Kim Davis and the ancient Christian practice of resisting unjust governments

By Pastor Shawn Mathis

Kim Davis’ civil disobedience is part of a long history of Christians who taught or resisted unjust governments and unjust laws: Ambrose, Augustine, Calvin and more.

Many Americans today likely do not associate Christianity with resistance against civil authority, but the practice and doctrine are as old as the history of the bible.

While in Egypt, the nursemaids defied Pharaoh’s order to kill babies. During the time of Judges, Israelite leaders rose up against their local tyrants. Although David fled from King Saul, he took armed men with him and would not submit.

In the New Testament era, the Apostles of Christ famously declared: “We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). The early church martyrs testify to the power of a conscience captivated by God instead of man.

Although the rationale for such acts of defiance is not articulated in one verse of the bible, the Christians fathers believed the Bible spoke to this issue.

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