Christian Civil Obedience and Disobedience


Civil Obedience is the norm. Civil Disobedience is the exception.


Sometimes it becomes necessary to disobey civil rulers.


7 exceptional circumstances:


1. When it prohibits worship of God (Ex. 5:1).

2. When it requires taking innocent life (Ex. 1:15-21).

3. When it demands killing God’s servants (1 Kings 18:1-4).

4. When it requires worship of idols (Dan 3:1-7).

5. When it commands prayer to a man (Dan 6:6-9).

6. When it prohibits propagation of the gospel (Acts 4:17-20).

7. When it demands worship of a man as God (Rev 13:4, 8).

(Norm Geisler, Civil Disobedience: When is it Right? Should Christian Ever Break the Law?)


“There are three basic views regarding civil disobedience. Anarchism, completely unbiblical, approves of it anytime. Radical patriotism never approves of disobeying government, and biblical submissionism holds that it is sometimes right to disobey government. While most Christians believe the Bible supports the latter view, there is disagreement about when disobedience is justified. Some insist on the right to disobey any law that permits actions contrary to God's Word. Others hold that disobedience is justified only when the government is trying to compel one to do an evil.”

“Even among those who agree that disobedience to government is sometimes called for, there is a difference of opinion concerning how one should disobey. Some believe in revolting against an unjust government, but the biblical view calls for resisting it without rebelling against it. Such resistance is not passive acceptance of injustice in government, but it can involve an active spiritual, moral, and political campaign against that injustice.”

(Norm Geisler, Christian Ethics, 2010)