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Restraint Of Power: Who Tells The Leader When He Is Wrong?

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     I live in Barron County Wisconsin. Last night about 60 citizens attended the Barron County Board Meeting to give feedback to the board about a recent decision to require Barron County empoloyees to wear masks in government buildings again. I'm not sure if the board will listen but their constituents spoke loud and clear that we do not want government beuracrats forcing health care decisions on the population. This decision to require masks is beyond constitutional authority of a county board or a county supervisor.

So what is a Christian supposed to do with overreach of authority? I've heard a lot of quotes and statements about Romans 13 in the last year as if the text of scripture tells believers to submit to every abuse of power. The scripture does instruct us to submit to the governing authoririties; but does this mean that we must comply with orders that are causing harm to people?

This is not just a Constitutional question. It is also a Bible question. The Constitution gets its ideas about the limits of human authority from the Bible. In fact, Romans 13 calls government officials "God's servants for our good(v.4)."   

If you pay attention to church leadership in the Bible, you will find that multiple elders were appointed as the leaders in every church(Titus 1:5). Why is this? Because God demands accountability and restraint for authority in the church. One man with unilateral authority is a recipe for disaster.

Yet, isn't that what we have seen in the past year and a half? Government leaders, education leaders, business leaders, and even church leaders over-stepping the bounds of their God-given authority in order to make health care decisions for families?

You see, it isn't unbiblical to resist an authority who is enforcing his will against a situation that is not in his jurisdiction. Throughout the Bible the prophets would speak against kings that used their civil authority to cause the people to stray away from the Lord into the sin of idolatry. Were the prophets in unbiblical rebellion? I think not since their message of warning came directly from God.

Let's learn to think more clearly about these matters of authority so that we can be sure to submit to Christ in all things and not the abusive policies of unchecked human authority.