On the heels of a largely-unfunded $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill, and preparing for a possibly $4 trillion infrastructure bill, President Biden and congressional Democrats are apparently planning the first major federal tax increase since the 1993 Clinton administration.
Conservative critics were already complaining about government overreach and the government’s “stealing” from present and future generations of citizens by effectively devaluing property and investments and dramatically increasing the nation’s indebtedness, but government’s “stealing” from its citizens is nothing new.
As I pointed out earlier this year to a group of pastors in my Church body as I led a study on what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther’s “Large Catechism and Small Catechism” say about God’s Commandment against stealing, already in the late 1520s there was concern about “the great, powerful arch-thieves who consort with lords and princes and daily plunder not only a city or two, but [the whole country]”, though that criticism of the lords and princes was apparently “censored” in some editions of the Large Catechism.
The Rev. Dr. Luther is translated as saying further, “Those who can steal and rob openly are safe and free, unmolested by anyone, even claiming honor from [people],” but they “should be told that in the eyes of God they are the greatest thieves, and that he will punish them as they deserve.”
Pastors and their Christian people, in their vocations as such, really can only “speak truth to power” and then must stand by and put up with all those who steal, forgiving them as the Lord’s Prayer teaches (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4), for ultimately God Himself carries out His temporal and eternal wrath and punishment against governments and, through them, against us individuals who steal and mistreat the poor.
As citizens of our country, state, counties and cities, we can petition for redress of grievances, of course, but we should not sinfully throw-off our current form of government as our American forbears did theirs in 1776, for God institutes governing authorities and commands we pay taxes (for example, Romans 13:1-7), and our even-earlier ancestors brought on separate governments with their taxes by our even-earlier ancestors’ throwing-off God as their king (1 Samuel 8:4-22).
When we repent and believe in Jesus, then God forgives us of all of our sin, and He can work good for us, even through stealing governments, as He rules all for the sake of His Church (Ephesians 1:22 NIV).
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.