In a world broken by sin, we will always have sinful rulers. In fact, that is all that we will ever have in our earthly kingdoms.
Because of that, there are times when resisting those authorities is necessary.
We are not there. Not even close.
This is not a time for a just war.
This is a time for Romans 13:1-2:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” – Romans 13:1-2
I was recently asked, “What is your opinion of insurgency?” I am seldom shocked by a question. After 25 years of ministry, I think I have heard most of them.
But this one shocked me.
At the time, it was strange, so I assumed that it was hypothetical. It seemed so far from something I needed to address.
That is until Wednesday, January 6, 2021, when the Capitol was sieged by violent, armed rebels.
Let me be clear — armed protests are not protests. They are acts of violence.
This is true no matter who is carrying them out or why they are being carried out. Violent protests are not protests — they are fleshly (Galatians 6:20) acts against those who bear God’s image.
I seldom buy the excuse that oppressed people get frustrated and then turn violent. I didn’t believe that when the BLM protests turned violent, nor do I believe it when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
Evil people perpetrate evil on others, and sometimes it turns violent. If you don’t believe me, put two toddlers together in a room and just let them play for 10 minutes. If you still don’t believe me, join me for a marriage counseling session. Or just ask my wife about me, because this stuff is in my own heart.
Rather, the followers of Jesus have to turn away from evil violence: “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
In case you are wondering — there is less at stake in the political world than you think. The Lord is sovereign over all things — “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.” (Daniel 2:21)
To arm yourselves against a justly elected official is an act of sedition against the Great King of Kings. “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.” (Romans 13:2)
And we need to heed the warning, “those who resist will incur judgment.” (Romans 13:2)
In fact, you may not like the departing president or the arriving president, but you must honor him (Romans 13:7, 1 Peter 2:17). The same is true for the state governors, the state legislatures, and your mayor.
The Christian’s engagement with politics should always have a certain shape to our zeal:
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:21-23)
So, if you are considering involvement in a violent protest — put down your weapons, and take up your cross and follow Jesus.
Do not violently fight, honor the elected officials for the sake of Jesus — “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:15)
And then wait for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to return, for his kingdom has no end.