Bryan Fischer
America's War for Independence was not a rebellion
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By Bryan Fischer
November 27, 2008

I exchanged some email correspondence late last week with a friend, who in turn was in conversation with a man who argues that America's Founding Fathers disobeyed the command found in Romans 13 to "be subject to the governing authorities" when they broke from England. Instead, he says, they should have meekly followed the instruction of Jesus to "turn the other cheek."

However, this man betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of American history. The Founders did not in fact "revolt" or "rebel."

They gathered together as the elected representatives of the people of the thirteen colonies, sent by the people to Philadelphia and charged by them with the task of deciding the question of our relationship with the Crown.

Acting as the representatives of the people, the Founders decided, after considerable deliberation, discussion and debate, to declare our independence from England.

The immortal words of the opening paragraph of the Declaration make clear that the people of the Colonies had decided "to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them."

The Declaration then spends no less than 28 paragraphs detailing the legitimate grievances the Colonies had against the King, thus providing abundant moral justification for the dissolving of all political ties with England.

In the final paragraph of the Declaration of Independence we find these words, "We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America ... appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; (and) that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown..." (Emphasis in original.)

At that moment, on July 4, 1776, the United States assumed its place as one of the sovereign, independent nations of the earth.

From that moment on, then, the War for Independence was a morally, ethically, spiritually and politically justified effort on the part of the United States to defend itself from foreign aggression.

It was a defensive war, fought to protect the integrity and freedom of the fledgling nation and was in no sense a rebellion.

The moral problem here in fact rests with the Crown: what was it doing invading an independent nation with lethal force?

Further, Jesus' instruction to "turn the other cheek" was given to individuals, not to government.

Government, in fact, has a duty not to "turn the other cheek" when one of its citizens is injured or murdered by another. Government has a responsibility in that circumstance to function as "the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:4)

What enables individuals to "turn the other cheek" in personal relationships is the knowledge that they should not take justice into their own hands, since establishing justice is the proper role of God-ordained government.

We as Christ's followers are to love our enemies and pray for them, as Christ taught us, and look to God, working through the law enforcement and judicial systems, to secure justice for us by punishing those who have wronged us.

And this the people of the American colonies did, by asking the democratically established Continental Congress to protect them from the wrongs being done to them by King George. Which, of course, they did.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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