[ Ed. note – Anyone who has ever read Paul’s letter to the Romans has probably stumbled and gasped when they got to chapter 13, for it is here the apostle expresses the rather startling view that all earthly rulers (presumably including Roman emperors, and, if we extrapolate to modern times, war mongers like John McCain) are divinely appointed by God–and that whoever opposes them is in reality opposing God.
It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow, but Chuck Carlson at We Hold These Truths, has posted an interesting theory–that the verses in question were intended as a coded message to Paul’s followers, and that in reality the apostle was employing satire. Moreover, the arguments he presents to advance his thesis are quite interesting–check it out. ]
Romans 13: Paul’s Coded Reality
Apostle Paul’s Subtle Message on Rulers, Taxes, Bribes, Fear and Respect
By Charles E. Carlson
Romans 13 begins with what seems to be the most politician-friendly statement in the Christian Bible. The first six verses, believed to be written by the apostle Paul in the first century AD, are quoted here from a solid translation of three surviving ancient Greek texts. These on the surface state that magistrates, rulers, potentates, ministers, dictators, and possibly even tax collectors of Paul’s day, were chosen by God to do His work on earth. In these six terse verses, Paul warned his reader to be obedient to them for “conscience’ sake.” I find in verse 7 a coded reality message to his followers, the key to understanding the first six verse as a satire on earthly politicians that remains valid today .