Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reformation Day Sermon

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities;” Paul says, “for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good.”

On what planet was Paul living on when he wrote that? “Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.,” he says.

Really? Is that so?

Paul should know better. After all, as a Roman citizen he knew what the Roman government was capable of. He was eye-witness to brutal executions. The empire-building on the backs of slaves. He watched as people were forced to worship Caesar. No matter what religion they were.

In Jerusalem, he knew all about Herod's slaughter of 1000s of innocent children. The corrupt, puppet governments. The two-faced, double-dealing leaders.

This passage makes no sense when you think of where Paul came from. Or where any of us come from.

And this passage defies logic when placed along side of the rest of Paul's message. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul rails against the “rulers of this age.” Earlier in Romans, Paul demands that Christians confront the “principalities and powers” of this world. Not to submit to them.

This passage seems shoe-horned into this letter. As if it's not meant to be here. It feels out of place. Like someone put words in Paul's mouth.

In fact, a small group of scholars say that's exactly...(whole thing here)

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