Let’s suppose that we are among a group of 63 people shipwrecked on a lost island. We conclude that there is little chance of being found, but that the island is both deserted and hospitable in climate and resources. Most of us are Christians.
Immediately we get to work gathering, planting, and building. Since we’re in it for the long haul, it doesn’t take long to realize that we need some organized rules; in fact, we need a government with laws.
So, we elect a committee to formulate a government and bring the proposal to the whole group for approval. Each person 18 years or older gets a vote. After several meetings, approval is given to a constitution, and elections are held.
Within a year, it is apparent that one of the elected officials is stealing tax money, and another is using his power to prevent people from utilizing their property in any way that is not in alignment with his personal taste. The matter is brought before the five man ruling council, but it is discovered that the two men in violation have amassed considerable power. So far, three children have died due to the financial and physical conditions caused by the two errant men. Additionally, an elderly man was put out his home because one of the officials did not like the style of the house and it is slated to be destroyed. The theft of the tax money and the restrictions on property use have damaged the ability to maintain the agricultural infrastructure and it appears that there may not be enough food to survive the next season.
Several of us gather to discuss a course of action. We are chastised and told that we are violating Romans 13. We are told that since it is still permissible to have weekly church services we are all obligated to submit to everything the two officials say. We point out that the ruling council (human beings) is to be in submission to God also, and that Romans 13 spells out the nature of their power and duty, but these ideas are foreign to the people and fall on deaf ears.
The children and elderly die first. The two officials make ill-reasoned excuses that some can see for what they are, but others cannot admit that they voted for bad men, and cling to half the words of Romans 13:1-7. Thirty years later some explorers find the island. They are puzzled by the presence of the skeletons and the remains of a fledgling civilization. The neighboring islands are inhabited by savages who remain un-evangelized and on their way to a Christless eternity.
~ Jim Mogel