By What Authority?: The Bible and Civil Disobedience

1987, 6 pp
From the essay: "It is clear enough that civil disobedience in many forms is biblically justified and at times even imperative. The failure of most Christians to acknowledge that is a hermeneutic problem, not an exegetical one. For too long, Christian teaching has been entrenched on the side of “law and order”; perhaps there needs to be more theological attention given to the contemporary meaning of “freedom from the law.”

The U.S. church has historical as well as biblical roots to draw upon, given the rich precedents of nonviolent direct action and noncooperation. Only by more seriously developing a politics of non-cooperation and nonviolent engagement with authority will the church begin to embody a truly hopeful alternative to the spiral of violence and repression in our time. Then “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers” (Ephesians 3:10)."

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