Why Independence Day is allowed (Pt 3) by Jesse Johnson
This is the final installment of my comrade-in-arms, Jesse Johnson’s exquisite response to the provocative question “Why isn’t the American Revolution Sinful?”
1) The Colonialists weren’t rebelling against their government.
They were ruled by legally elected governments.
2) The British claim on America was arbitrary.
The French and Native American Indians has as much right to claim dominion as the British or the Colonialists themselves.
Here’s Jesse’s final argument…
3) There is such a thing as just war.
Since the receding of the flood, God had given governments the power to enforce laws and punish wrong doing (Gen 9:6). Since Babel, God has given the earth different governments as the nations spread out from one central point (Gen 11:8-9). Often those governments come in conflict with each other, and this conflict is a form of common grace. It is a check that God has given on evil, and a way of limiting any one man’s power. It is left for the anti-Christ to wield international power, and until then every time a government tries to expand her reach beyond her borders, that government is met with military resistance. When England tried to expand her influence not just to the shore of the Atlantic, but to the mid-Americas, conflict was guaranteed.
It was Calvin that wrote that a lawful magistrate could declare a legitimate government once the leadership of the existing government had given up its right to govern through wrong behavior. This is the difference between a sinful revolution and a just war. It is not individuals that decide they have had enough and rebel–that is unjust, sinful, and lawless. Rather, a just war is declared by a lawfully appointed government in response to a moral wrong imposed on others, and as an act of protection, under the banner of common grace.
Christians have a duty to honor the government. Even if it is unjust, unfair, and wicked, believers are still to submit. If Peter could command people to obey a Roman government martyring Christians for sport (1 Peter 2:13), modern-day believers can certainly submit to their God-ordained governmental authorities.
They are called to obey and submit to the one that collects their taxes and enforces their laws, even when that government declares a war for independence.
[Note to self: never argue with Jesse when he's right.]