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remixing romans 13: overcoming imperial zombification

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that
exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.


Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and my subsequent reflections, I was confronted with numerous comments and questions regarding the above passage from Romans 13. One friend commented that, in light of this passage, he thought armed intervention was completely within the scope of government as taught the New Testament.

What I offer here is not a criticism of my friends, but a challenge to the way we read passages like Romans 13. Read the rest of this entry

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