Saturday, October 17, 2009
Blogging Through Romans: Romans 13: 1-7
Romans 13: 1-7
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for their is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God” (13: 1)
How could Paul make such a stupidly naive statement? So, God put Hitler in charge of Germany? Stalin in the USSR. Pol Pot in Laos? And the Christian’s duty is to subject themselves to this authority?
What happens to the prophetic voice, advocating on behalf of the powerless? The voiceless? The oppressed?
The Christians in Rome WERE the voiceless, powerless, and oppressed. Which makes Paul’s comment all the more jarring. Either he’s offering practical political advice (keep your heads down, don’t draw attention to yourselves. Just do what you’re doing quietly so as to not arouse the ire of the empire).
OR Paul is recognizing that the Roman empire was doing some good in the world. Yes, they were an oppressive regime. But they also created much needed infrastructure to the areas they conquered.
But is NOT saying to be subservient, but he is saying to participate in the city’s civic life. The prophetic role is not diminished, but then enhanced, as the Christians in Rome play a role in the on-going life of the city.
Christians are not islands, separated from the rest of the community. But rather, to be at the heart of community life.
Some may say that this leads to the domestication of the church. And they may be right. But it would also make our voices heard more clearly when we speak from our unique perspective.