In 1 Peter 2:13-17 it states, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…” Where should Christians stand on political protests seeking regime change, such as those seen in Tunisia & Egypt recently?
This is an interesting question because it kind of assumes that we aren’t normally, whereas I would want to suggest that every time we pray the Lord’s prayer – ‘May your kingdom come, may your will be done’ we are making both a protest against the existing ruling authorities – especially of they are unjust and asking God to set down a new order. And the reality is that if the old order will not change, then the only way things will change is for the old order to be removed – and there are lots of Biblical evidence to show that God does do that. (Acts 12:20-24 is a very striking example).
And the whole of the book of Acts is about Christians engaged in acts of civil disobedience – preaching when they have been told not to, being imprisoned, insisting on civil rights by being taken to Caesar and so on. The early Christians were not prepared to sit in a corner – they were making a nuisance of themselves. And they were prepared to take the consequences.
But should Christians be on the streets arguing for change? Or should they ‘just’ pray – I think it depends on the circumstances. In Romania when the dictator Ceaucescu was deposed it began by Baptist Christians declaring that God reigned – they did it in public. It soon led to street protests and the dictator was changed.
In Egypt we have seen Christians praying in the streets, and protecting Muslims who are also praying.
The thing that strikes me in the Middle East is that the protestors are unarmed – and as such very vulnerable. But they are prepared to stand up to guns and death for the sake of the change they believe would be for the good of the country. And what they are doing is calling the rulers to account.
It takes bravery and faith to do this. Christians are supposed to be full of both, but have a bigger vision of all that can be. we should perhaps be braver at standing up and saying ‘enough’. And brave enough to take the consequences when they will follow.