Christian Duty?

Whenever I talk to other Christian folk about Christian Anarchism and my rejection of the nation/state/government as an abomination, the pushback I often get is Paul and his letter to the Church in Rome 13:1. “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.

Aside from the fact that this passage can’t be read apart from what comes before it “Resist not evil…” I always get a great deal of joy this time of year by pointing out to them that they are about to celebrate the Fourth of July, and ask them which authorities are appointed by God and why it was fine for us to cast off the tyranny of the British monarchy in light of what Paul says. 

Once we get into the business of deciding which governing authorities are “instituted by God” and which ones aren’t, then all we’re doing is privileging our own biases and catering to blatant nationalism. The very thing I despise.

Better, I think, to say that they (governments) all belong on the ash heap. Along with this same passage by Paul. Because, in my opinion, this is the place where Paul so seriously deviates from Jesus’ message that everything else he says becomes suspect.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...