Bless you, Gail
How are we supposed to respond to unfair, unjust, or stupid rules from authority, especially when dealing with ungodly, oppressive systems like Communism? As always, we can trust God's Word to guide us.
On my 1980 trip to Prague, Czechoslovakia:
Something I did illegal and wrong: In Monday's study (HERE) I told you how God convicted me that it was wrong to exchange money through the black market on my trip to Czechoslovakia in 1980.
Something I did illegal and right: But on that same trip, I brought in some New Testaments, prayed over them and left them in places I hoped they'd be found. And I did this despite this description of that time period:
"Printing is severely restricted and Bibles are in short supply. Legally published religious materials are furthermore subject to strict censorship. These and other religious tracts are therefore smuggled into Czechoslovakia or printed using samizdat methods.* All unofficial attempts to increase the supply of religious materials are illegal. A penal code article dealing with profiteering has been used to punish those distributing religious material." (source)
*samizdat method was printing using personal typewriters, slow and tedious at the time, but a proof of how hungry the people were for Christian literature.
The money exchange laws I finally obeyed were unfair, greatly inflating the price of Korunas, but they did not violate God's laws or put anyone in danger.
I needed to obey them.
The laws against spreading God's Word were "legal" but they violated God's laws and I didn't need to obey them, but I disobeyed at my own risk. My personal risk as an American was small, but citizens of Czechoslovakia who spread God's Word put their lives at risk. God says they will receive a special reward for this risk and any loss they suffered (Matthew 5:10; 1 Peter 3:14).
During this time in my life, living in free West Germany and seeing the evils of Communism so close, I was especially blessed by the ministry of Open Doors with Brother Andrew. In fact, on this trip I was reading Andrew's book The Ethics of Smuggling. Andrew van der Bijl has spent his life taking Bibles and Christian literature into countries where it is illegal. Click HERE to read a bullet point history of his daring ministry. Open Doors is one of my favorite ministries.
While a few people may disagree on fine points, most Christians agree that God requires us to obey laws even if we don't think they are good, right or fair, unless they violate the principles and commands of His Word.
In regard to governments doing things against God's laws, like allowing abortion, that goes beyond the scope of this study. So I again refer you to the thorough article I referenced in Monday's study: When Is Civil Disobedience Allowed for Christians? And I recommend that you seek out other wise counsel as you study Scripture about these issues.
♥ 1 Peter 2:13-17: These verses were written by Peter who also said...."We must obey God rather than human beings!" in Acts 5. This is an excellent confirmation of the principles since Peter writes commanding obedience to government but lives an example in Acts 5 of where we draw the line.
♥ 1 Timothy 2:1-4: These verses are convicting to me because I am more apt to complain about my government than pray for its leaders.
♥ Acts 5:27-32: This is the key principle: Does it violate God's law? Then we must obey God, not man. And Acts 4: 1-22 gives us another case in point.
For additional study: Matthew 22:15-22: in these verses Christ makes an interesting point: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's--in this case pay your taxes. But "give to God what is God's." What is God's? EVERYTHING, so we owe God and His laws our first allegiance.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted