Can A Policeman Be A Christian?

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Hi S____,
Thank you for your question. You ask,

You also reference Rom 13:4

Rom 13:1  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

These are the verses my draft board used to try to convince me that it was my godly duty to go to Viet Nam and kill our Vietnamese enemies. They stressed verses one and two very forcefully, “There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
There it is, plain and simple; “Be subject to the higher powers, [ or] receive… damnation.” There is also this very persuasive verse of God’s Word:

1Pe 2:13  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1Pe 2:14  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

It is a very persuasive argument, and it seems so very scriptural. But is this all there is in God’s word on this subject? Rom 13 is very clear, and 1Pe 2 is very clear, but is this all there is on this subject?
Peter tells us:

2Pe 1:18  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2Pe 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Here is the Concordant Version of these verses:

2Pe 1:18 And this voice we hear being carried out of heaven, being together with Him in the holy mountain.”
2Pe 1:19 And we are having the prophetic word more confirmed, which you, doing ideally, are heeding (as to a lamp appearing in a dingy place, till the day should be breaking and the morning star should be rising) in your hearts,
2Pe 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture at all is becoming its own explanation.”

Peter is telling us that even though he and James and John “heard a voice from heaven” saying “This is my Beloved son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him,” that “we have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto you do well that you take heed.”  In other words, Peter considered the words of the Bible to be “more sure” than any vision by and of itself. Peter goes on to say “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of its own interpretation.” What does that have to do with anything?

The answer is that it has everything to do with how we are to understand God’s Word. In other words, Rom 14 is not to be understood alone. It must be understood in the light of all of God’s Word, and that is exactly what we are told constitutes Truth.

Psa 119:160  The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.

This raises the question, ‘Does Rom 13 contradict Christ’s commandment to Peter:

Mat 26:52  Then saith Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Does Rom 13 contradict Christ’s new doctrine that we are to love our very enemies?

Mat 5:43  Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy:
Mat 5:44  but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you;

Contrary to what my draft board wanted me to believe, Christ did not say “Love your enemy unless he really is your enemy and means you and your family and your country bodily harm.” If our savior had understood His own advice in such a manner, then He Himself  would have called down twelve legions of angels and would not have permitted the greatest injustice ever committed; that being the unjust death of the only man who never committed a sin against anyone, the death of the Son of God. No, Rom 13 does not contradict either Mat 5 or Mat 26.

How then do we explain what appears to be a contradiction? We do so with “the sum of thy word.” Both Christ and His apostles demonstrate for us that we are indeed to “submit ourselves to every ordinance of men for the Lord’s sake,” as long as those ordinances do not require us to break the laws of God. Christ actually commands us that we are not to “resist evil” committed against us. We are to “resist the devil” and “flee fornication,” but when someone is committing evil against us we are commanded:

Mat 5:38  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

That does not sound like the calling of a police officer. Policemen are called to “smite the right cheek” of the criminal world. God’s elect are called to turn the other cheek whether it is a police officer or a criminal doing the smiting.

Here is proof of these truths:

Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set [ them] before the council: and the high priest asked them,
Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
Act 5:29  Then Peter and the [ other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

So that is “the sum of God’s Word” which keeps Christ’s words from contradicting Peter and Paul. The same Peter who said “Be subject to every ordinance of men for the Lord’s sake,” also said “We ought to obey God rather than men” when it came to disobeying a direct Biblical command to “Go and preach to the people” or “Love your enemies.”

The Truth is that “Put up again thy sword, all they that take up the [ physical] sword will be killed by the [ spiritual] sword” which says “Love your enemies… resist not evil… turn the other cheek.”
You tell me:

It is not easy for me to have to say what the scriptures actually teach. My draft board told me “All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” They told me that “If everyone did what I was doing we would all be communists.” But the scriptures teach “Let God be true and every man a liar,” and that is what God has placed in my heart.

I have all the respect in the world for both soldiers and policemen who believe they are where God wants them to be. “The powers that be are ordained of God” is a true and Biblical statement, but we have to acknowledge that this is true of all governments of men, Hitler included, just as it is for policemen and soldiers. Both are considered to be “avengers of evil,” as Paul put it in the verse you reference:

Rom 13:4  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Are God’s elect to seek vengeance? Are God’s elect to execute wrath? What say the scriptures:

Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

God has placed Herod and Pilate and the high priest in the position of executing vengeance and wrath against the evils of society. Those are not the functions of an ambassador of Christ and His kingdom:

2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Christ’s ambassadors would no more join the military of any country to whom they were sent than an American ambassador would join the military of Russia or Saudi Arabia if sent there to represent the United States.

Who then, does the lord use as His sword, to punish evil doers in the kingdoms of this world? Again, what do the scriptures say? Who do the scriptures say is God’s sword at this time?

Psa 17:13  Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:

God’s “sword” with which he disciplines the nations and the wicked of this world are, by God’s own Word, “the wicked.” Christ never once withstood the power of Rome. He never once resisted what were “the powers that be.” He was completely aloof from the affairs of this age, and that is how His elect must be also, if they want to be bold in the day of judgment, then they must be just as He was:

1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

There has never been a greater evil or injustice in the history of mankind than the death of Jesus Christ, the spotless and sinless Son of God. Who then was it that ordained the death of Christ? Was it the work of the devil? No, it was not. It was all ordained of God the Father even before the foundation of this world:

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Act 4:29  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Does your calling to be a police officer come from God? In the sense of these verses, it certainly is. But the truth remains that “if you will enter into life [ you must] keep the commandments [ of Christ].

Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Mat 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

There it all is. Having said that the sum of God’s word reveals to be His mind on this matter, I feel the need to point out that John the Baptist did not ask the Roman soldiers to quit their jobs on the spot. But he did admonish even those soldiers to “Do violence to no man.”

Luk 3:14  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Also the apostle Paul told his followers to “remain in the calling wherein they are called.”

1Co 7:20  Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

What Paul is saying is the same thing John the Baptist told the Roman soldiers. If you are called while a soldier, “do violence to no man,” but don’t immediately dishonor the contract you have with the powers that be. But look at Paul’s advice under the inspiration of the holy spirit, in the very next verse:

1Co 7:21  Art thou called [ being] a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use [ it] rather.

So don’t do anything rash. God’s elect are aware that all men are where they are at God’s pleasure, and not of their own free will. “But if you may be free, use it rather [ to serve God] unfettered and unshackled by the restraints of being obligated to “the powers that be… evil men which are your sword.”

It was the Lord who had you to write me about this. I pray He gives you the strength to receive only what is in His Word. We are living in very tumultuous times, and good jobs are hard to come by. But what is even rarer in any age is those who say Lord, Lord, and are willing to do the things which the Lord says.

It is true that the only thing needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. But the war we are called to fight is not an outward war. It is a war that is being waged even now in the hearts and minds of God’s elect. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal or outward:

2Co 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2Co 10:6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
2Co 10:7  Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he [ is] Christ’s, even so [ are] we Christ’s.

Your brother in Christ,

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