Pastor Rick Warren Appeared on Fox Hannity & Colmes on December 3, 2008, "The Legitimate Role of Government" was one of the issues discussed. Here is the discourse between Sean Hannity and Pastor Rick Warren:
HANNITY: But we're born in a fallen condition.
COLMES: We are?
HANNITY: I mean, so human beings are imperfect.
HANNITY: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. OK, so with that understanding, there's always going to be human evil. The question is, can you eradicate it. In other words, the whole issue came up. Can you — can you talk to rogue dictators.
Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons.
HANNITY: I think we need to take him out.
HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?
WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe...
HANNITY: By force?
WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.
HANNITY: I'm just gotten, thanks to my wife, who you know, you know, been reading the Old Testament. Because as a good Catholic growing up, I studied more the New Testament.
WARREN: Just ignored that part.
HANNITY: I ignored the Old Testament. But what about King David? What about the — all the battles, all the conflict, you know, going back - - you know, Abraham — Adam and Eve and their children, going forward?
WARREN: The point is, there are some things worth dying for. There's no doubt about that. And I would die for my family. I would die for my freedom. I would die for this country.
HANNITY: If somebody broke into your house, you would be justified to kill them?
WARREN: I would be justified to protect my family. Absolutely.
HANNITY: And if it took killing them?
HANNITY: But it's not murder at that point?
WARREN: No. Murder is not self-defense.
WARREN: And the Bible also says that governments can do things that I'm not supposed to do as an individual. God has authorized — God has not put the law in my hands. He's put the law in the government's hands.
Responding to Hannity’s assertion that “we need to take him [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] out,” Warren agreed, saying that stopping evil “is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.”
I believe Rick Warren was referring to Romans 13:1-3, which states, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?"
If you read the blogs all has been negative about this exchange, however if you go back to the Founding Fathers, many if not all, correspond and agree with Pastor Rick Warren's view of his analysis of governmental authority and jurisdiction. "To Execute the Sword," and punish evil-doers is a legitimate role of government. The Declaration of Independence echos this thought, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Who is the Government? "We the People. . ."
David Barton of Wallbuilders, in an article, WAS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION A BIBLICALLY JUSTIFIED ACT?, talks about the two interpertations of Romans 13 and how the Founders Held Fast to the interpertation that the general institution of government has the right to execute the sword, but if it becomes destructive, wicked, evil then it is the right and duty of the people to change, disobey and even put in place a new government.
Here, are the two sides of Romans 13--interpretations representing a debate that has existed among American Christians for centuries.
On one side was the belief that when government speaks, God requires us to obey. This same theological position resulted in the "Divine Right of Kings" philosophy which reasoned that since the King was chosen by God, God therefore expected all citizens to obey the King in all circumstances; anything less was rebellion against God.
The other interpretation of Romans 13 was set out in a 1579 work by Frenchman Philippe du Plessis Mornay, which was printed in English as "A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants." This treatise took the position that government being ordained of God was referring to the general institution of government rather than to each distinct government.
God ordained government in lieu of anarchy. Yet, there clearly have been governments in recent years that promote anarchy, rebellion, and wickedness (e.g. Qadafi in Libya, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Idi Amin in Uganda). Has God endorsed those governments? If so, He has contradicted His nature and is commanding submission to the very things that He hates--which isn't possible.
Most Christian denominations during the American Revolution all believed that Romans 13 meant they were not to overthrow government as an institution and live in anarchy, but that this passage did not mean they had to submit to every civil law. (Note that in Hebrews 11, a number of those who made the cut in the "Faith Hall of Fame" as heroes of the faith were guilty of civil disobedience--including Daniel, the three Hebrew Children, the Hebrew Midwives, and Moses.) Furthermore, the Apostles in Acts 4-5 also declared they would obey God rather than civil authorities.
The real key to understanding civil disobedience and Romans 13 under this latter view, then, is to determine if the purpose of opposition is simply to resist the institution of government in general (which would be anarchy and would promote a rebellious spirit), or if it is to specifically resist bad laws, bad acts, or bad governments. The American Founding Fathers embraced the second interpretation of Romans 13, and therefore strongly opposed "Divine Right of Kings" theology, which was derived from the first interpretation of Romans 13. For example, Founding Father James Otis in a 1766 work argued that the only king who had any divine right was God; beyond that, God had ordained power to people.
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
---Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).
This follows that "to execute the sword," is a legitimate power if that government is legitimate. So that begs the question is the USA's government legitimate, if not, as I write gun sales are going through the roof.