Christian libertarian thoughts on Romans 13. 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
1st of all, it doesn't exactly define what "governing authorities" means. Does it necessarily imply coercive government with a monopoly on law and the use of force? Could governing authorities mean the way the free market governs and spontaneously creates order?
2nd: To say that "there is no authority except that which God has established" implies God must necessarily establish authorities is an inverse error.
Let's reword the sentence in a more standard logical if -- then format. "If a governing authority exists, it was established by God." This does not imply that governing authorities must necessarily exist. Perhaps God might decide to not establish them some day. Then they don't need to exist.
Also, this says nothing about what kind of government God thinks is best. Perhaps some time when God will choose to establish a libertarian government. Perhaps if he should choose to establish governance of some kind it will be an anarcho-capitalist society. The Bible says nothing for the most part on what the "perfect" form of government is. Probably because frankly, we can't have the "perfect" government, until Christ comes back. However 1st Kinds (or is in Samuel. I don't remember) has a pretty scathing attack on the evils of government. When the Israelites were
demanding a King, God basically told them, "You don't want a King. He will steal your crops and take you into war." They still demanded it so he said, "Fine. But don't come crying to me if you don't like it." (Tracy's paraphrase.)
The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Ditto above. Logically this does not imply that God must therefore establish authorities, and it says nothing about what exactly authority means. There's market authority, and the authority of private property owners. It could be that's what it means by authority. Obviously the book of Acts is filled with Christians opposing illegitimate government.
2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Well, in our government, the Constitution, is suppose to be the "authority." So when government does things that's contrary to that its actually the government whose being rebellious to their authority. Our rebellion to unconstitutional illegitimate government is just. In fact when we rebel against current "authorities" we are actually honoring and standing up for the hire authority -- The Constitution.
And where the Constitution is wrong, we have an even hire authority. God. Christian's are here to Obey God not Man. So when the two conflict, we are under no obligation to obey our government. So when the Government steals, that's against God's law. When the government kills, that's also against God's law. We are under no obligation to help government do wrong things. And in fact, we as Christians have an obligation to help protect people from such government aggression even. It's simply part of being charitable, and helping the oppressed. Were Christians disobeying God when they opposed Hitler? Were Christians in China disobeying God, when they opposed Mao?
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
What is the definition of ruler here? I'm not sure, and I don't claim to have an intimate knowledge of the Greek, to know if it's a proper translation or not. But certainly if the rulers are throwing you in jail for witnessing -- which happens in many Arab and Eastern countries, then it would seem to me that apparently we would have reason to fear for doing good. I would think then that ruler would mean just ruler.
4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
And in a libertarian society, the only wrongdoer as far as government is concerned should be one who victimises somebody else. Like some sort of violation of life, liberty, or property of another person.
5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
Again, like I said above, assuming the government isn't violating their own laws, or forcing you to disobey God.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
But in this country, when the laws themselves don't even require us to pay income tax, (see the 861 evidence), and the income tax as it is applied by government is against the governments own laws, and against the Constitution and against it's own Supreme court rulings (which have said the 16th ammendment conferred no new taxing powers on congress). The 16th Ammendment was ratified in questioning ways in the first place. We have no obligation to obey those laws.
2ndly, this country, was founded on Tax Revolts. And in fact the Declaration of Independence -- one of our founding Documents -- tells us it is our duty to overthrow tyrannical governments. So we are actually honoring our heritage and higher laws which our government is suppose to be based on by revolting and not paying taxes. It's our government now, which is illegitimate and in disobedience to the Constitution and the rule of law, and we are honoring what it's suppose to be by revolting.
God can also take government's down. How do you know that libertarianism isn't one way He's doing it. And our founding fathers actually told us it was our duty to revolt against tyrannical government. So by opposing our current illegitimate government, we are actually honoring and even submitting to legitimate government.
7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Again, this assumes that government is acting with-in the boundaries of the higher laws of the land. Our government isn't. In fact it's outright disobeying them.
The government is also using your money to do immoral things with it. Pay for abortions, pay for immoral unjust wars, pay for welfare to encourage slothfulness, pay for immoral sex ed in the public schools, etc. Because it's doing immoral things with our money, I think we have every right to disobey, and not pay them. Because our disobedience to illegitimate government, is actually obedience to the higher laws of the land, and the heritage that founded this country.
One comment about "give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." The pharisees weren't even suppose to have those coins. It was a violation of the 2nd Commandment about graven images. When he said that, Jesus pointed out their own hypocrisy.
2nd, that money actually DID belong to Caesar. It was just given to people to use. Like surfs, or as trusties to that money. In this country, we actually own our own money. The money belongs to us in the first place. It doesn't belong to Caesar. So we can't give to Caesar what's Caesar's because it's not his in the first place. It's ours.
Because of this, some Christians believe this is actually a command to Christians to not use government money, but instead to use our own. See here. Let Caesar have his Federal Reserve Notes and we can developpe our own private, free market money system. Some Christian's try to do this, and only trade in Gold or Silver or something, and Barter that way. There are many places to do this. Flee Markets, etc. And with the advent of the internet, such bartering and species exchange is becoming easier.
Basically, I think an apropriate responce when somebody shows us Romans 13, should be, "Our Country was founded on tax revolts and freedom. We are honoring those principles by advocating libertarianism." As for v3, I would submit that "ruler" is perhaps a mistranslation of the Greek. But I can't know for sure. I don't claim to have a knowledge of the Greek language. Perhaps somebody who does could look into it for me.