A Pastor’s Ponderings: Revisiting July 4th 1776

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By Pastor Doug Stauffer

Like many other Floridians, I love the great state of Florida, surpassed only by my love for our country. America has a long and distinguished history that patriotic Americans revisit every Independence Day, celebrating with family, friends, feasts and fireworks. We must examine our past to understand the biblical justification for America’s independence.

Motivated by shocking ideologies, the acceptance of historical revisionism is on the rise at an alarming rate. We need to educate and reeducate the populace to ensure that we keep our freedoms. Patriots must explore creative ways to help others rediscover the foundational truths of America. I choose the most untapped resource for finding the answers – God’s word.

The Bible best explains the justification of America’s independence from its tyrannical king. Yet, some teachers use the Bible to teach that rebelling against a government is never justified by its subjects. According to them, the government’s subjects are to “be subject” and never “resist the power.”

“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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God…” (Romans 13:1-2a).

Were the founding fathers rebelling against God when they sought to rebel against the injustices of the king of England? Some teach that citizens of a country are to subject themselves to all institutions of government. They are to subject themselves regardless of their leaders’ usurpation of authority and violation of God-given rights. Yet, as the passage continues, God’s word provides the context and the clarity.

“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: For he is the minister of God to thee for good” (Romans 13:3-4).

The passage’s context says that God-ordained governments and rulers are against evil and supporters of good. Every God-ordained government is the “minister of God.” For what purpose? FOR GOOD! So, when any government ceases to fulfill these parameters, the constituents are not required to be subject to these higher powers. Notice that these “ministers of God” not only praise good works but also use the force of law to punish evil.
“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” (Romans 13:4b).

In the passage, the Bible twice defines God-ordained governments as the “minister of God”! As such, these ministers of God reward good and punish evil. With these truths in mind, the context of subjecting oneself to the government becomes crystal clear.
Constituents are not required to subject themselves to governments that fall outside the parameters of a God-given government. Therefore, the 13 colonies ceased to be under obligation to subject themselves to King George III in 1776.

What happens when governments do just the opposite: punish good and reward evil? Their subjects are under no obligation to subject themselves to such unjust usurpations. What happens when a government ceases to be the “minister of God”? It ceases to be God-ordained and frees its subjects from obligation. In 1776, these were the historical realities on this continent. This is the justification for America’s rebellion in 1776! Learn it; teach it; proclaim it!

Dr. Doug Stauffer is pastor of Faith Independent Baptist Church. He was saved July 6, 1980, in Niceville, while stationed at the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base and has now been in the ministry for over 35 years. He has written 20 books including the best selling “One Book” trilogy (“One Book Rightly Divided, One Book Stands Alone, One Book One Authority”); along with several devotionals (“Daily Strength” series); and prophecy books (“Reviving the Blessed Hope, When the End Begins”).