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Overthrowing the government: Is it justified?

When governments go wrong, what should the Christian response be? This question is very important, especially in countries where the common person has little or no power. Some people think that you should lead a revolution. I belive that bloodshed should always be avoided. Others would say that you should be silent and wait for circumstances to change, but that doesn’t help us now. I think Christians should always have one eye on heaven, and the other on today, so solutions like this do not help much. I think that we should attempt to reform whatever has gone wrong. One way I have heard it put is this way: if you had to change a painting, you could just rip it apart and start over. But there is another way. You could scrape a bit here, add a bit there, and change the painting while still keeping the good parts. I think that is the best way, so long as we are doing it according to the Scriptures.

Overthrowing the government is not something that Christians should worry about. We should always stand up for what we believe, but we should not do so with malice. When we stand up against the government for what we believe, it should be civil disobedience, not angry disobedience. Assassinations are never a good thing. Look at when Saul was chasing David. David had several chances to kill Saul, and yet he never did. Why? Because Saul was the Lord’s anointed. All governments are placed by God, and so we should never violently attempt to change them. For this reason, I feel that the Biblical standing of the American Revolution is debatable.

Overall, I hope that I have shown that we are to see the government as it is, but at the same time, we should never forget that it is anointed by God. He is the One who raises up the nations, and He will be the One who casts them down. He does not need our help.


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One thought on “Overthrowing the government: Is it justified?

  1. learning2serv on said:

    This is a challenging one for me. As a retired soldier, one who has wrestled with the whole “Up In Arms” concept, I realize that there is a time for war, and a time for plucking up (Ecc 3:1-8).

    But WHEN should a Christian participate in or foment revolution? That is a hard question. What if you were the brother or well placed officer of a bloodthirsty dictator and you knew that a rebellion, though possibly brutal, would ultimately save more lives and create a better future than not. Would that give you pause to consider or cause to do? Many of our Old Testament Kings in Israel and Judah were put down by coups, some by folks who wanted to bring the nation back to God.

    Ultimately, we have to believe that God gives success in endeavors, and especially at this level. He “lifts up and casts down”. These things are a little too lofty for me, and I am grateful that I don’t have that kind of responsibility.

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