THE RIGHT TO REBEL
Christians are commanded in the NT to submit to the authorities, and declares that they exist by God’s will.
(Romans 13:1-2; Titus 3:2; 1Peter 2:13).
And this becomes even more peculiar, when we consider that by the time these epistles were written, the times fall within Nero and Domitian (55 to 81CE), known enemies of Christianity and Judaism.
But are we supposed to submit to all authorities under any circumstance?
GOD THE SURPREME AUTHORITY
Parallel to this principle, the Bible also teaches that we must obey God before men (Acts 4:19; 5:29). This is based on the premise, that God’s authority is the source of any other authority in the Universe, and obedience to God is above obedience to any other authority on Earth.
Interestingly, Paul also recommends to solve our legal problems within ourselves rather than appealing to the secular systems of Justice or government, declaring that if we, the believers in Christ, will judge Angels, what would be the reason to stop us from imparting justice among ourselves? (1Corinthians 6:1-3).
THE RIGHT TO REBEL
Taking these passages in context; it is clear that Christians are called to respect the civil status quo, like when we respected slavery, unlawful divorces, or paganism in those days and; and we respect now, oath taking, homosexual civil unions, and abortions. However, we are never commanded to participate in them, but to resist, like we did in those days with these ungodly practices.
Christians are expected to comply as much as it is possible, without contradicting godly principles, with the civil establishment, and to be a positive peaceful contribution to the building of society.
However, when godly principles are to be imposed on us by force, we are not to obey, but are called to resists these moves; and like in any other circumstance in our lives, we can either opt to die resisting peacefully, or to resists with equal force in self-defense, and defense of the weakest of our society, and be prepared to stop immediately, after the danger has ceased.
Paul spoke of the right of the Magistrate to use the sword to impose death penalty on the evildoers (Romans 13:3-5), assuming this authority knows the will of God and punishes true evil and it is not evil itself, attacking truth and goodness. On the contrary, when that is the case, the ‘Servants of God’ are the militant Christians who oppose the forcing of evil on us and society. In this case, we are allowed to use the sword to stop evil from destroying the People of God, the Church, and society in general.
This principle also applies in self-defense, protecting the lives of others, and in cases of foreign powers invading our states.