30. Nullification and Civil Disobedience


  1. In 1850, when Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which required the free Northern states to return fleeing slaves to their Southern slave owners, people began to disobey the law. This is called “nullification.” Were they justified in doing that?
  1. Are there ever times when Christians should nullify the law, in other words totally ignore it?
  1. What are the examples of civil disobedience in the Bible? (260) Check out the following accounts and discuss each one:

a) Egyptian midwives – Exodus 1:17-21

b) Rahab – Joshua 2

c) Obadiah hiding God’s prophets – 1 Kings 18

d) Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – Daniel 3:13-27

e) Daniel – Daniel 6:13

f) Esther – Esther 4:16

g) The magi – Matthew 2:8,12

h) Peter and John – Acts 4:19-20 and Acts 5:29

i) Moses leading the Jews from captivity – Exodus 14

What is the commonality between these?  Can you ever imagine a time when you would civilly disobey the law?  Why?  Or why not?

  1. The Manhattan Declaration states, “As Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Christians, we take seriously the biblical admonition to respect and obey those in authority. Because we honor justice and the common good, we will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

What thoughts come to your mind when you read it? (262)  What does it mean to “ungrudgingly render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s?”   What does it mean when it states that, “But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s?”  Discuss this.  Do you agree with it?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  How could this quote someday impact your life?