Mr. Cunningham's response (Sept. 6) to Kate Jones' letter (Aug. 20) paraphrases Romans 13 (N.T.) accurately. St. Paul was admonishing the church at Rome to obey authorities or suffer the consequences. Such an admonition serves us in the contemporary world, as well. However, there is a huge difference in the culture of the ancient world and ours.
Paul lived in a time that had existed for centuries where rulers were all-powerful. Kings or emperors or queens ruled in every country, except perhaps among the proverbial Amazonian female culture, but even there one was appointed the leader. The concept of a pure democratic world that ancient Greece toyed with did not last, as an oligarchy eventually took over. Often these rulers were seen as anointed by a higher power, in Paul's case Jehovah.
We also know that after years of the Hebrews desiring a king, Jehovah anointed Saul to be their first. But after Saul's disobedience, Jehovah repented that he made Saul king (I Samuel 15:10:). Soloman's son David was chosen to replace Saul. Saul eventually becomes jealous and spends years attempting to kill David. When he is finally killed in battle, David becomes King.
We Christians often forget that our country was established as a nation with a secular government. Yes, the Pilgrims were believers and our world was influenced heavily by Puritan ideas, but the first colony at Jamestown was not established as a religious one. When the Revolutionary War came and we eventually won, our leading ancestors encouraged a separation of church and state, to avoid the conflicts they had experienced in England. Most of them were believers, many of Puritan persuasion, some deists, some of Diverse Protestant background. However, in writing the Constitution, the framers made sure that not even the word "God" would be included. The concept of a "divine right" of a leader was the last thing the framers desired.
Therefore, many Christians can argue that in the modern world and contemporary world, due to our system of selecting a president, "divine right" plays no part except perhaps through individual inspiration of the voter. St. Paul himself encouraged all to "not think of himself more highly than he ought to think" (Romans 12:3). Many Christians believe that is our president's greatest problem: thinking that he has all the answers to all problems.
It is impossible for us to believe as Mr. Cunningham does that God appointed Adolf Hitler to create the Holocaust and destroy millions of those considered God's chosen people. To counter Cunningham's biblical reminder that we are not to judge, I will remind him that Jesus taught that "by your works will they know you." And James writes that "faith without works is dead." Those admonitions should stir us all in choosing a leader.
John W. "Doc" Crawford