1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Biblical statements advocating civil obedience.
A. Matt. 22:15-22; Mk. 12:13-17; Lk.
20:20-26 - "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,
God the things that are God's."
B. Romans 13:1-8 - "Let every person
be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is
except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
authority has opposed the ordinance of God. ...render tax to
whom tax is due."
C. I Tim. 2:1,2 - "kings and all
who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and
D. Titus 3:1 - "Remind them to be
subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient..."
E. I Peter 2:13-16 - "Submit yourselves
for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to
as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him... For
such is the will of God..."
II. Biblical examples of civil disobedience.
1:15 - 2:10; Heb. 11:23
to preserve God's people.
to preserve God's people.
to pray and worship.
D. Peter and John
to preach the gospel.
to just treatment.
III. Some historical examples of civil disobedience.
A. Socrates - freedom of thought and
B. Early Christians - regarded as law
breakers; would not bow to Roman emperor or his image.
C. Lady Godiva - tax protest.
D. Martin Luther - freedom of religion.
E. John Bunyan - freedom of religion.
F. American Revolution - tax protest.
G. Abolitionists; Underground Railroad
- racial rights.
H. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemoller
- resistance of Nazis
I. Martin Luther King - racial rights.
J. Anabaptists, Quakers, Mennonites,
Brethren communities - resistance to war.
K. Operation Rescue - abortion.
IV. Principles of civil disobedience.
A. Our highest authority is God in
B. Government is capable of great evil.
C. Submission to governing authorities
does not mean uncritical obedience.
D. Laws that are contrary to God's revealed
will are to be disobeyed.
E. Disobedience should be non-violent.
F. Those who engage in civil disobedience
must be willing to accept consequences.
V. Personal questions.
A. Would you have defied Hitler's
decrees and refused to turn Jewish neighbors over to S.S.
B. Would you carry Bibles into a country
where it was forbidden to possess such?
C. Would you defy the law of military
conscription and refuse to participate in war?
D. Would you disobey the law and refuse
to pay taxes to a government that was using them
or for evil purposes?
E. Would you join a pro-life group defying
laws against protest at abortion clinics?
F. Would you disobey the law in order
to educate your children in the manner you regard to be
G. Would you defy the law and refuse
to salute the American flag?
H. If you were a Christian in Cuba today,
would you join efforts to overthrow Castro's
I. Would you disobey the law and drive
without a seat-belt?
J. If you had a mentally disabled daughter,
would you defy the law and have her sterilized to