Sunday, December 18, 2011
I was inspired by Tim Tebow to do some Bible study after reading this amazing comment in response to the students getting suspended from school for the horrible act of momentarily Tebowing in the hallway:
"You have to respect the position of authority and people that God's put as authority over you" (before somewhat contradicting himself by adding that it 'showed courage')
I was really curious where in the Bible he learned this Nazi brownshirt approach to citizenship. (It's totally inconsistent too, where is Tebow's respect for the Supreme Court authority of Roe v. Wade that God placed above him?) I located the spot... Romans 13:1-3, Tim was dutifully reciting it almost verbatim:
"All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves. People who do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But those who do wrong must fear them."
The funny thing is though, that's the ERV version... some of you are going to be shocked to hear this, but the Bible gets "re-translated" (read: re-written) all the time. I always thought a 'new translation' meant it was changing languages - but it actually means putting new spins on it all the time. This site lets you look at a bunch of different versions.
Here's a different version (King James 21st Century):
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but from God; the powers that be are ordained by God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and those who resist shall receive for themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same..."
Sounds a lot less like obey your government, and more like obey the gods in the sky. A Christian gentleman who had similar concerns about reconciling his activism with Romans 13:3 (which he points out was Hitler's favorite Bible passage) devoted a website to researching this very passage.
Surprise! It turns out Romans 13:1 wasn't relaying the Tebow/fundamentalist right wing christian message at all! Here are his findings:
"The best way to bring understanding on Romans 13 is to ask, "Who was Apostle Paul writing to at Rome?" The answer is found at Romans 1:7. Paul was writing to all in Rome who are beloved of God and called to be saints. He was not writing to the general population at Rome. He was specifically addressing the "called-out ones," the body of Christ...
If Romans 13 does not mean, "Obey the State," what does it mean?... Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls... Unlike worldly rulers, godly rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil."
He also points Paul, who was murdered by Caesar for undermining the power of the state - would be an extremely odd messenger for the Tebow interpretative spin on this passage.
It would have been nice if Tim had followed his gut in sticking up for these kids who were needlessly suspended for a harmless prank instead of quoting a 'translation' of the Bible that calls for blind submission to authority no matter how wrong or heavy handed.
Posted by OP at 7:53 PM