Ben Reaoch | Category: Culture
Today's post is Part 4 of a 4-part blog series on questions raised from the recent sermons on Romans 13:1-7 on the topic of "The Government is God's Servant."
You can read
Part 1, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment" here
Part 2, "Abortion and Taxes" here
Part 3, "Abortion and Capital Punishment" here.
This is a very intriguing question that comes up in light of the discussion of civil disobedience. Someone asked me this very question after one of my sermons on Romans 13. Was Bonhoeffer in the right when he conspired with others to assassinate Adolf Hitler? Here is a thoughtful response to that question given by James Montgomery Boice:
“I have already commended Dietrich Bonhoeffer for his stand against the evils of the Nazi state. He is also to be commended for courageously returning to Germany from America, where he was living at the time, to help the struggling church and give it leadership. But Bonhoeffer was not executed for speaking out against Nazism. He was executed for being involved in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. We can understand how he might have felt that assassination was the only course left to him to stop the growing evil, but desperation does not make murder right, and at this point he clearly went beyond any possible biblical sanction. We can contrast his conduct with that of David in his struggle against King Saul. God had already removed his blessing from Saul, and Saul was seeking David’s life. David did not have to wait in Jerusalem to be killed. He had every right to flee. This was a form of disobedience. But David did not cross over the line and try to kill Saul. On the contrary, he spared his life on at least two occasions while he waited for God to remove him, which God did in the end.” (in his commentary on Romans, vol. 4, page 1652)
What do you think? What would you do in Bonhoeffer’s situation?
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