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Should Christians participate in public demonstrations against the Civil Governmental Authorities?
by Robert Randle
7/04/2009 / Christian Living
Almost everyday the broadcast and print media bombard the public with 24 hours of sensational, tabloid journalism which only heighten our sense of anxiety, pessimism, misery, and frustration. Many Americans are losing their jobs and are without health insurance, the high gas prices, the war in Afghanistan & Iraq, the exponential growth of the federal deficit, devaluation of the dollar, and not to mention the strain on the economy when the nearly 65 million to 100 million "Baby Boomers" reach retirement age within the next 10 years. Add to sad fact that 'ENRON' was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to retirement and 401-K pension funds because 95% of retirees don't have enough savings to live on, anyway.
Many families are facing the reality that they might have to care for aging parents and "elder care" might become a national issue as it has among the Japanese in recent decades. Also, the prosperity of America is challenged by economic powerhouses China and India, who have some of the fastest growing economies in the world and both countries combined account for roughly, one-third of the global population. In fact, India has now achieved a milestone in 20 years to have nearly 365 million middle-class families, which is more than the entire United States population. When a person feels helpless and as though they are unnoticed and invisible, it is easy to want to complain, criticize, denounce and voice outrage toward political leaders for our misfortunes, but is this the way for a Christian to behave? What would belieing Christians do today if they were subjected to a few of the following examples?
Matthew 26: 57, 59, 67-68
And those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and elders were gathered together. Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death. Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?"
Luke 23: 4, 13-16, 20-24
And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no guilt in this man." And Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you have made against Him. "No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. "I will therefore punish Him and release Him." And Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, saying, "Crucify, crucify Him!" And he [Pilate] said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; I will therefore punish Him and release Him" But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that he be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand should be granted.
Acts 12: 1-3
Now about that time, Herod the king [Agrippa I??] laid hands on some belonging to the church in order to mistreat them, And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. . .
Acts 18: 12, 16-17
But while Gallio was pro-counsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, and he drove them away from the judgment seat. And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. And Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.
Acts 23: 33; 24: 22, 26-27
And when these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the "Way," put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case." At the same time too, he [Felix] was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he used to send for him quite often and converse with him. But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.
NOTE: In the aforementioned, these men had perverted justice and abused their power as civil servants and representatives of the people, and so what are believers to do about the circumstances experienced in these times of today? How would you act if you were abused while in police custody, falsely imprisoned, or someone perjured themselves at your trial? How would you act if Federal or State Laws denied you Civil Rights, Due Process in the Courts, Military service, equal housing, or employment and promotional opportunities because of your race, gender, or lifestyle choice? What if a loved one spent years in 'solitary confinement' or was on "Death Row" and later given "LETHAL INJECTION," but you knew they were innocent? The medicine for this remedy is a painful pill to swallow as referenced in the following:
Titus 3: 1
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.
I Peter 2: 13-15, 17
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king.
Romans 13: 1-7
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you not want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword of God in vain; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscious sake. For because of this we pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom is due; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
I Timothy 2: 1-3
First of all, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made in behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may live a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
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