Source: Christian Observer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Anarchy”
City of publication: Louisville, Kentucky
Date of publication: 18 September 1901
Volume number: 89
Issue number: 38
|“Anarchy.” Christian Observer 18 Sept. 1901 v89n38: p. 3.|
|anarchism (criticism); anarchism (religious interpretation).|
|Moses; Paul; Peter.|
If there is any one matter of a political nature
with which the Bible emphatically deals, it is the sin of destroying, or attempting
to destroy, good order in the land. In the emphatic teachings of the week preceding
his crucifixion our Lord bade his disciples, “Render therefore unto Cæsar the
things which are Cæsar’s.”
By the hand of Paul, the Holy Ghost wrote: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” Romans 13:1.
The same truth is presented in Titus 3:1, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers.” And Peter echoes it in these words: “Fear God. Honor the king.”
A wide distinction must here be drawn between two entirely different things; one, the effort to substitute a new government in place of the old; the other, an attempt to destroy government and substitute confusion in its place. For the one there may be reason; for the other, none. The one has often been commanded by God, as when he required Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt; the other, never.
One reason for this requirement of obedience to the civil ruler would seem to lie in the fact that the civil government is God’s representative. The king, or head of the government, is the “minister of God to thee for good” and “the minister of God to execute wrath.” Anarchy or sedition, therefore, is more than resistance to a human organization; it is of the nature of resistance to God.
Another reason would seem to lie in the fact that good order on earth is necessary to the salvation of souls and the work of the Church on earth. This is intimated in 1 Timothy 2:2. Paul calls “for prayer for kings, and all that are in authority,” and this for one special end, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life,” and this with the further aim that God “will have all men to be saved.” Disorder in the world distracts attention from the Gospel and keeps men from thinking about their souls. It dissipates the money which might be used in sustaining the Gospel and sending forth heralds of the truth; often it closes the sanctuaries and sometimes it burns them. Anarchy is an agency for the obstruction of repentance and the perdition of souls.
In these two aspects there is reason enough for the emphasis which God uses in his condemnation of anarchy.