June 20, 2018

St. Paul, Romans 13 & USA Border Policies

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the separation of children from detained immigrants by quoting Scripture back to his critical “church friends.” For this, he has been widely denounced by religious voices.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

This angered many “church” friends and others. They recall slave masters and Nazis who also cited St. Paul’s “controversial” admonition to obey civil laws when demanding submissive allegiance.

These fulminations against Romans 13 as supposedly a frequent justification for tyranny are fierce. Many may wonder if it shouldn’t just be deleted from the Bible, or at least ignored. Some critics have conflated St. Paul, Sessions and sordid American history as a miasma of interlocking oppressions.

(Read the rest of this commentary here.)


11 Responses to St. Paul, Romans 13 & USA Border Policies

  1. Gee Shade says:

    Dude, really. No “Guidance for border laws“? The principle is one of authority. The US Constitution recognizes my hands God given rights. so it is under God‘s authority as it protects individuals. Border laws, from the legislature which is defined in the US Constitution as to their functions. The executive branch enforces those laws, until or unless the legislature changes them. it is a lawful and orderly process, it is not “Tierney“, which was exemplified by the free wheeling counter constitutional packs of Obamas administration.

  2. Jim Reed says:

    It is gross error to misquote and take biblical passages out of context. If you read the Romans 13:1-7, in its entirety, you will find that God has ordained human governments to do “good” and to do “right” and correct wrongs. Then, it speaks of “conscience.”

    All these must be based on the foundation of what is right and wrong in God’s view and the conscience he has place in all of humanity. To think that we must obey governments just because they are the governments is a gross error.

    God determines right and wrong and human government has been ordained to do just that. However, we often fail. So, if we correct — we correct UP to God’s standards, not down.

  3. Raymond Brunner says:

    I am no expert on any of this but it seems like we should be hospitable to anyone crossing our borders but that does not mean they have the right to stay forever. The rules for such entry into any country are meant to create order and to not allow disorder.

  4. Eriberto Soto says:

    Please read John Story’s commentary on these verses in His commentary on Romans. I believe it will help clarify some of the mess Sessions created in his out of context commentary.

  5. Eriberto Soto says:


  6. B Seddon says:

    The people elected the government, we are bound to obey the laws to defend our country. Legal entry is always possible, but citizens have a right to expect protection against the massive volume of illegals,who do not have any intention of obeying our laws.The children who are here alone are well cared for,and why were they sent here alone?

  7. There’s certainly biblical precedence for Christians obeying a secular civil government’s law *provided* it comports with the Bible’s immutable/unchanging triune moral law. For example, Romans 12:18: “If possible, as much as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all men.”

    However, be careful, Romans 13 (that Sessions referred to) has *nothing* to do with obeying secular civil governments. There is absolutely nothing in Romans 13:1-7 regarding secular governments. Rather, everything therein is depicting a biblical civil government.

    The one word “continually” in Verse 6 (amplifying Verses 3 and 4) alone proves the point. Unless you’re prepared to say that the Roman Empire (which habitually murdered Christians) was continually a blessing to the righteous and a terror to the wicked, it should be obvious that the Apostle Paul’s dissertation has nothing to do with secular governments.*

    For more, see free online book “The Romans 13 Template for Biblical Dominion: Ten Reason Why Romans 13 is Not About Secular Government” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/Romans13/Romans13-contents.html.

    *What makes a government secular is its rejection of Yahweh as its Sovereign and thus His moral law as supreme. Case in point: the United States Constitutional Republic.

    Idolatry is not so much about statues as it is statutes, such as what one considers the the supreme law of the land.

  8. Ruth Linholm says:

    The overriding Biblical “rule” that applies to the border is the “golden one”….treat others the way you would like to be treated!

  9. Glenn Ray says:

    The Romans 13 is not complicated. You obey the laws of the God ordained government. As far as conscience, you pay the penalty for disobeying because of conscience sake. Paul did on several occasions. Governments are in place for order or everyone will do what is right in their own eyes.

  10. Myron Heavin says:

    The real issue is separating children from their parents as national policy. This policy is roundly condemned by both Democrats and Republicans alike. It was also condemned by many church leaders, including Methodist Church leaders in his own church.

    I am increasingly concerned the devil is increasingly seducing the evangelical churches to follow a godless leader, a liar, an adulterer, and virtually all of us agree with this. The evangelical church men are perhaps his single largest source of support.

    The standard we use to judge truth is scripture, not Tweets. We spend so much time watching TV commentators, with little time spent listening to Pastors. And the evangelistic pastors have often preached politics rather than the gospel message. We think the way to save the world for Jexus Christ is to pass a tax break or a new law. We forgot :the love if money is the root of all evil”. We forget the gospel message.

  11. Chris says:

    Perhaps there’s a misunderstanding as to what the true and mandated function of His Church, i.e., The Body of Christ, is really supposed to be.   Think HIS Civil Body Politic.   In other words, the True Church IS TO BE “The State”; not to make laws, but enforce His.

    Now, I know the following is lengthy, but do take the time to read it.   This is a comment I posted on another article asking what does Romans 13 really mean.   I hope you’ll see the connection:

    What Is The Correct Interpretation of Romans 13:

    Dean Garrison: “So what is the correct interpretation of Romans 13?

    That is what we all want to know.  Isn’t it?”

    Great article Dean, and very good question.

    The idea of obey man’s government and that it is to execute judgment for crimes, we’re to pay the taxes it demands because the ones in gov’t. are “God’s ministers”, etc., etc., because of Romans 13, comes from the usual crowd (deceivers) of the modern day, poor excuses for “churches”, most of which are 501 (c) (3) controlled, i.e., created by that god (name a state) via incorporation.

    For a proper understanding of Christ’s Kingdom and who is to enforce His Perfect Moral Commandments, Laws, Statutes and carry out His Judgments, and we’re to pay “taxes” to (tithes), here’s a comment made by someone else in another article replying to a “Pastor” that was spouting the typical nonsense that  Romans 13 is referring to the state (man’s government) and how Christians are obliged to obey it.

    He did such a marvelous job of showing that Romans 13 is about The Church/Body of Christ’s function and purpose that I saved it and re-post it here. All credit for this most excellent explanation goes to him:

    “Brent in
    Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    “Since it is generally the fault of many to take Paul completely out of context, especially when reading diluted renditions of the New Testament (NIV) I feel it necessary to post the ENTIRE context of the passage you just posted form the KJV. Paul wrote this as an entire epistle…we are the ones that attached chapter and verse to find things. But when taken out of context, it is very easy to presume he meant one thing when he actually meant another. You will note that Paul is not talking about government officials and their power to tax, nor is he calling government officials God’s servants. Otherwise “Might MAKES Right” by Machiavelli would be completely true.

    “I present, for the illumination of other reader, as I am certain you will not move from your opinion:

    “CHAPTER 12

    “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living
    sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    “2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    “3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    “4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

    “5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    “6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

    “7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

    “8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let
    him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

    “9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

    “10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

    “11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

    “12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

    “13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

    “14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

    “15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

    “16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

    “17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

    “18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

    “19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    “20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

    “21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

    “And now backing himself up as an Apostle of the Lord he writes in 13:

    “1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    “2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

    “3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

    “4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good.
    But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

    “5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

    “6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

    “7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    “8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    “9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    “10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    “11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

    “12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    “13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

    “14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

    “The LAW that Paul is referring to is the Law of God: following His ordained servants and the ordinances, paying of tithes and offerings…etc…the end of the Law being Love. He is NOT referring to principalities or magistrates. If that were true, we are all guilty for having rebelled against the King of England; every Government current in Europe is guilty of disobeying the Pope, who was in turn guilty of disobeying Constantinople. And if you want to get really silly, the Romans should have never overthrown their Etruscan masters, the Jews should have never appealed to return to Jerusalem and should have contented themselves with living in Babylon, we would not have the Bible, nor the writings of Paul to begin with…at least not writing to the Romans. Maybe the Egyptians. Or the Philistines…or the (fill in local tribe here that the Israelites were at one time subjugated to).”

    My Reply To Him:


    “Excellent! It’s the Body of Christ, His Church and those in positions of authority within His Civil Body Politic. His Kingdom/Will On Earth.

    “It’s so good to see men such as yourself that haven’t fallen for such nonsense as the “Pastor” has spewed forth from his 501 (c) controlled pulpit, granted to him by the god (state) he went to to obtain creation of his “church” (via incorporation), now owned and controlled by its creator, the state.

    “You nailed it!

    “Yahweh Bless You.”  End of Brent’s comment and my reply to him.

    His Church or HIS Civil Body Politic is to  have the authority to try criminal matters and administer criminal justice (also civil disputes, e.g., 1 Corinthians 6: 1-6), NOT man’s government.   The fundamental principle for the character of the men to be chosen for this task can be found at Exodus 18: 21.   

    The mere existence of man’s government (in whatever form, current U.S. & State constitutions included), making laws, i.e., determining what was “good and evil” or Malim in se (evil in and of itself as defined by The Great I Am, the ONLY lawgiver) vs. malim prohibitum (evil because someone determines, or legislates, it to be evil) and then administering both criminal and civil “justice”, is anti-Christ’s Kingdom, not to mention having other gods before Him (I like the way Ted Weiland puts it when describing “worshiping and obeying other gods”: “Think statutes, not statues.”).

    The problem is modern day, sorry excuses for “churches” function as anything but His Church. 

    Today’s “churches” are not there to get us into The Kingdom of Christ, they’re there TO KEEP US OUT!

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