|| Romans 13 || e-mail || V&FT ||

Through History

We have claimed that Romans 13 has been the foundation of political theory (specifically the legitimacy of the State) in Western Culture. This page attempts to collect a representative sample of that influence. If you know of other references, we would be delighted if you would share them with us.

The Political Writings of St. Augustine
Edited by Henry Paolucci

Regnery Publishing, Inc.
Washington, D.C.

Chapter IV: Persecution of Heretics

B. Later View: Compel Them to Come In

Henry Paolucci, The Political Writings of St. Augustine, p.190

a To His Brother Emeritus, Beloved and Longed For, Augustine sends greetings.

I know that it is not on the possession of good talents and a liberal education that the salvation of the soul depends; but when I hear of anyone who is thus endowed holding a different view from that which truth imperatively insists upon on a point which admits of very easy examination, the more I wonder at such a man, the more I burn with desire to make his acquaintance, and to converse with him; or if that be impossible, I long to bring his mind and mine into contact by exchanging letters, which wing their flight even between places far apart.¼

1. Rom. xiii. 2–4.

2. Matt. v. 10.

3. Rom. xiii. 1, 2.

The civil powers defend their conduct in persecuting schismatics by the rule which the apostle laid down: "Whoso resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." [1] The whole question therefore is, whether schism be not an evil work, or whether you have not caused schism, so that your resistance of the powers that be is in a good cause [p.191] and not in an evil work, whereby you would bring judgment on yourselves. Wherefore with infinite wisdom the Lord not merely said, "Blessed are they who are persecuted," but added, "for righteousness' sake."[2] I desire therefore to know from you, in the light of what I have said above, whether it be a work of righteousness to originate and perpetuate your state of separation from the Church. I desire also to know whether it be not rather a work of unrighteousness to condemn unheard the whole Christian world, either because it has not heard what you have heard, or because no proof has been furnished to it of charges which were rashly believed, or without sufficient evidence advanced by you, and to propose on this ground to baptize a second time the members of so many churches founded by the preaching and labours either of the Lord Himself while He was on earth, or of His apostles; and all this on the assumption that it is excusable for you either not to know the wickedness of your African colleagues who are living beside you, and are using the same sacraments with you, or even to tolerate their misdeeds when known, lest the party of Donatus should be divided, but that it is inexcusable for them, though they reside in most remote regions, to be ignorant of what you either know, or believe, or have heard, or imagine, concerning men in Africa. How great is the perversity of those who cling to their own unrighteousness, and yet find fault with the severity of the civil powers!

Chapter VI: Captivity in Babylon

B. Subject unto the Higher Powers


c The Apostle himself saith, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. He then who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. [3] But what if it enjoin what thou oughtest not to do? In this case [p.311] by all means disregard the power through fear of the Power.

TITLE: Eliphalet Nott On the death of Hamilton
SOURCE: The World's Famous Orations, Vol.1 Pg.174-185

[From a sermon delivered in Albany on July 9, 1804—one of several sermons delivered by prominent preachers at that time, and having for their immediate purpose the breaking up of the custom of dueling. Doctor Nott's sermon was the most notable of the series. It was widely read and exerted much influence. Parts of it have long been familiar as a declamation for schoolboys.

Born in 1773, died in 1866; for a few years Pastor of Presbyterian churches; made President of Union College, Schenectady, in 1804, filling the place until 1866.]

Eliphalet Nott On the death of Hamilton, The World's Famous Orations, Vol.1, p.178

But I have said, and I repeat it, there are those whom I can not forgive. I can not forgive that minister at the altar who has hitherto forborne to remonstrate on this subject. I can not forgive that public prosecutor who, entrusted with the duty of avenging his country's wrongs, has seen those wrongs, and taken no measures to avenge them. I can not forgive that judge upon the bench, or that governor in the chair of state, who has lightly passed over such offenses. I can not forgive the public, in whose opinion the duelist finds a sanctuary. I can not forgive you, my brethren, who till this late hour have been silent while successive murders were committed.

No; I can not forgive you that you have not in common with the freemen of this State, raised your voice to the powers that be and loudly and explicitly demanded an execution of your laws; demanded this in a manner which, if it did not reach the ear of government, would at least have reached the heavens and pleaded your excuse before the God that filleth them—in whose presence as I stand I should not feel myself innocent of the blood that crieth against us had I been silent. But I have not been silent. Many of you who hear me are my witnesses—the walls of yonder temple, where I have heretofore addressed you, are my witnesses, how freely I have animadverted upon this subject in the presence both of those who have violated the laws and of those whose indispensable duty it is to see the laws executed on those who violate them.

The Public Papers of the
Presidents of the United States

Public Papers
of Gerald R. Ford


Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Waco, Texas.
April 29, 1976

Public Papers of the Presidents, Ford, 1976, p.1323

Q. Mr. President, since we last talked with you, Senator Humphrey has announced that he is not going to enter in New Jersey. What is your reaction to this? Do you think it is a wise decision?

THE PRESIDENT. I wouldn't pass judgment on whether it is a wise decision or not. I think it appears to be a very practical decision, because Jimmy Carter got some tremendous momentum in the Pennsylvania primary. And unless the powers that be in the Democratic Party sit behind some closed doors in a smokefilled room and broker Jimmy Carter out of it, why, I think, it looks to me like Jimmy has the odds in his favor.

REPORTER. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all. It is nice to see you.

NOTE: The exchange began at 3:10 p.m. at James Connally Field, located on the Texas State Technical Institute campus.

Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal  | |  All Evil is Predestined by God   | |  Pray for a Servant's Understanding  | |  Angels and God's Throne of Government  | |  Stars and Idolatry  | |  Why the State Always Encourages Immorality  | |  Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13  | |   A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13  | |  "Principalities and Powers"  | |  Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms"  | |  Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists  | |  Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State  | |   Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"   | |  Angels and Autarchy  | |  95 Theses Against the State   | |   Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks like after he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.

Christmas Conspiracy


Vine & Fig Tree

Paradigm Shift


Subscribe to Vine & Fig Tree
Enter your e-mail address:
vft archive
An e-group hosted by eGroups.com

Vine & Fig Tree
12314 Palm Dr. #107
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
[e-mail to V&FT]
[V&FT Home Page]