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What the Bible says about Sovereign Citizenship
(From Forerunner Commentary)

In the United States, we can see the effect of this mistrust in the form of militias, paramilitary groups mustered from citizens dissatisfied with big government, and expanding federal control. These militias are born of mistrust in the country's leadership and direction. Instead of regaining citizens' rights, their actions present Americans with more rights being removed through anti-terrorist legislation aimed against them and the ghastly specter of civil war.

Some groups are pursuing the idea of "sovereign citizenship." Under this general term, several variations of this status exist, one of which is the Freemen holed up by the FBI in Jordan, Montana. Affiliation with sovereign citizenship ideas causes a person to scrutinize tax, federal, state, and local laws carefully to find flaws and loopholes.

A sovereign citizen—because he is sovereign, that is, he possesses supreme authority—feels justified in not obeying any law with which he personally disagrees. He will often not pay taxes, get a driver's license, pay traffic fines, incorporate his business, get a marriage license, build a home to code, or in any way submit to government. He feels that doing such things will enfranchise him to the state.

Some have carried this concept over into religious areas. The resulting religion, though sincere, is one that requires much effort, as it goes against the grain of more organized churches, and its fruit and attitude are bad. Since, as sovereign, they are above all human authority, they will not submit to the spiritual guidance of the church. They lean on the understanding that they are accountable to God alone, but even in this they have deceived themselves! In their pride they have only made themselves accountable to God on their own terms and according to their own views of God's law.

This attitude of sovereign citizenship is one that is sweeping this country in one form or another. If we are not careful, it can influence us in God's church. In fact, it has already caused several of our brethren to leave us to join the growing ranks of "independent Christians."

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?

A sovereign is a ruler, a monarch. Such a person has the authority to reign, to make laws, and to mete out punishments. When one claims sovereignty, he puts himself on an extremely lofty pedestal. Webster's Dictionary defines sovereignty as "supreme excellence or an example of it; supreme power especially over a body politic; freedom from external control: autonomy; controlling influence; one that is sovereign."

When "citizen" is added to the mix, a strange oxymoron results. A citizen is one who lives in a certain place and is subject to its laws. Granted, citizenship implies being entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman, but these rights and privileges are bestowed by law and common consent, not by individual sovereignty. A sovereign citizen feels he is totally in charge, free from all external authority and influence.

The last verse of Judges perfectly describes what is happening today in America: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) It is this attitude that the sovereign citizenship movement holds; it is in reality rebellion against the laws of man in this society. Seeing the flaws of man's government and the weakness of its leaders, they perceive a "better way," reject the laws of the land and do what they feel is right.

But is this what God wants?

Rebellion is "the act of rebelling; revolt; open resistance to, or defiance of any authority or control." Does this idea have a familiar ring to it, especially considering Satan's rebellion described in Isaiah 14? God hates rebellion, comparing it to witchcraft: "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you [Saul] have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king" (I Samuel 15:23).

From Satan's insurrection, God knows the price of rebellion. A rebellious, stubborn, unsubmissive heart will destroy one whom He has called, denying him entrance into the Kingdom of God. God will not allow anyone into His Kingdom whom He cannot rule!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Should We Obey the Laws of Our Government?

Related Topics: Rebellion | Sovereign Citizenship



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