The most challenging verse in the whole of the New Testament is the verse, “We must obey God rather than man.” Think about the countless numbers of people who use this verse to justify personal interpretations of gospel teaching that reflect agendas and ideologies that have nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. This verse makes it clear, however, that we must be filled with the Holy Spirit before we act against any civil or religious authority. And we need to discern through dialogue and study what actions truly flow from Christ and his Spirit.
The apostles , and those who followed, literally obeyed God over human/ religious authority and witnessed gospel teaching by giving up their lives. This decision was made in prayer and NEVER caused violence or harm to anyone else. We CAN’T choose violence and say it comes from God. EVER!!!!
The history of our Church, and every other Christian Church, has shown how we have killed, dominated, forced people into submitting to church teaching, crusading in the most violent terms..,, all in the name of Christ!!! And arrogantly teaching we were just following the Will of God.
How can we make amends, repair the damage done to our credibility, witness to our faith when the response may very well be, “You are a hypocrite?” The only response: acknowledging the truth of our historical reality and then silence. We must humbly accept the consequences and respond as Jesus would wish us to respond: by loving the one who hates our religion and church and understanding why.