Ask Your Preacher
How should Christians view the recent unrest in Iran? I know the Bible says we are supposed to honor those in authority, but does this apply even to rulers who are over another nation? Is it okay to root for the rebels?
Going further, is it okay to take action to aid the protesters in Iran? I've seen some people encouraging others to use the Internet to provide alternate ways for the Iranians to communicate despite the government's censorship efforts. Is this something a Christian can participate in?
Sincerely, Rebel Alliance
Dear Rebel Alliance,
The issue you bring up is one without a clear and easy answer, but in general, yes, it would be okay to root for the rebels and even to aid them. The Bible makes it clear that we must show respect for the government authorities that we are under (1 Pet 2:13-15). 1 Pet 2:17 says that we should “honor the king”, which would imply the king that you are under the authority of, not necessarily every king or ruler. You still need to speak well of rulers and treat them with respect because they are placed in authority by God (Rom 13:1).
The fact is, it would be impossible to be in subjection to every ruler and government because those governments often contradict each other. Soldiers are a perfect example of this. When a soldier fights in a war against another country, he is directly opposing the other government’s authority while upholding his own ruler’s wishes. Therefore, if you are an American on American soil, you aren’t subject to Iran’s ruling powers. The only exception would be if you were to visit Iran (or any country for that matter), you would be subject to its rules and regulations as a visitor of that nation. Until then, feel free to oppose the politics of another country as long as your own nation allows it.
My heart is really heavy. I live near Wichita, KS where Dr. George Tiller was murdered while attending his church. I did not agree with Dr. Tiller performing abortions, but I also don't agree with someone killing him over it. I think it is a very sad situation all the way around. I feel sorry for the congregation that was there; I feel sorry for his family; I feel sorry for the suspect’s family; I just hurt all the way around about it. Would God condone the murder of any individual, regardless of what they did? Would God want me to take matters like that in my own hands and kill someone because he needed to be stopped? Is it my place to sit and judge how he could consider himself a member of a church and provide abortions? I am just terribly confused and hurt over the whole situation. Can you please help me work through these questions and heartache?
Sincerely, Stop the Violence
Dear Stop the Violence,
Murdering babies is wrong; murdering adults is wrong (Gal 5:21). See this previous post on why Dr. Tiller was wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right. The only one who has the right to put someone to death for their crimes is the government (Rom 13:1-4). As an individual, no matter how much you despise what someone is doing, you do not have a right to punish them. Vengeance belongs to God (Rom 12:19), not man. Christ taught that individuals should endure evil in most cases (Matt 5:39-40). Abortion is murder, but no one has a right to personally inflict punishment upon any abortionist. If the government asks you to serve on a jury, you have every right to cast your vote, but until that day you must simply pray that the Lord will watch over those babies and take vengeance when He sees fit. Regardless of what someone gets away with in this life, God will not be mocked on the Day of Judgment (Gal 6:7). Both Dr. Tiller and the gunman will have to make account of their actions.
I love my church, but there are things that have been brought to my attention that deal with young men sagging their pants. I feel the issue is important; we do need to be respectful to the women in the church and, most importantly, to God. These young men and I on occasion sag our pants; does that make me any more or less saved than the rest of the congregation? I understand there are guidelines, and I can’t go and do whatever I want, but whether I wear jeans to church or a suit, isn’t Jesus going to love me the same? It seems to me we can get too caught up on the outward appearances and miss God. Is all this judging good for the church as a whole? I think God will accept my baggy jeans and all, what about you, preacher?
Sincerely, How Low Can You Go
Dear How Low Can You Go,
The issue isn’t about dress code - but modesty. It is one thing to dress more casually or formally than others; it is another to show your underwear in public. Men sagging their pants are just as bad as women wearing low cut and revealing clothing. God tells us to dress modestly (1 Tim 2:9). It is shameful for a christian to not be fully clothed (Rev 3:18). It is important that we dress in a way that is honorable in the sight of all men (Rom 12:17). The way we dress is part of our reputation, and therefore we must be careful what message it sends. My kudos to you for caring. Hike up the pants.