Daily Archives: March 3, 2021

After Ravi Zacharias Report, Christians Examine How to Avoid ‘Betrayal Blindness’ — The Roys Report

Stephen Baughman thought he was done with Ravi Zacharias.

From 2015 to 2020, Baughman, a San Francisco attorney, musician and writer known as the “Banjo Atheist,” had been blogging and posting videos about what he called the “Ravi scam” — a series of scandals involving the famed evangelist and head of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. 

Then Zacharias died in May of 2020.

“I was ready to wash my hands of it,” Baughman said.

Not long after Zacharias’ funeral, however, he got a message from a woman who said she had worked as a massage therapist at a spa the evangelist had co-owned in the Atlanta area. She had reached out to Baughman because she thought he might be the only person who would believe her.

Zacharias, the spa worker said, had demanded sexual favors from the therapists who worked for him.

“I was floored,” said Baughman, recalling the conversation from the boat he calls home in San Francisco.

After talking to Zacharias’ former business partner and a second spa worker, Baughman posted a video last September about the spas and the alleged abuse that went on there. He also connected the former spa worker with a reporter from Christianity Today, who found other former spa workers with their own stories of abuse and harassment.

That story, published in September 2020, prompted Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, which had long denied any wrongdoing on the part of its founder, to hire a law firm to investigate Zacharias’ conduct. Released last month, the report detailed a long history of deception and misconduct by the late evangelist.

After Ravi Zacharias Report, Christians Examine How to Avoid ‘Betrayal Blindness’ — The Roys Report

How to Bridge the Cultural Divide (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast S7E01) — Cold Case Christianity

We seem more divided now than ever before? What can reunite us and guide us toward a better tomorrow? How can we bridge the cultural divide? What role does Christianity play in this process? J. Warner answers these questions as he examines what the Gospel offers in this episode of the NRBtv Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast.

Be sure to watch the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast on NRBtv every Monday and Saturday! In addition, here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/18115892/height/360/theme/legacy/thumbnail/yes/direction/backward/

For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

How to Bridge the Cultural Divide (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast S7E01) — Cold Case Christianity

March 3 Evening Quotes of The Day

Grace the Seed, Glory the Flower
Psalm 84:11; John 1:14; Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 4:15

Grace and glory differ very little; the one is the seed, the other is the flower; grace is glory militant, and glory is grace triumphant; and a man may as well plead for equal degrees of grace in this world, as he may plead for equal degrees of glory in the other world.

THOMAS BROOKS

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Calvin’s Definition of Original Sin
Romans 3:9, 23; 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 5:19

Original sin … may be defined as a hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works that in Scripture are termed works of the flesh.

JOHN CALVIN

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Hell: What Will You Infer? (Part II) | theLAB

by Kris Brossett

In Part I of Kris Brossett’s series he discussed three views of hell, including Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT), Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality (ACI), and Christian Universalism (CU). In this second section, Kris investigates the biblical evidence to analyze these three positions according to his matrix of “mysterious” and “definitive.”

Interacting with the Biblical Witness

Ultimately, hell is what hell is, regardless of what we believe. Our statements about hell, right or wrong, cannot change hell, even if they change how we feel.

This is not a means of escape⎯rather, it’s the sobering reality. Hell certainly exists. None of the positions I’ve examined in Part I deny its existence. Instead, “they differ on what hell is like.”1 We must acknowledge and wrestle with the reality of hell. Getting this wrong can have grave consequences, so we must turn to the text, identify what is definitive and mysterious about hell, then appeal to the testimony of tradition.

What of Eternal Conscious Torment?

The traditional view (ECT) has a strong case. It’s been the dominant view ever since the canonization of Scripture. Further, there are clear passages that seem to teach ECT. In Matthew 25:41 the unrighteous will be thrown “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” We learn in Revelation 19:20 that those who accept the mark of the beast will also be thrown into the lake of fire. In Revelation 20:10 the devil is thrown into the lake of fire where he will be tormented day and night forever. In Revelation 20:15: “anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” These passages seem to teach that all who enter the lake of fire will be tormented forever.

ECT advocates, however, must make sense of the overwhelming amount of passages that seem to teach complete destruction.2For instance, they usually claim that the dead bodies in Isaiah 66:24⎯which Jesus refers to in Mark 9:49⎯are actually resurrected bodies. Denny Burk suggests “that God’s enemies have been given a body fit for an unending punishment.”3 There is no other way that the bodies are not completely devoured. However, this would also imply a type of resurrected maggot. Edward Fudge’s deduction may be correct:

The fire will burn and the maggots will devour so long as anything is left to devour. Nothing stops them from their task. The fire is not extinguished. The worm does not die. Someday nothing will be left of these corpses. Then the fires can go out and the worms can finally die. But not a moment before.4

While Fudge draws a logical conclusion, he must make an inference outside the clear reading of the text. However, to Fudge’s point, the text doesn’t say the bodies will be resurrected bodies either. It must be noted that ECT enthusiasts must also make an inference and cannot say for sure.

What of Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality?

There is an equally strong case for ACI. As noted above, the many passages that speak of the final state of the wicked seem to imply complete annihilation. Eternal doesn’t have to mean unending, but can also mean permanent. As Stackhouse notes, “‘Eternal’ does indeed have something to do with ‘lasting forever,’ but in each case in Scripture we have to be careful to understand what it is that lasts forever: the thing or event being described, or its implications?”5 If eternal does mean permanent and not unending, if destruction does mean complete annihilation, and if consuming fire does not mean tormenting fire, then ACI proponents have a case.

There are still some passages that cause ACI to lose steam. ACI advocates must reconcile the fire in Revelation 20:15 that torments forever, never to stop. If this is the case, the entire ACI position falls apart.

What of Christian Universalism?

Christian universalism is seeded with inconsistencies. While one may say that it is a proper Christian hope that all are saved, I disagree. It’s like saying it is a proper Christian wish that sin never entered the world. It’s too late; sin is already here. It’s not a proper Christian hope that all will be saved, because the Bible clearly says that some will be damned (2 Thess 2:9-12). This concept distracts Christians from the sobering hope found only in Christ.

It’s true that God desires all to be saved, but that doesn’t mean it will happen⎯it means that no person is out of reach. You can be optimistic even in the darkest of times. There is hope for your neighbor, your difficult family member, and your wayward child. You can hope for what seems impossible, because all things are possible with God (Matt 19:26).

Still, this is a sobering hope. Not all will make it across the finish line. That’s why wishing sin weren’t in the world is futile; it does nothing for your neighbor now. Instead, Christians are to grieve sin, live for the good of others, and preach Christ, with hope.

It’s also inconsistent to consider the restorative punishment in the Old Testament as a model for the future. In Scripture, Robin Parry rightly notes, “Punishment…functions as a deterrent (Deut. 13:11), as a warning to repent (Rev. 14:7 in context), and as a means of delivering victims from their abusers (2 Thess. 1:6-7a).” While Parry acknowledges that “tradition rightly points out… [the] retributive aspect of punishment,” he also thinks that “punishment itself is not merely suffering inflicted as a deserved consequence for wrong deeds.” Instead, Parry reminds us that “[t]he primary end of God’s justice, with respect to creation, is not punishment, but salvation.” He is correct⎯to a fault.

To view hell as restorative punishment is to force the text to say what it doesn’t say. For instance, the restorative punishment in the Old Testament did not restore everyone. While God preserved a remnant, his “anger burned against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of the Lord was destroyed (Num 32:13).” It does not say that these were restored. Instead, God kept his promise to Abraham and preserved his offspring. At another point, God was going to destroy Aaron, but Moses prayed for him (Deut 9:20). Was that an empty threat? There was hope for Aaron while he was alive, but destruction was almost his  destiny.

Parry argues that God’s dealings with all of humanity are patterned after God’s dealings with Israel and Judah. This interpretation falls apart upon reading the passages in Jeremiah 30 referenced earlier. While God promises to restore Israel and Judah, he also promises to devour those who’ve previously devoured them (Jer 30:16). Also, not all Israel and Judah received God’s favor. It’s later revealed that “the people who survived the sword found favor in the wilderness (Jer 31:2).” This isn’t a pattern for God’s judgment, but for God’s promise (Gen 17:7-8).

Further, in Deuteronomy 9, to annihilate is to blot out of heaven (to erase). Those who died in the wilderness were destroyed by God⎯blotted out of heaven. This is the basis of the restorative punishment of the Old Testament: God killed an entire generation to warn the next. For this reason a loving parent does not spare the rod (Prov 13:24). The purpose of inflicting pain is to warn of the pain that comes from continuing in sin.

If there’s no pain after hell, the CU argument collapses. It means that the purpose of pain in hell is not restorative, but punitive⎯unless the possibility of hell is ongoing. If the pain of hell is meant to warn of the ongoing suffering in hell, then ongoing suffering in hell must be an option. However, if ongoing suffering is an option, then the CU position fails again⎯unless Christ forces himself onto all. Even still, there would be no threat of ongoing suffering and the purpose of the pain would be merely punitive. If ongoing suffering is not an option, then it is also not restorative. Instead, it is merely punitive again. If hell is merely punitive, then God can do what he wishes. If he desires to annihilate⎯or perpetually inflict his wrath⎯it is God’s prerogative.

If hell is restorative⎯which I don’t believe it is⎯the Christian universalist has more questions to answer. For instance, does God send the people who die without ever hearing the gospel to hell just to get their attention? If all will be saved, does the CU wish to infer that God inflicts pain to get what he wants? Does this not make God the abusive sadist they cannot accept?6 If God does not force himself onto people, the CU must accept the possibility that the punishment of hell may not always achieve restoration⎯and acknowledge the potential for eternal conscious torment. Studies show that you cannot trust a person crying out in torment.7 They will say anything to stop the pain. There’s no way to deny that hell is full of torment, and the Scriptures teach that God, knowing this, will send some there. It is, indeed, God who casts into the lake of fire.

In my estimation, the Christian universalist wants God to be what he is not and makes the text say what it does not. Does God want all to be saved? Yes! Did God want sin to enter the world? No! It seems that God allows for things he doesn’t want in order to accomplish that which he wills. God does not want any to perish, but some will. However, God sent Jesus so that some will not. And these numbers are not for humans to determine⎯that is left for mystery.

Like Parry, I believe that the end of God’s justice is salvation; God is making all things new (Rev 21:5). However, I do not believe he is making all people new. All does not have to mean every. I can say that all forms of human government are corrupt without saying that every government official is corrupt. Similarly, God can save all the nations without saving every person within each nation. This is what the Scriptures clearly teache.

Consider what John the Baptist says in Matthew 3:11-12:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.”

Consider how Jesus explains the parable of the wheat in Matthew 13:37-43:

“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed⎯these are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom all who cause sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen.”

Finally, consider how Jesus describes the coming judgment in Matthew 25:31-34, 41, and 46:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…’”

“Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!…’”

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Each of these passages refers to people. The text makes a clear distinction between those who will enter the kingdom of God and those who will be cast out. Since there is one death and one judgment, what happens at the final judgment is permanent (Heb 9:26-28). It’s sobering to realize that God is making all things new by purifying the world of sin and wickedness⎯including wicked people. It is for this purpose that Revelation 22:13-15 is an urgent plea:

“Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

At first, CU seems noble. With further study, it can be dangerous because it gives false hope. Even the Christian universalist believes that hell is horrible⎯but not horrible enough. As a person who has spent multiple years in prison, I’ll say that temporal hell doesn’t seem that bad. I know many individuals who have no problem going to prison. If they know they’ll eventually be released, it gives license to their criminal behavior. This isn’t to say that every person will have this opinion if they’re taught that CU is true, but one is too many. If hell is eternal⎯and I believe it is⎯postmortem hope is devastating.

In conclusion, the CU position relies on postmortem salvation. While this belief breaks down at many levels, the biblical breakdown is primary. This is a textbook example of forcing that which is mysterious onto that which is definitive.

In Conclusion

We don’t know for sure what hell will be like in its entirety. But we do know that it’s real, permanent, punitive, and some will go there.8 The doctrine of hell should thrust believers toward evangelism. The hope of the gospel should give believers confidence. God sent his Son to save the world, and Jesus built a Church to be his hands and feet⎯to bring forth his kingdom (1 Cor 12:27; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8; 1 Pet 2:9).

I don’t believe hell should be used as a scare tactic to coerce people into following Jesus. The knowledge of hell must be the fire under our feet, leading all Christians to love the world with the consuming love of Jesus⎯humbly.

As I’ve noted many times in this essay, the problem with interpreting hell is not that we don’t have enough information. Instead, we make mistakes when we try to make hell into what the Scriptures do not warrant. There are both mysterious and definitive things about hell, and we must leave each in its proper place. By surveying the text, we’ve seen what is definitive; we have also seen what is not. I’ve noted that all three belief systems must make inferences to arrive at their conclusions. I do not believe that all inferences are justified. Regarding hell, the question for each of us becomes, “What will you infer?”

Source: Hell: What Will You Infer? (Part II)

What is Hell? Three Views (Part 1) | theLAB

Photo by Paul Bulai on Unsplash

by Kris Brossett

What does God say about hell? What is left to mystery and what is definitively revealed in the biblical texts? Not everyone arrives at the same place when they survey the Scriptures, so how are we to respond? Different conclusions have eternal ramifications. I believe the differences lie in disagreements surrounding that which is definitive and that which is mysterious.

Three Views of Hell

In this article I will examine three views of hell: (1) eternal conscious torment, (2) annihilationism/conditional immortality, and (3) Christian universalism. I’ll state the claims of each belief system. I will interact with each view alongside the biblical witness. Finally, I’ll explore some practical implications at stake when interpreting hell.

Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT)

Eternal conscious torment (ECT) is the traditional view of hell that has “been held for at least 1,600 years by almost the entire Christian world.”1 It is argued that Augustine’s (354-430) City of God was a major player in solidifying this position.2 Given that “the present NT canon of twenty-seven books surfaces for the first time at the end of the fourth century and is accepted, almost generally, from the end of the sixth century,” it can be argued that the traditional view of hell has been held by the majority of Christians since the canonization of the Bible.3 But does this view stand the test of Scripture? Let’s consider it in light of the biblical witness.

In the Counterpoints book Four Views of HellDenny Burk declares that “the Bible teaches eternal conscious torment in a place called hell as the lot of every person who dies in an unrepentant state.”4  Since sin is “an infinitely heinous offense” against an “infinitely glorious being,” all sin “is worthy of an infinitely heinous punishment.”5 “All those who fail to experience saving faith in Jesus while they are alive in this age will be resurrected and condemned when Christ returns. They will then be cast into hell where they will suffer never-ending punishment.” For saints, this is a “source of joy and praise…as they witness the infinite goodness and justice of God (Rev. 18:20; 19:3).”6 Hell is God’s wrath against sin as an outworking of his goodness and justice. Since all will be resurrected to an eternal destiny, ECT proponents believe the eternal nature of the resurrection implies unending suffering.

Burk surveys eleven passages (Isa 66:22-24; Dan 12:2-3; Matt 18:6-9; Matt 25:31-46; Mark 9:42-48; 2 Thess 1:6-10; Jude 7, 13; Rev 14:9-11; Rev 20:10, 14-15), noting “that the final state of the damned has at least three characteristics: (1) final separation, (2) unending experience, and (3) just retribution.”7 ECT hinges on the definitive statements in these passages about the three characteristics Burk identifies.

Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality (ACI)

Recently “the annihilation view of hell has grown in popularity among evangelicals.”8 ACI advocates agree that hell is God’s just retribution for sin:9permanent, literal, and terrifying. ACI and ECT enthusiasts agree on many things. In both views, once the boat sails, there’s no return. The difference is, ECT proponents believe the boat is headed toward a permanent fiery prison, while those who hold to ACI believe the boat will eventually be destroyed.

In his book Hell: A Final WordEdward Fudge challenges readers to “visualize an ancient site of executions, where Roman soldiers are viciously scourging ten men… [after which the men are] nailed to crosses, where they will hang until life is gone.”10 Fudge notes that this image depicts punishment. The situation “described [is] the penal consequence of crimes committed, as officially ordered by a judge with authority to pronounce guilt and to pass sentence based on law.”11 Quoting Mark 9:43-47, Fudge declares that “[w]hat happens in hell in the Age to Come will be the consequence of choices, actions and inactions here and now.”12 While some believe hell is restorative, both ACI and ECT views reject this claim. Hell is permanent punishment for sin.

Unlike ECT enthusiasts, ACI proponents don’t think hell is unending⎯they emphasize the finite nature of humankind. While ECT stresses that sinning against an infinite God requires an infinite response, it can equally be said that a finite being can only sin finitely against an infinite God.13 There will be an end to punishment, followed by complete annihilation.

ACI advocates take issue with how “eternal” has been traditionally understood. In Four Views of HellJohn Stackhouse shows that the word “can have qualitative as well as quantitative denotations.” An “event or action itself can properly be called ‘eternal’ because of its everlasting implication.” When the Bible speaks of “eternal” punishment, it means “permanent” and not “unending.”14

ACI proponents take the words “death” and “destruction” at face value15⎯meaning annihilation. Yet those who hold to ECT believe that death is figurative for eternal torment. Consider this excerpt by Edward Fudge:

Because almost every advocate of eternal torment makes this “figurative meaning” argument about perish and destroy every time the Bible says the wicked will finally perish and be destroyed, someone might go away thinking that the words perish and destroy usually mean something other than their simple meaning as we all understand it. That is not the reality, however. And because it is so very much not the reality, it might be helpful if we take a moment to notice how New Testament writers use perish and destroy most often. Or, in other words, we need to be sure we understand the common, usual, regular, ordinary, literal, primary meaning of those two words (and of the Greek word behind them both in the New Testament).16

Fudge then examines eleven passages (Matt 8:25, 12-14, 16:25, 21:41, 22:7, 26:52, 27:20; John 11:50; Acts 5:37; 1 Cor 10:9-10; Jude 5, 11)17 and draws the following conclusion:

It’s quite obvious that the authors of these eleven sentences expect us to read these verbs of destruction with their basic, face-value meaning isn’t it? Why should we not understand “perish” and “destroy” equally literally in John 3:16 and in Matthew 10:28?18

But what about passages like Isaiah 66:22-24 that say the “worm will never die” and the “fire will never go out”? When speaking of hell, Jesus references this passage in Mark 9:42-50. Does this not imply unending torment? Not for ACI enthusiasts. Instead, the worm will devour the dead bodies and the fire will consume them. There will be nothing left.

ACI proponents believe that eternal destruction awaits those who reject God in the present life. “Everyone gets their just deserts, if they are not covered by the mercy of Christ. Hell is terrible. And it is final.” They don’t believe that God is a perpetual tormenter. Instead, according to God’s goodness and justice, he pours out his wrath against evil, purging the world of sin through terminal punishment.19

Christian Universalism (CU)

“Christian Universalism is the view that in the end God will reconcile all people to himself through Christ.”20 This view has recently gained notoriety through Rob Bell’s popular book Love Wins.21 Bell opens up the book with this emotional plea:

Of all the billions of people who have ever lived, will only a select number “make it to a better place” and every single other person suffer in torment and punishment forever? Is this acceptable to God? Has God created millions of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend eternity in anguish? Can God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?22

While gripping, Bell’s question cannot be the starting place for understanding. CU advocates don’t always build their argument from an emotional base. Alongside ultimate reconciliation and deliverance, they also believe “there is eschatological punishment.”23 This means that many people, for some time, will still suffer torment and punishment. When this is acknowledged, Bell’s argument falls apart.

Robin Parry doesn’t take the same approach. In Four Views of HellParry stresses that “Christian Universalism…is not some new-fangled liberal theology. It is, rather, an ancient Christian theological position that in the early church stood alongside annihilation and eternal torment as a viable Christian opinion.”24 Parry points to Origin (184-254), Eusebius (260-340), Athanasius (296-373), Gregory of Nyssa (329-390), and many more.25 CU is not about God’s sensitivity toward human suffering, so Parry asks the following question: “Will God’s desire to save all people be satisfied or eternally frustrated?”26 CU proponents believe in hell, but it’s not permanent and its end is notpunitive.

For CU enthusiasts, hell is restorative, where God’s purifying fire purges sin from the world and the individual⎯“[b]ibical justice is about putting wrong things right.”27 Parry points to the restorative nature of punishment throughout the Old Testament:

In chapter 30, Jeremiah speaks of God’s people facing horrible judgment (vv.5-7c) followed by wonderful salvation (vv. 7d-11); an incurable wound that is beyond healing (vv. 12-15) followed by God’s healing (cc. 16-17); a storm of divine wrath (vv. 23-24) followed by covenant renewal.28

If hell is restorative, and some will go there, the question becomes, “How do they get out?” At some point, every individual will bow the knee to Christ (Rom 14:11). The CU position relies on postmortem salvation⎯the atoning work of Christ is available even after death. How do they come to this conclusion?

Christian universalists point to the biblical texts about the victorious, all-encompassing work of Christ (Rom 5:18; 2 Cor 5:19; Col 1:19-20; 1 Cor 15:22). They combine these texts with the eschatological texts of the consummation (Eph 1:9-10; Phil 2:9-11; 1 Cor 15:28), and then infer that postmortem salvation is an obvious deduction. They point to passages in Revelation that seem to imply such a thought.29

While all the Christian universalists I’ve studied cannot imagine a God who would torment forever, it’s inaccurate to assume they build their argument from their resistance to such a God. It’s equally inaccurate to assume that they’re pluralists⎯believing all ways lead to God. Instead, the Christian universalists I’ve interacted with have a high view of Christ and his atoning work. By holding to the possibility of a postmortem salvation, they believe that all will eventually bow the knee to King Jesus. God will have the last word.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Brossett’s series on hell, coming next week only on theLAB.


Kris Brossett is a Pastor and Author from Los Angeles, CA. He is the author of Kingdom Citizenship: Understanding God, His Plan, and Our Place in it (Christian Focus Publications).

Source: What is Hell? Three Views (Part 1)

March 3 Evening Verse of The Day

13:1 That no authority exists except from God indicates God’s sovereignty over human affairs. It also shows why unwarranted rebellion against government is de facto rebellion against God (v. 2).[1]


13:1 Paul urged Christians to be submissive and model citizens because God has installed the governing authorities to keep the civil order and punish wrongdoers. Peter gave similar instructions about submission (1Pt 2:13–14, 17). However, submission to authorities is not absolute. Both Jesus and the writer of Acts established this central Christian principle. Jesus said, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). Peter and the apostles declared that they must obey God rather than humans (Ac 5:29). Any submission to the authorities must pass through the filter of God’s will and call on a believer’s life.

The difficulty here involves discerning God’s will and call in those areas to which Scripture does not speak, which requires determining and applying biblical principles rather than explicit biblical statements. This is the Christian’s crucial duty, for a failure to discern God’s will risks disobeying God and incurring his displeasure. Of course, obeying God against the government may result in incurring the government’s anger—as the NT and subsequent church history well attest—but this puts a Christian in good company (Mt 5:10–12).[2]


13:1 Christians have a distinct rationale for an appropriate submission to the governing authorities: the recognition that God Himself is the source of government in society (Prov. 8:15, 16; Dan. 2:21). See theological note “Christians and Civil Government” on the next page.[3]


13:1 governing authorities Refers to human government officials, not spiritual authorities (see Rom 13:3).

be subject Paul wants to ensure that Christians act as good citizens and avoid civic conflicts. This does not mean blind obedience, however. The Bible sometimes depicts people acting against public authorities in order to obey God (e.g., Exod 1:17; Dan 3:10–12; Acts 5:29). See note on 1 Pet 2:13.

authority The Greek word used here, exousia, refers not to an abstract concept, but to the authority exercised by government officials. The ot consistently views God as the ultimate authority over human government (Dan 4:17).[4]


13:1 It is true that those governing authorities that exist have been instituted by God, but sometimes God gives good authorities as a blessing, and sometimes he institutes evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment (2 Chron. 25:20; 32:24–25). On God’s rule over earthly authorities, see Ps. 75:7 and Dan. 2:21. These earthly “authorities” will ultimately be superseded by the rule of Christ (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 22:1–5).[5]


13:1 be in subjection. This Gr. word was used of a soldier’s absolute obedience to his superior officer. Scripture makes one exception to this command: when obedience to civil authority would require disobedience to God’s Word (Ex 1:17; Da 3:16–18; 6:7, 10; see note on Ac 4:19). governing authorities. Every position of civil authority without regard to competency, morality, reasonableness, or any other caveat (1Th 4:11, 12; 1Ti 2:1, 2; Tit 3:1, 2). there is no authority except from God. Since He alone is the sovereign ruler of the universe (Pss 62:11; 103:19; 1Ti 6:15), He has instituted 4 authorities on earth: 1) the government over all citizens; 2) the church over all believers; 3) the parents over all children; and 4) the masters over all employees. established. Human government’s authority derives from and is defined by God. He instituted human government to reward good and to restrain sin in an evil, fallen world.[6]


13:1 — Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Joseph submitted to the Egyptian authorities; Daniel submitted to the Babylonian authorities; Mordecai submitted to the Persian authorities; Jesus submitted to the Roman authorities. While none of these regimes were godly, God had authorized them all.[7]


13:1 God, the supreme Sovereign, has ordained (v. 2) that there should be governing authorities. Every believer is to be subject to these various authorities, even if these authorities are evil as Nero (a.d. 54–68), the emperor of Rome who cruelly persecuted Christians. When Paul wrote this letter, Nero was in power. Yet Paul exhorted the Roman believers to submit to Nero’s authority, because that authority was ordained by God Himself, although God may not approve of all acts that a government or leader may do.[8]


13:1 Those who have been justified by faith are obligated to be subject to human government. Actually the obligation applies to everyone, but the apostle here is concerned especially with believers. God established human government after the flood when He decreed, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed” (Gen. 9:6). That decree gave authority to men to judge criminal matters and to punish offenders.

In every ordered society there must be authority and submission to that authority. Otherwise you have a state of anarchy, and you cannot survive indefinitely under anarchy. Any government is better than no government. So God has instituted human government, and no government exists apart from His will. This does not mean that He approves of all that human rulers do. He certainly does not approve of corruption, brutality, and tyranny! But the fact remains that the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Believers can live victoriously in a democracy, a constitutional monarchy, or even a totalitarian regime. No earthly government is any better than the men who comprise it. That is why none of our governments is perfect. The only ideal government is a beneficent monarchy with the Lord Jesus Christ as King. It is helpful to remember that Paul wrote this section on subjection to human government when the infamous Nero was Emperor. Those were dark days for Christians. Nero blamed them for a fire which destroyed half the city of Rome (and which he himself may have ordered). He caused some believers to be immersed in tar, then ignited as living torches to provide illumination for his orgies. Others were sewn up in animal skins, then thrown to ferocious dogs to be torn to pieces.[9]


13:1. When it came to presenting oneself as a living sacrifice to God, Paul “urged” the Christians to do so (Rom. 12:1). But when it came to submitting oneself to the governing authorities of the land, urging was replaced by commanding: Everyone must submit himself (hupotasso; present passive imperative) to the governing authorities. Why the imperative, the command? Because, in principle (though not always in specifics), to submit to the civil authority is to submit to God. The statement in this command which unlocks its meaning, and which gives Christians ground to accept it and apply it, is this: There is no authority except that which God has established. This is a statement of the overarching sovereignty and rule of God in the affairs of this world. If God has appointed every civil ruler, every governing authority, then why should any Christian fear submitting to that which God has appointed?

Daniel said that God “sets up kings and deposes them” when he praised God in prayer for revealing to him the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:21). When Daniel conveyed the dream and its meaning to the king, he said plainly, “The God of heaven has given you [Nebuchadnezzar] dominion and power and might and glory … he has made you ruler” (Dan. 2:37–38). Daniel continued illustrating Paul’s point: “After you [Nebuchadnezzar], another kingdom will rise.… Next, a third kingdom … will rule.… Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom” (Dan. 2:39–40). Then, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44).

Daniel’s point is conclusive: from Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom to God’s final kingdom, God is in control, setting up and taking down kings to accomplish his perfect will. Later, Nebuchadnezzar recounted another dream he had in which he was told by “holy ones” (angels) that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men” (Dan. 4:17). Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar was to become a living illustration of his own dream as he was driven from his throne for seven years (Dan. 4:24–27).

What Paul wanted the believers in Rome to understand was that, in the Roman Empire (or any other), “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” (Ps. 75:6–7). And even after he is in office, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1). Therefore, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero (those Roman emperors spanning the lifetime of the Roman church up until Paul’s writing) had ascended to power with God’s permission—actually, by his direction (have been established by God)—as have the rulers of today.

As an aside, it should be noted in the name of thoroughness that Paul does not contradict himself between what he says here and in 1 Corinthians 6:1–8. In the latter passage, where Paul commands believers not to air their dirty laundry in front of civil magistrates, he is not encouraging them to bypass the duly constituted legal process for redress of grievance. Rather, he is asking the Corinthian believers, “Why do you have any grievance at all?” This is not a matter of being unwilling to obey the governing authorities. It is a matter of the shameful condition the church was in when they could not find among themselves enough wisdom to settle differences without having to ask for the help of unspiritual, civil judges.

To admit that, with God’s help, in the body of Christ we cannot solve our differences, is to admit defeat. It would be better to suffer the wrong than to admit to the world the inability to solve the dispute (1 Cor. 6:7–8). A private defeat with a believer’s name shamed is better than a public defeat with God’s name shamed.[10]


13:1 “Every person is to be in subjection” This is a PRESENT PASSIVE IMPERATIVE meaning, “continue to be made submissive” (cf. Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13). “Submit” was a military term used to describe a chain of command. Paul, in context, was addressing all believers (cf. Eph. 5:21), where Paul asserts that believers should be subject to one another.

In our day submission seems like a negative term. It is a word that depicts both a humility and a profound understanding of God’s world and our place in it. Jesus was said to be submissive to (1) His earthly parents (cf. Thess. 2:51) and (2) His heavenly Father (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28). He is our guide in this area!

© “to the governing authorities” Although Paul used this word (exousia) in other contexts to refer to angelic powers, primarily demonic (cf. 8:38; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12), here the context demands “civil authorities” (cf. 1 Cor. 2:6, 8; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13). The Bible seems to imply that there are angelic authorities behind human governments (Daniel 10 and the LXX of Deut. 32:8 “When the Most High divided the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.”) But still governing authorities function under God (cf. vv. 1b, 4a, and 6). The word translated “governing” is the term huperexō which means “superior” (cf. 1 Pt. 2:13). See Special Topic: Paul’s Use of “Huper” compounds at 1:30.

SPECIAL TOPIC: HUMAN GOVERNMENT

I.     INTRODUCTION

A.   Definition—Government is humanity organizing themselves to provide and secure sensed physical needs.

B.   Purpose—God has willed that order is preferable to anarchy.

1.    The Mosaic legislation, particularly the Decalog, is God’s will for mankind in society. It balances worship and life.

2.    No form or structure of government is advocated in Scripture, although ancient Israel’s theocracy is the anticipated form of heaven. Christians are to act appropriately in whatever governmental system they find themselves. The purpose of the Christian is evangelism and ministry, not revolution.

C.   Origin of human government

1.    Roman Catholicism has asserted that human government is an innate need, even before the fall. Aristotle seems to have agreed with this premise. He says, “man is a political animal” and by this he meant that government “exists for the promotion of the good life.”

2.    Protestantism, especially Martin Luther, has asserted that human government is inherent in the fall. He calls it “the Kingdom of God’s left hand.” He said that “God’s way to control bad men is to put bad men in control.”

3.    Karl Marx has asserted that government is the means by which a few elite keep the masses under control. For him, government and religion play a similar role.

II.    BIBLICAL MATERIAL

A.   Old Testament

1.    Israel is the pattern which will be utilized in heaven. In ancient Israel YHWH was King. Theocracy is the term used to describe God’s direct rule (cf. 1 Sam. 8:4–9).

2.    God’s sovereignty in human government can be clearly seen in:

a.    Jeremiah 27:6; Ezra 1:1

b.   2 Chronicles 36:22

c.    Isaiah 44:28

d.   Daniel 2:21

e.    Daniel 2:44

f.     Daniel 4:17, 25

g.    Daniel 5:28

3.    God’s people are to be submissive and respectful even to invading and occupying governments:

a.    Daniel 1–4, Nebuchadnezzar

b.   Daniel 5, Belshazzar

c.    Daniel 6, Darius

d.   Ezra and Nehemiah

4.    God’s people are to pray for civil authority:

a.    Jeremiah 28:7

b.   Mishnah, Avot. 3:2

B.   New Testament

1.    Jesus showed respect to human governments

a.    Matthew 17:24–27, paid the Temple tax

b.   Matthew 22:15–22, advocated a place for the Roman tax and thereby Roman civil authority

c.    John 19:11, God gives civil authority

2.    Paul’s words related to human governments

a.    Romans 13:1–7, believers must submit to and pray for civil authorities

b.   1 Timothy 2:1–3, believers must pray for civil authorities

c.    Titus 3:1, believers must be subject to civil authorities

3.    Peter’s words related to human governments

a.    Acts 4:1–31; 5:29, Peter and John before the Sanhedrin (this shows civil disobedience)

b.   1 Peter 2:13–17, believers must submit to civil authorities

4.    John’s words related to human governments

a.    Revelation 17, the whore of Babylon stands for human government opposed to God

III.  CONCLUSION

A.   Human government is ordained by God. This is not “the divine right of Kings,” but the divine place of government. No one form is advocated above another.

B.   It is a religious duty for believers to obey civil authority with a proper reverent attitude.

C.   It is proper for believers to support human government by taxes and prayers.

D.   Human government is for the purpose of order. They are God’s servants for this task.

E.    Human government is not ultimate. It is limited in its authority. Believers must act for their conscience’s sake in rejecting civil authority when it oversteps its divinely appointed bounds. As Augustine has asserted in The City of God, we are citizens of two realms, one temporal and one eternal. We have responsibility in both, but God’s kingdom is ultimate! There is both an individual and corporate focus in our responsibility to God.

F.    We should encourage believers in a democratic system to actively participate in the process of government and to implement, when possible, the teachings of Scripture.

G.   Social change must be preceded by individual conversion. There is no real lasting eschatological hope in government. All human governments, though willed and used by God, are sinful expressions of human organization apart from God.

This concept is expressed in the Johannine usage of “the world.”

 

©

 

NASB

 

“those which exist are established by God”

 

NKJV

 

“that exist are appointed by God”

 

NRSV

 

“that have been instituted by God”

 

TEV

 

“have been put there by God”

 

NJB

 

“have been appointed by God”

 

This is a PERIPHRASTIC PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE. This asserts that God is behind all human authority (cf. John 19:11). This does not refer to “the divine right of Kings,” but to the divine will for order. This is not asserting a specific type of government, but government itself. Civil order is better than chaos (cf. v. 6).[11]


1. Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.

Literally Paul says, “Let every soul …,” but the word “soul,” as here used, means person, human being. The apostle, writing by inspiration, wants everyone to subject himself voluntarily to the then existing governing authorities. In the divine providence the Roman government of Paul’s day was such that within its boundaries compliance with the will of God and wholehearted consecration to him were possible. As Paul puts it:

For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been ordained by God.

The civil magistrates to whom Paul refers, from the emperor down to the rulers of the lowest rank, in the final analysis owed their appointment and right to govern to God. It was by his will and in his providence that they had been appointed to maintain order, encourage well-doing, and punish wrong-doing.[12]


1. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. ‘The thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans’, says J. W. Allen, ‘contains what are perhaps the most important words ever written for the history of political thought. Yet’, he continues, ‘it would be a gross mistake to suppose that men, at any time, took their political opinions from St. Paul.’ Some, however, have made a more deliberate effort to do so than others.

The question is raised whether the ‘governing authorities’ here are angelic powers, or human powers, or both angelic and human powers. The general biblical view is that secular power is wielded by ‘the host of heaven, in heaven’ as well as by ‘the kings of the earth, on the earth’ (Isa. 24:21). It is true, moreover, that the plural of exousia (‘authority’) is freely used by Paul to denote angelic powers (cf. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15). We may compare what he says in 1 Corinthians 2:8 about ‘the rulers (archontes) of this age’ who were responsible for crucifying ‘the Lord of glory’; he appears there to have more than human agents in view. Yet in the present context the ‘authorities’ are best understood as human rulers, who wield ‘the sword’ for the punishment of wickedness and the protection of the good, who therefore have the right to command and receive obedience, and who are to be paid appropriate taxes and other dues, together with fitting respect and honour. Paul’s references elsewhere to angelic powers are very far from suggesting that Christians should be subject to them in any sense; on the contrary, Christians are liberated from their jurisdiction through their union with Christ, for he is the creator and head of all those powers (Col. 1:16; 2:10), and their conqueror when they set themselves in hostility to him and his people (Col. 2:15).

Those that exist have been instituted by God. There is no contradiction between the principle and the argument of 1 Corinthians 6:1–8, where Christians are dissuaded from suing or prosecuting one another in secular law-courts. Recognition of the civil authorities makes no difference to the fact that it is unbecoming for Christians to wash their dirty linen in public. And while civil magistrates or judges are divinely ordained, that ordination carries with it no status in the church: they are ‘men who count for nothing in our community’ (1 Cor. 6:4, neb).[13]


1. Let every soul, &c. Inasmuch as he so carefully handles this subject, in connection with what forms the Christian life, it appears that he was constrained to do so by some great necessity which existed especially in that age, though the preaching of the gospel at all times renders this necessary. There are indeed always some tumultuous spirits who believe that the kingdom of Christ cannot be sufficiently elevated, unless all earthly powers be abolished, and that they cannot enjoy the liberty given by him, except they shake off every yoke of human subjection. This error, however, possessed the minds of the Jews above all others; for it seemed to them disgraceful that the offspring of Abraham, whose kingdom flourished before the Redeemer’s coming, should now, after his appearance, continue in submission to another power. There was also another thing which alienated the Jews no less than the Gentiles from their rulers, because they all not only hated piety, but also persecuted religion with the most hostile feelings. Hence it seemed unreasonable to acknowledge them for legitimate princes and rulers, who were attempting to take away the kingdom from Christ, the only Lord of heaven and earth.

By these reasons, as it is probable, Paul was induced to establish, with greater care than usual, the authority of magistrates, and first he lays down a general precept, which briefly includes what he afterwards says: secondly, he subjoins an exposition and a proof of his precept.

He calls them the higher powers, not the supreme, who possess the chief authority, but such as excel other men. Magistrates are then thus called with regard to their subjects, and not as compared with each other. And it seems indeed to me, that the Apostle intended by this word to take away the frivolous curiosity of men, who are wont often to inquire by what right they who rule have obtained their authority; but it ought to be enough for us, that they do rule; for they have not ascended by their own power into this high station, but have been placed there by the Lord’s hand. And by mentioning every soul, he removes every exception, lest any one should claim an immunity from the common duty of obedience.

For there is no power, &c. The reason why we ought to be subject to magistrates is, because they are constituted by God’s ordination. For since it pleases God thus to govern the world, he who attempts to invert the order of God, and thus to resist God himself, despises his power; since to despise the providence of him who is the founder of civil power, is to carry on war with him. Understand further, that powers are from God, not as pestilence, and famine, and wars, and other visitations for sin, are said to be from him; but because he has appointed them for the legitimate and just government of the world. For though tyrannies and unjust exercise of power, as they are full of disorder, (ἀταξίας,) are not an ordained government; yet the right of government is ordained by God for the wellbeing of mankind. As it is lawful to repel wars and to seek remedies for other evils, hence the Apostle commands us willingly and cheerfully to respect and honour the right and authority of magistrates, as useful to men: for the punishment which God inflicts on men for their sins, we cannot properly call ordinations, but they are the means which he designedly appoints for the preservation of legitimate order.[14]


1 Paul gets right to the point: “Every person is to be submissive to the governing authorities.” In typical OT and Jewish fashion, Paul uses psychē (sometimes translated “soul”—KJV; NKJV) to denote not one “part” of a human being (soul in distinction from body or spirit) but the whole person. The translation “every person” (NRSV; ESV; NASB; CEB) or “everyone” (NIV; CSB; NLT; NJB) is therefore accurate.279 The basis of Paul’s own authority—an apostle of the gospel—as well as the audience of the letter indicates that his immediate reference must be to Christians. But we should probably not limit the reference to Christians. Submission to governing authorities is especially incumbent on Christians who recognize that the God they serve stands behind those authorities, but it is required even for those who do not know this.

“Governing authorities” (see also NRSV; NIV; NASB; NJB) translates a phrase that is central to the interpretation of the paragraph. Like our “authority,” exousia refers broadly in secular and biblical Greek to the possession and exercise of (usually legitimate) power. As an abstract noun, the word usually denotes the concept of authority. Jesus’ well-known words in Matt. 28:18 use the word in a typical way: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” But the word can also have a concrete application, in which case exousia denotes a sphere over which authority is exercised (e.g., a “dominion”; see Luke 23:7) or the being who exercises authority. Paul obviously uses the word in the last sense. The NT refers to two different kinds of beings who exercise authority: a person in authority (usually a governmental “ruler”) and spiritual powers.283 A few scholars have argued that Paul may be referring at least partially to spiritual beings in Rom. 13:1. But this is unlikely. As parallel terms in this context suggest (see “rulers” [archontes] in v. 3), the “authorities” occupy positions in secular government. Paul qualifies them as “governing” in order to indicate that they are in positions of superiority over the believers he is addressing.

Paul calls on believers to “submit” to governing authorities rather than to “obey” them; and Paul’s choice of words may be important to our interpretation and application of Paul’s exhortation. To submit is to recognize one’s subordinate place in a hierarchy, to acknowledge as a general rule that certain people or institutions have authority over us. In addition to governing authorities (see also Tit. 3:1), Paul urges Christians to submit to their spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 16:16) and to “one another” (Eph. 5:21); and he calls on Christian slaves to submit to their masters (Tit. 2:9), Christian prophets to submit to other prophets (1 Cor. 14:32), and Christian wives to submit to their husbands (1 Cor. 14:34 [?]; Eph. 5:24; Col. 3:18; Tit. 2:5). It is this general posture toward government that Paul demands here of Christians. And such a posture will usually demand that we obey what the governing authorities tell us to do. But perhaps our submission to government is compatible with disobedience to government in certain exceptional circumstances. For heading the hierarchy of relations in which Christians find themselves is God; and all subordinate “submissions” must always be measured in relationship to our all-embracing submission to him.289

Verse 1b gives the reason why we are to submit to governing authorities: “there is no authority except by God, and the existing authorities have been appointed291 by God.” In light of exousiai in v. 1a, “authority” will refer to the individual human ruler. Paul’s insistence that no ruler wields power except through God’s appointment reflects standard OT and Jewish teaching. Daniel tells the proud pagan king Nebuchadnezzar that God was teaching him that “the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people” (4:17). Paul’s dependence on this tradition and his all-inclusive language (“there is no authority except”) make clear that he is asserting a universally applicable truth about the ultimate origin of rulers. From a human perspective, rulers come to power through force or heredity or popular choice. But the “transformed mind” recognizes behind every such process the hand of God. Paul brings home this general principle in the last clause of the verse.295 The believers in Rome are to recognize that the specific governmental officials with whom they have dealings—“the ones that now exist,”297 as Paul puts it—are “appointed,” or “ordained,” by God.[15]


1 The teaching that follows is addressed to “everyone” (pasa psychē), i.e., every believer rather than everyone in general, even though government is necessary for society as a whole. Paul could admonish only Christians. What he requires is “submission,” a term that calls for placing oneself under someone else. Here and in v. 5 he seems to avoid using the stronger word “obey” (hypotassō, GK 5718), and the reason is that believers may find it impossible to comply with every demand of the government. A circumstance may arise in which they must choose between obeying God and obeying human authority (Ac 5:29). But even then they must be submissive to the extent that if their Christian convictions do not permit compliance, they will accept the consequences of their refusal.

Those to whom submission must be rendered are called “the governing authorities.” Two different words are used for “authority” in this passage. In v. 1, the word exousiai (GK 2026) is not a specific or technical term; it simply means those who are over others. With respect to the second word, archōn (GK 807; v. 3), we find Josephus using it, as Paul does, with reference to Roman rulers, but specifically to those who ruled in the name of Rome over the Jews in Palestine (J.W. 2.350).

Paul makes a sweeping statement when he says, “There is no authority except that which God has established.” It is true even of Satan that what authority he exercises has been given to him (cf. Lk 4:6). God has ordained this tension between authority and submission: “God has so arranged the world from the beginning—at the creation, by all means, if you like—as to make it possible to render him service within it, and this is why he created superiors and subordinates” (E. Käsemann, “Principles of the Interpretation of Romans 13,” in New Testament Questions of Today [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1961], 208).

It is probably significant that the name of Christ does not appear anywhere in the passage. The thought does not move in the sphere of redemption or the life of the church as such, but in the relationship to the state that God in his wisdom has set up. While Christians have their citizenship in heaven (Php 3:20), they are not on that account excused from responsibility to acknowledge the state as possessing authority from God to govern them. They hold a dual citizenship.[16]


Authority

Romans 13:1

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

In the fall of 1561 an important conversation took place in Scotland between Queen Mary and the Calvinistic Protestant preacher John Knox.

Mary was a Catholic. She had been educated in Catholic France, and she believed that sovereigns—she herself was one—had absolute power over the consciences of their subjects. Knox was a reformer. For his uncompromising preaching he had been sentenced to serve as a galley slave for nineteen months. After his release, he had studied in Geneva under John Calvin from 1553 to 1559. Then, in the summer of 1560, he had participated in the drafting of the Scottish Confession of Faith that stated that Jesus Christ “is the only Head of His Kirk” (sections 11 and 18). Knox had returned just two years before his celebrated conversation with Queen Mary.

In the interview Mary accused Knox of having wrongly taught the people to receive another religion than their princes allow. “And how can that doctrine be of God, seeing that God commands subjects to obey their princes?” she asked. She was referring to Romans 13:1 and other texts.

Knox answered, “Madam, as right religion took neither [its] origin nor authority from worldly princes, but from the Eternal God alone, so are not subjects bound to frame their religion according to the appetites of their princes.”

He admonished Mary, “God commands queens to be nurses unto his people.”

“Yes, but you are not the church that I will nourish,” she retorted.

Knox replied, “Your will, Madam, is no reason.” In this way the issues of church and state and the proper role and function of the state were framed in Scotland in the sixteenth century. There was no relief in Scotland until Mary’s forced abdication in 1567.

Christians and the State

What is the role of the state in human affairs? How is the state to relate to the church of Jesus Christ? How are Christian people to relate to the government’s authority? It is these questions that Paul raises and answers in the first seven verses of Romans 13.

What a source of controversy they have been! J. C. O’Neill in Paul’s Letter to The Romans wrote, “These seven verses have caused more unhappiness and misery in the Christian East and West than any other seven verses in the New Testament.” That is probably not true. But they have certainly puzzled many and caused unhappiness among some scholars. Some of them, like the one I just quoted, have attempted to eliminate the verses from the letter, reasoning that they are un-Pauline and come rather from a Stoic source. Such persons think the verses have been interpolated, arguing that verse 8 would follow nicely after 12:21, and that there is nothing quite like this section anywhere else in Paul’s writing.

This is true, but that does not mean that Paul did not write it. Furthermore, it can be argued equally well that his discussion of the legitimate authority and proper function of the state is a natural follow-up to the immediately preceding section in which he presented the duty of the Christian to return good for evil, since to do that does not mean that a Christian always has to be victimized by evil persons. It is the state’s duty to restrain and punish evil.

Again, a discussion of the role of the state is natural in a letter to Christians living at the center of the Roman world. Jews were notoriously resistant to all outside authority. They had fomented numerous rebellions, and the greatest one of all, the rebellion that was to be crushed by the Roman general Titus in 70 a.d., was only a decade away from the time Paul wrote this letter. In the sixties Christians were shielded under a law originally promulgated by Julius Caesar, but turmoil was coming. Were the followers of Christ to align themselves with the coming revolution, or were they to be loyal citizens of the all-encompassing Roman empire? If so, what about the lordship of Jesus Christ? Was he King, or was he not? If they were not to be loyal citizens, what was their position regarding Rome to be?

The Starting Point: God Is Sovereign

The starting point of Paul’s argument is found in the reason he gives for his categorical opening statement that “everyone,” not only Christians, “must submit himself to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). Why? The answer is not that you will get into trouble if you don’t, or even that obedience is necessary for maintaining social order. Those are excellent pragmatic reasons that Paul understands and will bring into the discussion in due time, but they are not the reasons he gives at the beginning. What he says in verse 1 is that we must obey the authorities because “there is no authority except that which God has established” and “the authorities that exist have been established by God.”

In other words, the starting point for Paul’s argument is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, in this case in regard to human rulers. God is sovereign. Therefore, those who exercise authority do so because God has established them in their positions.

We have to take this sovereignty seriously, because it is easy for us to accept God’s being sovereign when we are given Christian rulers or when people of high moral character are elevated to positions of responsibility. But what about evil rulers? What about Nero, the corrupt emperor who was reigning in Rome at the very time Paul was writing this letter? What about rulers who persecuted the church? Or, for that matter, what about such evil leaders as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Idi Amin, or even elected officials like Richard Nixon, who betrayed our trust and disappointed us?

Romans 13:1 tells us that even these authorities have been established by God, and that we have a legitimate (though not unlimited) responsibility to obey even them.

We have already come across one example of an evil but nevertheless God-established ruler in Romans, though Paul was not specifically thinking about the role of the state when he brought him into his discussion. This example is Pharaoh, the oppressor of the Jews. He worked them as slaves and arrogantly resisted Moses’ demand that he let God’s people go. God judged this arrogance. Egypt was ruined by a series of ten plagues, culminating in the death of all the firstborn children of the country. In the end Pharaoh and his armies were destroyed by drowning in the Red Sea. But evil as this man was, he had nevertheless been put into his position by God, which Paul clearly says.

That is the teaching of Romans 9:17, where Paul quotes God as telling Pharaoh, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (quoting Exod. 9:16). God raised Pharaoh up so that he might display his wrath in judging him. It was not a desirable appointment, but still it was God who had raised him up simply because God is sovereign in all things.

A second example is Nebuchadnezzar, another arrogant ruler. He thought he was superior to Jehovah because he had been able to conquer Jerusalem, raze the temple, and carry off to Babylon the gold and silver objects that had been used by the Jewish priests in their worship. The first four chapters of Daniel are a record of the struggle that took place as Nebuchadnezzar contended for sovereignty and God worked to humble him and show him that God alone, not Nebuchadnezzar, is the Most High God and ruler of all.

Three times in Daniel 4 the text says that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (vv. 17, 25, 32): (1) Nebuchadnezzar heard these words in his dream; (2) Daniel recited them to him as the words of God; (3) Nebuchadnezzar heard them from heaven when God uttered his important, symbolic judgment of insanity upon the stiff-necked ruler. This is an important truth, and in the end Nebuchadnezzar seems to have gotten the message, for he confessed:

I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;

his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the peoples of the earth

are regarded as nothing.

He does as he pleases

with the powers of heaven

and the peoples of the earth.

No one can hold back his hand

or say to him: “What have you done?” …

Everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Daniel 4:34–35, 37

Another example is Cyrus the Persian, who is also mentioned in Daniel (1:21; 6:28; 10:1). He was an unusually humane ruler, whom God used to bring the Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylon. In Isaiah 45:1 this pagan king is even called the Lord’s “anointed,” which means messiah, the very title given to Jesus as the Messiah of God.

These rulers—Nero, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus—and all others have been set in their places by God, simply because God is sovereign and, as the Westminster Confession of Faith says, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (III, 1). There is no ruler anywhere or from any time in history who was not set in his exalted position by God.

Obeying the Sovereign

Of course, the problem for us is not so much that God has established whatever rulers there may be. We can believe that abstractly and either like and approve of our rulers, or not like them and disapprove of them, or perhaps even reject them. The problem is that we are told that it is the duty of Christians to obey those who exercise such authority, and that includes all authorities, not just kings and presidents but also policemen, judges, schoolteachers, bosses, and other such “governing authorities.” We do not want to do that.

Paul is writing about the civil government in Romans 13, but these other authorities come into the picture tangentially because they have governing roles and have been set in place by God.

There are many obvious problems at this point. First, Paul does not answer a lot of our questions. For example, when is a government a legitimate government, and when isn’t it? When is it right to rebel against an unjust or tyrannical government, or isn’t it permitted at all? What about our own American War of Independence? If we had been living then, what side should we have been on, with England or with the colonists? What are we to do when there are rival claimants to the throne? Which one should we obey? Again, at what point does an unjust ruler become legitimate?

Or what about limits? Paul says we are to obey the governing authorities. But does this mean that we are to obey everything they command? What about unjust acts commanded by an evil government? Killing civilians? Lying? Clandestine operations even for such an important branch of government as the CIA? Are there no limits to what must be obeyed?

We are going to explore the limits to the obedience Christians can give a civil government in the next study. But the point I am making here is that the matter of obedience to those in authority cannot be taken lightly, as we are so often inclined to do.

As far as Romans 13:1 is concerned, it would be difficult, probably impossible, for anyone to write a more all-encompassing, absolute, or utterly unqualified statement than the one Paul has given: “Everyone [literally, ‘every soul’] must submit himself to the governing authorities.”

This is written so strongly that Robert Haldane thinks that it requires an obedience to secular rulers that is almost absolute: “Everyone, without exception, is, by the command of God, to be subject to the existing powers, whatever were the means by which they became possessed of the situation in which they stand.… If God has appointed every government that exists in the world, his people are bound to submit to every government under which their lot has been cast.”

Power or Authority?

There are limits, of course, but the place to begin is not with the limits, but by trying to understand the nature of the authority that has been given to civil rulers. The key word is authority, which occurs six times in these verses.

Two Greek words are used of political power that are closely connected but need to be distinguished. The first is kratos, which refers to what we might call “the naked power of rule.” It can be legitimate or illegitimate, as in the case of the devil, who, we are told, has “the power of death” (Heb. 2:14) but who will lose it when Jesus returns. His power will be taken away, and he will be cast into the lake of fire. This word has proved useful in describing the various types of government. For example, we speak of democracy. Dêmos means people, crowd, or public assembly. Kratos means rule. So democracy means rule by the people (or by many people). A plutocracy is a system in which the rich (or aristocrats) rule, because ploutos means wealth.

So when we speak of power (kratos) we recognize that there can be both legitimate and illegitimate power. And, of course, Christians are under no obligation to obey a power that is illegitimate. Just because a man with a gun orders us to do something does not mean that we should do it necessarily. The man has power, but it is illegitimate. What we need is a legitimate power—a policeman—to subdue him.

The other word that is used of political as well as other kinds of power is exousia, which is the word Paul uses in Romans 13. Exousia is a delegated power, power that is given to a person or group of persons by another. Paul uses it in Romans 13 because he wants to make explicit that the authority of the governing powers is from God.

Nevertheless, they are responsible for how they exercise it. That is the important thing. They are responsible to God, precisely because God has given them the power. So here in one word is both the legitimacy and the necessary accountability of human government.

Jesus before Pilate

An important example is Jesus Christ’s trial before Pontius Pilate. Jesus was tried for treason because, as his accusers put it, he “claim[ed] to be a king” (John 19:12). It did not take Pilate long to discover that the kind of kingdom Jesus was talking about was no direct threat to Rome, because it was a kingdom of truth. Jesus told him, “I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). After he had heard that, Pilate knew that this was a religious matter and was of no concern to him.

Yet the leaders of the people were still clamoring for Jesus’ death, and it became clear that Pilate was soon going to bow to their wishes. He wanted to help Jesus, but Jesus was not speaking to him. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” (John 19:10).

At this point Jesus replied with one of two classic texts for helping us understand the God-given role of civil government and the right relationship of the church to the state. He answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (John 19:11).

The word that is translated power in this verse is the same word that Paul uses in Romans 13, and it is used in exactly the same way. The authority that was given to Pilate was a delegated authority, because it had been given to him by God. It was a true authority. Pilate had the right to try Jesus and render judgment as he thought right. But he was responsible to God for what he did and for how he did it. That is why Jesus was able to remind him, “Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” The sin of the Jewish leaders was greater than the sin of Pilate, because they were sinning against the Scriptures, which pointed to Jesus and were fulfilled by Jesus, and against their consciences, as even Pilate recognized (“It was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him,” Matt. 27:18). Nevertheless, Pilate was also sinning by condemning an innocent man, and he would have to answer to God for it.

Pilate had authority in Christ’s trial. He could decide as he wished. He decided wrongly, but he had authority to make that decision even if it was wrong. This is because his authority was from God, and Jesus did not suggest that it be wrested from him even because he had made so great an error as condemning the Son of God. If nothing else, the example of Jesus before Pilate shows us that for Christians revolution for the sake of revolution alone (“I would rather be king than you”) is wrong.

Indeed, instead of being revolutionaries, Christians are obligated to be the very best citizens possible. We should obey speed limits, pay our taxes honestly, vote in elections, and in all other respects respond with respect and compliance to those who are over us.

To Tell the Truth

Yet this does not mean that Christians are merely to be pliant, lying down in the face of evil and doing nothing to oppose it. Again, we have the example of Jesus. Jesus did not show disrespect to Pilate. He did not warn him that if he failed to rule justly, Jesus’ followers would rise up and do their best to unseat him and the Roman government. Jesus knew what the governor would do, and he accepted it as from God, which it surely was. But Jesus was not silent. He spoke of the truth, which he had been sent to make known, and he reminded Pilate that Pilate was sinning and would therefore one day himself have to answer for it.

That is our role. We speak often today of the separation of church and state, and we should be thankful for that separation. It is a dearly won liberty to have a church free from government interference or control and to have a state free from clerical domination. But the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of God and state. And though we do not rule the state, nor should we, it is nevertheless our duty as Christians to speak out against the civil ruler’s sins and remind the governing authorities that they are ultimately accountable to him from whom their authority comes.

So we are accountable too! We are accountable to speak up. We do not have the power of the sword. That is reserved for the civil authorities, as Paul will show in Romans 13:4. Our weapon is truth, for we are a kingdom of the truth. The truth is stronger than the sword. But woe to us if we do not wield the sword of truth powerfully.[17]


[1] Patterson, P. (2017). Salvation in the Old Testament. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1801). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Klassen, M., & Klein, W. W. (2017). Romans. In S. McDowell (Ed.), The Apologetics Study Bible for Students (p. 1414). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[3] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1635). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ro 13:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 2179–2180). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 13:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ro 13:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1449). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1732). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 392–393). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[11] Utley, R. J. (1998). The Gospel according to Paul: Romans (Vol. Volume 5, Ro 13:1). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[12] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 432–433). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[13] Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, pp. 234–235). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[14] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 477–479). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[15] Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 811–815). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[16] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[17] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1639–1646). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

We Cannot Love God if We Do Not Love His Word — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Emil Brunner, the twentieth-century Swiss theologian and one of the fathers of neoorthodox theology, wrote a little book titled Truth as Encounter. His thesis was that when we study the things of God, we are not studying truth in the abstract. We want to understand theology not merely so that we can make an A on a theology exam. We want to understand the doctrine of God so that we can understand God, so that we can meet the living God in His Word and deepen our personal relationship with Him. But we cannot deepen a relationship with someone if we do not know anything about him. So, the propositions of Scripture are not an end in themselves but a means to an end. However, they are a necessary means to the end. Thus, to say Christianity is not about propositions but about relationships is to establish an extremely dangerous false dichotomy. It is to insult the Spirit of truth, whose propositions they are. These propositions should be our very meat and drink, for they define the Christian life.

Recently I read some letters to the editor of a Christian magazine. One of them disparaged Christian scholars with advanced degrees. The letter writer charged that such men would enjoy digging into word studies of Christ’s teachings in the ancient languages in order to demonstrate that He did not really say what He seems to say in our English Bibles. Obviously there was a negative attitude toward any serious study of the Word of God. Of course, there are scholars who are like this, who study a word in six different languages and still end up missing its meaning, but that does not mean we must not engage in any serious study of the Word of God lest we end up like these ungodly scholars. Another letter writer expressed the view that people who engage in the study of doctrine are not concerned about the pain people experience in this world. In my experience, however, it is virtually impossible to experience pain and not ask questions about truth. We all want to know the truth about suffering, and specifically, where is God in our pain. That is a theological concern. The answer comes to us from the Scriptures, which reveal the mind of God Himself through the agency of the Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth. We cannot love God at all if we do not love His truth.

It is very sad to me that in today’s sophisticated Western culture, people are more familiar with the twelve signs of the Zodiac than with the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve Apostles. Our world likes to see itself as sophisticated and technological, but it remains filled with superstition. Christians are not immune to this. We, too, can succumb to the new-age desire for the power to manipulate our environment. We do not have to go as far as accepting the foolish idea that the courses of the stars determine our destinies, our prosperity, our achievements, and our successes. However, it is equally superstitious to equate our feelings and inclinations with the leading of the Holy Spirit. It seems so much more exciting to live with a freewheeling openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than practicing the laborious discipline of mastering His Word. This is exceedingly dangerous ground. If we want to do the will of the Father, we need to study the Word of the Father—and leave the magic to the astrologers.

This excerpt is from R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions booklet Who Is the Holy Spirit? Download this ebook and the rest of the series for free here.

We Cannot Love God if We Do Not Love His Word — Ligonier Ministries Blog

God Has Done, and Will Do, Great Things in Christ — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Can true Christians lose their salvation? Only if the Savior can fail. In this brief clip, H.B. Charles Jr. shows that God’s past faithfulness to His people gives them assurance of His promise for the future.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch trustworthy teaching for free.

Transcript:

Can one lose their salvation? It all depends on what saved you. If you’re saved by your own works, that is not going to save you. But we are saved forever by the blood of an eternal covenant. Do you hear the Lord Jesus in John 10:28–30 declaring, “I will give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one can pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all, and no one can pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” And so, this benediction assures us that we can trust God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, because God has already done great things for us in Christ. And it’s as if He says His faithfulness in the past is His résumé for the future. God has done great things for us in Christ, verse 20. And then verse 21 teaches that God will do great things for us in Christ. Verse 20 is the subject. “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant…” Verse 21 is the predicate of the sentence: “May that God in all of His goodness, greatness, and glory equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

God Has Done, and Will Do, Great Things in Christ — Ligonier Ministries Blog

March 3 Afternoon Quotes of The Day

Not Sure about Guardian Angels
Daniel 12:1; Acts 12:15

Whether or not each believer has a single angel assigned to him for his defence, I dare not positively affirm.

JOHN CALVIN

Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Grace and Freedom Work Together
Romans 9:16

What has been begun by grace alone is in such fashion performed by grace and by free choice, that in cooperation, not separately; at one and the same time, not by turns; the result is wrought by both of them. It is not that grace does part and free choice does part, but each does the entire work by its individual energy. Free choice, in truth, does the entire work, and so also does grace, but, even as the whole is done in the former (by cooperation), so the whole is done of the latter (by origination).

BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX

Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Alexander: Clearing the Path for Harris to Bump Biden

Seriously, we want to know, when will Joe go?

“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.” —James Madison (1788)

Last week, almost three dozen House Democrats issued a formal letter questioning Joe Biden’s mental acuity as it related to his sole presidential authority to launch nuclear weapons.

In that letter, principal signer Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) asked that Biden give up his unilateral authority because, “Vesting one person with this authority entails risks.” Panetta tactfully noted, “Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment,” and asked that Biden “install additional checks and balances.”

Translation: “Mr. President, you are terminally non compos mentis, and we don’t want your finger alone on the launch button.”

Given the timing of that letter, combined with the fact that, since their “unity” inauguration, Biden’s uber-leftist president-in-waiting, Kamala Harris, has been rapidly assuming duties generally reserved for the president, is it any wonder that she’s now running an office pool on when she’ll bump Biden off his box?

Some on our team don’t think he’ll finish the year. I’m not sure he will finish the month.

Biden and Harris were swept into office on a tsunami of unverifiable bulk-mail ballots after a mass media pre-election cover-up of Biden’s ChiCom corruption — made possible by the collusion between the Democrat Party, their Leftmedia propagandists, and their Big Tech speech suppressors.

The Demo/media co-conspirators combined forces to elect Creepy Joe, but leftists of all ages were really supporting Harris. She is, like Bernie Sanders, the socialist they wanted, and indeed Harris voted with Sanders on 92% of legislation before the Senate in the two years she served.

The Biden/Harris ticket was the inverse of the Obama/Biden ticket, with the radical unknown on the top unable to draw the more moderate Demo voters without adding Biden. Last year, because Biden won the Demo primary in a large field of mostly leftist candidates, he needed a leftist on the bottom of his ticket to win.

In August of last year, when Biden announced Harris as his running mate — despite her abysmal primary performance — I titled my profile of Harris, “Actually It’s the ‘Harris-Biden’ Ticket. I wrote, “It may be ‘Biden-Harris 2020’ on the ballot, but it’s really Harris ‘21-’22-’23-’24, and she is a perilous Trump opponent.” Just ask Donald Trump!

Noting that Biden’s handlers completed their “selection of his [Insert Leftist Woman of Color Here] ticket requirement” just ahead of the Demo convention, it was clear that neither Michelle Obama nor Susan Rice passed Joe’s “sniff test.”

It was equally clear that the then-78-year-old Biden still had enough cognitive processing ability to know he was on borrowed time, even declaring himself a “transitional candidate” early in his campaign.

Recall that in public forums just before the election, Harris made a very deliberate reference to “a Harris administration, together with Joe Biden.” Following the script, the next day, Biden referenced a “Harris-Biden administration.” In Biden’s case, this might have been a “slip of the teleprompter,” but the point stands. Harris is at the helm and she is a perilous threat to Liberty.

I believe Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer scripted Biden’s “transition,” the rapid succession setup to replace him with Harris. Their scheme is not unprecedented. In 1944, when it was evident to his Democrat Party handlers that Franklin Delano Roosevelt would not survive his fourth term, they tapped Sen. Harry Truman (D-MO) as his successor — who indeed did succeed FDR just months after his January 1945 inauguration for a fourth term.

Weeks before the election, Pelosi seeded the 25th Amendment legislation for Biden’s path to resign. As I noted then, “Pelosi’s target is, ostensibly, Trump. But if Biden wins, this will provide Democrats plausible deniability to remove him. Of course, he’ll be complicit in that political maneuver, and ‘acquiesce’ to House Democrats in order to cover the fact that the real candidate has been Kamala Harris all along, thus not causing protest from his supporters that the transition was fixed before the election.”

And Trump agreed with that assessment: “Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!”

So, when will Joe go?

Indicative of how short the puppeteer strings are, now 40 days into his administration, Biden’s handlers have not allowed him to hold any solo press conferences.

And when Joe does go, there is a pesky constitutional question that will have to be resolved: Is Harris eligible to be president?

Now, for the record, we did not join the parade denying Barack Obama’s citizenship, because that was a rat hole down which a lot of conservative political capital was wasted. However, for those of us who still understand that our Republic is only as strong as the Rule of Law upon which it was founded, the question of Harris’s citizenship, and thus eligibility, is far more compelling than the questions raised about Obama.

Article II, Section 1 of our Constitution stipulates, “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

Though Harris was born in California, recall that her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a scientist who emigrated from India, and her estranged father Donald Harris, from whom she inherited her slave-trading legacy, was a Stanford University economist who emigrated from Jamaica. Her mother’s citizenship status was unclear, and her father’s citizenship was listed as Jamaican. After her parents divorced, at age 12 Harris left the country with her mother to live in Montreal, where she spent her teenage years — years about which she says very little.

Of course, Leftmedia talkingheads (and even a few conservative outlets that should know better) reject any consideration of the Harris citizenship question, claiming it’s “racist” to bring it up. But whether Kamala Harris is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen has nothing to do with her race. It has only to do with the circumstances of her birth. Thus, the inquiry about eligibility is relevant.

Despite the Demos’ “open borders” agenda, key to establishing their “permanent majority” that subordinates the law and welfare of American citizens to their political objectives, the notion of “birthright citizenship” is erroneous. It is clear that the drafters and ratifiers of the 14th Amendment never intended it to confer citizenship on the children of illegal aliens or those in our country legally but who are not citizens.

Leftmedia “fact-checkers” who dismiss Harris’s parents’ status as irrelevant completely ignore that aspect of the question. In fact, parental legal status is the entire premise of the “anchor baby” debate.

When Harris arrives at the presidential podium, the Supreme Court will have to answer the question of her eligibility. And if it’s determined that she is not eligible, maybe that’s Pelosi’s plan — as the speaker is next in the line of succession for the presidency.

Meanwhile, the most perilous threat posed by a Harris presidency is not about race or birth status. The real threat to American Liberty is her leftist agenda. She’s a radical leftist fraud who cannot be trusted with power.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

Mark Alexander: Clearing the Path for Harris to Bump Biden — The Patriot Post

3 Mar 2021 News Briefing

Image

Supreme Court Appears Favorable to Arizona Election Integrity Lawsuits
Although the justices peppered counsel for Arizona and the state’s Republican Party with at-times hostile-sounding questions, members of the Supreme Court seemed receptive to their arguments. Except for the more liberal members, the justices did not seem convinced that Arizona’s election laws violated the Voting Rights Act.

Ethiopia desert locust swarms
Ethiopia’s crops for the Belg (rainy) season which starts in mid-February are at high risk due to the high number of swarms which may lead to egg laying and higher locust numbers during the crop, and high rains at the end of this month, and late March are also likely to make the situation more severe.

Utah’s 2020 Drought Likely To Impact Water Supply This Year
Last year, Utah experienced its worst drought in 20 years. Typically Utahns count on spring snowpack to remedy a dry year … With 90% of the state is in extreme drought and 57% in exceptional drought, more snow is needed.

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupts seven times in two weeks
Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, has erupted seven times in the past two weeks, with some eruptions blowing blankets of black ash over nearby areas. The volcano erupted on February 16th and has had bursts of activity ever since.

Turkey pressures Kosovo to renege on promise to open embassy in Jerusalem
Turkey is pressuring one of Israel’s newest allies, Kosovo, to avoid establishing an embassy in Jerusalem as it had promised to do, according to reports. After a meeting between Kosovo’s prime minister-designate, Albin Kurti, and the Turkish ambassador earlier this week, Kurti released a statement saying that, “The place where the embassy will be located is to be considered following checking of the documentation of the outgoing government.”

House Democrats move on H.R.1 ‘For the People Act’ to eliminate voter ID requirements, remove GOP congressional seats
This portion of H.R.1 looks to eliminate voter identification laws and make mass mail-in ballot systems federally mandated. While Congress doesn’t have the authority to dictate how state election commissions run elections, the bill seeks to punish states who require IDs and require mail-in ballots to be requested by voters. Republicans have argued that the Constitution does not grant Congress that authority.

Texas ends mask mandate and restaurant restrictions
Texas is lifting its mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, making it the largest state to end such orders since the pandemic started more than a year ago. Texas will also do away with limits on the number of diners that businesses can serve indoors, said Abbott, who made the announcement at a restaurant in Lubbock. He said the new rules would take effect March 10.

Millions of Methodists will go left – but millions more will be right
A new, conservative Methodist denomination is splintering off of the United Methodist Church – and while the painful dividing process will likely spell death for some local congregations, a Methodist activist is expressing hope for conservatives in the church. The new Global Methodist Church will formally split from the UMC in 2022, the next time the denomination holds its General Conference. Conservative Methodists will then hammer out a new mission statement, vision, and a Transitional Book of Doctrines and Disciplines.

IDF: Hezbollah likely to initiate limited battles with Israel in 2021
The Israeli military anticipates that Hezbollah and other terror proxies will wage several limited rounds of violence, according to its annual intelligence assessment as reported in TOI. the IDF believes that Hezbollah is getting more emboldened and that they are operating under an assumption that they can launch violent attacks on IDF assets without it escalating to a full-scale war like they previously assessed.

Did a High Court Ruling Open Back Door For Christians to Become Israeli Citizens?
“There are many Christians who will 100% take this an opportunity,” Waller told Israel365 News. “Many are already familiar with the Reform movement. They are welcome in the Reform synagogues and many pray there as practicing and believing Christians. This is not well-known but it is fairly widespread. It depends on the Christians and on the rabbis but it does exist.”

Miss USA Can Reject Applicants Who Aren’t Biologically Female: Judge
The Miss United States of America competition is able to only accept biological females, a judge ruled last week. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, a George W. Bush appointee, said the pageant organization can’t be forced to let transgender women participate in its pageants. “Because I viewed it as an organization that does promote a message and seeks to maintain control of that message, I view it as an association that cannot under the Constitution be required to allow plaintiff to participate in what defendant says is a contradiction of that message,” Mosman ruled from the bench, referring to the organization’s stated mission of promoting “natural-born” females,

Major eruption at Sinabung volcano produces large pyroclastic flows with ash up to 12.2 km (40 000 feet) a.s.l.
A major eruption started at the Indonesian Sinabung volcano at 23:42 UTC on March 1, 2021, ejecting ash up to 12.2 km (40 000 feet) above sea level. This is its first major eruption since August 2020.

Microsoft And Bill Gates Working With Los Angeles Public Schools To Create A COVID QR Code ‘Daily Pass’ For Children That Scans To Allow Them Access
It was only 5 weeks ago that Bill Gates was whining about the fact that most of the civilized world views him as evil, someone who is planning to use eugenics to depopulate the world. Gates decried ‘baseless conspiracy theories’ as being behind the reason why so many people think he is an end times villain. Today we read that Microsoft is right now creating something called ‘Daily Pass’ that will assign a digital QR code to all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and deny them access to school if they do not comply with the dystopian COVID-19 checklist.

Twitter Will Enforce a ‘Strike System’ Against Coronavirus Vaccine ‘Misinformation’
Social media giant Twitter announced this week that it will begin labeling tweets that share “misleading information” about the coronavirus vaccine and will implement a strike system for repeat offenders of the “misinformation policy.”

Universal Orlando removes Dr. Seuss books from shelves amid news 6 books have been “cancelled”
According to Spectrum News, Universal Orlando said it’s evaluating the in-park experiences in their “Seuss Landing” area, but it will remain open amid news that Dr. Seuss will cease publishing 6 books.

The European Union Will Introduce ‘Digital Green Pass’ Legislation This Month Requiring All Citizens To Show Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination
The best way to describe to you what’s happening now comes by way of an old Arabian proverb that says “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.” A digital green pass on your mobile device is the camel getting his nose in your tent, at this stage the vaccine is ‘strongly recommended’ but not mandated. But not taking it will lock you out of things like international air travel. Once you accept this, the camel will then proceed to insert his whole self into your tent, with the end result being a mark implanted inside your body. You may consider the countdown to the actual, literal Mark of the Beast as having begun.

Michigan National Guard Troops in DC Hospitalized After Democrat Run City Repeatedly Feeds Them Raw, Undercooked Meat and Meals With Metal Shavings
More than a dozen Michigan National Guard troops deployed to Washington, D.C. have been sickened, with some hospitalized, after being served raw, undercooked meat and meals laced with metal shavings according to a report by WXYZ-TV reporter Brian Abel Monday evening.

Homosexuality can be called a mental disorder, rules Chinese court
Homosexuality may be considered “a psychological disorder” in the eyes of Chinese law. Citing controversial academic literature, a court in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu ruled that a textbook defining queerness as a disorder is not “factual error,” but a divergent “academic view,” the South China Morning Post reported. The ruling, from the Suqian Intermediate People’s Court, upholds a lower court’s ruling.’

Situation Update, Mar. 2nd – ASIANS are finally fed up with leftist race theory
The Left’s “Critical Race Theory” is a racist, bigoted philosophy that even punishes Asian people for being academically gifted. The smarter you are, the more you’re punished under Critical Race Theory, and if you’re really, really smart, you’re labeled a “racist” for out-performing People Of Color (POC) who, on average, struggle with academic aptitude.

Is The U.S. Going The Way Of Afghanistan?
“The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence.”

CrossTalk on Biden | Quarantine Edition | Weaponized empathy

There is a growing consensus the Biden Administration is off to a slow start. To date the new president has relied on executive orders to push through his agenda. This is not unusual, but what does set this president apart is the emphasis on what could be called “weaponized empathy.” This administration has embraced a wokeist agenda and all the divisions that come with this agenda.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Mar. 3, 2021

THE FOUNDATION

“We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.” —John Adams (1797)

HR 1 Makes Election Fraud & Chaos Permanent

The Democrat legislation aims to secure their power by any and all means necessary.


The Strange Silence of Me-Too Kamala

Why has the normally loquacious vice president been so silent about Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal?


Texas Ends 100% of Its COVID Restrictions

Gov. Abbott announces mask mandates and limits on businesses will end next week.


The Stunning Success of Operation Warp Speed

Joe Biden claims credit, but Donald Trump set the nation on a course to end this pandemic.


Minneapolis Braces for Chauvin Trial

It means heavy security to prepare for riots, and the mainstream media will be all over former police officer Derek Chauvin.


The Crumbling Foundation of Academic Freedom

American colleges and universities are more hostile today than ever toward those who don’t embrace progressive ideology.


It Depends on the Meaning of the Word ‘Is’…?

The “Equality Act” is a serious and political distortion of the English language.


Video: Dr. Seuss Canceled

Loudoun County, Virginia, essentially canceled Dr. Seuss from its “Read Across America Day” celebration due to “racism.”


Video: The Memory of Dr. Seuss Matters More Than Ever

Tucker Carlson on Dr. Seuss being “canceled.”


Video: Famous Leftists Reading ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama clearly had no issue reading Dr. Seuss.


Video: Woke Mob Believes CPAC Stage Is Nazi Symbolism

The Leftmedia pushes the conspiracy theory by claiming it resembles a symbol used by the SS.


Video: We Are All Essential

Mike Rowe tells John Stossel that COVID rules had a huge unintended consequence: They crushed work, sapping meaning from many people’s lives.


Video: Satire: Government-Funded Transgender Surgery for Kids?!

The latest on Biden’s assistant health secretary pick as well as a full lying-to-your-face news update on what’s happening around the world this week.



TODAY’S OPINION

BETSY MCCAUGHEY

Nancy’s Election-Rigging Bill

Pelosi has no qualms about trashing the Constitution to kneecap her opponents.

BEN SHAPIRO

When Lies Matter More Than Facts

“The story highlights the tensions between a student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.”

TONY PERKINS

Tennessee: An All-Volunteer Force for Common Sense

Liberals are getting a taste of just how unpopular their radical agenda is becoming.

HANS VON SPAKOVSKY

Biden’s Immigration Order

This is how policy will hide crimes, ignore victims.

STAR PARKER

Trump Gets It Right at CPAC

Trump wasted no time getting to the heart of the matter.

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Executive News Summary

Two states lift COVID restrictions, Neera Tanden withdraws, SCOTUS election case, and more.


Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Ari Fleischer, Tommy Tuberville, Alyssa Milano, and more.



TODAY’S MEME

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

Reporter Forced Out Of New York Times Reveals The Newsroom’s Internal Culture War

‘I used to love working here,’ Donald McNeil Jr. wrote. ‘Now I’m so discouraged. Such a mean, spiteful, vengeful place where everyone is looking over his/her shoulder.’

Source: Reporter Forced Out Of New York Times Reveals The Newsroom’s Internal Culture War

Obama praised Dr. Seuss in 2015: ‘Pretty much all you need to know’ is in his books

Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were fans of Dr. Seuss before the children’s author came under fire for creating racist and insensitive imagery.

Source: Obama praised Dr. Seuss in 2015: ‘Pretty much all you need to know’ is in his books

The ‘pathogenic meme’ of transgenderism | Evangelical Dark Web

Perhaps one of the best articles ever written on transgenderism was by Dr. Paul McHugh. With decades of experience serving at John Hopkins, one of the best hospitals in the country, his experience has him bucking the trend of much of the medical experts class. His article “Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme” can be summarized as a call to treat gender dysphoria with psychotherapy, not surgery.

A rare issue of a few men—both homosexual and heterosexual men, including some who sought sex-change surgery because they were erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women—has spread to include women as well as men. Even young boys and girls have begun to present themselves as of the opposite sex. Over the last ten or fifteen years, this phenomenon has increased in prevalence, seemingly exponentially. Now, almost everyone has heard of or met such a person.

When it comes to men, this explanation is quite observable. Bruce Jenner, being in a highly sexualized environment, would easily fall into this category, which is a dot that McHugh connects, borrowing the term “autogynephilia” in the process.

First, though, let us address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade: the idea that exchange of one’s sex is possible. It, like the storied Emperor, is starkly, nakedly false. Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

After drawing a parallel between The Emperor’s New Clothes, McHugh articulates that transgenderism is no different. He further adds that their is no data to suggest a transgender affirming culture will lower the suicide rate of this high risk population. McHugh then draws a contrast between young and old who have gender dysphoria.

Most young boys and girls who come seeking sex-reassignment are utterly different from Jenner. They have no erotic interest driving their quest. Rather, they come with psychosocial issues—conflicts over the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex—and presume that sex-reassignment will ease or resolve them.

The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counselors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.

The cause in young people, presumably prepubescent, stems from psychological issues. This is important to keep in mind. While adults are more likely to fetishize themselves as women, children are deeply confused. And affirming this confusion only permits more of it. Thus this is why he advocates psychotherapy as opposed to surgery.

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

McHugh suggests that widespread affirmation of transgenderism is proliferating the issue, as he noted the issue’s exponential growth in the beginning.

But gird your loins if you would confront this matter. Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.

The use of biblical references here, in his closing remarks, indicates that Dr. Paul McHugh is a Christian.

Conclusion

The main takeaway we should have from this article written in June 2015 is that this problem grows with society’s embrace of it. Children especially are the victims of this movement as their confusions are being affirmed rather than resolved.

Source: The ‘pathogenic meme’ of transgenderism

The Left Wants to Cancel Dr. Seuss, But Push Drag Queen Story Hour on Your Kids — Reformation Charlotte

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’re probably aware that the lunatic left wants to cancel Dr. Seuss because of it’s “insensitivity” toward minorities. And apparently, the company that prints and sells Dr. Seuss’ books has caved to their pressure.

The Associate Press reports that Dr. Seuss has named at least six books that the company will no longer sell,

In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. “If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.

Yet, these same leftists who called for the cancellation of Dr. Seuss are the same lunatics that want to push transgender ideology and queer theory onto 3-year-olds. Libraries, public schools, and even churches have been hosting a twisted event called Drag Queen Story Hour where parents and teachers will take their children and hand them over to sex perverts for an hour to be groomed and indoctrinated into queer ideology.

The Left Wants to Cancel Dr. Seuss, But Push Drag Queen Story Hour on Your Kids — Reformation Charlotte

The ‘Experts’ Have Finally Come For Dr. Seuss, For Our Childhoods And For Our Children — But We Know Their Secret

Every day in America, panels of experts are hurting people, erasing traditions, writing rules, rewriting history, and burning the leftovers. On Monday, they came for Dr. Seuss — and with him, all of us.

Source: The ‘Experts’ Have Finally Come For Dr. Seuss, For Our Childhoods And For Our Children — But We Know Their Secret