The Common Good
April 2013

Our First Allegiance

by Scott Smith | April 2013

David P. Gushee asserts that "the statesperson, even the Christian statesperson, faces responsibilities involving the use of force in relation to protecting the people within his or her realm that others generally do not (cf. Romans 13:1-7)."

The state does not bind itself to the commands of Christ, but the Christian is bound by them and cannot use the excuse of government service to avoid them, thereby placing the state above Christ. Romans 13 was not a recruiting pitch by Paul to join the state (which was pagan at the time of his writing). On the contrary, he said: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world."

Scott Smith
Greensboro, North Carolina

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