"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
2 Thessalonians 2:3
False Doctrine: Unlimited Submission to Government
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: Aug 14, 2012
Updated: Oct 17, 2015

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
-1 Peter 2:13-16

This is not a teaching that will give people a justification to rebel against governing authorities, but on the other hand, I will make a firm effort to rebuke and reprove the false doctrine of many pastors who teach an unlimited submission to all government authority. Pastors across the country are deceiving people to think that whatever the government tells them to do, just go along with it because "God says so," and this is just one more teaching that's pushing Christians into the Devil's arms.

We will go over a number of Scriptures in just a moment, but before we do, I want to point out some interesting facts for those of you who think that no matter what the government says, we must obey.
  • Moses broke civil laws by killing a taskmaster for abuse and attempted murder of a slave. (Exodus 2:11-12)
  • David refused to submit to the government authority of Saul's troops. (1 Samuel 19)
  • Daniel resisted the State by refusing to keep silent in his prayers. (Daniel 6)
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all defied the higher powers by refusing to worship a statue. (Daniel 3)
  • John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded for telling the truth about a State ruler. (Mat 14:1-12)
  • Peter stated he was willing to go to prison and death for Christ against the local magistrate. (Luke 22:33)
  • Apostles were thrown in jail for refusing to obey the governing rulers.
    (Acts 5:17-18)
  • Christians were rounded up and thrown in jail for resisting government authority. (Acts 8:1-3)
  • Apostles sent to prison for breaking local laws. (Acts 16:16-24)
What's fascinating is that, in all these instances of defying government ordinances, they had the protection of the Lord God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all directly resisted commandments from the king of Babylon, and God protected them from the punishment of the government. Moses broke civil laws to protect a slave, and God made him the first leader of the nation of Israel. We need to understand that just as we are subjected to the authority of government, government is subjected to the authority of the Lord God, and there are circumstances where the authority of God trumps that of government.

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
-Isaiah 28:10

The Lord God had His Word written in such a way that only those who have a love of the truth from the Lord Jesus Christ would study and rightly divide it with understanding. The Lord purposely did this so those who are not of Christ would stumble, fall, and teach false doctrine, and thereby we can easily recognize them.

But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
-Isaiah 28:13

Those of us born-again need to be cautious that we do not take one or two verses out of context, and move it apart from the rest of Scripture, to build a false doctrine out of it because we will see the world do this often. One of the most common errors is on the "submission to government" subject preached out of Romans 13, so let's begin there:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Romans 13:1

The word 'power' has many different meanings, but in this context, it's referring to civil authorities (e.g. sheriff, king, judge, senator, mayor, etc). Those civil authorities are given an office that is ordained of God.

ordain (v): to set; to establish in a particular office or order; to appoint, to decree; to establish
(See 'ordain', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved Aug 25, 2015 [webstersdictionary1828.com])

The Lord God has created authority in government for a specific purpose, but before we continue, let's look very carefully at the end of that verse: "the powers that be are ordained of God." Does that say Barack Obama is ordained of God? No. The powers that be are the offices of government, which means God has established these offices and their authority. Judge Judy's seat in a courtroom has been ordained (established) of God, but that doesn't mean Judge Judy herself was ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
-Romans 13:2

This is where much of the deception begins, because we just read many examples where the ministers of the Lord God (His prophets and apostles) directly resisted the power (authority) of civil government, and they received the blessings of God for doing so.

For example, if a highway patrol officer turns on his police lights to pull you over to the side of the road, you should comply with the officer's commands and pull your vehicle over. The officer has been given power (authority) to stop people on the highways of that region, and so to resist his power (authority) is the same as resisting the Lord God.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
-Romans 13:3

When we read these verses, we need to keep the following Scripture in mind:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
-Matthew 28:18

In Romans 13, verse 1 said "there is no power but of God," which means all men, including government power (authority), is under the power (authority) of God to be a terror unto evil, but when they are a terror unto good, they are no longer under the authority of God. This does not mean that God will not use these wicked men to His will, even for the punishment of a wicked nation, but these wicked men are operating outside of the authority that was established by God.

Some will say that we must submit to all authorities, even wicked rulers, but remember that Satan himself is called a power in Scripture:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
-Ephesians 2:1-2

Satan is a power that was established by God, so does that mean we submit ourselves to Satan? Absolutely not. Christians are not to judge according to the appearance (e.g. having a badge, sitting behind the bence in a courtroom, etc.), but rather we are to judge righteously according to the Word of God.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
-John 7:24

When a judge comes down hard on a rapist in a courtroom, that's good; or when a police officer arrests a drunk driver, we rejoice. However, just because someone sits at the head of a courtroom, or wears a badge and has a gun, doesn't automatically make him good, and it certainly doesn't automatically make him right in everything he says or does.

(VIDEO: Indiana citizen assaulted with tazer over routine seat belt violation.)
PROSECUTION: "Lisa was driving down the street. She was pulled over for not wearing a seat belt... as the officers were citing her for not wearing a seat belt, she explained to them that--she admitted she wasn't wearing a seat belt, and explained that her mother was in the hospital and was on her death bed, and she was trying to get to the hospital quickly before she passed away so they could say their last goodbyes. The officers from the Hammond police department then escalated the incident, without any basis and without any cause... they came around to the passenger side of the vehicle, asked Jamal to get out of the vehicle without any explanation; never indicated to him that he was not wearing his seat belt, and in fact he was. The officers knew that there were two small children in the back seat... you see Jamal go into the back seat telling the officers he has to get his ticket to get his information [they asked him for his license, but he didn't have one because it was suspended; that's why he wasn't driving] to try to give to them, and you see him go into the back seat, grab his backpack where the two children are, and then bring the backpack in, look through the backpack for the ticket. He then proceeds to hand the ticket through the window to the officers. The officers actually refused to take the ticket from him and get his information. After they refused to take his ticket, they again order Jamal out of the car. They give no explanation. They never tell him he's under arrest. They never tell him he's being cited for anything. And then... after he had already told these officers, requesting a supervisor, and that he was afraid for his safety, you see the officer shatter the glass, glass flying into the back seat... you also see the officer tazer Jamal, not only once, but twice... the officers then arrest him for resisting arrest."

On the other hand, if that same highway patrol officer approaches your vehicle, breaks your window, and electricutes you as he drags you out of your car, that man is a terror to good works. The power (authority) of the governing officer is to be a terror to evil works, but when the officer does evil works and abuses his power (authority), then he is offending the Lord by corrupting the ordinance of God, and we are not subject to his rule.

Police Officer's Oath

I ____________ do swear that I will well and truly serve our sovereign country and state as a police officer without favor or affection, malice or ill-will, until I am legally discharged, that I will see and cause our community peace to be kept and preserved, and that I will prevent, to the best of my power, all offenses against that peace, and that while I continue to be a police officer, I will to the best of my skill and knowledge, discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to the law. So help me God.
(Christians are not supposed to swear oaths, but if they do, they are expected to keep them; Read "God Does Not Justify Lies" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

The example in the video above does not display an officer keeping the words of his oath.

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few... When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
-Ecclesiastes 5:2-6

I'm not saying every police officer acts like this (there are some good men out there doing what's right with their authority), but these instances are becoming more frequent every year. There is a point where you have the Biblical right to protect yourself and your family from wicked men, and there's certainly a point where God's authority trumps man's authority.
(Read "Can Christians Kill in Self-Defense?" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
-Acts 5:29

To demonstrate the state of our country in law enforcement, let's look at what happens when an officer does what's right:
"Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts was on routine patrol early one morning when a Miami police car whizzed past at speeds that would eventually top 120 mph. Even with her blue lights flashing and siren blaring, it took Watts more than seven minutes to pull the speeder over. Not certain who was behind the wheel, she approached the car warily, with gun drawn, according video from her cruiser’s dashboard camera. 'Put your hands out of the window! Right now!' she yelled. It turned out the driver was Miami Police Department officer Fausto Lopez, in full uniform. Watts holstered her gun but still handcuffed him and took his weapon. 'I apologize,' Lopez said, explaining that he was late for an off-duty job. 'You were running 120 miles an hour!' Watts barked back."
-Associated Press, "Fla. trooper who stopped cop sues over harassment," Feb 11, 2014, retrieved Oct 10, 2015, [nydailynews.com/news/national/fla-trooper-stopped-sues-harassment-article-1.1609641]

This woman did what was right in the eyes of God, doing her job, keeping her oath, and protecting citizens from a man who was breaking the law and risking other peoples' lives by driving almost twice the normal speed limit. Many police officers in Amerca (not all, but a lot) think they are above the law and can do whatever they please, and it reminds me of Psalm 12, when the wicked men believed themselves to be above everyone.

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men... Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
-Psalm 12:1-4

Many people across the internet are familiar with Watts' story because it made national headlines, and the speeding officer (thankfully) lost his job over the issue, but she was about to feel the persecution from wicked men in authority (power) for doing what's right.

"Watts’ actions involving a fellow officer didn’t sit well with many in law enforcement, and not long after she made that traffic stop, she says, the harassment began. Random telephone calls on her cell phone. Some were threats and some were prank calls, including orders for pizza. Unfamiliar vehicles and police cars sat idling in her cul-de-sac. She was afraid to open her mailbox.
Watts suspected her private driver’s license information was being accessed by fellow officers, so she made a public records request with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It turned out she was right: over a three-month period, at least 88 law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies accessed Watts’ driver’s license information more than 200 times, according to her lawyer... Watts is suing those police agencies and the individual officers under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, a 1994 law that provides for a penalty of $2,500 for each violation if the information was improperly accessed... 'Ultimately what it comes down to is a violation of privacy,' [Attorney Mirta] Desir said. 'It wasn’t for any legitimate purpose on the part of the police officers and it was done by people in a position of trust.'"
-Associated Press, "Fla. trooper who stopped cop sues over harassment," Feb 11, 2014, retrieved Oct 10, 2015, [nydailynews.com/news/national/fla-trooper-stopped-sues-harassment-article-1.1609641]

This demonstrates how deep the corruption goes for doing the right thing, and slowly, the officials and officers in power are becoming more wicked, harassing those who do righteousness. However, we can still thank the Lord God that we have a court system that allows them men to be punished for their crimes, even if only one woman is willing to stand up and mark them.

Clerk Refuses to Grant Marriage License

In recent news (2015), the media and sodomites have made a spectacle about Kim Davis:
"A US judge has ordered a Kentucky official jailed for contempt of court after she has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licences to gay couples. Kim Davis, an elected official in Rowan County, has said that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licenses."
-BBC News, "Kentucky clerk jailed for defying court orders on gay marriage," Sept 3, 2015, retrieved Sept 3, 2015, [bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34145941]

In our article, "Gay Marriage and Christian Hypocrisy," we discuss the facts about government "marriage" not being real marriage by God in Scripture, that the government issues corporate business contracts that control property rights (this goes for normal couples too; who get lured into the trap), but it's completely separate from marriage; it only uses the same name, and therefore church-goers often waste their time and energy fighting for something that is not Biblical.
(Read "Marriage: What Christians Should Know" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

In this instance, Davis, in her ignorance, refused to give gay couples a business contract with the government (i.e. what they call a "marriage" license), was fined and jailed, and church-goers everywhere believe she's "obeying God." The fact is that she took an oath of office, and gave her word she would do the job as instructed by law:
"Ms Davis, who has said she is obeying 'God's law,' has been escorted out of the courtroom... 'Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defence,' said Mr [Judge David] Bunning. 'Mrs Davis took an oath. Oaths mean things.'"
-BBC News, "Kentucky clerk jailed for defying court orders on gay marriage," Sept 3, 2015, retrieved Sept 3, 2015, [bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34145941]

If Davis had a problem with gays being allowed to sign a contract with the government to protect their private property, then she could have resigned, but instead, she directly rebelled against the government, broke the law, lied to break her word of oath, and received just punishment for doing so. Kim Davis is a fine example of a church-goer who has violated Romans 13, rejecting proper submission to government, falsely believing she's doing what right in some holy crusade.

Davis is not suffering for well doing (i.e. Christian persecution), she's suffering for evil doing.

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
-1 Peter 3:16-17

In some group discussions, we had to remove people from our Facebook group over this issue because of the contention and railing over people defending Kim Davis. During those discussions, I tried to warn them that we don't even know that she's really a Christian; she could be a Catholic for all we know, and it turns out that suspicion was correct:
"Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis says a private meeting with Pope Francis has inspired her -– and given her a renewed sense of purpose... 'He told me before he left, he said, ‘stay strong.’ That was a great encouragement. Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing, it kind of validates everything to have someone of that stature,' Davis said."
-Good Morning America, "Kim Davis Recounts Secret Meeting With Pope Francis," ABC News, Sept 30, 2015, retrieved Oct 3, 2015, [abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-kim-davis-recounts-secret-meeting-pope-francis/story?id=34143874]

If Davis thinks Catholicism is part of Christianity, then she has no clue what the true doctrines of Christ really are, but she's being supported by ignorant church-goers around the country.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
-Proverbs 14:12

On the outside, her cause might SEEM good and SEEM right, but she is nothing more than a rebellious liar, who needs prayer not for protection, but that she would come to understand she is a sinner before a Holy and Righteous God, and be saved.
(Read "Corruptions of Christianity: Catholicism" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

In Romans 13:3, it says specifically that rulers are to be a terror to evil works, and that if we will do good works, then we will have praise from those rulers, and not suffer for evil doing. For as many problems we have with our government in the U.S., we can at least praise God that many evil-doers are being punished for their crimes because the worst of governments are almost always better than the best of anarchies. However, when ruling authorities begin to pass laws and command citizens to do things that are contrary to the Word of God, oppressing the good and rewarding the evil, we born-again Christians have a responsibility to uphold God's Word, even when facing prison for doing so.

As of 2015, we in the U.S. may not face evil commands from wicked men in authority very often, but we do face hypocrites in governing office. We have a governing body that punishes murderers, but then subsidizes murder through abortions. We have a governing body that punishes theft, but many of them take (and give) bribes.
"Former California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham is a free man today, after spending more than seven years in prison on bribery and other charges... Cunningham's 15-year career in Congress ended abruptly when he admitted to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and evading taxes."
-Bill Chappell, "For Rep. 'Duke' Cunningham Freed After Bribery Sentence," National Public Radio, June 4, 2013, retrieved Sept 1, 2015, [npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/06/04/188667106/former-rep-duke-cunningham-freed-after-bribery-sentence]

A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
-Proverbs 17:23

The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
-Proverbs 29:4

"A federal court jury in Alexandria, Va., deliberated for five days before finding Mr. Jefferson, 62, a New Orleans Democrat who served in Congress for 18 years... guilty of 11 of 16 counts of bribery, racketeering and money laundering."
-David Stout, "Ex-Rep. Jefferson Convicted in Bribery Scheme," New York Times, Aug 5, 2009, retrieved Sept 1, 2015, [nytimes.com/2009/08/06/us/06jefferson.html?_r=0]

Don't think the people in the highest levels of our government
are any better. They're just better at not getting caught.
(This documentary provides many examples of fraud, bribery, and deceit from just one American president.)

These hypocrites are the very ruling men and women whom the Lord God rebuked and sought to punish, and His attitude towards those hypocrites has not changed:

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow... How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers... Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards [i.e. bribes]: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
-Isaiah 1:16-23

For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
-Jeremiah 5:29

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?
-Psalm 82:2

Romans 13 continues to explain that when a ruler judges in righteousness, he is ministering to you on behalf of God for your own good:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
-Romans 13:4

If -- and I would say again, IF -- a ruler is judging in righteousness, he's a minister of God for good. Let's take a look at Obama's support of bills that murder children:
"Obama... rose to speak against a bill that would have protected babies who survive late-term labor-induced abortions... Obama rose to object that if the bill passed, and a nine-month-old fetus survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to be a person who had a right to live, then the law would 'forbid abortions to take place.'"
-Jerome R. Corsi, The Obama Nation, Simon and Schuster, 2008, p. 238, ISBN: 9781416598060

How could any preacher be so blind that he would stand up in front of a church congregation and call Obama a 'minister of God'? Would you say that pushing legislation that legalizes child murder is for our good, and that the Lord God has ordained it? Again, the position of a ruler is ordained of God, and as long as the man in that position of power (authority) is doing good works, and protecting the innocent from the wicked, then he's a minister of God to us, but when he does evil, he is no longer the minister of God for our good, and he becomes a terrorist.

At the beginning, I gave numerous examples of prophets and apostles who resisted civil authority and ended up getting in trouble with the government; this is not to say that we are to resist any government authority we don't like because we need to be in submission to rulers over us. However, heretics like John MacArthur (who teaches works-based doctrines on salvation) preach an UNLIMITED submission to all governing authorities no matter what they are or what they tell us to do.

(VIDEO: John MacArthur teaches false doctrine on unlimited submission to government.)

"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. That is an unqualified statement. It doesn't qualify who those governing authorities are and it doesn’t qualify what subjection might mean. Therefore we can conclude that we have an unqualified, unmitigated command to be subjected to the governing authorities, whatever they are."
-John MacArthur, "Why Christians Submit to the Government," Grace To You, Jan 30, 2011, retrieved Aug 27, 2015, [gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-364]

The average church-goer listening to MacArthur doesn't catch what he just said because most of them don't realize they have no idea what "unqualified" and "unmitigated" mean in this context. Allow me to help:

unqualified (adj): complete, unlimited
unmitigated (adj): absolute
(See 'unqualified' & 'unmitigated', Random House Dictionary, 2015, [www.dictionary.com]; See also Collins English Dictionary, 10th Edition, William Collins Sons & Co, 2012)

What MacArthur told all his congregation was that Christians have an unlimited and absolute commandment to do whatever an authority tells us to do, without any consideration of the circumstances. He continues later to say:
"So the government is divinely decreed and to resist it is to resist God. Let me add another point. Those who do resist will be punished."
-John MacArthur, "Why Christians Submit to the Government," Grace To You, Jan 30, 2011, retrieved Aug 27, 2015, [gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-364]

This would mean that Paul, Moses, Peter, Daniel, David, and many others throughout the entire Bible directly defied God's commandment to abide by the ruling authorities of their day, but for some strange reason, they weren't punished. These men received God's direct blessings and protection during their ordeals against governing authorities, so that means the words coming out of MacArthur's mouth is not in line with God's Word.

In 1978, China introduced a "One-Child Policy" that decreed a couple living as citizens in the country of China were only allowed to have one child. (A second child was allowed if the first was a girl; giving the couple a chance for a son.) If a couple had a son, and then they became pregnant with a second child, a heavy tax was issued to them, and if they could not pay the heavy fine, they were forced to murder the child through abortion, resulting in China murdering an average of 13 million children every year. As a Christian, if you have a child, and the government tells you that you must kill that child, do you submit to the government's authority and kill your baby?
(See CNN, "China has more than 13 million abortions a year," July 30, 2009, retrieved Aug 28, 2015, [cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/30/china.abortions.millions/index.html?_s=PM:WORLD])

According to John MacArthur's teaching, you have an unlimited and absolute commandment to kill your children. However, Peter gave a Biblical answer to civil authorities when they had commanded Christians against the Word of God:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
-Acts 5:27-29

Christ's commandment is for us to teach His doctrines to to all the nations, and when the government commanded they should not do that, Peter and the other apostles resisted that order. Why? Because when a civil authority gives orders that go above the station of the Lord God, they are no longer his ministers for good, but are wicked men abusing their power for the sake of their own evil devices.

Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves.
-Psalm 140:8

The reason Romans 13 was written to the church in Rome was because some of those born-again in Christ now saw Christ as their King, and were looking to ignore the laws and taxation of the land. The apostles wanted to make sure all the brethren understood Christ's doctrine that, while we are still in the flesh, we are subject to earthly rulers:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
-Matthew 5:25-26

The Lord Jesus Christ is talking about having committed some criminal offense against another man, and that if they turn you in to the governing authorities (and you are found guilty), you are still subject to their rule of law. However, at the same time, taking precept upon precept, line upon line, we are not to submit ourselves to any commandment that causes us to enter sin, or defies other commandments given to us by Christ (e.g. teaching in His name, helping the poor and needy, etc).

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
-Romans 13:5

A few chapters earlier, Paul explained to the Christians in Rome that the law of God is written in the hearts of men:

Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
-Romans 2:15

We follow the just laws not only for our own conscience sake, but also for the conscience of other men around us (believers and unbelievers alike), being an example to them.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
-Acts 24:16

As a side note, notice that Paul said he EXERCISED himself to have a conscience that did not offend God and men. It's not skill and knowledge that is automatically granted upon being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, but must be learned and trained, just like discernment:

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
-Hebrews 5:14

This is why so many people out there calling themselves Christians offend God and have no discernment. Not only do many of them not know what this means, but often they attend leavened church buildings led by false converts who lead them into undiscerning blindness.

For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
-Romans 13:6

I will likely never be able to turn the tide of false teaching that says "tribute" means "taxation" because a tribute is not a tax. Tribute was something a little different than taxation because though taxation (custom/toll) was a required payment on goods and services, under Roman control, a tribute was an annual "gift" that was demanded by Rome from nations it had conquered (like Israel) to show their submission to Roman authority.

With that understanding, the following verses should make more sense:

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
-Matthew 17:24-27

The body of Christ is free from giving tribute and custom, but so not to offend them, we submit to their earthly rule. (And also not to offend them since Peter had already given them his word that they would pay tribute.) The Pharisees later attempted to find a reason to accuse Christ of false doctrine, so they asked him about this tribute:

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
-Matthew 22:15-22

These verses are abused so much from behind the pulpits of Amercan church buildings, it makes me sick to my stomach. This passage is primarily used as an excuse to give pastors money on a regular basis in the same manner we pay taxes.

Let me make this abundantly clear:
In the U.S., we do NOT have tribute.
Folks, I am NOT saying we shouldn't pay taxes; on the contrary, we should (I'll discuss that in a moment), but the question of these passages is about authority, not about money. However, preachers often make it about money because they preach a sermon that you give money to Caesar and God, and therefore, if you give money to the pastor, you're rendering things unto God.

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
-Titus 1:10-11

Most people today might better understand this if I use the phrase "keeping a low profile." Anyone who does not give honor to the governing authorities often make themselves a target, and simply giving them the honor of their position in the state can avoid a number of conflicts that are unnecessary.

If the Lord Jesus Christ had not paid the collectors any tribute for Caesar, then that report would have went up to the governing authorities, that Christ was defiant against Rome, and would have caused a lot of problems. Since the face of Caesar is on the coin, meaning that he wants everyone to know whose money that really is, then Christ simply gave him what was most precious to him, keeping a low profile so He could continue to evangelize.

Christ was not being asked to do anything against the commandments of God, and so he acted in a manner that would avoid offense. However, when it came to the doctrine of truth, Christ was not concerned with offense:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
-Matthew 23:27-28

As we covered in our article "Did Christ Come to Bring Peace?" there is an offense and division that is against the Word of God, and there is an offense and division that is by the Word of God. Again, we have to have our senses exercised to discern, and study the Word of God to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
-2 Timothy 2:15

Paul finishes:

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
-Romans 13:7

The Bible (Authorized King James) only uses the word "taxes" one time in Daniel 11; outside of that, the God's Word refers to them as "custom." That's why Matthew the tax collector was "sitting at the receipt of custom:"

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
-Matthew 9:9

So we are to give "custom to whom custom," meaning that you should pay your taxes, but the main topic of Romans 13 is concerning honoring civil authority in all they command, unless they command that which contradicts the Word of God, because they must be a terror evil, not a terror unto good.

Concerning the U.S. Constitution

Folks in other countries are welcome to skip this section. I just want to briefly address Americans about their form of government.

Please keep in mind that we do not (as of 2015) live in the exact same form of government that was present during the days of Christ and His apostles. We do not have a king or emporer, although most Americans foolishly treat the president like one, but rather we have a constitutional republic that was made by the people, and for the people, as is stated in the U.S. Constitution:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Without getting into a discussion about the details of unbiblical acts taken during the American Revolution (e.g. Boston Tea Party), the fact is that this country was founded on the principle that the citizens of the state have the right to abolish its government and form a new one when the governing rule because tyrannical and oppresive, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety"

To keep civil authorities accountable to the laws of the land and servant to the people, the Constitution was created as a way to bind them down and limit their powers, preventing evil rulers from taking over the country without the consent (or apathy) of the populus. Though an unbeliever and wicked man, Thomas Jefferson, who helped write the Declaration, stated:
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution."
-Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolution, quoted by Edwin Williams, The Book of the Constitution, 1833, p. 83

In the days after Christ in Rome, there was a problem of some Christians thinking they were above the law and taxation, but today in our society, that problem is almost unheard of. The situation we have now is not making sure that Christians follow the just laws of the land, but rather it is a problem of Christians making sure our government leaders are following the just laws of the land.

The very governing authorities in this country are chosen by the people from among the people to represent the people. (THAT'S NOT DEMOCRACY! That's a republic!) Without vigilant Christians who are being proper watchman and understand the laws of this land, being willing to bring to justice the criminals in our higher positions of authority in government, evil men shall wax worse and worse, being unchecked by the people who elected them to the God-ordained positions of power in the first place.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
-2 Timothy 3:13-14

With false doctrines by false converts speading like a disease, and other wicked philosophies (i.e. Evolutionism) being embedded in the minds of the next generation, I can say with great confidence that without the Lord Jesus Christ, there will soon be no liberty left in this country.

Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
-2 Corinthians 3:16-17

Without the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be no liberty.

Now that we've studied government section of Romans 13, let's look at a couple of quotations from other ministries:
"These verses [Romans 13:1-7] contain much to consider. They leave no question that all people ('every soul')—including Christians—are subject to the 'higher powers,' because they are 'ordained of God.' To resist them, God says, is to 'resist God.'"
-David C. Pack, "Should Christians Submit to Government Authority?" Restored Church of God, Feb 7, 1979, retrieved Aug 17, 2012, [rcg.org/articles/scstga.html]

(Read "Corruptions of Christianity: Catholicism - The Inquisition" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)

This David Pack preacher just condemned to sin every Christian written about in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Don't forget that in Europe during the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church, they were given government sanction to execute Christians, so Pack is also condemning them for refusing to bow to the power (authority) of a pagan cult (Mystery Babylon) that falsely claims to be of Christ.

"No qualifications are made as to the kind of government to which we are to submit... Whether the government be totalitarian or democratic, the Christian’s obligation to submit to it is the same."
-Bob Deffinbaugh, "Submission to Civil Authorities," Bible.org, retrieved Aug 17, 2012, [bible.org/seriespage/submission-civil-authorities-1-peter-213-17]

Bob Deffinbaugh just told German Christians that they have an obligation, no matter what, to submit to the government and turn in Jews to be executed and/or sent to concentration camps. If any Christian chose to protect families under persecution, then, according to these false preachers, they defied the Lord Jesus Christ and deserve punishment. (The photo on the right shows us the punishment for resisting their authority to execute Jews for the crime of existing.)

Please keep in mind that the preachers I've been quoting in this article are a part of the 501c3 Devil's church, and we cannot disregard the connection between their apostasy of denouncing the Lord Jesus Christ through their contract and the hundreds of thousands of pastors on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) payroll. These "FEMA pastors" are being trained and paid to get church-goers to lay down their weapons, convince them not to defend their homes and families, and let the government have their way with their loved ones and their private property.

In the video, you hear the false preacher hireling state that Romans 13 is the reason people should just do whatever they're told and don't ask questions. This could not be further from the truth, but the truth doesn't matter to these heathen because the love of money is their final authority.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
-1 Timothy 6:10

I'd also like to add how hypocritical most of these "unlimited submission" pastors are because they get together with their congregations on the 4th of July to celebrate Independence Day in honor of declaring independence from a tyrannical government that sat under the thumb of the Catholic Church, but turn around and tell everyone that they should not resist government. I'm not saying every act of the American Revolution was Biblical, nor that every man involved in it were Christians (some were, some were not). Certainly there were other more Biblical ways things could have been handled, but the fact is that today, those new-age preachers have the liberty to give those false sermons because of the government we now have after that liberation from a king of tyranny.

So should Christians submit to the government? It depends on the situation. If the government is doing good works of punishing evildoers, and they are not a terror unto those who are doing good works, then absolutely, Christians should be in submission to rule of that government, but if that government is full of evil doers themselves, then we turn to the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost.

However, rarely is a government completely evil or completely good, and just as the Bible says a governing ruler ought to punish evil and praise good, so we too should praise government for that which they do good, and rebuke them for their wicked actions. Depending on the type of government, the citizens may also be able to take action in removing wicked rulers from power, making sure those governing rulers are also punished for their sinful actions.

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light... Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them... all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
-Ephesians 5:8-13

Obey the ordinances that are good: pay the taxes you owe, follow traffic laws, respect your neighbor's property and privacy. However, when the government rulers start to do that which is evil in the sight of God, then we do first that which is good and holy on Biblical foundation, and Christ warned us that we would be hated, imprisoned, and put to death for doing that which is good.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved... Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
-Matthew 10:16-26

Your job as a Christian is to do what's right over what's convenient, walking by faith. The Lord Jesus Christ will set all things in order when He comes, and He will reward the wicked for their deeds in the lake of fire, so we should continue to pray for our governing rulers, that they would repent and be saved.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
-1 Timothy 2:1-4

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