It’s Independence Day once again, when hundreds of millions of Americans will celebrate a history most of them know very little about. One of the high holy days of what has become American civic religion, it’s very probable that the Founding Fathers would greatly lament what it has become. However, what Americans have done to the Fourth of July pales in comparison to the far more important issue of what countless Christians have done to Romans 13.
On this special Fourth of July episode, Dr. Jamin Hübner returns to lead a discussion on the context, exegesis, and theology of Romans 13. We discuss the historical background of the text, the history of Judaism and early Christianity on state relations, the practical and theological arguments of Romans, and how the ancient Christians understood it. Statist nationalism and a reflexive “my country, right or wrong” attitude find a sharp rebuke here, but so do the patriot-revolutionaries who would seek to overthrow the state. Instead, Romans 13 calls us to the deeper third way of Christ: one that recognizes the intrinsic evil of the state and requires us to not take part in its evils, while at the same time commands that we refuse to participate in sedition and violent revolution. The apostolic command is to pursue peace and the gospel, trusting that King Jesus will ultimately put all power, rule and authority under His feet, and that Resurrection Sunday is our real Independence Day from the tyranny of sin, Satan and death.