Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages Romans

Romans 13 and the Holocaust

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:00 pm

How Do Christians Respond to Romans 13 In The Aftermath of the Holocaust?

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves

So let's say im living in the Third Reich. A Jew, homosexual, communist, or social Democrat comes to my door and tells me the Gestapo are after then they need my help. I'm supposed to report then to the Gestapo because it is the mandate of God?
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Re: Romans 13 and the Holocaust

Postby jimwalton » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:39 am

Romans 13 holds up the legitimacy of governmental authority but not the legitimacy of every political ruler. Hitler was a monster and did not deserve honor.

Romans 13 follows the end of Romans 12: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." The sequence is because so much evil is brought out in human government. Even a quick look at history makes that clear.

Paul isn't taking away legitimate checks on evil rulers and depraved government. State authorities, according to Jesus (Mt. 22.21: Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's), should get only what is due to them. Many early Christians were martyred (possibly including Paul) for defying the governmental authorities.

Romans 13.1: The Christian who subjects himself to governing authorities still retains his moral independence and judgment (Acts 5.29). Government as an institution is ordered by God, because even lousy government is better than anarchy. But the text doesn't say that whatever the government does or asks of its citizens is good or should be allowed. Submission to the government is not to be equated with uncritical, blind obedience to the authority's every command. Paul didn't use the word "obey," possibly deliberately. God is not said to have ordained (create and approve) the powers that be, but only to tell them what their place is: to do good, to promote justice, and to punish wrong (Rom. 13.4). Paul certainly isn't arguing for the divine right of kings or government, but only for government as an institution. Nor does Paul oppose revolution for a change of government, given the right conditions. What he opposes is all lawlessness and disorder.

It's not the case that each individual ruler has God's stamp of approval to be in his/her position. If the government or the person in charge fails to perform the duties of government (affirm the good, punish the bad, enforce justice, advocate for the downtrodden), it loses its authority. It then becomes the duty of Christians and responsible citizens to teach that this has become an unjust government, worthy of rebellion. It can become the duty of Christian citizens to rise up against it, not because they are against the government, but because they are in favor of *proper* government.

> So let's say im living in the Third Reich. A Jew, homosexual, communist, or social Democrat comes to my door and tells me the Gestapo are after then they need my help. I'm supposed to report then to the Gestapo because it is the mandate of God?

Nope. You're supposed to have the courage to run away or to rebel. Many Christians (as well as others) in Europe hid Jews in defiance of the Third Reich. Some prominent pastors were involved in an assassination plot against Hitler and were executed for it.

Hitler was a monster and deserved the uprising of conscientious, moral people.


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