On Sept. 30, Michael Kruger, writing for the Gospel Coalition, an organization that describes itself as “a fellowship … deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to… conform fully to the Scriptures,” wrote the following: “Submission is a Christian virtue… [Christian] citizens are called to submit to… government. And [faithful] men should be leading the way in doing so.”
And, thus, Dr. Kruger doubles down on a passage of Scripture that has become more ubiquitously quoted in our COVID-times than even John 3:16. It’s a verse found in St. Paul’s letter to the first-century church of Rome: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Now, as a conservative Christian, I also believe in “conforming fully to the Scriptures,” but doesn’t Paul’s epistle to the Romans beg the obvious question: What is the definition of “governing authorities” to whom we are to submit?
Surely the answer matters, doesn’t it? I mean, not all governments are the same. The “authorities” of the Roman Empire were clearly different than those of modern-day countries such as Jordan, Syria, or even the United Kingdom. And if various “governments” have varied definitions, then we ought to first ask the question, “who is the ultimate governing authority in America?” before we preach submission to that government?
Bill Federer, author of “Who Is the King in America,” provides the answer to this question. After voluminous research, his conclusion is straightforward: The definition of American government is quite clear. “We the People” are the ultimate governing authority of our nation. In the United States, the People are the king.
Consider the following:
“This magistrate is not the king. The People are the king.” Gouverneur Morris, Signer of the Constitution
“The People are the Sovereign of this country.” John Jay, First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
“The People of these United States are the rightful masters of both congresses and the courts.” Abraham Lincoln, in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates
“Sovereignty resides in the People; they have not parted with it.” Justice James Wilson, Signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
“The sovereignty of [America’s] free People, is, to my mind… the working out… of the divine right of man to govern himself and a manifestation of God’s plan concerning the human race.” President, Grover Cleveland
“There must be a final arbiter somewhere. True, there must… The ultimate arbiter [in America] is the People.” President, Thomas Jefferson
“The ultimate authority… resides with the People alone.” James Madison, Federalist No. 46
“The People are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power.” President, Andrew Jackson
“The People are the only Sovereigns recognized by our Constitution… The success of our admirable system is a conclusive refutation of the theories of those in other countries who maintain that a ‘favored few’ are born to rule and that the mass of mankind must be governed by force.” President, James K. Polk
“Never forget that in America our sovereign is the citizen [i.e., the People] … The state is a servant of the individual. It must never become an anonymous monstrosity that masters everyone.” President, Gerald Ford
“The Founding Fathers understood that only by making government the servant, not the master, only by positing sovereignty in the People and not the state can we hope to protect freedom.” President, Ronald Reagan
“In the United States, it is the People who are sovereign… The government is theirs: to speak their voice and to voice their will.” General Omar Bradley
“In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the People, by the People, for the People, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country.” President, Theodore Roosevelt
“The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely… rule of force held in the hands of a few. Under our Constitution, America committed itself to [place] power in the hands of the People.” President, Calvin Coolidge
“America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth… in the Declaration of Independence… that all [People] are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them [i.e., the People] that justice…” G.K. Chesterton
Nothing in the Bible (or any of the rest of our nation’s seminal documents) tells Americans we must bow in submission to a government hellbent on stealing God-given freedoms from the People. We are the government. We are the sovereign. We are the authorities. The People are “the king.” And anyone who suggests otherwise is the one out of conformity with the Scriptures and our Constitution, not us.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery) and, most recently, “Grow Up: Life Isn’t Safe, But It’s Good.”