Monday, October 21, 2019

Tertullian: loyalty to God's appointees

Monday, October 21, 2019
    Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
    —1 Peter 2:13 (NIV)
    As to the Emperor and the charge of high treason against us, Caesar’s safety lies not in hands soldered on. We invoke the true God for the Emperor. Even if he persecute us, we are bidden pray for them that persecute us, as you can read in our books which are not hidden, which you often get hold of. We pray for him because the Empire stands between us and the end of the world. We count the Caesars to be God’s vice-regents and swear by their safety (not by their genius, as required). As for loyalty, Caesar really is more ours than yours; for it was our God who set him up. It is for his own good, that we refuse to call the Emperor God; Father of his Country is a better title. No Christian has ever made a plot against a Caesar; the famous conspirators and assassins were heathen, one and all. Piety, religion, faith are our best offering of loyalty.
    ... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), Apology [ca. 193], quoted in The Influence of Christ in the Ancient World, T. R. Glover, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929, p. 34 (see the book)
    See also 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, improve earthly government for all people.
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