INCONVENIENT TRUTH: God appointed a “bad president,” Christians must submit
Christians must submit to rulers and authorities (1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:2-5). However, if your King or President tells you to dishonor God, the Bible has caveats to dissent (Romans 13:1; Mark 12:17). We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
We must obey God rather than men.
The Jews submitted despite atrocities
The Assyrians, Egyptians, Romans, and even religious leaders of God’s chosen people were abusive. In WW2, the Jews submitted to Hitler’s evil reign to the point of death.
Nehemiah led a rally, but submitted to the crown
Nehemiah led the “great protest” in the Bible. He defended his people from bad leaders who exploited them. Others use this to justify government resistance. Well, it is not.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, which means he had to be submissive and respectful to be trusted. He reasoned and fought for the people who were being abused by their own Jewish brothers, not the King. (Nehemiah 5)
Moses challenged Pharaoh until he caved in
Moses’ family hid him when he was a baby. When he grew up, God appointed him to warn the Pharoah. God’s people could have mounted an earlier revolution, but they waited on God’s promised deliverance.
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego submitted to punishment
They refused to bow before the gods. God alone deserves our worship! They answered King Nebuchadnezzar in a gentle and respectful manner. Not affront and without insulting his gods. (Daniel 3:16; Gill’s Exposition)
The apostles urge us to be at peace with kings & leaders to keep godly testimony
Despite their evil rulers, the Apostles urged Christians to pray, intercede, & be thankful. Why? So that they may have a peaceful quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
“I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.“
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people.“
God chooses who sits on an earthly throne
Pilate asked Jesus, “Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above.” (John 19:11)
God has raised up wicked rulers in the past to judge a nation
God raised the Chaldeans to judge and punish His own people. Habakkuk cries out, “Lord, You appointed them to execute judgment; my Rock, You destined them to punish us…” (Hab 1:6; 12-13).
Many more rulers abused the Jews, but God also raised an unbeliever like King Cyrus to save His people (Isaiah 45:1-25). The point is, we have to trust God for the kind of leaders he gives us.
The apostles didn’t bother to change the government, why should you?
Submission in the Bible is crystal clear, don’t twist it — trust God for the impossible
- God establishes all government, good or evil, and removes them as He pleases. (Rom 13:1; Daniel 2:20-22)
- The apostles didn’t bother to change the government, why should you? They were citizens of heaven, and they know their priority, which is the great commission. (Phil 3:20; Matt 28:16-20)
- They left the political battle to unbelievers because they fought the real enemy.
- They mobilized prayers and fasting. (Ephesians 6:12)
- Jesus knew the abuses of the Roman government. His appeal was to the hearts of men, not their political freedom. (Matthew 22:21)
Why would God allow a bad leader to rule?
Clearly, evil rulers have NO authority unless God allowed them to continue in their seats of power (John 19:11). We do not know the mind of God as to why He would allow bad leaders to rule. In the past, God placed “bad leaders” for these reasons:
- To judge a nation. (2 Kings 20:17-18)
- Test their faithfulness. (Isaiah 13:19)
- Expose sin that brought judgment. (Isaiah 10:5-19)
- Set in motion the birth of the Messiah. (Psalm 18:50)
→ Is it sin to criticize a bad person?
Our response as Christians
The apostles never taught political activism, but there is social justice. However, social justice in the Bible is about helping the brethren, not arguing with authority or ideologies.
If God calls you in the media, expose evil. If you work in the government, exercise righteousness. Meantime, we move mountains through prayers and change society by sharing Jesus.
social justice in the Bible is about helping the brethren, not arguing with authority.