Can we apply Romans 13 to an abusive corrupt civil government?
God has established all authorities that exist.
Scripture is clear, ALL human authorities, whether theocratic or a gentile nation, were established by God. However, what happens if the government is corrupt, evil, and legislates anti-Biblical morals that go against the Christian faith; should we still submit to authority? The short answer is yes
Biblical examples of submission to authority seems foolishness but God had a purpose
During WW2, the Jews were criticized for obeying the Nazis which led them millions to die. We see the same pattern of submission throughout their Biblical history which seems foolishness. Here are examples:
- Nehemiah earned favor from King Artaxerxes I for his attitude and respect for authority. (Nehemiah 2:4)
- Shedrach, Meschach, and Abednigo submitted to the kings’ ordinance to death. (Daniele 3)
- Apostle Paul was careful to offend Roman authority, but he rebuked religious leaders. (Acts 23:1-3)
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except God, and those that exist are instituted by God. 2 So the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command. Those who oppose it will bring judgment to themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but bad. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. 4 For government is God’s servant for your 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.
Does Romans 13 still apply to a wayward government?
The short answer is yes. We have Jesus and the apostles as the best example of what our attitude should be toward a wayward civil authority.
- The Book of Romans was written when the apostles were still alive. Whatever they have learned, they got it from Jesus. Hence, the simple answer lies with Him.
- There is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus entangled Himself in political matters or debate, nor did He meddle in government affairs—and so should Christian leaders.
- Neither Jesus nor the apostle did anything, nor did they meddle in government affairs, endorse political leaders, and debate politics—even if the Roman government was corrupt, evil, and abusive.
Evangelicals in the Philippines
The alleged human rights abuse of the Duterte government and the return of Marcos to power perhaps inspired the political movements of religious groups like the CBCP, PCEC, NCCP, and CVM in full throttle.