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Thank God for the New Zealand Anti Terrorist Squad: Online

October 16th, 2016 by Matt

Matt’s article is available at this link flannagan-pc-18-1

Permission has been granted from the Editor of Philosophia Christi to upload this contribution. Learn more about the journal by going to

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  • Congratulations on the clarity of your reasoning and for stating your premises and exegesis so clearly.

    There is indeed something of an inconsistency to affirm the exegesis and teaching of Romans 13 as authorising a coercive authority for domestic repayment of wrongdoing while denying its availability and potential application to coercive repayment of foreign-sourced military or terrorist wrongdoing. And it is correct to challenge pacifists who hold this position (which I do not). There may be some basis for a theory of jurisdictional limitation of the scope or purpose of action that could proscribe foreign military activity, but this would have to proceed as something of an add-on and be justified and established on some other basis. Pacifists who take this position perhaps do not attempt or discharge this case adequately, but I propose we side step that entirely by refuting the exegesis that is the premise.

    However, I ask you again to tell me whether you are open to the exegetical case that Romans 13 does not establish, authorise, constitute or legitimise the coercive authority of the state as an agent of God to repay wrongdoing on earth generally?

    Isn’t there too much resting on the exegesis for Romans 13 not to consider its strength (weakness)? I suggest if you take off your philospher’s hat for a while and put on your biblical scholarship hat, I could assist you to better discern the specific historical, polemical, pastoral, prophetic, covenantal and military application of the text. Then you would know the extent to which it applies, or does not apply, to legitimise, authorise or justify the use of coercive force here on earth to repay wrongdoing, whether domestic or foreign in source, and whether criminal or military in nature. You have a lot riding on this exegesis, friend. Why not accept my invitation to re-examine?