How can anyone who claims to be a child of God, also be critical of those in positions of authority.

The Bible is God’s revealed word to humanity, and Christians claim this as the book of life, their guide for life.

Here’s what the Lord says, “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.  Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Would you have no fear of him who is in authority:  Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant  for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due”.  –  Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To Timothy, Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.  This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all,..”

Peter, writing to the Christians exiled in the Dispersion: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.  Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.  Honor all men. Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”

Jesus to the Pharisees, who wanted to entangle him, when they ask…..“Tell us, then, what you think.  Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”  But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the money for the tax”  And they brought him a coin.  And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this:”  They said, “Caesar’s”  Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.”

John the Baptizer paid the ultimate price for confronting the immorality of King Herod.  Herod beheaded him.

God sent the prophet Jonah to warn the great city of Nineveh to turn from it’s sin, and they listened.

Then this account for which the Latin ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’ must have been written.  No earthly ruler should allow him/herself to be addressed as ‘Your worship’ or any other title that clearly belongs to the Almighty Creator of the universe. ……Rulers are to be servants, for the good of the people…… “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.  At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty”?  While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken:  The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”  – Daniel

Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth.  Anyone claiming to be saved by the death and resurrection of the Son of God must take the Bible seriously, from Genesis to Revelation.  Should true Christians just accept whatever yoke is placed on their shoulders, just meekly accept whatever is decreed by the earthly ruler?

The only way to not take any Scripture out of context, is to read the whole of God’s revelation to us, and to read it often.  Since this is His book, we need to ask Him for understanding. Not one of us will fully understand God until we see him face to face.  Paul says, “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

Taken in it’s entirety, the Bible has much to say about unjust rulers and unjust employers, and the Lord has a lot to say about justice.  In this present, fallen world, injustice almost looks like the norm. How does the genuine believer reconcile what seems to be God’s command to obey earthly ‘rulers’, if those rulers make bad decisions?  Perhaps a politician or his party are even corrupt, – then what?  “When justice is perverted the land mourns.”

North Korea is a stunning example of horribly evil leaders who care nothing about starvation and death in that dreadful place.  The rulers are fat and wealthy, and keep ‘their’ people completely enslaved, and in the dark about the world beyond their tightly-guarded borders.

But to a lesser degree, that is the fate of other peoples, in other countries, and coming right down to the Christian Church, too often ‘pastors’ try to maintain a cult-like control over congregations.  Carried far enough, those groups are held in a grip that saps the joy of the Lord out of their souls.  Those who can finally tear themselves out of such ‘church’ groups are deeply wounded, and many turn away from the living God, mistaking Him for the paltry human who had god-like pretensions.

Christians – of all people should use their minds to discern truth from error.  Christianity is the most liberating force on earth.   All of humanity has fallen under the curse of sin, and only Emmanuel, God with us, can redeem us.  No preacher, no monk, no guru, no ‘pope’, (who is called ‘holy father’ – words Jesus used when praying to God), can liberate us from that curse.  Jesus Christ did that for any one who would call on him for salvation.

Politicians make decisions that impact on our economy, industry, health, environment, law enforcement.  I do not believe that  Almighty God wants his children to  meekly accept political decisions, as if winning an election has suddenly transformed neighbour Joe into an all-wise, all-powerful deity, who can no longer be questioned.

Bear in mind that power is often attained through electoral cheating, or seized by outright brute force.

In some countries it takes a lot of courage to challenge the leadership, a price understood by those brave people who still speak out.  Those who can and sometimes do face the loss of their positions,  families,  freedom, and ultimately their lives for questioning bad leadership are heroes.  We in the Western world have  freedom that others can hardly imagine.

That freedom is a direct result of the Judeo-Christian world-view, something that is under constant threat now.

I see the make-believe stories of our evolutionary ascent from microbe to man primarily as an attack on God.  If you can just convince yourself that He does not really exist, and you won’t really have to face him and answer for your life, then you’re free,…….free of any moral restraints.

Very few theological colleges will stand on the foundation of Genesis now, so fewer pulpits teach the creation account given to us by the Creator.

So back to the question.  How can a Christian criticize ‘leaders’?  Well on this brief journey, we all , at best, see through a glass dimly, and no Christian has it all figured out. But everyone should take  time in their lives to sharpen the wonderful minds God has given us.  We are all fallible, including every government and politician on earth.

So we all need to inform ourselves, and engage ourselves in the real world around us.  Discern truth from error.  Only then can we vote with more wisdom, and hold our political leaders to account.

Democracy,  ‘Of the people, by the people, for the people,’…… while not a perfect system, is still the best form of government in the world.  But democracy requires an informed and engaged people, in order to survive.

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