The other day, I posted about a internet “pastor” who says that the Letter to the Romans is a demonic book and should be burned. One of the main objections this individual had against Romans was Romans 13 and the role of Government.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. (Romans 13:1-7, NLT)
So, in essence, we’re just going to rip out the parts of the Bible we don’t agree with. We’re going to cherry pick the Bible to get those verses that we agree with. But where does it end. I don’t know what guided me to this today, but as I was looking for a Bible quote for my monthly newsletter, I turned to Titus 3. This got me thinking, if we rip out Romans 13, then what other verses/books need to go? Obviously Titus 3:1 needs to go. It too tells us to be submissive to the government.
Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. (Titus 3:1, NLT)
Let’s get rid of that. Why don’t we also get rid of Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles…as they all deal with God raising up rulers. Don’t like justice…well, your going to have a very empty Bible. Talk about absolute nonsense.
I cross-posted the original post here, and a commenter had this to say,
“First off, Romans is a letter…but that’s just me being nit-picky”
Actually, I wouldn’t call that being nitpicky at all. The very fact that it is a letter and NOT a book or, for that matter, a systematic theological tome that could be read apart from the rest of scripture as a singular truth, is in no small way how we are able to live in the tension created by the kinds of discrepancies that exist in all of scripture.
In fact, the gentleman you reference here is a prime example of how our presuppositions greatly influence our result. Not only does he, obviously, suppose that there is a single, and may I add quite limited, way to understand the Gospels and that he has received this singular comprehension, he also supposes that the other letters he lists are clearer expositions of this singular truth.
Curiously, I wonder why he insists repeatedly that Romans is a Book but “Corinthians, Thessolonians (sp), Galatians, Collosians (sp) and Ephesians” are letters. However, I do appreciate his cautions at the end related to how to safely burn the Book of Romans. Plus, he gives you the go ahead to burn the last chapter of Acts and the first of 1 Corinthians if needed because “sacrifices must be made”.
Indeed. Just some food for thought on this Monday morning.