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Romans; The powers that be

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posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:01 PM
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Under the implied heading of “Living in the gospel”, Paul talks to the Romans about the way they should conduct themselves towards their brethren and towards other people; not raising themselves up in pride, but submitting their own wills to the needs of living in harmony.
As part of this theme, he offers advice on the way to live in harmony with the authorities of this world (ch13 vv1-7).

Since this advice has become controversial, it would be good to go back to first principles.

Consider, first, the necessity of social organization.
In general, social organization has been beneficial to our species.
It has made it possible for humans to live in comparative harmony together and work together.
In the famous and possibly too famous verdict of Thomas Hobbes, human life without social organization would be “nasty, brutish, and short”.
So it has been a good thing, on the whole, that social organization exists, and it is reasonable to suppose that God would want social organization to exist.

Now human authority is simply the visible focus of social organization.

So Paul’s comments on the subject follow on from the first principles that I’ve just outlined.
God endorses the fact that authority exists, authority as an institution, so it may be said that authorities have been established by God (vv1-2).

He points out that the authorities act against bad conduct, the kind of conduct which God himself rejects. Presumably Paul is thinking of such behavior as murder and theft.
So if you avoid criminal action, you will be approved by God and the ruler at the same time, and if you fall into criminal action you will come under God’s judgement and the ruler’s judgement at the same time.
That is how the ruler is “God’s servant for your good” (vv3-5), acting on God’s behalf in protecting the citizen from the criminal.

Since the authorities have this police function, there is a moral obligation to give them what they need for the purpose. We must give them respect, we must give them obedience, and we must pay the taxes which maintain them (vv6-7).

That should have been straight-forward enough.
However, it becomes necessary nowadays to explain also what this passage is NOT doing.

In the first place, Paul is not endorsing the assumption that any individuals, dynasties, or groups have a prescriptive claim on authority.
At the most, there must be a bias against change and in favour of whatever authorities exist at the time (“the powers that be”) because forcible change has a disruptive effect on human life (see 1789, see 1917).
In the aftermath of change, the newly established authorities would have the same claim to respect and obedience as the old authorities.
In the period following the English Civil War, the Church of England maintained that obedience was due to a ruling dynasty, which was a Biblical principle, and drew the false conclusion that obedience was due to the Stuart dynasty as such, which was non-Biblical. When the Stuarts were overthrown, there were nine bishops (the “Non-Jurors”) who refused allegiance to their successors. But a better understanding of Paul’s meaning would have prompted them, in the end, to recognize the Hanoverians as the current representatives of authority.

Nor is Paul endorsing the injustices and other abuses which may be committed by people in authority.
When he says that authorities act against the wrongdoer, that is a generalized rule-of-thumb which is fundamentally true. Even the despots and the dictators are normally active to administer justice between their subjects, when the interests of the elite are not at stake. Roman imperial magistrates and mediaeval sheriffs and officials of the Third Reich were just as ready to arrest thieves and murderers as the magistrates of any democratic republic.

The statement only becomes problematic when it is read legalistically and over-literally, as an assurance that nobody in authority ever abuses their power or acts unjustly.
The answer is not to read the passage legalistically.
Just use some common sense, that’s all.

Nor is Paul touching on the special case of authorities which set themselves directly against God.
That is, they demand an absolute allegiance superseding the ultimate allegiance belonging to God himself.
Daniel and Revelation portray regimes of this kind, in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon and Nero’s Rome and possibly later. The implied moral is that God’s people should withhold obedience on the disputed issue.
But Paul is not addressing that situation.

I’ve seen the question (on this site); Why was Paul demanding obedience to the Roman authorities even at the same time as they were persecuting him.
The short answer is that they were doing nothing of the kind.
The persecution which Paul experienced before his arrival in Rome was coming entirely from the Jewish authorities, particularly those in Jerusalem, which had been given a degree of local jurisdiction. The empires of those days were not highly centralized affairs.
The imperial attitude was more one of “caring for none of these things”.
Even when Paul was taken to Rome in chains, he was not being charged with any crime under Roman law. The appeal to Caesar was a jurisdiction dispute; should he or should he not be handed over to be tried by the authorities in Jerusalem? He must have won his case, by the way, because if he had lost the case he would have been handed over, and the result would have been notorious.
So the question of disobedience to an official demand for idolatry had not yet come up.

The passage will always be problematic for people who resent authority as such.
But Paul is only giving authority its due (subordinate) place in God’s world.
Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s.




posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:11 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




Paul talks to the Romans about the way they should conduct themselves


Paul aka Saul, killed people...his point is not valid.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:14 PM
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a reply to: DrumsRfun
At the time of writing this letter, he had given up doing it. He had repented.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:28 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Most people regret stealing a chocolate bar when they are 12.
I don't really feel the need to write a book about it and cry the rest of my life asking forgiveness....people move on with the times and don't live in history or the past.
If history repeats itself...why are we still doing this and having the same result?

A douche is a douche, as a douche will be a douche...its as common as a rock.
Many people figure out how to not be a douche without resorting to religion.


Paul aka Saul...was a sucker who couldn't survive in todays world.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:30 PM
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a reply to: DrumsRfun
He did not write a book about it. He mentioned it in passing where it was relevant. The book was written on a different topic. As, indeed, was this thread.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:49 PM
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Paul killed people....King David....Moses....yawn

cool thread oh yes Dizzy woah...the first main paragraph....and was it Paul that said ...yes...I'm certain... he he
that in a game, it only works if you follow the rules..



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 05:51 PM
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a reply to: GBP/JPY
I don't remember that particular quotation.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 06:27 PM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: DISRAELI




Paul talks to the Romans about the way they should conduct themselves


Paul aka Saul, killed people...his point is not valid.


I never read any scripture that shows that Paul aka Saul killed anyone. He was sitting aside and watching with approval as the Sanhedrin stoned to death the disciple of Christ and first Christian martyr mentioned in the Bible, Stephen.

While Stephen was dying he did make a plead to God in prayer to forgive the men their sins as they knew not what they were doing. Which he had a point for some of them. Like Saul, they thought that Christianity was an apostasy of judiasim. And obviously God listened to that plea, for he did forgive Saul.

Paul later on recognized the fact and said that he worked with zeal toward God, but not according to accurate knowledge.

Today, there many be zealous religious people that may even persecute God's people, but they also may be doing it in ignorance. Jesus revealed himself to Saul and Saul after realizing the truth, used his zeal in a proper way. He did what he thought was right, even though it was wrong.

The same can happen to many today that may be in religions that claim to serve God, but are not doing it according to accurate knowledge.

A person with this knowledge, instead of getting into fights, or returning evil for evil against these people, pray to God to forgive them, and if their heart condition is disposed for everlasting life, to open their eyes to see the truth.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: Eyestosee




I never read any scripture that shows that Paul aka Saul killed anyone.


Read the bible on how Saul became "Paul" before he wrote his book while dwelling in guilt and trying to influence people while being the first circus act....sounds like a clown to me.
Even Stevo from jackass has more wisdom.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 06:57 PM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: Eyestosee




I never read any scripture that shows that Paul aka Saul killed anyone.


Read the bible on how Saul became "Paul" before he wrote his book while dwelling in guilt and trying to influence people while being the first circus act....sounds like a clown to me.
Even Stevo from jackass has more wisdom.


Nope. Still don't see any references to Saul killing anyone. I'm pretty sure you think you know what you don't know.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 07:15 PM
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a reply to: Eyestosee

Have you even read a bible?

Ok, tell me the difference between Saul andf Paul?
You do know they were the same guy right??

Saul was killing christians and then changed his name and was like....NO....Wait!!!
I got this!!
I was wrong....now...what I am saying is the REAL sh1t!!!

He was a schmuck?
edit on 6-12-2019 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 07:19 PM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: Eyestosee

Have you even read a bible?

Ok, tell me the difference between Saul andf Paul?
You do know they were the same guy right??

Saul was killing christians and then changed his name and was like....NO....Wait!!!
I got this!!
I was wrong....now...what I am saying is the REAL sh1t!!!

He was a schmuck?


Yep. I've read the Bible over 20 times at least. And never anywhere does it say that Saul killed anyone.

Third time, you keep making claims with no refernces. I think you're a joke at this point. And just trolling this thread, and derailing it. Which is shameful you have the "moderator" title. smh.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: Eyestosee

Saul persecuting christians...read it again.




Third time, you keep making claims with no refernces. I think you're a joke at this point. And just trolling this thread, and derailing it. Which is shameful you have the "moderator" title. smh.


Meh?
Your opinion.
edit on 6-12-2019 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 07:30 PM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: Eyestosee

Saul persecuting christians...read it again.


You're persecuting me. I'm still not dead.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 07:35 PM
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I never did like Paul during my theology studies, still don't
Just my view
Rainbows
Jane



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 08:01 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Be good slaves. Got it.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 08:19 PM
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Paul says that when he says he says that he held the coats for those throwing stones...in that same chapter or so...


originally posted by: Eyestosee

originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: Eyestosee




I never read any scripture that shows that Paul aka Saul killed anyone.


Read the bible on how Saul became "Paul" before he wrote his book while dwelling in guilt and trying to influence people while being the first circus act....sounds like a clown to me.
Even Stevo from jackass has more wisdom.


Nope. Still don't see any references to Saul killing anyone. I'm pretty sure you think you know what you don't know.



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 08:23 PM
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P aul is the Apostle of the heathen

he was shown 6 mysteries....indwelling of the Holy Spirit....body of Christ is the church...a rapture the grafting in of the heathen...he said he got it not from a man..and that these mysteries were from before the world was.......Peter authorized this in his book talking grace by the blood


originally posted by: angelchemuel
I never did like Paul during my theology studies, still don't
Just my view
Rainbows
Jane



posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 08:26 PM
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I'll ask that the Spirit of God show works in your life for a sign just to you

you are no slave, you will be both...a King and a Priest


originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: DISRAELI

Be good slaves. Got it.

edit on 6-12-2019 by GBP/JPY because: IN THE FINE TEXAS TRADITION



posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 01:50 AM
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a reply to: dfnj2015
I was expecting the obsessive response.

Co-operating with the police when they pursue thieves and murderers is not slavery. Can't you see that if you're a potential victim of the thieves and murderers, allowing them to be pursued is in your own interest? That's the basic point of the passage.

The operative idea is, quoting the opening paragraph;

; not raising themselves up in pride, but submitting their own wills to the needs of living in harmony.

In other words, "submission" means "accommodating oneself to other people, not arrogantly trampling over them". That is not slavery. Only someone eaten up with pride amd self-will could see any problem with that.







edit on 7-12-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



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