“The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13:1
It’s been a wild ride these past few weeks in
. Two weeks ago, protesters
in America painted “Defund the Police” on a street
just a few blocks from the White House. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was
killed on Memorial Day, nine of the 13 city council members publicly supported
an effort to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And closer
to home, there has been major protest activity at the Washington D.C. in Adelanto, demanding the
release of detainees. The building was tagged with graffiti. One employee was
assaulted with a rock. And dozens of cars were vandalized. GEO Detention Center
Across the nation, many citizens and even some political leaders are calling for police departments to be defunded and dismantled. Honestly, when I first heard these calls for change, I thought that they sounded insane. Abolish the police—I thought to myself—have people lost their minds? But the Lord prompted me to live out James 1:19: to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
I did some research and learned that those who are crying out for change to police departments are not all asking for the same thing. DEFUND, which many protesters are calling for, does not necessarily mean a complete defunding of police departments—most are calling for police budgets to be drastically cut so that the money can be used for other programs like public housing, health and mental care. DISMANTLE is more extreme and involves scrapping police departments and rebuilding them from the ground up.
So, what does God think? Well, God’s Word doesn’t come right out and say, “Thou shalt not defund and dismantle the police.” But it does teach us some very important truths about government and law enforcement that you and I need to know in order to form an educated opinion,
1. Human government has been established by God. Paul makes this point in Romans 13:1 as he writes, “For there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” There are many different forms of government in the world today, and without a doubt, some are better than others. But the truth still remains the truth: Earthly government was established by God in Genesis 9 after humanity had already demonstrated that, when left to our own devices, we would tailspin into complete lawlessness.
2. God has given government the authority to punish lawbreakers. In Romans 13:3-4, Paul refers “to the one in authority” as “God’s servant.” Our government leaders—including law enforcement—are God’s servants to do us good. Honestly, some of us have a hard time believing this. The pattern of the world is to constantly criticize and slander and disrespect our government leaders and law enforcement. But that’s not God’s way. The Bible tells us that government authorities are God’s servants to do us good. But they are also God’s servants to punish lawbreakers.
3. God expects us to respect and honor our leaders by paying taxes and humbly submitting to their authority. Romans 13:6-7 says, “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants…. Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” One of the reasons some of us have had bad experiences with law enforcement is because we have disrespected both the laws of the land and those who enforce them. We didn’t obey the speed limit, so we got pulled over. And when we got pulled over, we copped an attitude with the officer instead of showing him respect. Friends, respect goes a long way. If you get pulled over, show the officer respect. If he asks you to do something—whether it’s turning off your engine or stepping to the side of the road—submit to his authority. And this exposes one of the underlying problems in our nation today: Most people have a big problem with submission. One of the reasons people struggle to submit to law enforcement’s authority is because people struggle to submit to ANY authority, including God’s.
You may well ask: But what about the corruption in government? And what about racist cops who abuse their authority? Well, the Bible is very clear that you and I as his followers are to stand up and defend those who are poor, abused or discriminated against. I believe that Christians’ efforts to reform government and police departments in a peaceful, respectful way are admirable and necessary. But I also believe that calls to defund and dismantle police departments are shortsighted and foolish. We don’t dismantle schools when we discover a few bad teachers. We don’t dismantle Wal-Mart or Costco because of a few bad employees. So, we shouldn’t dismantle the police because there are a few bad cops. Instead, we work together in a peaceful way to root them out while respecting and honoring the vast majority of the 800,000 law enforcement officers across our nation who serve and protect us with dignity and honor.
And if we’re serious about drastically reducing lawlessness in our nation, there’s only one foolproof solution: Jesus Christ. The best way that we can root out sin in cops, in protesters, in politicians, in teachers, and in everyone else is to get people saved. The church truly is the tip of the spear when it comes to rooting out corruption and lawlessness in our nation, because we are all about introducing people to the only one who can fix all of the mess in this world. So, as our neighbors call for reform, we as Christ’s followers need to call for something much greater and lasting. We call for salvation. Jesus IS the answer.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at
George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at
10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on
our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.