Question (composite of several): I disagree with your answer in TBC February issue regarding the actions of Judge Roy Moore. He should have obeyed the order to remove the Ten Commandments as if it were from God. In Acts:5:29, the disciples had been specifically commissioned by God to preach the Gospel. If they were ordered not to, it would be against God’s command, and they were therefore correct in saying that they must obey God rather than men. But moving a stone out of a courthouse in no way conflicts with what God wants for us. Therefore, your quoting of Acts:5:29 was in error.
Answer: Thank you for your thoughtful letter. You make a good point about Judge Moore’s obligation to obey the authority over him, which is constituted by God. You correctly state that the only exception would be if the governing “authority requires us to go against God’s commands.” I agree.
You say that I misused Acts:5:29. But I believe that the disciples’ continuing to preach Christ in disobedience of the commandment not to do so, given by constituted authority, is an exact parallel and set a valid precedent for Judge Moore to follow. Jesus had said that “the rabbis sit in Moses’ seat” and are therefore to be obeyed. That the apostles gave the reason for disobeying this command as “we ought to obey God rather than man” applies, I believe, in the case of Judge Moore as well.
The apostles were commanded to refrain from preaching in Christ’s name, but obeyed Christ’s command to do so. Judge Moore was commanded to remove the display of the Ten Commandments from a public place where, in fact, they ought to be displayed as a witness to the fact that God has written these very commands in every human conscience. He likewise refused for the same reason.
The display of the Ten Commandments was not on private property belonging to a business. It was public property and a courthouse where law is supposed to be upheld. The law of any land must be based upon the Ten Commandments given by God to all mankind (minus the Sabbath observance) and engraved on every human conscience. It was more than “moving a stone out of a courthouse.”
Judge Moore was not an employee preaching the gospel on his employer’s time. That would not be ethical. No time was taken from his duties by the display of these commandments.
We disagree, but praise God, can do so amicably.