Try this logic: 1. Husbands and Wives “. . . as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” Eph 5:24 Unless your husband asks you to sin, you should submit to him right? 2. Elders and Church Members “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls . . .” Heb 13:17 Unless your elders asks you to sin, you should submit to them right? 3. Slaves and Masters “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth . . .” Col 3:22 Unless your master asks you to sin, you should submit to him right? 4. Parents and Children “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things . . .” Col 3:20 Unless your parents asks you to sin, you should submit to them right? Or, do we recognize there are limits to their authority tethered to the role God has given them? Do we understand that there are levels of abuse wives, church members, slaves, and children are not required to willingly endure? This is common knowledge in these four areas. For example: – Husbands cannot tell their wives specifically how to do their job at work when that role is given to employers. – Church leaders shouldn’t discipline children when that role is given to parents. How is someone required to submit in multiple areas supposed to adjudicate a conflict between authority structures placed over them? For example, a slave, church-member, and wife who is told three different things by three different God-given authorities in her life? The obvious answer in all of this is, submit to the authorities in their areas of authority over you. This logically necessitates undermining authoritative overreaches. The Bible is FILLED with such examples. – Abigail undermined her husband, Nabal, to submit to the king and the Lord. 1 Sam 25 – Aaron (a slave) undermined Pharoah (magisterial authority and slave master), in order to submit to Moses (Ecclesiastical authority) and God. Ex 7:9 – Jehoshabeath undermined her mother, Athaliah, to save Josiah. (2 Chron 22) – The Hebrew midwives (Ex 1) and Rahab (Josh 2) both undermined the governing authorities to save lives. – Daniel refused to change his public prayer habits to appease King Darius (Dan 6). In many of these cases (and more!) those challenging authority could have submitted and justified that their submission wasn’t sinful.
Nothing in God’s law said Daniel HAD to pray publicly.
Nothing in Gods law REQUIRED Abigail to help David.
Nothing in God’s law said Rahab NEEDED to protect the spies.
Nothing in God’s law MANDATED Jehoshabeath to hide Josiah.
They could have justified submitting to tyranny without sinning in each case. However, acted as if they were not REQUIRED to obey tyrannical overreach.
Russell Moore and ERLC understand this principle to some extent.
They have held a “Caring Well” conference to respond to what they see as abuse in the church. They don’t say, “Women should just submit to the sinful desires of male leaders because it’s not their sin.”
Instead, they actually rightly understand that women are not required to comply with, in this case, sinful commands.
Why then, do we have such a hard time applying this same principle to Rom 13:1?
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.”
If we support examples of slaves, children, wives, and church members, deviating from submission to various hierarchies of which submission is REQUIRED, because those authorities have exceeded their role, why can’t we carry this principle over into the realm of government?