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Monday, September 14, 2009

Submission to Authority

"The law was made for man and not man for the law ...
government is the servant of the people, not their master."
~ John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Submission to Authority

Let every soul be subject to the higher [huperecho] authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God... a servant of God to you for good.
~ Romans 13:1,4 (MKJV)

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NKJV)

I'd planned a one-day glance at Romans 13. But prayer changes many things. Shall we lay aside the thought that religion and politics don’t mix and wade on in?

I’ll first acknowledge my awareness that some say Romans 13:1 applies only to church authorities, and others apply the text to government exclusively while shunning authority of church leaders placed over us. (It seems we're always looking for a way to evade authority.)

The Greek word huperecho, often translated "governing," literally means "higher or superior." Later in the passage Paul includes the government authorities who collect taxes, and the Bible makes clear elsewhere the authority of church elders—as well as the authority of a man over his wife. (Authority of a master or employer over a servant or employee seems to be a given.)

So in discussing principles of authority, the realms included here will be:
Church (and Workplace)

Authority exists to serve as God’s minister—for our good. Government exists to serve and protect its people. Church leaders are to care for the flock in the sacrificial example of the Good Shepherd. Husbands are to give themselves up for their wives as Christ did for His bride the church, and fathers are not to provoke their children to wrath. In all realms (including business), authorities have a critical responsibility to raise up new leaders.

The next few days will look at: 1) stewardship, liberty, and equality in authority; 2) response to unrighteous authority; and 3) what trumps authority.

Father, how grateful we are for You as the ultimate authority—all powerful, all knowing, all loving. Please guide our understanding of the authority You ordain as ministers for our good. Please lead us in righteous exercise of authority and proper submission to authority.

BTW (by the way)—I've been honored with a guest blogger spot today by my Favorite Fish, Shark Bait. Stop by his delightful sea haven for some Real Love from me, and don't hestitate to leave a comment saying that Faithful In Serving HIM (FISH) is what you want to be, too.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I look forward to this unit study on authority, thanx Anne.
    (If you get a chance, check out the Sunday 9-13 post on my blog. I wanted to share it with you).

  2. Looking forward to reading everything this week sweetie.

  3. Hi there,

    A reminder that you have a post over at my place today.


  4. Anne, this promises to be an interesting, exciting week here on the blog! So many interpretations and uses of Romans 13--some correct (IMveryhumbleO) and some...well, not so correct. I know you will give us great insight!

    God bless!

  5. T. Anne and Denise, Romans is taking a whole lot longer to get through than I expected. But with a book like Romans, I should have known there would be some chapters I couldn't simply peek at in just one day.

    Shark Bait, I just edited this post to include your link. Thank you for the honor of another guest blog.

    Gwen, thanks for the vote of confidence. I actually have all four posts written and scheduled so they'll go up the same time we do. (THAT's Friday's post!) ;D

  6. Anne - Controversial? You? Oh boy! If anyone can wade into a hot topic and bring grace and level-headed discussion, I think it would be you. I will be standing by!

  7. Oh, I'd love to have you as a guest blogger. You have much wisdom to impart.

    I'm deeply grateful God is in charge even though He is insisting on teaching me a lot right now.
    ~ Wendy

  8. In my mind Daniel is a great example. He served a repressive government faithfully . . . never compromised his core faith . . . and God was glorified...

  9. As I was reading your post I kept thinking of the behind the scenes preparation and preprayeration all of these posts take.
    Just want to let you know that your submission and labor of love is appreciated.

  10. Having just completed reading Eusebius' "History of the [Christian] Church," I have a whole new level of respect for the early martyrs, who refused to fight against Rome, refused to return railing for railing, who yielded up their bodies for torture and, ultimately, gave up their lives.

    They rendered unto Caesar all that was Caesar's -- but they knew the one thing that could never belong to him was their testimony of Christ. That they would not give up and they passionately, even gladly exchanged their lives as penalty.

  11. Brad, your compliment is most appreciated. Stay tuned. You'll love tomorrow's photo. Probably.

    Wendy, give me a couple of weeks on doing a guest blog. I'm honored, humbled, and thrilled that you'd ask. The Lord's teaching me plenty, too! :P

    Russell, I thoroughly agree that Daniel is an ideal example. We named our son after this favorite hero of the faith, whose name means "My Judge is God."

    Doug, you don't know the half of it. After the difficulty of composing semi-concise posts for this week, I think I could go on to write a book. Thank you for your kind words.

    Hi Clifford! The martyrs inspire me as no one else. I'm sure that I idealize (even romanticize) the thought of dying for my faith. Harder yet is crucifying Self each day, without the glory.


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