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Consider this illustration with me. It’s admittedly in a United-States context. Thread:

Late this morning, there’s a knock at your door. It’s the police. Concerned, you open the door eagerly. “Yes, officers. What can I do for you?” 1/
“Hi, Mr./Mrs./Miss so-and-so. We’ve been receiving some disconcerting complaints regarding the goings-on of your residence. We’re going to need to search the premises.”

“Oh, wow. I can’t imagine what that could be about. Yes, sir, I understand. Do you have a warrant?” 2/
“No, sir, we don’t. But we’re going to need you to let us search anyway. It’s a matter of public and personal safety.”

“Sir, I’m eager to comply with your orders, but you and I both know that in order to search a private residence you need a valid search warrant. ... 3/
“...If you come back with one of those, I would be happy to comply and help you find whatever it is you’re looking for.”

“No, sir, we’re not going to go get a warrant. Please step aside.” And as the officer says this, he and his partner begin walking in, ... 4/
...gently but intentionally moving you aside.

Let me ask a few questions about this scenario.

1. When the officers give you the order to allow them entry into your home without a warrant, you’ve received an order from a governing authority who bears the sword. ... 5/
...Are you as a Christian bound by Romans 13 and/or 1 Peter 2 to allow those officers to enter your home? (Not: would you personally freely allow them, but: is a Christian in sin if he does not allow them). 6/
2. If yes, — a Christian is bound to let him in, — why? Must orders given by governing authorities be obeyed, out of conscience toward lawkeeping, when those orders themselves are against the law (in this case, against the Fourth Amendment)? 7/
3. If no, — a Christian does not have to let those officers in simply by virtue of their verbal order, because their verbal order violates the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment and thus is unlawful, & a Christian cannot be bound by law to do that which is unlawful — 8/
...why would the verbal orders of an even higher magistrate (e.g., the Mayor or Governor) which violate the protections afforded by the First Amendment be any more binding on the Christian’s conscience? 9/
If you recognize intuitively that Rom 13 doesn’t bind you to let the officer in your house just bc he tells you you must, you ought also to recognize that Rom 13 doesn’t bind a church to follow a Governor’s orders to restrict or cease worship just bc he tells you you must. 10/
Sure, if the officers push in against your 4th-Am rights, you don’t resist. You inform them that you’re under duress and do not consent to an illegal search, but you offer no violence or resistance to the officers. You may pursue the appropriate legal recourse after the fact. 11/
In the same way, if the Mayor or Governor orders the police into your church to fine or arrest members against your 1st-Am rights, you don’t resist. You inform them that you’re under duress & you do not consent to their illegal prohibition of the free exercise of religion,... 12/
...but you offer no violence or resistance to the officers. You may pursue the appropriate legal recourse after the fact. 13/
The bottom line: You cannot be bound, by a command to submit to lawful authority, to obey a command which that authority has no lawful authority to issue. 14/14
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