Becoming a Christ Honoring Rebel: Reacting to Our Government, To Protest or Not to Protest

This past Sunday, I preached Romans 13:1-7 at Fellowship Church, the church I am privileged to pastor.  To summarize, Paul was concerned for the Christians in Rome.  The political climate was quickly turning hostile toward both Jews and Christians, who had gained a reputation for “their hate of humanity.”  That’s according to one Roman, writing during that time. 
Paul knew this was a lie, of course, but reputations-even unfair ones, can be a powerful thing.
The absence of Christians from public life created a vacuum, which was filled with fear and slander.  So…in a radical departure  from 1st century  Jewish policy, which encouraged Jews to remain separate and distinct, Paul urged believers to be meaningful engaged in public life and to support their pagan government as God’s instruments.
Here’s three principles every believer must understand about governments.

  • Earthly governments are God’s agents of law and order.
  • Obeying authorities allows us to fear God, not people
  • Obeying authorities allows us to live above reproach.
With these biblical guidelines, how do we view our own government?  After all, the U.S. government is following close behind other nations in becoming hostile-not merely indifferent-toward Christianity.  In the last few weeks, governors have demeaned Christian organizations, local municipalities have ordered the fining or arrest of pastors and church members for attending “Drive In” church services and pockets of hatred have erupted in the media.  More and more folks like that are seeing us as a threat to the common good.  What do we do?  The Christian response now should be no different from that of Paul’s original audience.  We must remain meaningfully engaged in public affairs and let our positive influence create opportunities for the spread of the gospel.
Perhaps, the Lord is leading you to run for office.  The time is now, before a Christians voice is not only no longer welcome, but forbidden.  On some occasions we must oppose our government.  Our Republic provides for civil disobedience.  We are seeing these pop up across our country.  Several this past week in state capitols and more planned for the coming week.
In the US, this is the most effective means of correcting official wrongs.  Court rooms can be useful tools for change as well. 
But on rare occasions, government policies must be confronted more dramatically.  When laws are passed that require one to violate the clear commands of scripture, or victimize those who are helpless, we must take peaceful action to oppose such persecution.  Keyword, peaceful!  We don’t’ lose our Christian distinction.
A good example of this is the campaign of civil disobedience conducted against the racist laws of the American South in the 1960’s.  The demonstrators were often mistreated, beaten, spit upon, and arrested, yet, never fired a shot.
Our ultimate goal is different than every other human being on the planet.  As believers, we desire to witness people come to faith.  We understand, there is far greater things at stake.
Now that we’ve learned a few things about the Christians response to government.  Let’s put it to practice.
We are living in interesting times to say the least. 
A virus is on the loose, making millions sick and killing tens of thousands.
22 million unemployed.
A Mental health Crisis is looming
Fear of the unknown
Right now there are several different points of view, from highly recognizable and educated authorities on how to move forward in this pandemic.  We are seeing different things work.  We look at other countries and what they implement and there are other legitimate points of view.
There doesn’t seem to be “just” a right way. 
So how does the Christian respond?  I hope that we will be thinkers and not emotional reactors. 
Many in our church have told me about invitations to a protest in Jeff city next week, and I’ve been asked, What is the Christian response?,  “Should I go?  They ask?”
Based on what Paul teaches, protests, are well within the confines of our Republic and they are a tool within the framework of our government.  It’s our duty to be meaningfully engaged.

3 Questions to Consider.
  1. Have you prayed over your involvement?
  2. Will your involvement cause you to lose your Christian distinction?
  3. Does your decision honor Christ? 
By Pastor Chris Williams
Pastor Chris is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church.

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