Acts Chapter 4 recounts the story of Peter and John’s arrest and questioning before the Jewish religious rulers for teaching about Jesus. During their interrogation, the Jewish rulers ordered these two men to not speak or teach about Jesus.
Verse 23-24 relate what happened next: “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in protest of this obvious violation of their religious rights, crying “To arms! To arms! All righteous men and followers of Jesus, RISE UP! We must defend our rights against this tyranny and oppression!” At this, the 3000 new believers launched an impressive guerrilla campaign that spread from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria in just a few short years. Within 50 years, their small guerrilla band had taken large portions of Asia Minor and Southern Europe, establishing strongholds in Rome that would eventually topple the Roman Empire.
For those of you who are now scrambling for your Bibles to see where THAT passage is,
That’s really not what happened. The first part is correct; Peter and John were arrested and ordered not to teach or talk about Jesus. They did go back to their followers, but v 24 really says “When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God, “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’… They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness…. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
These people were facing real oppression–life-threatening oppression. They didn’t rail against the government, let alone plot to take up armed opposition. What did they do? They prayed, and they kept on preaching the Gospel boldly. So why do many Christians today feel the need to oppose our government? They’re not telling us to quit speaking about Jesus. And even if sometime in the future the US government were to violate the Constitution by ordering Christians not to speak about Jesus, are we then supposed to oppose the government? Not according to my Bible! We’re supposed to pray, then speak the word of GOD boldly! Not speak the word against the government!
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. –2 Corinthians 10:3-5.