Romans 13:1 is an oft-quoted passage in Christian scriptures. A small sentence nestled in the middle of a powerful letter from Paul the Apostle to a church in Rome, these few words have been taken to mean a lot of things they simply could not mean in the context of the letter, Paul’s other letters, the entire body of New Covenant scripture, or the whole Bible. Continue reading
Why do we have a problem with authority?
I get it. I very much do. In my youth I gained a general distrust of authority figures of all types, from clergy to cops, from politicians to privateers, from bureaucrats to bad parents. I didn’t get into scuffles with authorities or break the law. I wasn’t much of a rebel. But I wasn’t a fan of people having too much power. I was not a fan of being told what to do when I have no idea why I am told to do it the way I am told to. I didn’t like unnecessary pressure to conform. I didn’t like to hear “because I said so,” “I’m in charge, that’s why,” or even “by the power invested in me by the state of ________.” But here’s the thing: I still maintained respect.
The last chapter discussed what Jesus meant by “bringing a sword”.
In Chapter 11, Andy Alexis-Baker looks at the case study of a Roman Soldier: “What About the Centurion?”
The argument has gone that since the centurion showed great faith, and that Jesus commended him, and did not tell him to leave the service, that it was ok for the centurion to be a soldier, and thus it’s ok for Christians to war.
But if you grew up with the heritage of faith that I did, you are very very familiar with how the whole “making arguments from silence” thing works. I’ve seen whole debates on whether silence is permissive or prohibitive (or either of these exclusively). Baker says “Jesus’ silence on the centurion’s profession has become a tacit endorsement of Christians becoming involved in state-sponsored killing.”