"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." – Romans 13:1
Romans 13 is the clearest and strongest New Testament passage challenging believers to live in obedience to the government. As all governments owe their very existence to Almighty God, it follows that we should do as they say as they are God's instruments for justice. But practical philosophical problems abound here. For if God has ordained the governments that exist…
Then on what basis can or should any of us vote to change them? The Puritans used to say, "He who grieves about the weather, grieves against God" as God is over the weather. If in the same way God is over the governments that exist then on what basis can any of us grieve, vote against or rally against the government that we have? Given this as a presupposition, there should never have been an American Revolutionary War.
While, in Acts chapter 4 we read of Peter and John's refusal to obey the edict of those who were in authority over them. Peter and John clearly believed that, in their case, those in authority were overstepping their bounds. Many have suggested that the mask "mandate" is a similar overstepping of bounds, particularly when applied to houses of worship. Indeed, the recent 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision against limiting the number of worship service attenders would support this notion. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" The "mandates" that are currently affecting churches do not even rise to the level of Congress making laws as they are neither LAWS, nor have they been laws enacted by Congress. Generally it has been governors, mayors or heads of state health departments that have made these mandates about masks. An opposition to these mandates and a disobedience of them thus are not even within the purview of the U.S. Constitution.
So should these restrictions be obeyed? Should these mandates affect our weekly worship? Stay tuned as next week we go deeper into this topic.