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Source Exercise 6: The Divine Right of Kings 2

For a Christian, the teaching of the Bible is authoritative. The New Testament comprises the Gospels (the life and teachings of Jesus) and the Epistles (letters by Jesus's early followers). St Paul's Epistle contains a very clear command that subjects should obey earthly powers, or they will be damned. It seems therefore that the Christian is bound never to resist rulers. Note that this famous passage in the Epistle provides an everyday phrase in our language today: we refer to 'the powers that be' when we want to denote (often cheekily) those in authority over us.


3. If you are a Christian believer, and wished to argue that it was sometimes legitimate to disobey earthly rulers (for example, if they imposed a brutally racist regime), how would you go about getting around St Paul's teaching?

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