How Does God Use the State To Advance His Kingdom? Re:Romans 13

How Does God Use the State To Advance His Kingdom? Re:Romans 13

In this episode of Biblical Anarchy, we confront the complexities of Romans 13 and the nature of governing authorities. We’ll also scrutinize the presuppositions associated with state power and the conduct of Christians under different types of governance.

Acknowledging the diverse Christian perspectives on this issue, we’ll juxtapose our own interpretations with those from other Christian perspectives, including other libertarian and anarchist viewpoints. Specifically, I talk about Stephen Rose of the Anarcho-Christian podcast and some interactions we’ve had over our different interpretations. We delve into the significance of good conduct in relation to state authority and challenge the conflation of governance with the state apparatus.

Our discussion goes beyond a mere exploration of the text to question the effectiveness of political power in upholding righteousness. With an eye towards the history of nations and the calling of our faith, we’ll encourage a focus on Jesus Christ as the ultimate hope and leader. Join us as we search for a deeper understanding of governance, authority, and our place as Christians in this world.


Main Points of Discussion

00:00 An analysis of Romans 13 and government.

04:32 Romans 13 supports civil governance and challenges indoctrination. It emphasizes the distinction between governance and the state, highlighting that the state didn’t exist in Old Testament Israel until the institution of a monarchy.

09:03 Defining governing authorities and their diverse types and interpretations.

11:41 Romans 13 challenges Christian submission to governing authorities by questioning whether the authorities are actually not a terror to those who do good works, as the text suggests. The argument goes on to reject the concept of the state as an initiation of coercion, fundamentally opposing the interpretation of Romans 13. It acknowledges that there are different perspectives within the Christian libertarian and anarchist traditions, including the viewpoint held by Stephen Rose of the Anarcho-Christian podcast.

16:14 Good found in faith, not in politics or leaders.

18:45 Interpreting scripture’s depth and secondary conclusions while reading. The text affirms the importance of understanding layers in the scripture and the need to look beyond the surface meaning.

22:18 Understanding authority and doing good for approval. The text discusses not fearing authority but doing good to gain their approval. It emphasizes a positive view of authority and suggests that doing good will lead to gaining the approval of those in authority. It also disputes a negative interpretation of the passage, emphasizing the positive context of authority in the text.

27:00 Questioning interpretation of God’s approval in Romans 13.

29:20 Obedience to God and state leads to good.

34:17 Disagreement on interpretation of state authority and its impact on individuals.

39:01 Agreement with conclusion despite disagreement on approach.

40:32 Election season rhetoric manipulates Christian beliefs to sway votes.


Additional Resources


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