1. (A long disquisition relating the relationship between The Declaration of Independence and Romans 13, et al, should be taken as a given. ☺)

    Government can be illegitimate when it does not fulfill its purpose as designated by God, when it is a “terror” to good conduct, not bad, when it encourages evil and discourages good. In particular, a government with an explicit contract with its people that regularly and even routinely violates that explicit contract has delegitimized itself.

    And a government–including especially a church “government”–that explicitly persecutes or even forbids the spread of the Gospel is due only “I must obey God rather than man,” in response to such actions.

    But, indeed, when a government does perform the basic functions it is ordained by God to perform, be it well or poorly, and does not act to inhibit the spread of the Gospel, then it does indeed legitimately demand our respectful obedience.

    As far as taxes go, no argument. Jesus Himself instructed us to “Render to caesar that which is caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” Of course, one must recall the entire passage, and particularly the physical example he held pout to his interlocutors: the coin with caesar’s image imprinted upon it. Just so, we are stamped with the image of God (“imago dei”–etc.), and so what we owe caesar is mere money, as it were (obedience to the law, etc.), but what we owe to God is our very selves, that which is created (and especially that which is re-created in Christ) in His image.

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