Romans 13:1-7 — Should we resist ruthless regimes?

Still in today’s world, we have ruthless totalitarian/authoritarian dictatorships and regimes who are bent on killing innocent people and committing genocide (e.g., Assad of Syria, and Kim Jong-Il (through indirect starvation)).  There are also  governments that might not be as bad but are yet marginally ruthless. The bible has been used by some Christians, like Mennonites, to justify passive obedience, even in cases of ruthless dictatorships and regimes.  In Romans 13:1-7, Paul says this:

Romans 13: 1 Let 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? (ESV)

In what case should Christians refuse to submit to such governing authorities?

Should we as Christians never, in any case, rebel against the governing authorities?

Or would we be within ethical boundaries to physically and even violently resist abusive governments?

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

4 thoughts on “Romans 13:1-7 — Should we resist ruthless regimes?”

  1. A very difficult question.
    I believe that if government dictates for us to do something that violates God’s mandates as we understand them-which should also be our convictions-then we should resist. Since our understanding of God’s mandates may not be the final word, I am hesitant to say one should use violence. Personally, I do not care for violence. How many people have understood the Word of God to say that abortion is wrong and then hauled off and killed the workers at a clinic? I just do not think this is what God is wanting.
    I believe that in countries where one is permitted to vote and one does not vote at all or not intelligently [meaning they follow the bandwagon] for our leaders, one is supporting ruthlessness by default. This does not mean that if one votes and the desired candidate loses that the voter has supported a ruthless leader, it means that if the person does not vote at all, that person is permitting ruthlessness to flourish without resistance.
    Once someone is voted in, if they are ruthless, then I go back to my first statement. There is a time to fight, but what a difficult question it is to decide when that time has come about. I would choose using channels the law has provided first, even if I know the courts are not quite spotless.
    I hope other people comment on this as I am quite interested in expanding my information base on this subject.

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  2. Sunday, it seems the challenge is knowing when is the right time to resist. Throughout history many countries did not resist ruthless dictators and we’re still doing the same.

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  3. Sunday, it’s a very interesting article. A mandatory government-approved RFID chip is definitely very invasive–even the nth degree. I don’t know why more Americans are not complaining and suing the federal government over this. Where are the civil liberties groups? This goes against every person’s freedom–especially when it’s used in such a manipulative way and tied to federal funding.

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