Tea Parties May Violate Romans 13:2-4


The Pink Flamingo has repeatedly stated, like a broken record, that one cannot follow the gospel of Rand and follow Christ.  They are completely incompatible.  Albert R. Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary takes a completely opposite view of the Lew Rockwell, Ayn Rand As god bunch.

“…For this reason, Christian citizens should be involved at every level in the political process, seeking to use legitimate means to establish full protection for the unborn and for all other vulnerable persons. Elections have consequences, and this new legislation is a reminder of the power of government to do both good and evil.

But to refuse to pay taxes is to deny the legitimacy of the government itself, and to declare it beyond political remedy. Even to Christians suffering under the repressive, murderous, and dictatorial yoke of Rome, Jesus instructed the payment of taxes. Caesar, Christ knew, will one day face the judgment of Almighty God. Rome would one day be brought under his own feet and made subject to him.

We do not “render unto Caesar” because of our confidence in Caesar. We render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, because we are committed with our lives and confidence and consciences to render unto God that which is God’s….”

In other words, if you want to really change things, run for office!  The libertarian crowd wants to believe that the rebellions against Rome were tax revolts.  This is a gross over simplification of what was going on, gross oversimplification.  Judas the Gaulonite did lead a tax rebellion, but Christ quickly distanced himself from the followers of Judas the Gaulonite.  It became known as the Fourth Philosophy.

“…In 6 A.D., Roman occupiers of Palestine imposed a census tax on the Jewish people. The tribute was not well-received, and by 17 A.D., Tacitus reports in Book II.42 of the Annals, “The provinces, too, of Syria and Judaea, exhausted by their burdens, implored a reduction of tribute.” A tax-revolt, led by Judas the Galilean, soon ensued. Judas the Galilean taught that “taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery,” and he and his followers had “an inviolable attachment to liberty,” recognizing God, alone, as king and ruler of Israel. The Romans brutally combated the uprising for decades. Two of Judas’ sons were crucified in 46 A.D., and a third was an early leader of the 66 A.D. Jewish revolt. Thus, payment of the tribute conveniently encapsulated the deeper philosophical, political, and theological issue: Either God and His divine laws were supreme, or the Roman emperor and his pagan laws were supreme.

This undercurrent of tax-revolt flowed throughout Judaea during Jesus’ ministry. All three synoptic Gospels place the episode immediately after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in which throngs of people proclaimed Him king, as St. Matthew states, “And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds replied, ‘This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” All three agree that this scene takes place near the celebration of the Passover, one of the holiest of Jewish feast days. Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and also celebrates the divine restoration of the Israelites to the land of Israel, land then-occupied by the Romans. Jewish pilgrims from throughout Judaea would have been streaming into Jerusalem to fulfill their periodic religious duties at the temple….”


“…It is interesting that one of Jesus’ disciples, Simon, was a zealot (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13). Considering the fact that Jesus opposed violent rebellion against Rome, many probably wondered why Jesus would choose such a fellow. The irony increases when we add the fact that Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were very much in league with Rome. There were probably no two groups of Jews in Palestine who hated each other more than the tax collectors and the zealots. Yet, Jesus chose one of each. Most people probably would have been afraid that these two fellows would kill each other. The Lord wasn’t. He knew the kingdom of God was more powerful than the hatred of men. The very fact Jesus chose two men so opposite in their worldviews was a demonstration of its power….”

Matthew 22:17-23
17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ 21They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

“…Galileans were the supporters of Judas of Galilee, the people whom Josephus soon was calling Zealots. Jesus was also always called a Galilean and led a band of Galileans! But this simply meant they came from Galilee—Christians say. They had the same motto too—“they called no man Lord but God”. This brings us to the question of the tribute money. “Shall we give or not?” Jesus was asked. The same question had incensed the original Galileans so much they had replied, “Never!” Judas had therefore rebelled and set up his revolutionary movement—the Galileans. They were plainly the same Galileans in the gospels, and Jesus was one of them….”

According to the great Victorian theologian John Gill, it is forbidden to refuse to pay tax to the government.  This is in direct conflict to the tea parties, is it not?

“...This being the case now with the Jews, Christ’s advice is, render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s:  give Caesar the tribute and custom, and fear, and honour, and obedience, which are due to him; which may be done without interfering with the honour of God, and prejudicing his interest and glory, when care is taken, that all the worship and obedience due to God are given to him: subjection to civil magistrates is not inconsistent with the reverence and fear of God; all are to have their dues rendered unto them, without entrenching upon one another. And the Jews themselves allow, that a king ought to have his dues, whether he be a king of Israel, or of the Gentiles:

“a publican, or tax gatherer, (they say F21,) that is appointed by the king, whether a king of Israel, or of the Gentiles, and takes what is fixed by the order of the government; it is forbidden to refuse payment of the tax to him, for (anyd twklmd anyd) , “the right of a king is right”.” Just and equitable, and he ought to have his right….”

Romans 13:2-4
2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.

The libertarian party line is that basically Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about.  They’re also parading the ka-ka that there was a major tax revolt going on at the time.

“…The Jews’ Great Revolt against Rome in 66 C.E. led to one of the greatest catastrophes in Jewish life and, in retrospect, might well have been a terrible mistake.

No one could argue with the Jews for wanting to throw off Roman rule. Since the Romans had first occupied Israel in 63 B.C.E., their rule had grown more and more onerous. From almost the beginning of the Common Era, Judea was ruled by Roman procurators, whose chief responsibility was to collect and deliver an annual tax to the empire. Whatever the procurators raised beyond the quota assigned, they could keep. Not surprisingly, they often imposed confiscatory taxes. Equally infuriating to the Judeans, Rome took over the appointment of the High Priest (a turn of events that the ancient Jews appreciated as much as modern Catholics would have appreciated Mussolini appointing the popes). As a result, the High Priests, who represented the Jews before God on their most sacred occasions, increasingly came from the ranks of Jews who collaborated with Rome.

At the beginning of the Common Era, a new group arose among the Jews: the Zealots (in Hebrew, Ka-na-im). These anti-Roman rebels were active for more than six decades, and later instigated the Great Revolt. Their most basic belief was that all means were justified to attain political and religious liberty.

The Jews’ anti-Roman feelings were seriously exacerbated during the reign of the half-crazed emperor Caligula, who in the year 39 declared himself to be a deity and ordered his statue to be set up at every temple in the Roman Empire. The Jews, alone in the empire, refused the command; they would not defile God’s Temple with a statue of pagan Rome’s newest deity.

Caligula threatened to destroy the Temple, so a delegation of Jews was sent to pacify him. To no avail. Caligula raged at them, “So you are the enemies of the gods, the only people who refuse to recognize my divinity.” Only the emperor’s sudden, violent death saved the Jews from wholesale massacre.

Caligula’s action radicalized even the more moderate Jews. What assurance did they have, after all, that another Roman ruler would not arise and try to defile the Temple or destroy Judaism altogether? In addition, Caligula’s sudden demise might also have been interpreted as confirming the Zealots’ belief that God would fight alongside the Jews if only they would have the courage to confront Rome.

In the decades after Caligula’s death, Jews found their religion subject to periodic gross indignities, Roman soldiers exposing themselves in the Temple on one occasion, and burning a Torah scroll on another.

Ultimately, the combination of financial exploitation, Rome’s unbridled contempt for Judaism, and the unabashed favoritism that the Romans extended to gentiles living in Israel brought about the revolt….”

Once again the libertarians either can’t tell the truth or are abjectly ignorant about history.

“...In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey took Jerusalem. Roman occupation of the Holy City had begun. A little more than 130 years later Jerusalem and its most sacred building, the temple, lay in ruins. It is amazing the Jews and the Romans were able to coexist for that long. The Romans were pagans occupying the promised land. They brought with them strange gods and strange ways of thinking and living. Rome did allow the Jews to practice their religion, but Roman paganism and Caesar worship were constantly encroaching upon Jewish beliefs. Herod once had a huge golden eagle, the symbol of Rome, placed atop the great gate to the temple and the priesthood enacted a daily sacrifice for Caesar. The Romans also placed an unbearable tax burden upon the Jews. All this combined with Roman brutality made Jewish rebellion inevitable.

The New Testament speaks little of the friction between Rome in the Jews. We do know that one of Jesus’ disciples was a zealot. The zealots favored armed rebellion against Rome. They believed that God would deliver Israel with the sword. Their reasoning went back to the days of David. When there was a gentile problem, what did David do? He got out his sword and dealt with it, and God was on his side. Surely, God would raise up a new Son of David who would do the same….”

“…The tax was initially imposed by Roman Emperor Vespasian as one of the measures against Jews as a result of the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73 CE. Vespasian imposed the tax in the aftermath of the Jewish revolt (Josephus BJ 7. 218; Dio Cassius 66.7.2). The tax was imposed on all Jews throughout the empire, not just on those who took part in the revolt against Rome. The tax was imposed after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE in place of the levy (or Tithe) payable by Jews towards the upkeep of the Temple. The amount levied was two denarii, equivalent to the one-half of a shekel that observant Jews had previously paid for the upkeep of the Temple of Jerusalem (Exodus 30:13). The tax was to go instead to the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, the major center of ancient Roman religion. The fiscus Iudaicus was a humiliation for the Jews. In Rome, a special procurator known as procurator ad capitularia Iudaeorum was responsible for the collection of the tax. Only those who had abandoned Judaism were exempt from paying it.
While the tax paid for the Temple of Jerusalem was payable only by adult men between the ages of 20 and 50 only, the fiscus Iudaicus was imposed on all Jews, including women, children, and elderly – and even Jewish slaves.  In Egypt, the documentary evidence (in the form of receipts) confirms the payment of the tax by women and children. The oldest person known from these receipts to have paid the fiscus Iudaicus was a 61-old woman, which led Sherman LeRoy Wallace to conjecture that 62 the tax was levied only until the age of 62 – just as the regular poll-tax.  The tax was continued even after the completion of the reconstruction of the Capitoline temple for its upkeep….”

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote the following:

Albert Mohler

The libertarian, Lew Rockwell view is convoluted and completely different from the theological view.

“…Over the centuries, theologians, scholars, laymen, and potentates have interpreted the Tribute Episode incorrectly as Jesus’ support for the payment of taxes. First, this interpretation does not square with the political climate of the times. The Tribute Episode is set in the middle of a decades-old tax-revolt against Caesar’s tribute. Second, the rhetorical structure of the Tribute Episode, itself, contradicts any interpretation that Jesus supported paying taxes. Third, the Gospels contain episode after episode of subtle sedition. The Tribute Episode is just another of these subtly seditious scenes. When seen in the context of subtle sedition, the phrase “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” means that the emperor is owed nothing. Finally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative interpreter of Sacred Scripture, does not construe the Tribute Episode to support the proposition that it is morally obligatory to pay one’s taxes. Indeed, it interprets the Tribute Episode to mean the exact opposite – that Christians are obliged to disobey Caesar when Caesar’s dictates violate God’s law. In sum, the pro-tax position of the Tribute Episode is not supportable historically, rhetorically, contextually, or within the confines of the Catholic Church’s own understanding. As Dorothy Day is reputed to have said, “If we rendered unto God all the things that belong to God, there would be nothing left for Caesar.”…”

Bible Study Tools - John Lightfoot Commentary

All this leads to is the question of how many libertarians it takes to dance on the pointy little head of Ayn Rand in order to make up their own version of history and the Gospels, denying 2000 year of theology and history.  It is rather fascinating.   Archbishop Charles J. Chaput describes the passage almost the same way as Albert R. Mohler.

“…When Jesus tells the Pharisees and Herodians in the Gospel of Matthew (22:21) to “render unto the Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” he sets the framework for how we should think about religion and the state even today. Caesar does have rights. We owe civil authority our respect and appropriate obedience. But that obedience is limited by what belongs to God. Caesar is not God. Only God is God, and the state is subordinate and accountable to God for its treatment of human persons, all of whom were created by God. Our job as believers is to figure out what things belong to Caesar, and what things belong to God — and then put those things in right order in our own lives, and in our relations with others…. all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil. In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies….”

If Christ were so hard core libertarian, anti-tax, why did He single out Zacchaeus to visit. Tax collectors were hated by the Romans.  They were considered traitors.  If Christ were anti-tax, anti-government, then why did he not hang out with the Zealots.

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The libertarian fiction about Christ flies in the face of far too much information about Him.  The Zealots were waiting for a military messiah, someone who would rebel against Rome.    He refused to rebel against Rome.  The rebellion against Rome happened several decades after His death.  And, there are few records of Christians being involved in it.

There are some fascinating views into the politics of Christ when you look at the Disciples He chose.  Simon the “Zealot” may have been misnamed.  There are those who say his name should be Simon the Zealous.   By understanding who Simon was, we can completely discredit the libertarian view of Christ.

“…Eisenman’s broader conclusions, that the zealot element in the original apostle group was disguised and overwritten to make it support the assimilative Pauline Christianity of the Gentiles is more controversial. John P. Meier points out that the term “Zealot” is a mistranslation and in the context of the Gospels means “zealous” or “jealous” as the Zealot movement did not exist until 30 to 40 years after the events of the Gospels….”

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

“…Both surnames have the same signification and are a translation of the Hebrew qana (the Zealous). The name does not signify that he belonged to the party of Zealots, but that he had zeal for the Jewish law, which he practised before his call. Jerome and others wrongly assumed that Kana was his native place; were this so, he should have been called Kanaios. The Greeks, Copts, and Ethiopians identify him with Nathanael of Cana; the first-mentioned also identify him with the bridegroom of the marriage of Cana, while in the “Chronicon paschale” and elsewhere he is identified with Simon Clopas.

The Abyssinians accordingly relate that he suffered crucifixion as the Bishop of Jerusalem, after he had preached the Gospel in Samaria. Where he actually preached the Gospel is uncertain. Almost all the lands of the then known world, even as far as Britain, have been mentioned; according to the Greeks, he preached on the Black Sea, in Egypt, Northern Africa, and Britain, while, according to the Latin “Passio Simonis et Judae” — the author of which was (Lipsius maintains) sufficiently familiar with the history of the Parthian Empire in the first century — Simon laboured in Persia, and was there martyred at Suanir. However, Suanir is probably to be sought in Colchis. According to Moses of Chorene, Simon met his death in Weriosphora in Iberia; according to the Georgians, he preached in Colchis. His place of burial is unknown….”

St. Matthew was a tax collector.  There is a fascinating body of legend that states he could have been a half brother of Christ.

“…During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His Tax Office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek. It was in this setting, near what is today Almagor, that Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve Disciples. After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17)…”

There is another nasty little historic fact that libertarians are ignoring.  There are some Lew Rockwell types who would have one believe that Christ was crucified because he was seen as rebellious against Rome.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Repeatedly, Pontius Pilate tries to get the emotional mob to demand freedom for Christ, not for Barabbas.  Barabbas was, in all likelihood, the real rebel against Rome.  By the crowd demanding he be freed, and not Christ, it appears as though they wanted their rebel leader freed, and not Christ.

There are some legends that equate St. Barnabas with BarabbasThere are legends that state Pontius Pilate became a follower of the Risen Christ.

What we do know is that St. Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus was first and foremost a card-carrying citizen of Rome.  That is a very, very big deal.  He did not rebel against Rome, but used his citizenship, manipulating it to the fullest.

Christ did not rebel against Rome because He, as God the Son, knew what was to come.  Rome did not fall, but evolved in to the Holy Church, the See of Rome, the Catholic Church.  The title of Pontifex Maximus was an ancient Roman religious title held once by Julius Caesar.  Today, the Holy Father is known as the Pontifex Maximus – chief bridge-builder.  Christ did not overthrow Rome from without, but from within.  The Render Unto Caesar comment is the perfect example, from within not without, and not with rebellion.

One of the fascinating things about the Dominionist Movement and their influence, libertarian ties, and promotion of the tea parties is their abject hatred of the Catholic Church. The heretical cults that have formed around the promotion of American Revolution as radical Christian Revolution are based on the convoluted teachings of these individuals.  Their misguided worship of de Tocqueville, and their lack of understanding of his work as a basis for the work of Marx, de Tocqueville was a critic of individualism.  If anything, Christ demands individualism.

“...Tocqueville’s main purpose was to analyze the functioning of political society and various forms of political associations, although he brought some reflections on civil society too (and relations between political and civil society). For Tocqueville as for Hegel and Marx, civil society was a sphere of private entrepreneurship and civilian affairs regulated by civil code. As a critic of individualism, Tocqueville thought that through associating, the coming together of people for mutual purpose, both in public and private, Americans are able to overcome selfish desires, thus making both a self-conscious and active political society and a vibrant civil society functioning independently from the state….”

By identifying the American Revolution with various religious movements, the Dominionists seek to discredit not only the Catholic Church but the ECUSA.

“…And in a little noticed and seldom quoted passage from “Democracy In America,” Alexis de Tocqueville says: “The most profound and capacious minds of Rome and Greece”. Tried to prove that slavery was in the order of nature and that it would always exist. Nay, more, everything shows that those of the ancients who had been slaves before they became free, many of whom have left us excellent writings, themselves regarded servitude in no other light.

“All the great writers of antiquity belonged to the aristocracy of masters, or at least they saw that aristocracy established and expanded before their eyes. Their mind, after it had expanded itself in several directions, was barred from further progress in this one; and the advent of Jesus Christ upon earth was required to teach that all members of the human race are by nature equal and alike. “

The historian Arnold Toynbee saw, accurately, the great failing of the ancient Greeks that they “saw in Man, ‘the Lord of Creation,’ and worshipped him as an idol instead of God.” And this rejection of the true God — which similarly threatens modern Western civilization — led to Hellenism’s breakdown and disintegration. Rejecting Gibbon, Toynbee says neither Christians nor barbarians destroyed the Roman Empire; they merely walked over a corpse.

And in his book “Religious Origins Of The American Revolution” (Scholars Press, 1976), Page Smith points out: “The American Revolution might thus be said to have started, in a sense, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. It received a substantial part its theological and philosophical underpinnings from John Calvin’s ‘Institutes Of The Christian Religion’ and much of its social history from the Puritan Revolution of 1640- 1660, and, perhaps, less obviously, from the Glorious Revolution of 1689.

“Put another way, the American Revolution is inconceivable in the absence of that context of ideas which have constituted radical Christianity. The leaders of the Revolution in every colony were imbued with the precepts of the Reformed faith.” Indeed, he adds, in early America, the Reformation “left its mark on every aspect of the personal and social life of the faithful. In the family, in education, in business activity, in work, in community and, ultimately, in politics, the consequences of the Reformation were determinative for American history.”…”