Scripture and the American Revolution


"In the scriptures, what is there which justifies the initiation of, or participation in, the American Revolution, or any other revolution for that matter?"

For years I struggled with this question. Whenever I studied the scriptures, this question was at the back of my mind. After years of study, I could not find anything that would justify the American Revolution. In fact, all I found was guidance against such an event! For example, "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft". Even if tyranny becomes so bad that it enslaves us all, Colossians 3:22-25 advises submission.

If a question of such enormous spiritual, moral, ethical, and practical importance cannot be clearly answered by the scriptures (without twisting them), then how can anyone state that they live only by the scriptures? How can the scriptures be "the only rule of faith and practice"?

Finally, after much study, Romans 7 and Galatians 2 started coming into focus. (When you read Romans 7, don't stop with the last verse, but continue on into chapter 8; ignore the chapter break.)

In Romans 7:6, Paul boldly states:

But NOW we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

(regarding "serve" see Acts 17:25)

In Galatians 2:20 he also writes

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

This may sound revolutionary to some, but the Apostle Paul did not live by the scriptures. The scriptures were not the only rule of faith and practice for him. The only conclusion then is that using the scriptures to answer specific spiritual, moral, ethical and legal questions is a misuse of the scriptures. That is not what they were written for; that is not their purpose! Biblical scholarship is not the mastering of a body of law and commandments. We are not called to search the scriptures as lawyers, searching out what is right and what is wrong. Moreover, no one has to become a scholor (in the traditional sense) to really serve God and to serve him accurately.

So how do we serve in specific areas of need? How do we know what is right or wrong, ethically, morally, spiritually? In the same manner as Paul, "…in the new way of the spirit…" We are called to walk by the spirit. The purpose of the scriptures is to train people how to walk by the spirit. If you don't know how to walk by the spirit, start building your hunger and desire for this part of life and service.