check and balance and we're armed up to the teeth should tyranny be checked. In some ways, we're an inactive militia which can be activated at any time depending on whether the Constitution is under threat by both a foreign and domestic individual or body.

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 I think the penalty for stealing being death is not in the New Covenant.

 

 I am not sure if those who tried to remove Hitler could have the backing of any national sanctioned body in Germany at that time. And I believe Hitler wasn't capable of rational discourse.

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7 hours ago, Faber said:

 I think the penalty for stealing being death is not in the New Covenant.

 

 I am not sure if those who tried to remove Hitler could have the backing of any national sanctioned body in Germany at that time. And I believe Hitler wasn't capable of rational discourse.

Then your answer is quite obviously aligned and not contradicting what you said about the Terrorist.

 

Regarding the OT Law which punished man stealing by death, I believe our magistrates or law body could rightfully extract the principle and apply it today. And it would be well within their ordained authority to wield the sword.

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 Those who carried out the attack on 9/11 were not citizens of the USA.

 John Brown was a citizen of the USA.

 Those Germans who attempted to take Hitler out were citizens of Germany.

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24 minutes ago, Faber said:

 Those who carried out the attack on 9/11 were not citizens of the USA.

 John Brown was a citizen of the USA.

 Those Germans who attempted to take Hitler out were citizens of Germany.

 I fail to see the point of your distinction with regard to Just War Theory, though I added that element to your initial questions.

 

Acknowledged,

 

  1. The terrorist behind 911 were a foreign threat. (and a non sanctioned national body)
  2. John Brown was a citizen of the USA. Could he be considered a domestic "threat" if his action was unjust? (non sanctioned and premature before all rational discourse failed).
  3. Germans attempting to take out Hitler did consist of citizens of Germany. (and many Christian were rounded up and murdered because of their sermons 'rational discourse')

 

Biblically speaking, does Just War Theory only apply to the citizens of a nation and not on another nation (with respect to non intervention)? Is that the point you're making? In other words, because African tribes which conquer other warring tribes and sell off the conquered slaves to slave merchants (man stealing) are not of the U.S. citizenry are they exempt or out of the jurisdiction of America which is ordained to "seek out evil" and wield the sword against it? In other words, are we failing to live up to our duty as a nation by allowing such action to take place today?

 

Excuse my questions if you think I am off topic. I think in some ways in how we answer may run the risk of suggesting that we should strive for a worldwide theocracy. That is, at times, a point of contention for Theonomist in Christendom.

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Hi Faber,

 

I don’t think it would be wise to use a foundation other than what God has already set in place as a basis to live and act (Matthew 7:24-27).  That is all I was trying to encourage you to do in my response because you brought up how tax dollars are being used to fund murder and you seemed indifferent to it because you said you were not sure where to stand, so I pointed out that their is no teaching from Jesus that we are obligated pay our taxes to Caesar, if our true master is God. Our relationship with is God is between us and Him alone, not any of the other people that were introduced.

 

Just to make what I am trying to say clear, what John Brown and the German’s who tried to kill Hitler did is between them and God, just like our relationship and what we do is between us and God. God is going to punish or reward us on the basis of whether we listened to what we did know and do (Luke 12:47). If we refuse to listen to God initially, the best we can hope for is to turn out like Jonah and repent and at worst, well only God knows.

 

So I feel the most important question for us all personally is not, the hypothetical, what would we do in that person’s, but what does God want us to do in our own situation.

 

In peace and Christian love,
Trevor

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