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Our Moral Obligation to Disobey

I just finished teaching a class entitled, God & Government, at our Living Stones College. We had approximately 35 eager and excited students take part and a good time was had by all! In the class we discussed the thorny and complex issue of civil disobedience. When is it right for a law abiding, authority honoring Christian to disobey civil authories and the laws they create?

Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, argued that an unjust law is no law at all. Every elected official, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, is accountable to God and His Law. When elected officials pass laws in direct opposition to the Scriptures, these laws become unjust laws and must be disobeyed. Charles Colson, in his book God & Government, explains, “Any government that violates the law that is higher than its own is exceeding the legitimate authority God has granted.”

I have had to wrestle with all of the “what ifs” of life under the Obama administration. What if the government run health care plan is enacted and I am forced to use my tax dollars to pay for abortion. Do I peacefully stop paying taxes and pay the consequences?

What if hate crime legislation is enacted and it becomes against the law to preach on the wickedness of sexual perversion? Do I preach the whole counsel of God anyway?

What if you work in the health care industry and you are now federally mandated to provide abortions or to fill prescriptions for medications that destroy life. Do you follow your conscience even though it may cost you your job?

These are the real life issues Christians must face when the government violates its sacred trust with God and the people. Dietrich Bonhoffer, the Christian pastor murdered by the Nazis for his bold, ¬†prophetic resistance to their wicked agenda wrote, “If government persistently and arbitrarily violates its assigned task, then the divine mandate lapses.”

I believe we are dangerously close to witnessing a “divine lapse” in our day.

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