Not only does The Church debate whether the Scriptures authorize rebellion against corrupt governments, but secularists have an opinion as well. The debated chapter in the Bible about righteous rebellion is found in Romans 13 by the Apostle Paul. The definitive statement on the matter is v. 4:
"For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of god, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." [bold face mine]
The verse is clear; only Kings, or governments that are ministers for good are ordained by God. However, I believe the United States was formed under the laws of God, and the ideal government ordained by God, is a Republic. Certain calvinists use v. 2 to say governmental authority can be "resisted" but not overthrown. Verse 4 is the context for chapter 13.
Calvinists, Dr. Gregg Frazer, Professor of History & Political Studies at The Master's College in Santa Clarita, CA, along with Master's President John MacArthur, promote the "Unlimited Submission" doctrine our Founding Fathers rejected. Some of Dr. Frazer's statements on American Creation are striking. Dr. Frazer gives a Calvinist position for a defense of "unlimited submission" on American Creation:
"Hitler had authority from God, as do all in authority. He sometimes used it for good (lowest crime rate in the world in 1930s) and often used it for great evil (massacring Jews and other well-known examples). ALL GOVERNMENTS DO THIS BECAUSE ALL ARE RUN BY FALLEN HUMAN BEINGS. The level of evil to which they rise varies, of course. The U.S. government today, for example, supports the murder of millions of unborn children and numerous other violations of God’s law. None of this makes the government illegitimate, removes its authority, or negates what Romans 13 clearly says."
Hitler had authority from God? Most certainly, no modern government is legitimate. All governments violate God's laws in some part. The point is not that every government is evil, but does the government persecute the Church, its people, and violate Romans 13. Scripture tells us a righteous government made of sinners is possible and valid:
"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."
I Corinthians 9:7-10, is another place in scripture where God allows at the minimum, defensive rebellion. The Apostle Paul repeats commands from the Law of Moses that is pertinent for the Church, such as taking fruit from your own vine:
"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
Our most decorated Founding Father, John Jay, did not believe someone had to be specifically called to rebel, or that rebellion by the people against their government was prohibited. Jay used Jesus' own words to defend rebellion:
"To the advancement and support of his spiritual sovereignty over his spiritual kingdom, soldiers and swords and corporeal exertions were inapplicable and useless. But, on the other hand, soldiers and swords and corporeal exertions are necessary to enable the several temporal rulers of the states and kingdoms of this world to maintain their authority and protect themselves and their people; and our Savior expressly declared that if his kingdom had been of this world, then would his servants fight to protect him; or, in other words, that then, and in that case, he would not have restrained them from fighting. The lawfulness of such fighting, therefore, instead of being denied, is admitted and confirmed by that declaration...Had the gospel regarded war as being in every case sinful, it seems strange that the apostle Paul should have been so unguarded as, in teaching the importance of faith, to use an argument which clearly proves the lawfulness of war, viz.: “That it was through faith that Gideon, David, and others waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of aliens”; thereby confirming the declaration of David, that it was God who had “girded him with strength to battle; and had taught his hands to war, and his fingers to fight.” The gospel appears to me to consider the servants of Christ as having two capacities or characters, with correspondent duties to sustain and fulfill. Being subjects of his spiritual kingdom, they are bound in that capacity to fight, pursuant to his orders, with spiritual weapons, against his and their spiritual enemies. Being also subjects and partakers in the rights and interests of a temporal or worldly state or kingdom, they are in that capacity bound, whenever lawfully required, to fight with weapons in just and necessary war, against the worldly enemies of that state or kingdom. " [bold face mine]
The Founding Fathers and Christian Philosophers: Montesquieu, Blackstone, Locke, Rutherford, Hooker, and Grotius, etc., understood the theory of "Unlimited Submission," was not what the Bible teaches. They believed the Bible teaches that governmental authority is limited. Does a Prophet have to be called by God to determine the validity of the biblical principle of righteous rebellion? The text doesn't say, whereas, we should be concerned with exegesis (taking out of the text), not eisegesis (reading into the text).
Israel wanted a monarchy, to be like the other nations. This was a bad decision. Nations that submit to God's Word are Blessed with just and righteous rulers. However, nations that rebel against God's Word are visited with oppressive governments for the purpose of bringing them into submission. Hosea gives us the principle:
"[T]he Assyrian shall be his king, because they [Israel] refused to return [to God]."
"As for the Judges 3 example, GOD may raise up a deliverer to accomplish His purposes – but the reason that the passage specifies that God raised him up and that the Spirit of the Lord was given to him is BECAUSE WITHOUT SPECIFIC REVELATION FROM GOD, what he did was wrong. It would be wrong for any person not specifically and specially “raised up by God.”
This appears to be an eisegetical statement, maybe he can elaborate on where the text says this.
Among the 18th century preachers calling for rebellion against King George, were Unitarians Samuel West, and Jonathan Mayhew. They both attacked this "unlimited submission" doctrine using the Bible:
"Unlimited submission and obedience is due to none but God alone."
-Samuel West, "A Sermon Preached before the Honorable Council , and Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, May 29, 1776."
What West and the framers were getting at, was the people, as well as rulers, are subject to God's laws. All legitimate authority is based on God's laws, illegitimate authority is not ordained. West understood a government could abide by some of God's laws, and still be illegitimate, which did not pertain to the United States:
"Can we conceive of a more perfect, equitable, and generous plan of government than this which the apostle has laid down, viz., to have rulers appointed over us to encourage us to every good and virtuous action, to defend and protect us in our just rights and privileges, and to grant us everything that can tend to promote our true interest and happiness; to restrain every licentious action, and to punish everyone that would injure or harm us; to become a terror of evil-doers; to make and execute such just and righteous laws as shall effectually deter and hinder men from the commission of evil, and to attend continually upon this very thing; to make it their constant care and study, day and night, to promote the good and welfare of the community, and to oppose all evil practices?"
-West, On the Right to Rebel against Governors, Boston 1776
Anyone who submits to the ungodly decrees of men becomes a slave of ungodly men.