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Summary: Was the American Revolutionary war an act of un-Christian rebellion or does the Bible support the idea of freedom from tyrants?

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Intro

Was the American Revolutionary war an act of un-Christian rebellion or does the Bible support the idea of freedom from tyrants?

Jonathan Mayhew

July 4th reminds Americans why people fought for freedom. Jonathan Mayhew preached January 1749 on Romans 13:1-8 revealing that we submit only to those who “rule for the good of society.” [1] He further argued that to submit to a government that was performing evil was to aid that evil. He said, “Let us not profess ourselves vassals to the lawless pleasure of any man on earth.” [2] Where the letter to the Romans says to submit to the state, it does so in the context of state authorities that will honor us when we do what is right. There is no command to submit to a government that insists that we do wrong, or that is harming us.

Samuel West

Samuel West preached May 1776 on Titus 3:1 that “when a people find themselves cruelly oppressed by the parent state, they have an undoubted right to throw off the yoke, and to assert their liberty… it is their indispensable duty” [3]. He said that it would be absurd to obey authorities that are self-serving and seeking to ruin and destroy the country. [4] He further said that, “tyrants are the ministers of Satan, ordained by him for the destruction of mankind.” [5] Revelation 14:9-10 reveals “God’s abhorrence of tyranny and tyrants, together with the idolatrous reverence that their wretched subjects are wont to pay them, and the awful denunciation of divine wrath against those who are guilty of this undue obedience to tyrants.” [6]

[1] Thornton, John Wingate. Pulpit of the American Revolutionary War. Gould and Lincoln. 1860. 78. [2] ibid. 104. [3] ibid. 279-230. [4] ibid. 283. [5] ibid. 317. [6] ibid. 319.

Freedom

As Americans celebrate freedom from tyrants, let us also remember that freedom is fully completed in the law of Christ. Paul preached in Galatians 5 that true freedom is founded upon that great law of Christ, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Where the people kill, steal and lie, they take away the freedom of others and will find themselves to be oppressed by more and more laws designed to stop their bad behavior. Freedom from dictatorship only works for a moral and upright people who are seeking to obey the simple law of love for God and neighbor.

Outro

The church has an important message to tell the world, that to live in freedom we must repent of wrongs that only destroy others and we must seek the love that Jesus preached.


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