Why Teaching Complete Government Submission Leads to Abuse

Many Christians have gone wrong in their thinking that Romans 13 teaches that Christians should obey the government no matter what. You can read about that here. While believers are called to obey the government, God also gives the parameters for how the government is to function, therefore creating the responsibility of how Christians obey the government.

The question is, for those who abuse Romans 13, unbiblical teaching that the government should be obeyed no matter what, what would be the fallout from such false doctrine? The main problem for those taught this will result in abuse. They will first allow abuse by the government, then their own personal relationships.

Let’s discuss abuse by the government first. Many governments over the years have abused their citizens. They train and work them like machines instead of treating them like people. They have experimented on populations scientifically without their permission or knowledge, and full abuse looks can be genocide of people – whether it be the Nazis, USSR, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, and the list goes on. Many have even been slaughtered by their own government. 

Now you may think that I am jumping to conclusions. Some would say, “Of course a government killing its people is horrible, and should not be followed.” The problem is, many who would see that as horrendous abuse, never said a word until the government got to these extreme actions. They allowed small things to slide, and it was too late when the big things came. 

A government doesn’t just one day wake up and say, “Let’s slaughter millions of people.” It happened through a slow fade of soft tyranny to full genocide. It is allowed to happen by a people who believe that they should obey the government no matter what. It happens in places where citizens completely trust their government, and then breeds tyrannical hearts within those leaders.

Second, not only do people who believe the government should never be resisted fuel an abusive relationship between the citizens and the state, so it goes within personal relationships of the people. How? Because it creates a line of thinking that those who are in authority need not be questioned and should be obeyed no matter the circumstance. 

This creates people who are naive, causing them to let their guard down. Then we wonder why evil coaches, pastors, teachers, or parents abuse children. Or, why women who are in abusive relationships normalize their situation and remian. But when you are taught that the government should be obeyed no matter what, you transfer that line of thinking into other forms of authority and relationships in your life.

Lastly let me state that I am not promoting resisting the government no matter the situation because of pragmatism. If God called us to obey no matter what, that is what I would promote. But Scripture doesn’t say that. And setting oneself up for abuse is probably one of the reasons it does not. God provides wisdom through His Word.

What is your theological worldview of how Christians should submit to the government? What is the effect on your relationships if you espouse the idea that the government is allowed to act and treat its citizens anyway it wishes, and we should follow no matter what? 

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